00:03 You’re listening to episode 32 of the Confident Rider Podcast with Jane Pike.
00:10 Hi fabulous one! It’s another freestyle episode. Last week we were riffing this week we are freestyling. I had some ideas for what I was going to roll with today and then I had the inspired thoughts to post in JoyRide, my membership group and put it to them. “What’s front of mind guys, first comment I am going to roll with” and that is exactly what is happening today. So the first comment that came up on that particular post was what do you do when you’ve lost your purpose/ reason / drive, yet you can’t let go. I love this question because it’s so layered and deep, you know, it feels like one that really gets me in my heart strings because none of us like that feeling of having the bottom fall out of the ship, of having what feels like is such a natural part of our interaction with our horses or with something that we’re passionate about…
01:26 When that goes, it can be a really destabilizing feeling to deal with. What is a really great point of discussion to begin with is actually to think about just how reliant we are on a framework of certainty in order to make sure that what we’re doing is valid, you know, or to validate something to ourselves and to make sure that we’re fitting in with what’s expected in terms of how it is that we’re progressing. Purpose, drive, motivation, all of those words that get thrown around so frequently, are things that we typically connect to something that’s important to us. And when we don’t have that, we aren’t very good at resting in that experience and being okay with it. That feels incredibly shaky ground to be loitering around on. And as a consequence, when we do feel what is lost, I guess, you know, when you’re in that space, you feel a little bit lost…
02:40 When you feel lost like that, you do anything you can to feel found again. You do anything you can to get back to a place where you have an element of control. As a result of that, as a result of that inherent tendency that we have as a collective, we miss some of jewels that come in these transitional moments, in these moments of pause or rest, which we might associate with feeling, you know, abandoned in a way or feeling purposeless or driveless or lost, like I said. It’s like this a Twilight zone of feeling, but within that there’s so much possibility for re-emergence. There’s so much possibility for transformation. It’s just that we don’t allow ourselves to rest in that place for long enough to be able to reconfigure the pieces and put them back together in a way that actually takes us to a better place than we were at previously.
03:45 So let’s have a look at some of the more practical, I guess, or tangible reasons as to why you might be feeling that loss of purpose or that loss of drive or that disconnect. And for me, the ones that come up, and I haven’t done any prep around this, like I say, we’re just literally rolling with the conversation…. the first thing that comes up is that quite often we experience that when we are adhering to what it is that we think we should be doing as opposed to what it is that we want to be doing. So when we’re doing something that we feel like we should be doing… so sometimes an example of this might be that you are involved in a specific discipline with your horse, that’s because you’ve always been doing that or perhaps your instructor rides also in that way, and so you’ve somehow been funneled into this area of riding, specific area of riding, that just kind of came about. It wasn’t really a conscious decision.
04:44 These are just made up examples, by the way. I’m just trying to highlight or illustrate the points that I’m making. So in that case, what often happens is that there’s a lot of push to actually be a part of this process, to be riding in that way or to be doing those things and that push when it’s not internally generated. You know when it’s not connected to something that actually really drives you from an inward place, then it’s very easy to get disconnected from that and to beat yourself up about feeling disconnected because you feel like that’s what it is that you should be doing. Kind of a long winded way of saying that all of us do stuff that we feel like we should be doing that we don’t actually really even know why we’re doing it. So when it comes to losing that flame of inspiration or disconnecting from your purpose, that is a really good place to start or to have a think about is to say, you know, here’s what I’m doing actually what I want to be doing.
05:45 Like, is there something here within the fabric of how I’m involving myself with my horsing life or with my riding peers or with whatever it is that’s going on. Is this something I actually want to be doing or do I feel like I should be doing it? Because if you feel like you should be doing it, the engine is going to, or you know, the fuel is going to run out much earlier in the piece because it’s not a sustainable way of going about things. Now the glitch that happens here is that you can have a moment of clarity around something like you can realize “I don’t want to be doing this or why am I doing this?” Or you have this flash of insight that alerts you to the fact that you’re just on the wrong path, you know, it doesn’t mean that it’s a bad path, it’s just the wrong path for you.
