Think Happy Thoughts: Musings on Horses and Massage
My first career was working with horses. Mainly, teaching riding lessons and managing lesson barns. Horses have taught me so much about people and life and many of those lessons continue to carry over as a massage therapist. For instance, horses taught me how to be hyper observant and to problem solve and treat basic injuries or illnesses. This translates to massage because I can notice tiny changes in my clients’ bodies while they are on the table, figure out what is probably causing tightness or pain, and treat a variety of things that do not require medical assistance.
Recently, I have been rather stressed, as I’m sure many of you have been for one reason or another. Then one morning I had brunch with an old equestrian friend from college. She shared a quote with me that she said has helped her reset her perspective so many times. It is from the book, “The Tao of Equus” by Linda Kohanov, and is referring to working with young and skittish horses, but I believe it serves us in life too:
“Keep your body fully in the present and your mind in the recent future. Don’t let the past get in your way.”
Wow! How life-changing…
I particularly love the phrase “recent future.” It seems like an oxymoron. But if we can clearly imagine what we want the future to be, we get to be sort-of time-travelers, don’t we? Or at least manifestors of our fate, anyway. With young horses, (and Life in General), we must always be ready for anything. BUT we cannot let our fear of what happened before, or what may happen again, get in our way. Because when we are focused on the possibility of Bad or Worse, our BODY HEARS US. That’s right. When we think of terrible outcomes, our brain tells our body to GET READY, PREPARE, BRACE YOURSELF. This is the essence of what we can feel in the muscles when you’re on the massage table if you’ve been stressed. (And if you happen to be training young horses, they can pick up on this too 😉
So. How to change our perspective? Focus on the recent future. What would you like to happen? What is your favorite possible outcome? Finding that new job? Meeting more clients? Having your horse walk past that trash bag calmly and without dragging you into the next county this time?
Peter Pan was on to something, friends. Think Happy Thoughts and you’ll fly. The cool thing is your body hears you when you are happy and calm as well. But wait there’s more! The best part is that when you come get a massage to relax your body, your mind relaxes as well!
I challenge you to imagine and focus on the best possible outcome of whatever might be stressing you out today. A happy, drama-free Thanksgiving dinner with loved ones. That less stressful job waiting on the horizon. Good news from the doctor. A struggling relationship getting better. Keep your mind in the recent future and don’t let the past get in your way. And when you need help, we are always here to listen, squish, and relax your stress away.