I fell off my horse last week. When I wasn’t paying attention, he reared up and threw me right off. I wish I had a bit of warning. Some signage in neon yellow with flashing lights … “Bump up ahead. Proceed with caution.” Nope, not even a kind hint of foreboding. Life just threw me – my ass flat on the ground.
So, what did I do? I laid there for a minute. I fantasized that someone would come along and make this whole thing go away. Shit. Well, that didn’t happen. So, I laid there some more. Then, when I got tired of that, I licked my wounds. Yelled and screamed. Assessed the damage. Made a few phone calls. Put together a plan of action. And … got right back on my horse.
When I have a new therapy student, I have a ritual of buying him or her a plastic horse for their office. One of those three-dollar pieces of junk we played with as children. I tell them to put it someplace where just they can see it – as a reminder to get back on their horse after they fall off. For, they will fall. We all do. It’s just a matter of recognizing it and getting right back on.
Come to think of it, after my week last week, I think we all need a three-dollar plastic horse. One we carry around with us on the inside. To serve as a reminder to get back on after we stumble.
For, we all fall. We lose our stance in the saddle with our partner, with our employer or employees or customers, with our children, with our goals, with our health, with our budget. We all slip and make mistakes. We lose our moderated relational stance and engage our worst selves. That’s a given.
But there is choice afterwards. One of reclaiming your adult self by doing the best next right action – getting right back on and continuing the ride. Admit your contribution to the mishap. Feel your feelings. Make a new, more enlightened plan. Tighten the saddle. Look up ahead. And off you go.
So whatever your day holds, ride on, my friend. Your plastic horse awaits. I got one with your name on it.