06:34 And when you have that flash of insight, it can really quickly be overshadowed by these conditioned thought processes. And typically the voices of the Itty Bitty Shitty Committee that say, “well, everyone else is doing it! Why isn’t it good enough for you?” Or “this is what you’ve been doing for a really long time. Who do you think you are to change course this far into the piece?” You know, there are so many examples that we could run through here, but I’m pretty sure that you know what I’m talking about. You have a connection to something which is what happens in the very first instance before thought is able to get in there and overshadow any of those intrinsic processes and then all of a sudden the Itty Bitty Shitty Committee comes to the party or some other thought process comes in that’s actually not a part of that same feeling space.
07:22 So be really careful and be really discerning about that space or that gap, that gap that exists between clarity and between conditioned thought, which just gets in the way of you actually establishing with a clear line of vision where it is that you want to take things. The next thing is to actually consider whether you are in fact just running on an empty cup, because during the times in my life where I felt really stretched or I’ve been pulled in any number of directions, what, how it manifests can be by draining the life out of things, which actually are really important to me, but may not be imminent in terms of me having to do that thing. Now let’s flesh that out a little bit so you know what it is I’m talking about. So, it might be that I’ve had a really busy time at work or there’s been lots of stuff going on in my family life that have been taking up my emotional reserves – I actually refer to this as an emotional bank account. So the way that I demonstrate this is to think that, you know, every day you wake up with 10 points in your emotional bank account and the amount of points that you have in there will actually be directly proportional to the amount of resilience you have, the amount of enthusiasm you have and the amount of capacity you have to deal with things that may not be easeful or flow in the way that you might like them to. For example, if you are going through a bit of a rough patch with your riding or you’re pushing your comfort zone in some way and everything else in your life is simultaneously really requiring a lot of you, by the time you go to get to your horse, your bank account isn’t fully stocked.
09:21 For you to be able to have the reserves that you need to have to be able to step up and do what it is that you need to do- things like lack of sleep, lack of good nutrition, you know, arguments with spouses, uh, rough times at work, anything you can think of…. all of those things contribute to how full or how depleted our emotional bank account is. Now, often what happens is that we’re able to roll with the peaks and troughs if there’s not too much of a discrepancy between what those two things look like, so naturally there are going to be things which draw on us more than others throughout the course of the day, but things kind of even out and you don’t really notice that there’s too big a dip between where it is that we’re going up and where it is that we’re coming back down. But when we’re drawn on in specific ways for a period of time… Grief is a really good example of this, you know, illness is a really good example of this. If something’s been going on in your family that’s been really emotionally draining, that’s a really good example of this. There are things which deplete us over a period of time, which we actually require time to recover from. Now, there are things in our day to day which are non-negotiables, things that we actually can’t avoid and that we may feel that we don’t even have a choice as to whether we do them or not. So it might be, you know, I’m in the midst of this stuff, but I’ve got a show up for work anyway because I need to make money and I need to feed my family. You know, I might be in the middle of X, Y, and Z, but I’ve got a show up and do this anyway because I really don’t have a choice. You know? Even if it is, I want to just sit down or stay in bed all day.
11:04 I don’t have a choice about how I show up for this and so I have to do this thing. Often with our riding, if we’re not professional riders, or there is no kind of structure around that, which requires us to actually get out there and ride our horses, then it’s a luxury item, if you like, that we can easily drop off in the midst of this emotional void because we just don’t have the energy to go there. Although it might appear that we don’t have any motivation for what it is that we want to do, you know, like go and ride or spend time with our horses, and it might be that it has been our absolute passion prior to this…. really the reason that we feel that way is not to do with our horses at all. It’s to do with the backstory, you know, it’s to do with everything else that has been going on.
11:59 And once that clears up or once that space is alleviated and things are allowed to flow again, then naturally the motivation comes back because the reason for the lack of motivation or the reason for the lack of purpose was not to do with what it was that was or what it is that’s directly in front of us. And I think that’s quite often the case, you know, it’s quite often the case that that what it is that presents is not the thing that’s the problem. It’s something else. And that’s just a byproduct or an offshoot of why it is that we feel the way that we do. So those are definitely things that I like to check off or to have a look at and they may or may not resonate. And obviously in the context of this question, it’s very general. So I’m also speaking quite generally to what it is I think is worthy of discussion.
