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January 22, 2016: Sensai

A sensai is a well-respected teacher, a mentor of sorts. Susan Harris has for the past eight months (is that all?) acting in this capacity for me. This morning, talking with her was like taking a breath of fresh air and then exhaling slowly. She is centered. Conversely, I am often off-center. On her part, this comes from years of working with riders. She did an apprenticeship with Sally Swift, whose focus was on training instructors to be centered. She did an excellent job with Susan.

I sometimes expect too much of myself. I have had a month of Feldenkrais training and two weeks of internal martial arts training. And here I’m now expecting myself to be centered, which is mentally able to roll with the

Susan Harris helping student get centered

punches. I have news for you – I am not there yet, not by a long shot. Maybe by next month. One can only hope.

Susan and I got the clinic snafu straightened out, and I hope that in doing so I pushed aside the most ominous of gray clouds. Susan said that she put the wrong dates on the calendar, and that, indeed, she will be doing the CA update clinic. This means that I will be going to CA at the end of May, and from there, as planned, heading to the east coast. I don’t know if the Pony Club organizers will arrange for her to come here on a different date – if so, I will lobby hard in favor of their having this event at Saddle Up arena.

Susan and I also talked for a long time about publishing. I ran my idea past her, about my writing a book, a series of six essays about the six centered riding basics, breathing, alignment, soft eyes, centering, clear intent, and grounding. She had a lot of good ideas about this – and suggested that I contact Martha Cook about the project, Martha being an editor at Traflagar Press, a well-known publishing company that exclusively publishes horse books. Susan also agreed with me that the audience will primarily be Centered Riders although I later got to thinking that it will also include those who are interested in the above topics – the riding-related material will consequently be foundational reading. Additionally, I might, in having an essayistic focus, also include information from other instructors as to how they are currently, in practice, drawing upon the basics.

I told Susan that next week I’ll talk with Jen and Jay (my martial arts teachers) about my project, and as well, my anatomy and physiology teacher about my project. The former might provide me with additional information, and the latter might let me do my research project on the subject of breathing, which is a topic that we’ll be covering in class.

I am now thinking that it is fortuitous that I called Susan, for we also talked about many other things. In the end, she commended me for having done so well at internalizing and externalizing (my words) the concepts of Centered Riding. This verified that I am heading in the right direction in terms of my current horse-related doings.

Next: 23. 1/23/16: At the Speed of Light

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