Rising to the Challenge


     The other day my friend Christine and I were riding our horses on the trail in the riverbed. We were serene as we chatted, striding along enjoying the power of the horses beneath us, as we breathed in the crisp morning air. We were slowly making our way back home when suddenly a horrendously loud bugle call interrupted the quiet, as it sounded at an adjacent construction site. The food truck had arrived. Instantly Mr. T, under Christine, reared his huge head to take off! As a retired race horse his DNA must have activated an old memory. Right before our eyes he seemed to shed about twenty years as he morphed into his younger racing self; stomping, tossing his head, lunging and prancing, preparing for hisMr T & Christine/Donna & Pixie
imaginary starting gate.

     Oh my goodness! I thought. Christine immediately went into emergency mode as she used all her strength to reign in the mighty thoroughbred, her own survival DNA activated. I was behind them on Pixie, who within a nanosecond also became energized. Both horses, agitated with adrenaline, were instantly prepared to run the race of their lives! The stomping, head tossing, strutting, and snorting continued. We reigned in. The intrusive bugle call sounded yet again! Knowing how dangerous it would be to let the horses have their way, we both pulled back with everything we had, fighting to stay in our saddles. 

     Overwrought with excitement, the horses' fierce instinct to race continued as we clomped our way home. Maintaining my forceful grip, my mind scanned back to another such experience, only that time I was actually competing in a community cross country horse race. I recalled the practice sessions on my Arabian horse, Windy. In the weeks leading up to the race, when I would arrive at her barn for practice, Windy would be electrified by excitement, her entire body shivering in readiness, her natural urges brought forth by the race. Still holding firm, I smiled recalling those racing days.
 
     Safely back at the barn, Christine and I unsaddled our horses, exclaiming how sometimes out of nowhere a sudden challenge may present itself, and how important it is to be ready. During my teaching years, I saw it with my scared-to-death public speaking students. No matter how nervous they were, they rose to the challenge. I see it now with the widows in my Loss of a Loved One support group, no matter how devastated, they dig deep and find what it takes to go on. I see it with my clients facing the issues of aging and illness, who bravely look ahead. I realize that our own DNA, memories and experiences, must be embedded within and are at the ready when called upon. I admire the fact that we humans, on so many levels, are more prepared than we think. When the going gets tough, we seem to hang in there. New challenges are as close as the next corner, keeping us on our toes, but the happy news is that somehow we can meet them. I would love to hear about your challenges.

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