Hello again! As you know, I am doing the Blog-tember Challenge hosted by Bailey Jean from Brave Love. There are so many wonderful women participating in this challenge! It really is a fantastic exercise to help you get through writer's block. If you have it. Some days I write so freely, and my thoughts just spill out through my fingers. Some days I just stare at the screen, stuck, unable to uncork my thoughts. Today comes more easily, but with a bittersweet pang..
Day 4: What are you passionate about?
_______ W I L D H E A R T _______
I read the prompt for today and immediately knew what I wanted to share. I waffled about whether I should shove my first response aside and write about one of the more creative things that I am passionate about.
That one quiet little word drifted across my thoughts.
Share your heart.
I have always had a deep passionate love for horses. There is a peacefulness that comes over my heart when I am on the plantation around horses. They are wild and strong, with fire in their hearts. They are gentle and playful, and faithful until the end. They teach you patience, and they test your courage. Riding is serene. You learn to ask, and admire their willing response. When you create a bond of trust with a horse they will run through fire for you. Such courage is bound in the heart of a horse. They carry you across the hot dusty earth, gliding with heavy graceful strides. In those moments you are free. They give you wings.
I started riding when I was seven at this tiny local barn. I adored that place. I learned so much in the years that I rode there. My instructor, Mrs. Kay, taught me something that saved my life years later. She used to say: "When you fall off, and you will, be a rag doll. Don't be afraid. Relax and roll." She drilled that into us during riding lessons. Falling from your horse is just common place when you first start to ride. I became rather proud of my rag doll skills.
Two years ago I suffered a severe head injury in a riding accident. It shook me to my core, and it stole my wings. I was training my sweet off the track thoroughbred during a very hot summer day in the middle of June. He was still just a baby. He had never known anything but the racetrack. I had saddled him up and headed down the long dirt road to the arena. All of the barn girls, and my trainer, were already warming up their horses for a solid workout. As I walked down the road I had this gnawing feeling. Something was not right. I walked into the arena and hopped up on Ice, my willing chestnut wild heart. We trotted around the arena dodging the others riders and horses that were warmed up by now. My trainer called to me to move my thoroughbred into a canter. I had a check in my spirit. Ice was not warmed up, he had too much pent up energy. I knew my horse. He was a bolter when you asked him to move forward. He was still learning. All he knew was racing.
I asked him to canter, pushing my concerns aside.
Everything happened so fast, and yet in slow motion. I saw the adrenaline of the racetrack capture my young horse. He flew forward in a frenzy and galloped with all of his heart toward the young riders ahead of me. I pulled him through the arena away from the young girls, and he found the nearest jump and leaped for his life. When he landed I lost my left stirrup. He was so wound that I could not bring him down. As we raced around the arena I felt the saddle begin to slip underneath me. My horse was pouring sweat and too much of my weight was in the one stirrup. I knew I had to jump. I heard my truth echo back at me through my trainer's voice. Bail, you have to bail. Jump!
Be a rag doll..
I leaned away from the slipping saddle and pushed myself from the freight train beneath me. I hit the ground with such force it felt like my body shattered. And then nothing. I came to in the middle of the arena covered in dirt, my horse standing over my body, sniffing me with great concern. It felt like a dream. Everything around me was blurry, covered in an ethereal haze. I do not remember much about what transpired in the rest of that day. I have never really recovered those memories. I was told later by my trainer, and the other girls in the arena, that my entire body started seizing after I hit the ground. I suffered a traumatic brain injury in the form of a concussion with whiplash. It left bruising on the front and back of my brain. I was physically unable to ride for a year. I could hardy get up and complete normal tasks for months. It has been two years and I still have crippling pain when I move too quickly or bend over. Words do not come as easily, and my thoughts get lost sometimes.
Because of the trauma I most likely will never be able to ride again. I remember the doctor telling me how lucky I was that I did not break my neck, or that the trauma had not done worse. I didn't feel lucky at the time. Honestly, I felt sorry for myself and angry that something I loved so much evaporated so quickly. The risk that comes with riding now is life altering. And possibly ending.
What does this have to do with passion? Well, I had such a deep passion for riding. It lit fire in my very soul. The embers of that fire burn gently now. I think there is something healing and instructive about being around horses. I am not fearful of them. Accidents happen. I still have my helmet. It is cracked from the brim to the back. A reminder. Having passion for something is awakening! We should all have something in life that makes our heart sing, something that sets us free. For me that passion has taken on other forms now. I cannot ride. It is frustrating and honestly hurts. But I can still spend time with the creatures that I feel so much like in spirit. And I can help light that fire in another wide eyed little girl who just wants to fly on chestnut wings of her own.
Whatever your passion is, share it with others and cultivate it! It may not always take on the form that you hoped, but it does not have to burn out.
There you have it. That is my uniquely personal take on today's prompt. Did you make it through the whole thing with me!? That was a long one.
I would love to know what you are passionate about. What sets your heart on fire?