Photo of horse's muzzle for the blog post about Brush Off“Get back on the horse!” the instructor yelled across the riding arena.

My horse had tripped coming off a jump, tumbled to the ground, rolled once, and eventually righted himself. Thrown from the saddle, I landed under his belly and managed to scurry out of his hooves’ way, frightened by the prospect of being kicked or trampled.

I was all set to head back to the barn, clean up, and revel in my herculean move to safety, when I heard the instructor’s demand. I hesitated. Then, brushed the dirt off my face and body, slung my foot in the stirrup, and got back in the saddle. We proceeded to successfully nail every subsequent jump.

A powerful lesson for a 13-year-old, and one I reference to this day. When life seems too hard and ceases going our way, apathy is an alluring drug. Feigning indifference, incompetence, impatience, or intolerance while seething underneath can become a habit. Instead, consider setting a vision that is larger than your current reality and inclusive to the well-being of others. Align your feelings, thoughts, choices, actions, and behaviors to it. When you fall down. Stay on the ground a moment. Catch your breath, practice self-kindness, and study the misstep. Then, lovingly brush yourself off, and get back up on the horse.

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