Its been a while now since we have stopped riding. I thought it would be different getting back to reality. At first I was so excited, sleeping in a warm bed, eating different food. Being warm, dry and clean. Toilets are so nice! Lots of things needed to get done still, the hay shed blew down this summer in the wind storms and so did the horse shelter. Spending time with Jordan was really nice again as well as all our friends. But after a few weeks it was surprising how I felt… I was in horse withdrawal.
I started reflecting on all the things about the trip. The simplicity, the quiet, the kindness, the long tough days and the good horses. It seemed like it never happened at all, was the ride a dream? It sure felt like one. Then I would go ride with some of my friends and all the feelings would come back and I knew it was real. It was just a piece of heaven that has come and gone. Even though the Ride was really hard long days, the simplicity and the companionship has created a feeling of longing as I continue life in normal reality.
It’s difficult to describe how it has changed us but it took over 1700km on horseback “roughing it” to realize society has got it wrong. There is too much focus on material objects, chasing the buck and chasing the dream. The rat race is a monster that has disguised herself in time. Time is something we constrain ourselves with so much when really it doesn’t matter as much as we think it does.
A good friend said we are the only species that limit our lives by time and I find that statement very true. If you forget about wake-up/bed-time and schedules, that wonderful simplicity returns. Things still get done, but the anxiety associated with it disappears when you don’t put pressure on yourself with a time frame. It will get done when it gets done, just make sure you do your best.
Of course our world revolves around time and schedules so its nearly impossible to get away from it completely but now in my day I try find some time where time doesn’t matter and its nice. After work, if I don’t have anything we’ve committed too, the watch and cell phone often go into my purse and stay there untouched until the next morning. When I am tired, I sleep. When I am hungry, I eat. This freedom has allowed me to relax more, have a better life balance and there is no better time than the present. Without cell phones and watches you live in the present more whole heartedly. I wish I had done this more on the Ride. Instead I often focused on ‘getting there’ ‘doing this.’ Of course there were moments of unexplainable awe which tore your mind out of its focus, but sitting in a saddle for 8-10 hours a day you are forced to reflect and forced to live in the moment. It is a lesson that has become so important. I only wish everyone could learn what we have. It gives you so much freedom.
The Ride has changed me. I love more deeply, I listen more intently, I work more consciously, and I slow down and do what I believe matters. I don’t worry about the latest boot design, as long as the boot keeps my feet warm and dry I am good. I don’t worry about getting my to do list done. There are a million house renovation projects and yard projects to be completed, and they will eventually. But its not getting the projects done that I focus on, its who I am doing them with, and how they feel about it. Stepping back from ‘me’ and leaning towards ‘them’ makes my life amazing. And that is what The Ride has done for me.