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June 19, 2017: End Gaining

This is a term that has been attributed to F.M. Alexander—it means to focus on a goal. This is bad for you because you then are more focused on the future than the present. I get it. I totally get it. I’m all about process, except when it comes to food. Processed food, like end gaining, is bad for you.

Last night I met with Susan and Peggy. We talked at length about my future as a Centered Riding instructor. They were tired and I was exhausted. My insisting upon having this meeting was end gaining, and not coincidently, it was where things went awry.

In retrospect, I should have suggested that we consider meeting-related alternatives. And my suggestion would have been that I talk for a bit about my Centered Riding related plans. In addition, I’d provide them with an overview of my accomplishments, using my portfolio as a framework.

I instead listened carefully, as both spoke eloquently about the attributes of good instructors and at the same time provided me with much-needed feedback. I was most appreciative, and I told them their responses were much more encompassing than the feedback I’d received at the Vermont update clinic. And I meant it.

At the near conclusion of the meeting, I speculated that perhaps I should wait a year before again attempting to update, to which both instructors agreed. I said this because I didn’t want to put them in a rhetorical corner. But alas, I did put them in a corner. I forced them to make a decision, and this I now regret.

This morning I woke up feeling dismayed. This is a familiar enough emotion, and one that I have felt in the past. I then had an ah ha moment – I feel dismayed when I fail to speak up for myself. In this instance, I presumed that Peggy and Susan were correct in their assessment. But in not speaking up, I failed to provide them both with a sense of the bigger picture.

I am, in Centered Riding terms, an odd kind of duck, one that I think that Sally Swift would appreciate. I live in a semi-remote area. I am a distance rider. I ride gaited horses. I instruct my students in the arena – this is where I do ground and body awareness work. Obstacles are central to what I do. I also instruct individuals on the residential road that loops around our subdivision. My Centered Riding discipline is distance riding. Hills, terrain, obstacles, all come into play when I teach. I have and will continue to ride horses besides my own in teaching. To add to this – I have read the D to D-3 Pony Club manuals and have incorporated them into my instruction plans.

I was hoping that there would be time to go with Peggy on a trail ride. I had planned on riding Tyra, age 4, my youngest and most green horse. I am teaching her by focusing exclusively on the basics. What we are doing together is very impressive. And I was hoping that there would be time to have Susan and Peggy both watch me teach. Up until this point in time, I have been primarily working with challenging horses and challenging riders.

I was also hoping to point out my accomplishments as a Centered Riding 1 instructor. I have (with Pete’s assistance) organized four successful Centered Riding clinics. In addition, I have taken a year and half of anatomy and physiology. And I have gone far beyond the Level II requirements in taking twice-daily five day a week Tai Chi and weekly Feldenkrais classes. I also went to the east coast for a month and did what I called a Centered Riding internship. There I rode, taught, and watched innumerable lessons.

And this clinic that I orchestrated – this was an incredible undertaking, one that involved considerable planning. I would like to think that what enabled me to pull it off was the fact that it was indicative of the fact that I drew upon my training as a Centered Riding instructor in that it became a collaborative venture. Even the weather cooperated!

So many wonderful things happened – and everyone, including myself, learned so much. I am now feeling that I have reached an impasse; one that comes with being a Level I instructor. As such, I cannot promote Centered Riding at local events. I was told that I could not give a presentation at last May’s 4-H Symposium. In part, I wanted in talking, to further advertise the upcoming June clinics. There are other events coming up, and in fact I had been asked to give yet another presentation. I had to of course say no.

I now have my fingers crossed that Susan and Peggy will talk and agree that perhaps in this instance, that the bigger picture needs to be considered.

Next: 167. 6/20/17: Back to Work

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