Explorations in Mindfulness (Part 3): Kindness is Fulfillment
It has been a long time since I took to the keyboard to blog and even longer since I focused my attention on "Mindfulness".
I want to start by saying that this "accidental" business is expanding and growing at a rate that sometimes leaves me breathless. I am finishing testing on new products that can make a difference in the lives of horses. These are products you can feel good about. Products that might change the way we think about feeding horses. Products that take us back to feeding horses like horses instead of cattle. I am also in the process of moving my production facility out of my home and into a commercial setting. I have had to hire more help to keep up with demand and am thrilled that the Ability Building Center in Rochester, MN has partnered with me and has helped expand my team with very capable people. I am mindful that none of this would be happening without YOU. In essence, you are responsible for helping create jobs. On a worldwide scale our contribution may seem small. However, together we are making purposeful decisions that are having a positive impact in our corner of that great big world. Thank you for your continued support.
One of the most amazing horsemen I have ever seen is a man named Harry Whitney. I think what makes Mr. Whitney incredible is his ability to be "in the moment". When Mr. Whitney is with a horse he is present with that horse. He is aware of his surroundings but his focus is on the horse. He is mindful and the horse knows it. Harry is totally available to the horse and the horse knows it. This sounds simple but it is really extraordinary.
When Mr. Whitney asks something of a horse he is Purposeful. If he is working with a horse who has anxiety or he is working with an uneducated horse, Harry Whitney is purposeful, mindful, fair and kind and he sees the horse in front of him. Harry develops a plan based on what he sees and hears from the horse standing in front of him. He commits to that plan. Through the strength of his commitment and surety of his leadership, he brings the horse along and then "magic" happens. (True communication!)
The lessons of Mr. Whitney go far beyond skillful horsemanship because Harry Whitney is the same with the people he is instructing at his Clinics. By watching him we can clearly see that being intentionally present is a prerequisite for any relationship, whether it is with your significant other, a child, a friend, a pet... It sounds simple, and is simple when we are in a new relationship, but I have to admit that I am less in the moment and less available to some of the people I love the most because I assume they know I love them. I give myself a pass on practicing the same mindfulness with them that I used to, though I still practice those skills with my dog or my horse because I do not carry the same assumptions about those relationships. Being present allows us to be mindful regardless of who we are with. Being mindful means we are paying attention to the other person and to ourselves, which is when we can be at our best. When we are at our best most people deliberately strive to be kind. Subsequently, I think that when we are purposefully in the moment and mindful of others and ourselves, we have a greater tendency to be kind. The end result, the reward, is a feeling of fulfillment for us and for the person or pet with whom we have had the interaction.
When I created the products in the Chock Full'a Chia line I was always mindful of the nutritional/physical need of a specific horse and I was concerned about their welfare. I see a need. I wonder if the pain/issue can be alleviated with food. I research the topic. I purposefully seek and select scientific articles that discuss research on foods that could positively impact the health of horses. I create a product. I test the product, and make adjustments if I did not see the results I wanted. Throughout this process my motivation remains the same: affection and concern for the horse and personal fulfillment.
I have a long way to go before I am as skilled at purposeful interaction as Harry Whitney. I have a long way to go toward becoming "human" in many regards. But I am having fun trying and my heart really does rejoice when a client tells me my product has made a difference in the life, health and attitude of their horse.
What you feed your horse matters. To them. To you. To me.