12:56 So how do you get to the other side of this? Then how do you actually find your purpose or find your reason or find your drive? And the other half of that question or the add on that came at the end was yet you can’t let go. So to me that “yet you can’t let go”, that desire to stay in there despite the fact that things are feeling on quite a low ebb, tells me that there is a part of you that is really passionate and connected to what it is that you’re doing, it’s just the form of what you’re doing isn’t quite obvious yet. And it’s like there’s a split between the intuitive part of ourselves and the logical part of ourselves. And we spoke about this a few minutes ago as well, but that desire is part of that heart connection, I think, part of that intuitive connection, that little voice at the back of your mind that’s quite separate to the Itty Bitty Shitty Committee that’s telling you “just stick in there. It’s going to be okay. You might not have it all figured out right now, but you really want this and this is really important to you.”
14:14 I think that voice that we hear, although we might not give it as much credence as the Itty Bitty Shitty Committee and although it tends to whisper instead of scream, we feel it in our heart, we feel it in our heart and that is what keeps us hanging in there. Even in those times where it feels like there’s not much to hang in there for. So a good way of flipping this around is to say, what is that going to cost you to not do this thing anymore? Because hypothetically speaking, riding, being involved with horses is ultimately a choice. It’s ultimately a choice. It is a blessing. It is a joy. And when it’s not that we do have the choice not to do it.
15:11 We have to remember that we do have the choice not to do this. Nobody is forcing us, and so what’s identified here is that choice is there and the desire is there, yet I feel it’s really hard at the same time. So flip it around and say, well, what is it going to cost me if I was to give it away? Like let’s entertain that option for a minute. Let’s entertain that feeling and say, what is it going to cost me to give this up? And for each of us that’s going to be really individually dependent because there are many manner of reasons as to why we could justify why riding might not be a good idea for us. You can do this about anything as well, but you know, riding is an expensive sport. There’s absolutely no two ways about that. It takes up a lot of time.
15:59 It’s a huge commitment. And so if we really wanted to get in there and rationalize the reasons as to why this might not be a good idea, all of us could find them. Undoubtedly all of us could find them. However, what I think will happen or what I know will happen, it certainly happens for me is when I flip it around in the other direction and I say, well, what is this going to cost me? Those parameters really are far more powerful ones than the ones I just mentioned because for me, horses and life are so intrinsically linked that the whole heart element or a huge heart element is kind of sucked out of my body at the thought of not actually having them in my life, but entertain that question. It’s definitely a worthy one of entertaining because it highlights for you what it is that they give you through the noticing of what you would lose if they were to leave.
17:02 It’s a really important distinction and sometimes the irony of that is we only recognize that through the experience of the losing of it or through the loss of it. Let’s get practical now. Let’s think about how it is we will move through this space. So bearing in mind that I will assume that you’ve asked yourself those questions, is this something that I feel like I should be doing instead of something that I feel like I would like to be doing? Am I just exhausted, you know, is my emotional bank account really empty right now? And that is leading me to the false impression that I actually don’t have the enthusiasm to do what it is that I want to do?
17:40 The third point that I actually haven’t brought up that just sprung into my head is also comparisonitis because if you are comparing yourself to other and their journey and the way that they do things or the way that they go about things and measuring yourself alongside them, it also can lead you down a negative spiral or a negative rabbit hole where you start to pick out all of the things that aren’t going well or should be different or that you feel like you should be in a better space for.
18:07 And that in turn dampens any kind of motivation or inspiration that might’ve been there in the first place. So I just want to have a minute or take a few moments now to think about what it was I would do what it was that I would tangibly do if I was in that space as I have been where I am confused, where I’m disconnected, where I feel purposeless or when I feel, what’s the other word that was used there that I’d lost my reason or my drive, what it is that I would do. When we think about that, I guess the first thing that comes to mind is like, well we have to actually either reconnect to something, which in itself implies that it was never lost in the first place. It’s just that our awareness of it is what was lost or we have to think outside the box, but thinking might be the thing that actually got us in trouble in the first place.
