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Tracy Courtney

Finish This Moment

What’s happening in this very moment? We think we know, but do we really? In one sense absolutely nothing is happening but in another sense, absolutely everything is happening! What is our horse doing in this very moment? They are quietly grazing in the pasture, relaxed, happy & content. Can we say we’re relaxed, happy & content in this moment?

Are we really aware of our environment in this moment? Did we notice what’s going on around us? Did we notice the sound of the choir of frogs in the pond? Did we notice that butterfly that just flew behind us? Did we notice the fox in the next field jumping for joy & playing with a mouse? Did we notice the hawk that just flew over the barn? Did we notice the symphony of sound the wind makes when it blows through the rushes? Did we notice the new blue wild flowers that just popped up along the fence & how beautifully they complement the yellow & white flowers that were already there?

How many of us can enjoy this moment for what it really is & the quiet stillness, the chance to unwind, that it offers? Do we really notice what’s going on all around us or are we too busy to notice? What’s happening with you in this very moment? Absolutely nothing & absolutely everything! There is no other human in sight, no errands to run in this moment, no conversations to have in this moment, no grocery list in this moment, no work meetings in this moment, no steps to learn or problems to solve with your horse in this moment. There is nothing to do in this very moment except to just breathe & be.

How many of us can just enjoy this moment for what it is & accept the peace that it offers? Very few. And why is this, what makes this moment so busy for us? Why have so few of us even realized what is being indicated through this article? In short, through social conditioning, we have habituated the to allowance the mind to control our lives instead of enhancing our existence.

What obscures & eliminates this very moment? Pulling the past & projecting the future into it. Does the past or the future exist in this very moment? Is anyone yelling at us in this very moment? Do we have to move out of our house in this very moment? Did we lose our job in this very moment? Does thinking about how we should have or are going to react when our significant other makes a negative statement toward us next time, change the dynamic or outcome of the circumstances in our relationship in this moment? Does the hurt emotions that stem from the negative words of another, that we’re feeling in this very moment have anything to do with this very moment as these people are not present? Or are we choosing to pull these thoughts & emotions into this present moment? Is our horse explosive or aggressive in this very moment? Are we worrying about sequential steps in this very moment? Do we need perfection of a barrel pattern in this very moment? Does anything our horse did yesterday or a month ago affect this very moment? Who is responsible for the obscurity of this moment? Is it our boss, our significant other or our horse? Can any external source cause us to be out of this moment or is it a personal choice?

When retrieving our horse from the pasture or beginning a training session box, are they hard to catch or become anything other than quiet & relaxed as they were a moment ago? Is our perceptions of this moment a personal choice? Do we have the choice to perceive what our horse is doing negatively; to close the door of understanding, or inquisitively; to open many new doors? Is a person from the past that we blame for our horse’s current behaviour really responsible for the behaviour in this moment, or is it our responsibility to understand what’s happening & to help our horse balance in these situations? Is this person from the past responsible because we have not understood how to effectively change the behaviour since the horse has been in our possession?

Nature is always here to offer glimpses of peace & relaxation, but do we really accept these ever present offers? Horses are also a piece of nature who are always trying to offer an extension of this peace & tranquility. Those who have tapped into this unlimited resource often dissect these experiences into boxes. They schedule in time to go out into nature & relax & then shut it off when they enter their other boxes of work, family & horse training time. Just like with other practices such as meditation, designating boxes of time & particular places can only lead to stress & anxiety because creating these divisions forces us to be out of the present moment of where we are & longing to be somewhere else, doing something else. We have carried these limiting boxes into our interactions with horses because they are comfortable & habitual. The only time we typically allow time for being in the present moment, is when we’ve opened the box of grazing time. All of the other boxes are ridged, serious & built on structure, rules & boundaries. They are not founded in peace, tranquility & relaxation.

Not only do we have to be in this moment to truly understand what our horses are trying to teach us, but this moment has to be clear of all the mental & emotional baggage we choose to carry into it & obscure it with. Only then do we open unlimited new doors of perception & understanding. Can you finish this moment with your horse without pulling in the past or projecting the future into what’s happening now, in this very moment? Can you let go of the things you’ve done before or might try in the future? Can you just go with the flow of what your horse is presenting right now as it is, without labels & judgements? Can you empty your mind & see what may have been previously perceived as lazy or stubborn behaviour as just an expression? 

Can you begin to move in flow with your horse’s expression & meet it with your own neutral observation & genuine, unbiased participation instead of dictation? Can you flow with your horse like a flock of flying birds with no destination or goal to achieve? Can you be quiet with your body as well as your mind & see where this flow takes you in this moment? Can you finish this moment with your horse without a single thought or physical action other than moving in sync with your horse in whatever direction or speed they choose? Once the single movement of both of you becomes non movement, can you continue with the flow of the moment & not dissect it into separate events? Just stand there, facing your horse & reflect on the whole moment of interaction without pulling the past or future into it through thoughts & emotions? Analyzation is used to dissect & separate objects & events, don’t analyze, just reflect from a relaxed & neutral flow of a continuation of this moment. Similarly, when we encounter anything other than a quiet & relaxed horse, are we finishing this moment to assess & address it, or are we pulling in unnecessary mental & emotional baggage?