Life is 3D, but sometimes we tend to forget about it and we only look ahead. Sometimes we are so occupied with achieving our goals, or wondering if we are achieving them at all, that we forget to enjoy the landscape of the journey we are taking.
It’s good to dream big, to have big brave dreams, and make them true… But it’s also good when we enjoy the actions which takes us down the road, and which makes achieving our dreams possible. An action is our vehicle, a space-craft which takes us from A to B. It’s easy to use it just like a taxi, moving from one destination to another, but aren’t we missing something important on the way? It’s easy to appreciate the “vehicle” when the results it brings are instant, when you cook, paint and dance… but sometimes the results are coming later, and there are times we have to wait for results. For example: when we exercise to become slimmer, fitter, when we learn languages in hope to speak fluently in a foreign language one day… and when we learn all the new things. Sometimes journey feels bumpy and confusing, and many times we are under the impression of being totally lost, and far away from the “goal”.
Become a better traveller, as you travel
We all know that travelling is not only about “getting to places”, and “taking selfies at the summit”. Travelling is about interaction with the culture, people, cuisine. Interaction that changes us, that impresses its mark on us, that leaves us completely changed with what we have seen, heard, experienced and touched. Just like a passionate discussion, deep wise book or meeting someone special. Travelling is about taking the MAXIMUM from the whole journey, not only checking-in, and moving on. I always tell my students that one can grow personally like from A to Z, while travelling from A to B. And that’s the essence of growth.
Some time ago I struggled to fall asleep. The night was windy and I was worried about being parted from my dear husband who was about to leave for a business trip. Pawel sensed my restlessness in bed, turned to me and said: “Worry, and as you worry, try to rest as well”. My mind instantly cooled down, calmly refreshed by the idea: “Oh, so I can worry, and as I worry I can rest as well?” – I felt positively puzzled, like a child that got a new game to play, or met a new, friendly play-mate. “Oh yes, I can worry and rest at the same time”. I fell asleep within minutes. These few minutes somehow turned to be full of pleasure… I felt my worries, and I felt their origin. I realised that I could feel them, and rest at the same time. The more I felt, the more I rested, and the more I rested, the more I felt. And then the rest just took over… I woke up refreshed, and deeply calm. Wiser and deeper, just like after reading a good, moving book. Relaxing at worrying has changed me deeply, and I discovered yet another dimension of the power of conscious relaxation.
And then, early in the morning today I got this letter from one of my OPP students:
It is a long time that we talked.
I feel somewhat bad that the end of our OPP felt a little unstructured and that I never reached back to you to find an ending together!
My goodness, all that I have been learning from you has flooded through me this morning like streaming sunlight when I picked up one of my notebooks from the shelf and, opening it, I found what I had written on my visit to you in Poland!
And, I am so grateful, I find that your wisdom has sunken in deeper.
The OPP has changed my horse and me, this is becoming clearer.
You know me well, Anna, I am a big doubter and often standing in my own way. I know that and I am trying to be accepting of this trait in me and I am accepting that it takes time to grow out of it, I can‘t pull on the grass to make it grow but I can nourish it, and this is what I am doing in my life now.
Last week I „fell“ into doing OPP exercises, that is MY HORSE was leading me into them: I was incidentally touching him with the whip when just standing with him and he immediately dropped and shook his neck. I realized he was telling me he wanted to do OPP again. And we had such a softness in and between us, it felt like coming home.
Please bear with me, my slowness in growth, my falling in and out of the path, which maybe never actually is a „falling out“, but rather me, finding myself in the vast field of experiences.
I love you
Relaxing, Calming, Resting AT DOING SOMETHING…
It’s such a powerful motif to me, it’s such a rare, yet powerful skill we all cling to come back to, once we have tasted it. Humans, horses, horses and humans. And coming back to it always feels like coming home.