19:01 So my way of negotiating this now is much softer, is much kinder I believe, and much more connected to a process that keeps us in flow with what’s happening as opposed to this constant need to resist or change or fix what it is that’s happening. Because ultimately what is presenting is here for a reason. And if you’re able to actually relax into that and soften the edges of your resistance around it, then you allow for those reasons to present. And like I say, it’s an alchemy. It’s a transformative process, but it’s one that we often don’t allow ourselves to indulge because we feel like there’s something wrong with feeling this way. It’s that same old idea that emotions or how it is we feel exists on this linear framework or this linear pathway and that there’s the black and the white, the good or the bad.
20:02 So I should feel this way. I shouldn’t feel this way. I don’t want to feel this way. These are the good feelings, you know, negative and positive. Just everything exists on a continuum. And within that idea of the emotional bank account, you know, if you have been depleting or your, your, um, resources have been exhausted through expenditure, you know, through actually having to go out and deliver above and beyond. This is basically your body’s way of grinding you to a halt and saying you need to stop because there is only so far that you can go and only so much you can do before you completely burn yourself out. And so the only way that we can get you to listen to the messages that are being presented is actually to press the brake hard to the floor. Because how many of us have felt tired but stayed up later?
20:56 How many of us have said, “Oh, I need to do this, but actually this needs to be done for someone else right now. So I’m going to push through.” We ignore the messages. There are signs there all the time that we are running the ship into the green to the reef, that we don’t pay attention. And so really this kind of burnout in a way is the only way that we actually pay attention, because we don’t have any choice. We don’t have any choice who’ve been ground to a stop and it’s like you need to sit here for a while and be okay with this because at the very least it’s going to force you to rest. You might not feel good, but at least you’ve stopped and that to whatever intuitive place that you’re being guided from, that seems like the best option of a variety of options that you’re being presented with right now.
21:42 With that in mind, with all of that in mind, I want you to actually get to a place of honoring the process the way through this is forward, but it’s not forward at the denial of what it is that’s going on. It’s forward in terms of staying in the place that you’re at, resting in the emotional experience without having to change it and actually asking yourself the question, what is it that I am supposed to take from this? Where do I take this? What is the next right step? Now, within that asking process, you’re not actually searching for the answer. I know this is going to be counter-intuitive. It’s the question that actually is the important part of the process. It’s the question and the openness to the question, the openness to what it is that presents. That really is the magic as a part of this, this is kind of the honoring of the emotional experience.
22:37 So let’s paint the picture: We’re feeling purposeless, we’re feeling unmotivated, we’re lacking our drive. There’s a desire still there, but it’s a concerning place to be because obviously it doesn’t feel good and none of us want to rest or linger in a place that doesn’t feel good. What we know about this is that trying to feel good at the expense of actually what is going on isn’t going to work either, so although I could give you any manner of different things to try and change things up and redirect your course. What I’m actually going to suggest is that you sit with this for awhile and welcome it. Welcome it with the understanding that it’s not going to be like this forever. Welcome it with the understanding that there is something that you need to take from this that is actually going to make things better in ways that you haven’t yet realized or can’t yet realize, and that you’re actually in the thick of the experience, which makes it very hard to gain clarity on the subject.
23:36 So you’re going to rest with it and you’re going to rest in it and you’re going to be okay with not being okay for the minute. To be okay with that. And within that, not okayness, you’re going to ask the question, what is it that I need? What is it that I can take from this? Or what is it that I’m supposed to learn from this? And the meditation, I guess, is to be able to rest in the direct experience without attaching a story to it. The stories are where we get ourselves in trouble. The stories are where we feel like we need to make a decision now about, yes, we’re doing this. No, we’re not doing this. Yes, I’m a good horse person. No, I’m not a good horse person. Yes, I, you know, should be training in this way. I should be training in that way. Drop the story and notice how it is that feeling or that experience feels in your body. Notice how that feels. And if it’s not too uncomfortable- and it probably will be- if it’s bearable….I think that’s the word that I want to move with.
