For the past week, I've been struggling - mainly with nutrition.  Work has been busy with some long days and late nights and a busy weekend making it impossible to plan and grocery shop as I should.  Last weekend was filled with a riding clinic and some volunteer work.  While the volunteer work was fulfilling, the riding clinic was a very interesting experience.  The clinician has an extensive background with the Feldenkrais Method which she applies to both horse and rider.  Never heard of the method?  Here's a link to a blurb about it. 

The horse I took to the clinic, Honabe, is a 14 year old green bean, meaning she's not had a whole lot of experience or training under saddle.  Or in her case, even that much experience going new places off the farm by herself.  We got to the clinic location early to give her a chance to look around and mellow out.  It helped some but she didn't really get to that I'm comfortable here place in her head before my ride time.  With the clinician - W for short - watching, I took Honabe to the mounting block to get on.  Standing quietly for that was NOT on her agenda at that moment.  W wanted to know if she was always that way for mounting.  Sometime she's quiet about it but much more often she's not.

W decides she wants to do something with the mare before we get to the riding part.  She goes out to her car and comes back with a bin of colorful cushion thingies.  As I'm telling her a bit more about the mares history, W pulls out a small green one, picks up the left front foot, slides the cushion under it then steps back a bit to see how Honabe deals with it.  Unbalancing her had all sorts of physical effects - throwing her head up and left for balance being the primary ones.  But more importantly, were also the mental/emotional effects as her feet no long had the same relationship with the ground or each other.  When she walked off the pad, it was interesting to see the mare thinking about the foot that had been raised and how she was using it to interact with the ground.  W worked with the green pad under the front feet for a couple minutes before going to the blue (softer) ones.  As Honabe shifted from foot to foot, her head came down, her eyes got soft, she started blinking her eyes and licking her lips - all signs of her energy level/emotions coming down and going into a more relaxed state.

A few minutes with the blue pads and it was time to mount up.  Honabe was like a different horse.  She walked up to the mounting block and quietly stood there while I got on.  She did have to walk off quickly to get her balance, but I didn't feel like she was a powder keg that might go off as I have on some rides earlier this year.  We spent most of the rest of the time working with the blue pads, letting Honabe experiment in finding a different way to move while discussing some of the riding challenges I'd been having with the mare and why/where those challenges originated.

If you've hung with me this long, I'm finally going to get to the point ... I think. :)  Honabe started that lesson in a state of imbalance.  She only knew one way to move and react.  By the end of the lesson, she had spent a lot of time processing how she related to her environment physically, mentally and emotionally.  That one session wasn't enough to get her to let go completely of her old patterns of instability, but it is a start. 

Me?  I feel a lot like how I think Honabe was feeling.  Being over weight, I'm in a state of imbalance and want to find stability and balance within myself.  I do find those moments when all the parts come together and I am able to make significant progress on my weight loss journey.  But then it is like someone sticks a new kind of pad under my foot, unbalancing me ... again.  All the piece fly apart so that I have to figure out how to gather them together finding a new level of stability and balance by learning new interactions between nutrition, rest, exercise, mindset, emotions, etc.  I've a long way to go on my weight loss journey and hope that I can turn instability into stability, letting go of my old patterns with the same willingness to change and progress as my horse. 

For those who are curious, yes, I've invested in a set of blue cushion thingies to help Honabe continue on her journey to find a different way to move and interact with me.  Who knows, I might even stand on those cushions myself as a reminder of what it is I'm trying to accomplish.

So where are you? Stable/balanced or unstable/unbalanced?  At the beginning, middle, end of your journey?