Mary Poppins talked about a spoonful of sugar making the medicine go down, and to be honest, she was making a pretty huge point.
Medicine aside, a spoonful of sugar- sugar for our focus, sugar in our awareness, sugar in our perspective- is a key element in our ability to cultivate big picture thinking, living and riding.
Think about it this way; as humans, we are geared towards focusing on the negative. This manifests in a number of ways. If I ask you to close your eyes, for instance, and focus on the sensations in the body, nine times out of ten, you would tell me about the tightness, the tension or the pain you feel.
If I asked you to describe your ride, you would first tell me the bits you thought needed some work or could be improved.
When things feel particularly hard, the tunnel vision gets stronger and we are pulled deeper into the harder, darker, denser parts of ourselves.
Being able to integrate our experiences, recover from traumatic circumstances, become embodied riders and effective partners for our horses involves looking for the spoonful of sugar- even when it feels like there might only be a granule or two thrown in.
It’s recognising that while tightness might exist, if I scan further, there is also lightness- or at the very least less tension.
If I reflect back and notice my perceived inadequacies in the saddle, I can also intentionally search for the pieces where we were in harmony, or at the very least not in opposition.
Searching for the spoonful of sugar is so much more than a cool trick; it’s the first step in learning to multi-task our awareness and realizing there is always more available to us that what may capture us in the first instance.