November 29, 2011

Storytellers: Letting Go

I have a paradoxical relationship with control.  If I'm in control = good. Someone else = bad.  When things are out of control I get uneasy. Danger feels as though it's lurking close-by. But I'm learning to fight the panic of not knowing all the whens, wheres, whys, and hows. And when I'm struggling to let someone else lead, I think of Ginger.

Ginger was my Uncle's horse and the first one I ever rode. She was rightly named Ginger because of her rusty colored coat.  Ladylike in her calm manner and patient ways, she allowed me many rides throughout the next few years. But on one of them, she got a whim (probably due to my poor direction) to run as far and as fast as she could. And as I pulled on the reins, I realized I was out of control.

Panic hit me and I held on with all my ten year old arms could muster. Then something happened I didn't expect. I felt what must be the most beautiful feeling in all the world. I rose into the air and when I thought I should be feeling Ginger's hooves drop, I didn't. It seemed as though we hung in the air for eternity--we were flying! For a brief second she hit ground and once again, up into the air for what seemed to my ten-year-old mind to be forever. I could see my parents and uncle running towards me but I'd changed from panic to euphoria. The wind whipped through my hair making it seem completely still and all that existed was me and Ginger. I didn't want it to end.  But after a while of running, the fence grew closer and Ginger slowed.

That ride was one of the most treasured moments in my life.  Afterwards, I tried endlessly to recapture it, but to no avail.  And I don't know why not, perhaps it was just the magic of that day, or because I hadn't expected it, but that experience left a stamp on my heart.

So now when I feel panic rising in me and I want to control, I remember the wind in my hair and the feel of flying. I remind myself that sometimes being out of control can be euphoric.

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  1. When I was about the same age, 10, we went horseback riding often. I always chose the same horse, and at the end of each trail ride, when he saw the barn off in the distance, he'd run for it. There was no stopping him, he wanted to get back home. So I get what you're saying here, about that feeling, and I guess about trusting control to another.

  2. Me too! (minus the cool Ginger story)

  3. What an awesome story. I have never experienced the wind blowing through my hair on a horse like this, but it sounds absolutely glorious.

  4. OMGosh! I love this story. In case you haven't noticed, I'm a control freak and have trouble letting go too. Thanks for sharing your story and reminding me to let go once in awhile. (She says after a morning spent setting goals and making lists.)

  5. It is an exhilirating feeling to be on a horse and "flying" through the air. You have to trust him, though, and part of that is knowing that he won't send you headlong into that fence.

  6. I loved this story and really needed your message today. Thank you! :)

  7. great story Catherine and so true
    the wind in our hair is so much more enjoyable them being wound up tight

    love and light

  8. LOVE this story!

    I felt the wind in my hair and the pee-your-pants euphoria from Ginger's back. Awesome.

    In that moment, riding the current between panic and freedom, pure elation and terrifying all at the same time. That, to me, is Joy.

    Sometimes we have no choice, no control. Sometimes, that's just what it takes to *see*.

    ~Love your writing, Love your art, Love your vibe!


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