Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony. ~ Thomas Merton

Friday, August 10, 2012

Bored vs. Tuned Out

I know Linda Parelli talks about horses being bored but I'm not sure if I buy it.  Cricket spends her day nibbling grass, napping and swishing her tail at flies. How is it possible to be more boring that?  Seriously!

To be bored is to be dissatisfied with what you are currently doing and to wish to be doing something else.  I'm not sure that's a thought process that fits in with the general "in the moment" mentality of the horse.

So I just don't buy into the "my horse is bored" theory.  I don't even buy the "my horse finds me boring" approach either.

Any time I interact with Cricket, there is more energy and activity for the duration of our time together than she sees for the entire rest of the day.  Maybe even the week.  Unless there are a lot of flies.

So what is it?  Could it be that the energy we bring lacks meaning and clarity and as such the horse simply tunes out.  It's not that he'd rather be somewhere else but he'd rather understand what you are asking so he can respond appropriately?

I don't know the answer.  I just don't believe my horse is bored.

If I watch her when she's wearing her alpha mare hat, there isn't a lot of activity.  There aren't feet flying and teeth gnashing.  It's actually quite subtle but it is crystal clear.  There is purpose - focused intention - behind every action she takes.  And even in the actions she chooses not to take.

When I look at my feeble attempt at leadership and compare it to hers, I see what I lack.  And it has nothing to do with boredom.  What I'm missing is the focus, intention and purpose.  What I fail to offer is a true release.  What I miss is the natural rhythm of equine interactions - rest, initiate, play and a return to rest.  What I forget is that action must be sustained for a purpose.  Horses do not naturally move except with purpose - fleeing from prey, establishing the hierarchy and winning breeding rights.  So where is the purpose in what I'm asking?  Where is my intention?  Where is my focus?


JMG said...

Love your question. And your analysis of equine interactions - rest, initiate, play, rest.

To be a bit provocative do you ever feel that Cricket would rather be back in her paddock than playing/interacting with you? That would fit your definition of bored. As opposed to tuned out - where she is just not engaging for whatever her reason is.

So much of PNH principles is language. And its their language that we have to wrap our heads around. I struggle with it also, don't get me wrong.

And then things change. Linda has said that if they were naming things today the Friendly Game would be call the Confidence Game. Quite a change.

Have you figured out your purpose? intention? focus? I struggle with all of these myself.

Lisa said...

Do I ever feel Cricket would rather be back in her paddock than playing/interacting with me? That's a bit of challenging question. Yes. And then again no.

Cricket and I have a very strong bond and I truly believe she enjoys being with me. When she checks out - physically, mentally or emotionally - I see it as a reaction to my lack of focus, clarity or intention. She wants comfort, harmony and peace. She wants action to flow from purpose. She wants to know her place in the hierarchy; she wants to understand what is expected of her. She will move from discomfort, be it mental or emotional or physical, and seek comfort. If she moves away from me, she moves from the discomfort of our interaction.

This is a rabbit hole I've been avoiding for some time. How do Cricket's actions and reactions shed light on my leadership? On the strength of our relationship? What does her "no" say about my request? About our foundation?

Regardless, I just do not buy the "boredom" thing.