24:50 If it’s bearable. See how the emotion feels and notice the sensation in the body, but without attaching a story to it, without needing to understand it or without trying to work out what it means. Just notice the sensation and stay with the sensation until you notice a shift. What you’re going to be now is an emotional sleuth. You are a warrior of sorts. A warrior is someone who leans into the experience without feeling the need to run away from it or deny it. You’re going to feel what it is that you’re feeling, but you’re going to surrender to the experience in that you stay open to the possibility of what it means without trying to understand it or attach a story to it because we’ve done that, right? We’ve tried to understand it and it doesn’t make sense. We’ve tried to find the solution, but we’ve realized it’s not something that we can push for. We have tried to rationalize and get it and we realize that we’re in a privileged position. We realize that we’re lucky to have horses, we realize all of these things and yet we still feel this way and within that there’s still the flame. There’s still the desire, there’s still the want, and then we have the war. We have the war with the desire and the war with the feeling. But they’re on the same team.
26:23 So we sit, we recognize that what we’re in the midst of is also transient. We attach ourselves to the direct experience of what it is that we feel. We lose or drop the need or tendency to attach a story to it and we open ourselves up. We soften into or relax into the experience by saying or asking ourselves, what is it that I need to take from this and what is the next right step? The way through it is forward and forward. Feels scary. Forward doesn’t mean a denial forward is just open to the possibility of what it is that’s presenting and open to the answer that will come to you. It will come to you when you’re ready to hear it. So in the meantime, you do all of the things that you know need to be taken care of in order to support your passage through the experience.
27:26 You eat well, you sleep well. You avoid things which bring you down. You marinate and surround yourself in good experience or in things which are nourishing and uplifting and you don’t try to fix yourself because there’s nothing to be fixed. This is here for a purpose. This is here for a reason, but you are merely, you know, padding everything around you to make your way through this as enjoyable and easeful as possible. So take care of the things that need to be taken care of. Keep showing up, showing up for yourself though, not showing up for other things. Keep showing up for yourself and by showing up for yourself, you just keep asking, what is it that I’m supposed to take from this? Where is it that I’m going? You keep writing, if that is the way that you process things, you keep talking about it, you keep reaching out and you keep allowing yourself to cycle through it without feeling like you’re going to be stuck in it because that’s part of the story as well, and that’s part of the fear.
28:28 Creating space. That’s the first part. So, I realized that for some of you listening, this will be a inadequate answer. That may be you expect strategies and plans and a formula to get through this and I think that at one time I would have given you that and I can give you that and maybe it will help. It will definitely help. There’s no doubt about that actually. It will definitely help, but it will help for the moment and I think it will do a disservice to the ultimate experience of what’s possible. So now I recognize there is an inherent wisdom to everything that we move through. Inherent wisdom. Inherent wisdom that’s stored in our body, inherent wisdom that may make itself known through our desire and through that knowing that really surpasses logical thought and all of us have that. All of us have that. So instead of berating yourself or wishing it were different, because none of those things help. That’s the irony of the situation. I try to relax into the experience, soften the edges of my resistance and ask what it is that I’m supposed to take from this. And that willingness to be present within what it is that’s going on is such a gift. And while you’re in the midst of it, it can be so uncomfortable that you wonder how it is that you’re going to get to the other side of this but you do get to the other side and you’re in flow. And what that means is you’ve been moving through another upward cycle of progress, another layer of understanding.
30:27 You’ve been given the invitation again to negotiate what it is that’s going on, to integrate the information, the emotional information that’s presenting, and to invite a different response. So settle back into your body. Observe the sensation and from that place, ask what it is that you’re committed to? What is it that you’re committed to ?And within that answer there will be so much information about how it is that you want to move forward. I think that’s all for me today. If you resonate with this, I would love to hear your thoughts. I think it’s such an important conversation to have because as as humans, we really do want to control things and we want to get through things and we want to make it okay and we want the labels and the fixes, but sometimes, oftentimes, always, we are the ones that know… We just have to allow ourselves to be in it and we’re not very good at being in it often.
31:36 All right guys, you have a fabulous day. I’m really excited to talk to you in the next episode. If you feel the love, feel free to share this. This is such an appreciated thing for you to do. If you share the podcast, screenshot it, let me know what you thought about it. I’d love to keep this conversation going, and I’m really looking forward to chatting with you all again next week.