“I’m not turning 11 without a horse.” My daughter announced to the family 10 years ago. We don’t know where she got the bug. The rest of us were clueless when it came to horses. The annual 1 hour, guided, trail ride on our summer vacation was the extent of our interest.
When Nicole was 5, we moved into an equestrian community because we liked the large wooded lot and the rural location. At that time, she didn’t ask if she could have a horse, she asked when she’d get one. She was relentless in her request of a horse. At age 8 we started taking her to horseback riding lessons. She’s been lessoning for 13 years now and currently competes at USDF (United States Dressage Federation) shows.
Her friends don’t understand why she spends so much time at the barn. They ask why she rides 4 to 6 times a week or why she still takes 2 lessons a week after all this time. One naïve kid asked, “Don’t you know how to ride yet?”
Equestrian sports are like other sports, the athletes, in this case the rider and the horse, are continually striving for perfection. That level of commitment requires regular practice. And once a specific goal is achieved, the bar is raised, and they work harder to advance to a higher level with more challenging tests.
Recently, Nicole took a lesson using a new technique. She rode her horse with rolled up towels held tight to her sides with her elbows. It looked silly, but the new aid forced her to sit differently, which improved her seat and posture. She was giddy when she announced she was having a light bulb moment. She told her trainer she had better control and better connection with her horse. Being forced to change her way of sitting enabled her to feel how that specific exercise should feel.
Nicole’s trainer was happy she’d finally grasped the concept she’d been trying to explain all day. The trainer, with more than 20 years’ experience, then shared her thoughts. “I love it when I get a kindergarten light bulb moment, and I think how is that possible when I’ve been doing this so long?”
I could relate to their uplifting realizations. I’ve had similar experiences with my writing. I work hard to improve my knowledge of the craft and to develop a voice as unique as my personality. It’s thrilling when I suddenly become aware of new insight into something that’s so familiar or routine that I couldn’t imagine a deeper understanding was possible.
Revelations on a smaller scale can be equally as exciting.
Take yoga for example. I never took it seriously until I tried it. Wow! I walk for exercise. I thought I was in decent shape. My first 30-minute beginner level yoga class kicked my butt. I was impressed by the degree of exercise one can achieve simply by stretching and bending your body. I love that it nourishes your mind as well as your body to improve overall life balance.
Cooking is another creative outlet where I’m expanding my palate. Over the holidays, I’ve had fun experimenting with new recipes that combine ingredients I like in new ways. I’ve also been using more spices to give every day meals a fresh twist. My light bulb moment came when I realized this new approach to cooking had taken the chore out of feeding the family and made it an edible art project.
Unfortunately, all the delicious food has settled around my middle. Hence, the need for yoga. Here’s my mini night light bulb moment. I believe it’s the festive feastings that are responsible for the number one new year’s resolution, to get in shape.
Light bulb moments are unexpected little treasures to be cherished. It’s exhilarating to learn new things and experience old things in new ways. But the real thrill comes when you recognize your growth and appreciate the enlightened new perspective you’ve gained.
Here’s hoping the new year brings many bright ideas and a flood of light bulb moments.
All the best,