What a word.
It conjures up images of our ideals, our dreams. Of fairy tales, of utopia. Our perfect mate, our perfect life, our perfect ride…
Perfect. Perfect. Perfect.
Releasing the need for perfection is up for me big time, and this image is just an amazing example of this practice. A teachable moment, as my peers and colleagues are fond of saying.
Is it perfect?
A far cry, in fact.
My horse has the goofiest look on his face. And I, a confirmed photo-phobe? Well, let’s just say this isn’t the most flattering pose.
The moment IS perfect.
It was positively hilarious.
And if I curated it – hid it away or deleted it (as I have with so many times in the past), worried that someone might see it, might judge me or him – I effectively would have negated that beautiful moment when we were simply both being.
Now, believe me, I am not saying that, as equestrians, we ought not be looking to perfect our art. Nor am I saying, insofar as anything can actually be perfected, that we shouldn’t shoot for that achievement.
I believe – and in fact have these conversations often – that, as competitors, our desire to ride the perfect test, the perfect round, is a part of what drives us. It is the fire in our bellies, so to speak. The thing that keeps us coming back for more. Our reason for being.
Honestly? I hope, someday, to have that perfect ride. I’m not done questing, and neither are the people with whom I work.
What I am saying is that, in our quest for perfect, it is so helpful to allow space for imperfection – in ourselves, in our horses, in the process. If we don’t, we actually pretty effectively block our ability to learn, to grow, and to improve.
We can’t move. We can’t breathe. We can’t trust. We can’t connect.
I know I couldn’t.
And neither could this horse.
Expecting perfection right out of the gate (ummm, he was three), I never allowed for our imperfections. I was always holding us up against some made-up-in-my-head image of what perfect looked like, always petrified that we would never meet my own impossible standards, which looked something like 100% perfect, 100% of the time.
And what I always got was a kinda-sorta-okay (but always visibly tense) performance. It was my NEED for perfection that blocked our path to brilliance.
For the past several years, under the tutelage of trusted and beloved coaches and mentors, I have been steeped in the energetic practices of conscious creation and peak performance, practices which have applications in every facet of our lives – including our riding.
What I know is this: when we finally let go of the need to be perfect, we find the perfection in every moment.
And that is when we really begin to take off.