You won’t learn it at school and university, no-one will remind you: “Enjoy reading this book, looking at these photographs, enjoy memorising formulas”. No-one will tell you: “Enjoy studying, and not having the exams passed”. No-one will tell you “enjoy dating, and not finding a boyfriend”, in the same way as no-one will tell you: “Enjoy the path to piaffer, because once it appears the most fascinating path of the journey, the developing, becoming, the making – is done”.
Lack of all these precious reminders with time turns us into “goals achievers” or “goals avoiders”, focuses us positively or negatively on the GOAL, and not on the path. In both cases it only means that the journey towards the goal, and the goal itself are seen as stressful, and the release of this stress comes either from “getting the job done” or not taking the job at all, shying before the task, and inventing a thousandth reason of why not to commit to the task at all.
Relaxation AT DOING SOMETHING, opens up the possibility to enjoy it
In the so common situation in which no-one taught us how to truly enjoy the process and how to RELAX AT DOING SOMETHING, we can so easily become doubtful, lost and discouraged when the goal is distant, and the road to it is new, and unknown. This, however, basically means that we early get discouraged or lost at reaching any new destination in our Life, given that it’s not reached instantly. This, in turn rises the changes of using pressure, tension and many times even leads to abuse – if the goal is not visible right from the first step made on the journey, we tend to tense-up, stress, worry. We want to see the goal and the possibility of it’s fulfilment. Right now, without any wait.
Please understand me right, I believe goals are good. Having dreams and goals, and plans is one of the most powerful inspirational force that gives direction to our Life and makes us try harder, and try better… I am speaking about the situation in which the goal becomes more important than our Life which passes and which leads to it. When I speak with many people asking how they achieved something, how they started their green horse, or how they trained the flying changes, the stories are very similar: “Difficulties, Errors, Effort, Sleepless nights, and then it clicked and they fell exhausted on the chair”. Sadly, we realise that we do very little things with awareness, relaxing at every step of the journey, seeing how it the journey and changing landscape is changing us, and how many options every single stage of it holds for us to discover, and grow thanks to it.
“I was not answering, because in the silence between us, our dialogue still continued.” – I herd in one of the movies. “Listen to the Silence, it has so much to say” by Rumi.
In the pauses, given that we become aware of them, lies the whole Universe of possibilities, crossroads, stops, new destinations. Maybe it’s time for us to discover them? But how to do that? How to chill the running mind?
JUST RELAX, consciously and in the moment when the tension normally rises
Optimal Performance Program is the unique training system for horses (and humans) focused on teaching individuals how to RELAX CONSCIOUSLY AT DOING SOMETHING (taking actions, and receiving actions) in order to optimise possible results of this action, and it’s impact on our health. It’s a win-win situation for the body of the horse (better health, acting through less tensions) the horse (who learns how to find contentment and pleasure coming from relaxing at the process) and the trainer (who gains better results of actions taken this way, and works with a horse of a bigger body awareness and awareness of the whole process of taking the action to complete the task).
It’s a big thing, isn’t it? To be able to consciously RELAX AT DOING SOMETHING, for example to relax at trotting, without having the horse thinking about the halt, and when it will be, and if you will stop him for reward, what the reward will be and where will it come from, a hand a treat bag, or will the reward be simply a short moment of release coming from the fact that the task was completed? – Do you feel all these uncertainties shaped by tensions connected with small awareness and relaxation at the process?
It’s a big thing to be able to consciously RELAX AT DOING THINGS, and RELAX AT HAVING SOMETHING DONE TO US… To Relax Consciously AT PERFORMING, AT BEING REQUESTED and even at RESTING itself. Relaxing at the process of ACTION without waiting for anything else to come, without waiting for anything “special” to happen to make this moment valid, or to make us valid while we take this action (correct, right, good). To be fully aware of THIS VERY MOMENT, and enliven it with our awareness, to take maximum out of it, to posses it fully, to live live to the last drop — This is the most beautiful gift of Optimal Performance Program.
