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February 6, 2012: Going to Hell in a Handbasket


“. . . You can’t just wish for things. You have to be open to the infinite expectation of the day, and work like Hell, every single day.”

Jon Katz

The above quote is by Jon Katz. This has me thinking more about the nature of hope. Sitting around, waiting for good things to happen, is like playing the lottery . . . . it won’t happen unless you buy a ticket, and even then the odds are that you will just end up buying more tickets.

Hell in a Handbasket
Hell in a Handbasket

Being open to the infinite expectation of the day—this is one step beyond hope. Doing this puts one squarely in the present. I do this in the mornings, when I go outside and clean the horse pen. I’m then in the present. I observe the animals and the surrounding landscape. Always, there is a wordless sense that no matter what happens, it’s going to be a great day. This is not hope, but rather, certitude.

The working like Hell part – there’s the rub. I would just like for things to happen, that is for the phone to ring endlessly, and for publishers to call and say that my proposal is brilliant, and send the book ASAP. The catch here is that publication of one’s work only ups the ante. What should follow on the heels of a good book is a great book. And beyond that, an even greater book. This will not happen unless you continue to work at it.

I have been attempting to instill this concept to Raudi, who has a slightly less than average work ethic. And I can fully understand this. By her actions she used to say, what’s in it for me? It was not that she couldn’t, upon command, walk, trot, canter, and tolt, but she just didn’t want to. This is what happens when your owner turns you into a barnyard diva.

Over time, Raudi’s riding-related habits have changed for the better. Maybe it’s maturity. Maybe it’s the intuitive sense that doing things wrong displeases me. Maybe it’s the intuitive sense that doing things right pleases me. Or maybe it’s the intuitive sense that doing things right pleases her because it pleases me. I don’t know. I do know something she does not, and that is that I enjoy seeing the end results of my efforts. Raudi, who gets exercised often, is bright eyed, supple, balanced, and has a glossy coat. Quite often, without knowing why, people say “That’s a nice looking horse.”

No, we don’t work like Hell. We’ll leave that to the top level dressage riders and their horses. But we do work. And we have fun. Gradually, her day’s expectation and mine are becoming one and the same.

Next: 63. 2/6/12: Parallel Universes