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February 25, 2016: The Fork in the Road

Life affirming versus life changing. The word versus alerts the reader to the fact that either/or thinking is to follow. I try my best to honor and/also thinking. In working on my dissertation I came to an intellectual understanding of this term. Now I am coming to a more heartfelt understanding of the same.

I was in the horse pen, cleaning up this morning, and I found myself mulling over the above terms in relation to the word versus. By the time I was done, I’d convinced myself that the recent events in my life have been life affirming as opposed to life changing. Life changing, I thought, is too broad and general a term. It also conjures up images of one levitating. I’m not there yet.

Alys, Hrimmi, Rainbow, and Ryder

Then, as I sat down to write this dispatch, I realized that the recent events in my life have been life affirming AND life changing. I am speaking specifically about what followed after I decided to become a Centered Riding instructor. Level IV instructor Deb Moynihan’s suggestion, that I focus more on self-body awareness work, has brought about change for the better.

My having taken Feldenkrais classes and Chi Gong training now on a nearly daily ongoing basis has altered my short and long term ways of thinking. The premise behind both practices is similar – In making a specific move or series of movements, the CNS forms new neural pathways, ones that enable the body to realign itself, thus changing habitually formed tension patterns. In his book, The Brain’s Way of Healing, Norman Doidge calls the formation of these pathways neuroplasticity. He contends that forming these pathways is central to self-healing. Self-healing, of course, goes hand-in-hand with postural alignment.

When one’s skeleton realigns, muscle tension is released and postural realignment occurs. Little things, like picking up a fork in the road, become far easier. And so, with physical ease, comes mental ease. Either/or thinking goes out the door and and/also thinking comes in the door.

A few examples of and/also thinking, in the context of life affirmation and life change follows:

Life affirmation: I recently began greeting the day with a smile on my face. This morning I entered the horse pen, and before scooping poop, I did a few backbends and shake outs. I again did the same before taking Hrimmi on her morning walk on the trail. The exercises realigned me – putting me in a good frame of mind and enabled me to look outward.

Life Changing: The few minutes spent stretching resulted in a more productive session with Hrimmi, thus strengthening our growing bond. I let her run free on the trail – she repeatedly bounded up to me and stood by my side. Had I not been in balance, she would have done as she’s done in the past, and entered my space. Now, tomorrow and the next day, we’ll do the same – life changing for us both.

Life affirmation: Once inside, I pulled forth my Anatomy and Physiology II text and notes. Once again, I realized that there is far too much material here for me to comprehend. Rather than grouse about this, I instead decided that I’ll simply do the best I can, given that I no longer am leading a monastic lifestyle.

Life Changing: My degree of comprehension about anatomy and physiology related material is now far greater than it used to be For instance, I am now making the connections between neural pathways and diaphragmatic breathing. And I know that down the road, that I’ll be a far better Centered Rider in having made these connections.

Life Affirming: a riding student did not get a hold of me (as expected, this morning) and let me know what her day’s plans might be. I decided that this is no big deal. I have other things that need doing, and I’m now actually looking forward to changed expectations.

Life changing: I now have time to take Raudi for a ride and pick up and move some of the tree limbs in the arena.

Life Changing: My getting out today will contribute to my becoming a more confident rider. And clearing the brush will allow for Pete to take down a few more trees. In time I’ll have a space in which I might do workshops and do agility work. Right now I have to go elsewhere to teach and set up and take down the agility course every time I want to use it.

And so today I picked up the metaphorical fork in the road. As I did so, affirmation and change greeted one another warmly.

Next: 55. 2/26/16: The Anatomy and Physiology Strip stream

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