Scientific Relaxation & Differential Relaxation
Scientific Relaxation is a term which describes a sort of Relaxation which can be measured. Level Relaxation can be measured by measuring level of the electric current going through the Central Nervous System. Therefore we can say that relaxation in its essence relaxation is about doing less. When you combine relaxation with movement, you receive something that is called Differential Relaxation.
Differential Relaxation happens when we consciously start to relax all tensions and flexions of the muscles which are not supporting the chosen/given activity of the body.
For example: if your horse for some reason has a tensed jaw and you ask him to trot, he can trot, but while trotting he will keep his jaw tensed. Moving with tensed muscles leads to crookedness. One tensed muscle tenses another muscle, and another muscle provokes tensions of other muscles. In the effect, some bones in the horse’s joints are getting more and more twisted, and with time cannot work correctly. When you see such a trot with a tensed jaw, it looks ugly. If you ask a horse to trot like this for weeks or months, you can be sure to create arthritis and other health problems. If before movement and during the movement you will apply relaxation of Residual Tensions, you improve the movement and keep your horse healthy. Even if your horse is already crooked and has inflammations in his joints, you can help him to heal them by providing relaxation of Residual Tensions.
When you have Residual Tensions in your body, it is like being occupied by some background task. You are doing something all the time, and when you want to perform some action some part of you is not accessible. An extreme example is having pain in the body. Imagine that you have to learn to dance and you have a nail in your shoe. It would be very hard if not impossible because pain grabs your whole attention.
Residual Tension can be compared to having a very weak unconscious pain in the body that exists all the time and accompanies you in all of your everyday life activities.
Every tension in your body occupies a part of your Central Nervous System and diminish your potential to act. To keep the focus on the task, you need to be relaxed.
The more you are relaxed, the more you can focus on one thing. Relaxation is about doing less. In practice, that means that you have more resources available to perform the present task.
In just TWO DAYS I start this new, exciting project: It’s called Optimal Performance Program STARTER-KIT and is especially designed to le me show you how I teach a young and unexperienced 4yo stallion Differential Relaxation, step by step, and training by training. To show ups and downs, effects and outcomes. And how relaxing at taking actions, lets him enjoy taking these actions, and how this enjoyment leads to success.
This program is meant to be an entry level experience for everyone who knows *something* about the full Optimal Performance Program, which is my system of Differential Relaxation for horses, and wishes to learn more and to get a big fat kick-start on their journey into Conscious Muscle Relaxation for horses (and learn how to train their horses using these principles)… But it’s also meant for everyone who knows *nothing* about OPP and wishes to learn how we can teach our horses (and ourselves) to be fully aware of the landscape, while reaching to the starts.
You will see how I teach a young green horse how to CONSCIOUSLY RELAX AT DOING SOMETHING, and CONSCIOUSLY RELAX AT HAVING SOMETHING DONE TO HIM.
Every week I will be posting videos from my trainings with a new horse, with my live commentary and things I notice and pay attention to as we go in form of my notes from the trainings together. You will discover how much horses take pleasure from RELAXING AT DOING SOMETHING, and how this pleasure turns out to be their greatest motivator to perform, to participate, to bond, and to excel at DOING THINGS with total physical and mental awareness of the process.
It’s something totally unique… like in the letter from my dear student whose horse, after a little while, led her back to Optimal Performance Program: “Can we just take pleasure from relaxing at taking this very action, in this very moment?”. From such approach softness flows, goals are achieved in no time, and people and horses become deeply connected one to another.
This is the philosophy which stands behind the successes of all great achievers of our times.
SEE YOU IN THE CLASS LATER THIS WEEK!
Learn more, and join OPP STARTER-KIT: https://gumroad.com/l/OPP-KICKSTART
A young horse is learning how to RELAX AT GIVING THE LEGS [OPP Starter-KIT course fragment]