For the January 2021 update to this story (its good!), see our new issue.
Our generation has never experienced such a time of uncertainty and fear. So much has changed; so many hopes and dreams have been altered.
But with more time on our hands and less on our “to do” list, it’s also a good time for self-discovery, to look into your heart and identify what simple pleasures have always made you happy. What are your true passions in life?
Of course, with age often comes enhanced fear. Revisiting childhood pleasures just might be the answer to minimizing that fear and maximizing joy in your life.
A few weeks ago, I had a dream that actually came to fruition fulfilling a goal I had placed on my passion. The whole experience delivered awe-inspiring happiness I haven’t felt in a long time and freed my spirit from the fear of uncertainty.
“Our dreams are often truths without logic that reflect our waking world,” says dream expert Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos. “They are an opportunity for fulfillment.”
Horses have always been my passion. I rode competitively as a child and then again in my 30s. Over the past two decades, I found comfort in horses as pet companions certain I was too old to compete.
Seven years ago, I tried jumping fences again. However, fear (and many other excuses) kept me from progressing. I cried a lot and then quit proving to myself that, yes, I was indeed too old.
Then I got cancer. And in finding the strength to overcome that obstacle, I also found fearlessness.
So I pulled up my bootstraps (literally) and started training again in January. This time, my goal was competing in a horse show in the fall of this year. I would be happy to simply complete at 2’ course (the smallest offered) as long as I made it around the arena in one piece!
Then came quarantine and the news that all events would be cancelled until further notice. At the same time, my one-year cancer follow-up was postponed until July enhancing both the uncertainty of our world as we know it – and my wellbeing.
With all this spinning around my head, I had a dream that I was not going to live until the horse show returned. Knowing how important my goal was, my trainer staged a mock horse show at our barn just so I could get dressed up and jump my 2’ course. I felt the strong compassion and kindness of this dream and woke with a deep contentment.
Then, one month later The Quarantine Classic Horse Show was announced, a national competition where individual barns set up assigned courses and submit videotaped rounds to be judged by real judges.
I couldn’t believe it! And while it was a bit sooner than anticipated, I was excited to take part. My dream had come true and I had to follow my heart; it was bigger than me. The excitement of washing my partner, Tristan, cleaning boots and tack and getting dressed in my 20-year old show attire made me feel like a kid again.
The day of the event, my trainer told me she had confidence I could do the 2’6” division. Fear set in and I dug deep to find the courage. And then I just did it.
The sense of accomplishment was something I hadn’t felt in years; pure amazement and sheer joy. I am living my passion and my spirit continues to soar.
What is it that would fill you with awe-inspiring joy at this time? It’s the prescription we all need right now. Look deep in your heart, find it and follow.
THE BALANCE: There is no better time to rediscover your passion. It is never too late and you are never too old.
On the handsome and talented “Tristan” at Tahquitz Equestrian, Indio, CA