I spent last weekend up in Northern California with my horse.  A special group of horse people, mainly Lusitano owners, get together every 3 months or so to listen to the words of the mestre and cheer each other on.

We work on lightness.

Lightness is unattainable; we know that.  It is the practice that brings us together as we refine basic moves that are the building blocks for a self actualized horse and rider.  The centaur!

Four simple words guide us as we circle around the arena.  I believe these 4 words can guide any endeavour.

Direction.  Rhythm.  Bend.  Lightness.

Direction:  Know where you are going.

Have you ever noticed what happens when you lower your head?  Energy drops, you lose orientation and the sads hang over your body.  This is no way to approach any creation:  art, horse, dance, skiing, play.  It’s all about looking where you are going and sending the energy far ahead of you.  The path is smooth and consistent when you look further out.

When I see people looking down at their phones while walking I know they are lost.  Inside.

I sat on the studio sofa this morning and looked out at about a dozen paintings hanging and propped up along the wall ready to be wrapped and boxed for the upcoming SF Open Studio in November.  My largest painting is the keystone piece and sets the direction.  It’s far out enough I believe I can create another series from its energy and composition.  Can I stay on course and not get distracted?

Rhythm:  Set your rhythm.

Who’s determining the speed?  Let go of outside influences and count the rhythm in your head.  Let it pulse throughout your body.  Be in control of the pace.  Too fast.  Stop and start again.  Too slow, play the music louder.  You are the leader of the dance!

Bend:  Bend a little in your body to create balance and elegance.

Bend for balance.  Bend for dexterity.  Bend and move those hips to release the joy endorphins!

Lightness:  Open more than you close to achieve lightness.

Open more than you close.  Pay attention to your hands.  How do you hold them during the day?  Perhaps they are clenched and tight.  Try opening them and pretend you are holding a baby bird in each hand, or a bouquet of flowers you’re about to give someone.

Trust that whatever you are holding will stay.

woman on horse

On our way to lightness through bend

And finally, smile.  You’d be amazed at how that changes the energy.