Explorations in "stuckness" & novelty
Our minds feed on motion. Horses' minds feed on motion. Both humans and horses evolved to thrive through motion. The mind and the body function as a holistic system where an ongoing interplay between different parts is present. Each part is communicating to one another constantly, creating a feedback loop where actions and reactions affect each other.
We've come to understand the importance and benefits of movement to the mind (and rest of our and horses' bodily functions), created lots of programs, systems and models of moving ourselves and our horses. We have created structures that promise us benefits, ways of achieving this or that by following a specific path or a method.
What happens when we get stuck on our path? What happens when we wish to see certain progress in our horses' but it just isn't happening? Perhaps we experience some physiological changes but not the kind we wished to see. Perhaps we find ourselves grinding in one spot, grinding one move, grinding the same pattern over and over again. Asking or demanding the horse to keep trying the same thing over and over again. Looking for perfection, thinking "If I repeat and repeat I will get it". We're stuck in a movement drill, and we're stuck in our minds. The mind becomes fixated and the body follows. We're stuck in an image that dims the possibilities around us.
What if the solution isn't even found in the drill that was chosen to be the answer? Do we allow our, and our horses, minds and bodies to move in unconventional ways, in ways that don't follow the chosen path?
Structure can help us with foundations, create understanding of a specific part or relationships of different parts, provide us with a base that we can return to. Yet, we don't always find the answers we seek by following a linear path in a non-linear world. It is easy to fall into linear thinking -and thus also linear being. What if we allow ourselves to break out of that box we labeled correct and give ourselves more novel input?
Novelty is essential for horses' and humans' wellbeing. Brains and bodies crave new types of input that can act as boosters of creativity, expand our perceptions and help us in finding new connections, ways of moving our bodies and minds. Maybe the "enemy" in a stuck situation is the expectation of what one should be doing. Could we ask ourselves if the expectations are belonging to our fixed models of "what should be", or are there actually countless other ways of exploring the matter that we are fixated on? Do we see the possibilities and potential that are outside of the mental box that we created? Are we stuck in our bodies because we're stuck in our minds? Or are we stuck in our minds because we're stuck in our bodies?
In those moments of "stuckness", can we allow ourselves to have moments without a goal, without a plan and see what emerges in the moment? What if it is just enough to show up for yourself, for your horse, and see what happens? How that moment of purposelessness translates into the body and mind, into the horse's body and mind? For many of us, simply that is already novelty.
Playfulness can be hard to find when the bodymind is stuck. However, by allowing ourselves, with our horses, to arrive into a space without any specific destination in mind, can already start the process of finding novelty, and bouts of play. It may be silly to say but something always happens, even in the space of "nothingness". By allowing our minds to enter that space, our bodies react to that. The changes may be subtle and small yet the horse, as a sensitive being, can feel it. Our new kind of presence interplays with the horse's. That is already the start of a novel exploration.
Perhaps, little by little, this novel space of presence becomes more comfortable and invites curiosity to go and explore more novelty. When the expectation of gaining specific results is not taking over the human's headspace, creative solutions may arrive. Humans have an immense capacity for imagination. How about using the power of imagination as a tool to find new ways to move our bodies and minds and finding out how that affects our horses? Imagining qualities, properties and ways of doing things in our mind's eyes translates to the way we move our bodies, the way we communicate with horses. Imaginations allows us to see unconventional possibilities in our environment that can add elements to the journey of novel exploration. Sounds, natural elements, man-made toys, objects or even subjects hold potential beyond their conventional use. By implementing these different elements in unusual ways into our being with ourselves and horses, we may begin to find answers we seek without looking for them in a fixed, linear way.
Bodyminds are complex systems that don't necessarily "get fixed" by simple solutions. Sometimes the answer to the problem is in another place than where the identified "problem" is assumed to be. Or maybe it will turn out so that the solution was exactly where you thought the problem was. Yet, bringing a little more novelty and playfulness will surely not hurt, quite the opposite.
Even if the novel exploration doesn't solve the issues at hand, it surely changes something that can open up a new space for being a human with a horse. A space where there isn't always right or wrong, success or failure, but simply a space where a horse and a human can meet, have a different kind of an exchange that can possibly lead to new discoveries in our and horses' bodyminds. That's already a start of getting "un-stuck".