Dealing with Overwhelm in the Choice Phase

On Saturday, it began again. I went outside, grabbed the halters, and one by one, I worked all three of my horses in the arena.

It’s been three months since I’ve done that. And while I didn’t slide into the period of rest gracefully- each one of them had physical niggles from one thing or another that made me decide that rest was the best thing- I can see now on reflection that the decision was a good one.

And herein lies the curiosity: I was nervous to start back up again. I wasn’t nervous of my horses, or nervous of my riding. I was nervous of my knowledge- or perhaps better stated, my perceived lack of it.

I didn’t want to cause harm. And my desire to work in a more precise way- to learn more about biomechanics and the likes- had frozen me in space as I grappled with the amount of information out there and the seeming lack of it in my brainspace.

This situation- this overwhelm- is something that I hear about a lot. We are blessed with an abundance of knowledge at our fingertips, and we are cursed with an abundance of knowledge at our fingertips.

So, let’s think of it this way:

When this knowledge lives in our head and not in our body, we find ourselves stuck.

No matter how much book knowledge we have, the only knowledge that is useful is the knowledge we take and translate into action.

With this in mind:

  • I have a choice to do something, try something, practice something based on my current understandings
  • The intention to practice that choice involves actually activating it in my body. Trying the thing, applying the aid; taking the choice and bringing it alive through my bodily action
  • The observation phase is my brain asking me, did that work out? Was the result I gained aligned with my intention?
  • My brain then maps the action to get me closer to my intention next time

When we find ourselves in overwhelm, we are drowning in the Choice phase. Moving out of it involves disconnecting from the idea that there is ever any set result we are after, and instead practicing the with the information we have, observing and then readjusting as necessary.

If you stay observant and curious, if you facilitate rather than force, you are good.

But for as long as knowledge only lives in our heads, it’s of no use to us. Take what you DO know and apply it. Let it live out through you and lead you on to the next step based on the information that you gather.


❤️ Jane