Lessons from a Horse

Stop Chasing and Begin Allowing

I believe things always happen for a reason. That there are no coincidences. Then sometimes a set of circumstances unfolds that even leaves me speechless. It’s how I feel as I write this story at 5:41 AM after a night of not being able to sleep.

I’ve learned that when I can’t sleep it’s most likely because some great piece of wisdom is shifting inside of me ready to come out. So, I don’t fight it and now I just get up and grab my pen and journal.

This sleepless night follows two months of slowing down and taking stock of what my next direction in life will be. I’m at a crossroads in many different ways and tonight the message that came through loud and clear is this:

When you make decisions based on your joy you will never be lost.

But that’s not exactly why I decided to document the pivoting awareness of the night.

You see, during my time of slowing down I caught the latest season of Heartland on Netflix. If you haven’t seen it I highly recommend it. The show is all about life on a ranch in Canada — and specifically about horses. Watching this season reconnected me with the enthusiasm and love I had for horses as a teen and re-ignited a longing in me to find a way to connect with horses sometime in the near future.

This energy of horses was alive in me and reminded me of a photo I took about fifteen years ago that has been sitting in my home ever since. It’s a picture of a horse that taught me a lesson — one that made a big enough impression at that time to document it by keeping a photo of the horse.

It wasn’t my horse.

It lived in the field next to where I worked. I’d often take a walk and try to coax the horse over so I could pet it. I tried everything I thought a horse would want — sugar cubes, apples, special “horse treats,” talking to it…and never once would the horse come even close to the fence where I stood.

Then, one day I was wrestling with an issue heavy on my mind. Deep in thought, I leaned against the fence staring off into the blue analyzing and solving the problem in my head. Then with no warning, the horse appeared over my shoulder. I had not heard or noticed it approaching! I stroked its nose and hugged it. It was very clear to me. The horse had to come on its own terms.

Horse Photo resting on my Piano

Allowing. Not Chasing. Ironically (no coincidences right?) that was the answer to the problem I had been puzzling over. It hit me like a rock between the eyes. I had to stop chasing and allow. So I documented the moment with a photo (so me…..it’s’ why I have 26,000+ photos on my hard drive!) and I even bought a special frame (so NOT me — my walls are pretty bare) to put the photo in.

Ok, so back to a few weeks ago when I felt the energy to reconnect with horses. It also drew my awareness to the photo of the horse that had been resting on my piano for the past um — 15 years! That day I took the photo and placed it in my meditation corner. Even as I did it I sorta wondered why I was doing it.

Six weeks later, the awareness is shining like a spotlight — I have been chasing a lot of things in my life.

Chasing gives off a nasty vibe and has the opposite effect of actually pushing things away — whether it be people, money, time or love. Chasing gives the impression that what we desire is always somewhere out there in front of us — not quite reachable.

Have you ever tried to chase a feather? the air current from your chasing literally pushes it further and further away. Stop chasing it and it may just drift down and land at your feet.

As long as our mind and brain see something as “separate” from us, we unconsciously create circumstances that KEEP us separate from our desires. It’s why the same personality with a different name keeps showing up in our work or dating life, or just as we feel we are getting ahead financially the furnace dies and needs to be replaced.

Cognitively, it’s time to shift into allowing, seeing, and feeling what we desire as part of who we are now.

I always get hung up here in making decisions. My analytical brain is searching and trying to see how each decision is going to pan out 3, 5 or 20 years from now. It chased down this path, and then down another one and before I know it it’s chasing in circles attempting to make a decision on how I might or might not feel 20 years from now based on what may or may not unfold!

Most of what the ego-mind imagines is not helpful either. It’s full of negative possibilities.

Then tonight my inner wisdom reminded me that the emotional guidance scale has a full range of emotions — from the lowest depression and rage to the highest joy and excitement. And then the wisdom of how to make decisions from an allowing vs a chasing place emerged.

When you make decisions based on joy (your joy today, right now — not potential, possible joy 20 years from now!) you will never be lost.

That once sentence of wisdom caused me to grab a pen and make a quick choice wheel — something I invite anyone needing to make a decision to do.

A Choice Wheel is a simple tool — draw a circle on a piece of paper. Divide it into as many pie-shaped slices as you desire. Then write every possible — and even a seemingly impossible option on a slice of pie.

I quickly wrote down all of my alternatives. Doing this capture list on paper felt good and got all of the options out of my head.

Then instead of beginning to analyze each option trying to guess how I might feel about it 5 years from now, I asked one simple question:

On a scale of 1–10 how much joy does this option bring me right now at this moment?

I was shocked at the results! It was very clear that some of the options had much higher joy associated with them right now. Some of the options high in joy were the ones my mind bludgeoned to death with reasons it wasn’t “right.”

It was so clear.

Evaluating based on joy in the present moment (all that really exists!) gives a clear place to begin taking action from.

I’m committed to living and making decisions from my inner wisdom and this felt like it quickly guided me straight to that inner wisdom while avoiding the pitfalls of the mind. It was clear that the joyful decisions reflected the energy of allowing while the less joyful ones reflected the energy of should, trying and resistance — or summed up — chasing.

As all of this awareness snapped together in my head like puzzle pieces I randomly looked up and noticed the horse staring at me from my meditation corner. I get it now. My wise inner self was waking me up a few weeks ago…the energy of the horse needed to come back into my life to reaffirm and grow that seed of a lesson planted in me 15 years ago.

I paused to appreciate this entire string of events….my wise inner self knew I needed this lesson today — 15 years ago — and it orchestrated the set of events back then, including me taking the picture, buying the frame, and forgetting about it…for 15 years.

When it was time to awaken and embrace the lesson my inner wisdom used a TV show to nudge me to notice the photo and guided me to move it to an honored space. Front and Center. Right where I would see it and connect all of the dots to the lesson I needed to see tonight.

Tosha Silver says this about those “nudges” in her book It’s not your money: “Often, intuition comes through the spontaneous pull in your body…the spanda, or inner leap….and you get pulled from spot to spot.”

I’m asking you — have you spent your life chasing things like me? Has that left you worn out emotionally, mentally, and physically and disappointed? Chasing does that to you. It leaves you feeling short of the mark every time.

I invite you to stop chasing and take a new approach of allowing. Make decisions based on what makes you joyful and excited today. It’s going to feel very awkward at first. That’s okay. It’s just because you are asking your brain to do a new thing — and it’s very very used to doing an old thing. Don’t let feeling awkward stop you from giving it a try. Soon your brain will create new neural pathways and it won’t feel so strange.



Vicki Haddock, Authentic Leadership Guide

Vicki Haddock, Authentic Leadership Coach, Author and Guide is a catalyst to help her audience find healing, connection, and inspired action.