Last week I went on a little road trip to watch a horse trainer. He was very good, in fact he was excellent. The things he could get his young horses to do were pretty impressive. He kept talking about obedience and his horses were, indeed, very obedient. A few years ago I would have been smitten.
As I watched him, however, I noticed that his horses were just a little on edge. There was a tension in them that, not too long ago, I would never have noticed. They kept looking out as if, given the choice, they would rather leave him than stay. If the fences or the head gear magically disappeared they would be gone. But because he wasn’t giving them much choice they stayed…obediently.
An obedient horse isn’t always calm and connected but a calm and connected horse, if they understand what you want, will do what you are asking. That’s what I am aiming for in my relationship with my horses these days and I will gladly sacrifice performance for relationship.
A slave can be obedient but real relationship involves calm, willing connectedness. That can be with a child, a partner, God, or even yourself.
I’m still working on the calm, connected relationship with myself. What is your most difficult connection?