Friday, April 9, 2010

Motivation determines evidence

I'd like everyone to watch this clip from the Conan O'Brien show. It's called "Everything's amazing and nobody's happy." I'll talk about it in another entry, maybe tomorrow.

Last night I was looking at wildflower identification internet sites. I remember seeing this flower, and then I saw it growing in our yard today. When I went back on the internet I couldn't find it again. Maybe somebody knows what this is called.

Today it had dried out enough that we were able to back the truck up to the barn and get some new hay in. The nice thing about the horses being on pasture is that we don't feed much hay this time of year.

Stacking even 10 bales of West Coast hay is a big task. The bales are each well over 100 pounds (probably about 120 pounds each - about 54 kg). I think I did pretty well at not straining my back thanks to JD's help. I'll see how it feels tomorrow.

The horses were all up for more grooming today. I used my hands mostly. I found a tick on each horse although none of them had firmly attached yet. The girls had them on their udder areas and Patrik had one in the middle of his chest. There is so much surface area for a tick to bite into a horse, it would be difficult to check the whole horse each day but I find that a byproduct of my learning to listen to horses is that they are pretty effective at directing me to exactly where the tick is, and then all I have to do is look and pick it off.

Here's my favorite grooming tool for this time of year. It's very satisfying to pull those big matted hairballs off the rubber nubs.

I took two pictures of Patrik today and somehow neither of them made it on to my computer so my description will have to suffice. It feels like today was one of many turning points I've had in my relationship with Patrik in particular. There was a point where we were both facing each other in the field. We were both still although Patrik's ears were scanning back and forth. I got the feeling that Patrik was trying to gauge if I'm really going to be leadership material or not.

I read something that Lydia Nevzorova wrote which talked about the difficulty of becoming a horse teacher. It got me to thinking about the beauty of that term "horse teacher." Not "horse trainer." As Alexander Nevzorov is now teaching his horses to spell and read in Latin, the term horse teacher takes on a whole new meaning.

Patrik and I did our dance in the pasture, each testing the other, trying to decide who is the best choice as teacher in the moment. As this was going on I remembered another post-it that I have on my computer. It came from here. It says:
Evidence is not the primary factor that determines what conclusions and beliefs will be formed. Motivation is the primary factor. Evidence will be gathered to support the motive.
I questioned myself, "What is the motivation for me to be doing this with Patrik now?" The answer I came up with is that I'd like to achieve something in partnership with my horses, that allows people to see that there is something else humans can do with horses besides ride them, that might be even more deep and meaningful than riding, or otherwise using horses to entertain themselves. This is what the Path of the Horse has meant to me, and in particular watching Alexander with his horses, which was a whole different world that I hadn't known existed between horses and humans.

So, if that is indeed my motivation, then the quote would mean that now, whatever evidence I find while working with the horses will support my motivation to find a way to be with horses which is more meaningful than using a horse for human entertainment. And I suspect that others who are interested in finding this with horses will be attracted to what I am doing.

There is something incredibly unsettling about the quote. If I really feel it, and apply it in my life, it gives me a glimpse of the power that we humans have to create our own realities. I am trying to create a reality where horses are valued for something other than their physical abilities to carry people. I made a movie about it, I am writing a blog about it, I talk to people about it, I know people across the world who are also interested in it.

Across the street lives an 80-something-year-old man who was sitting again on his front lawn today with three of his friends watching what I'm doing. One of his friends was bold enough today to ask two questions. The first, he asked, "Are you going to start charging us to watch?" and second, he asked, "How did you start to get him to do that, with a club?" (for non-English speakers, a club is a big, thick stick). In this guy's reality, apparently the only way he could think of to get a horse to respond like Patrik was responding was by beating him. I didn't answer either question. I didn't know where to begin. What was this man's motivation for watching? What does he want to prove? Whatever his motivation is will determine what evidence he sees by watching me. Talk about a different reality! Yet, can I actually dismiss his? Isn't his as real to him as mine is to me?

This seems like a microcosm something presented in a slideshow I saw tonight. One of our community members recently got back from a trip to the Middle East. He showed pictures of Jerusalem, a city which is precisely divided into different religious and national regions. The Israelis, Arabs, Jews, Muslims, Christians, all with their own cultural realities, trying to co-exist across the street from each other, sometimes even trying to worship the same holy ground for different religious reasons. They have achieved an uneasy co-existence for the moment.

What if we could realize that we each create our own personal realities, as well as subscribing to the cultural, political and religious realities that we choose or were born into? The implications of such a realization could change the world.

And who do we live across the street from? Who do we share a bed with? Who do we raise as our own children? Other humans with their own separate motivations and evidence. When we watch closely enough, we even see these different motivations within ourselves. One part of me wants to remain thin, another part wants to eat a large piece of chocolate cake. Each part has her own motivation and each will present its own evidence and arguments. I will choose within myself to listen to one or the other, sometimes consciously, usually not. The more moments I am conscious of the battleground within myself, the more I can see myself in another's eyes.

It often makes me want to look at plants...

and romp with the dog...

and listen to this song.


  1. It is a Yellow Mariposa Lily, similar to the white and lavender Cats Ears.
    Jack Johnson is one of my very favorite artist! Listen to "All at Once" and "It's all Understood" too, but they are all great! :)

  2. Hi Stormy,

    I love this quote! It is a wonderful reminder to ask ... what is it that I am wanting to create? Yes ... this is a responsibility ... we ARE the creators ... we CAN choose. I am reminded of the Law of Attraction and how what we focus on is what we create in our lives. Which, it seems to me, is a reminder to focus on this Path ... this way of being with horses. We will attract others.

  3. What a powerful quote, Stormy, and very thought provoking. Taking it to an even deeper level of motivation, it causes me to see how very different "my" reality will be when I am motivated by fear? or by anger? or by love? How much our mind filters what evidence to take in and what to reject. When I'm motivated by fear, the whole world seems to be a frightening place. When motivated by love, I can see the beautiful moments all around. In each case, the external reality is unchanged. Thank you for giving us this to think about today!

  4. I loved the you-tube clip. It is so funny and so true, that our society expects so much "right now". I recently flew from Calgary to Kelowna for spring break, a 45 min. flight and the satelitte tv's weren't working, and the first thing the crew did was come through the cabin with a $10 off coupon for your next flight as an apology. It was like they knew they had to have something in place to combat the barrage of complaints that were sure to come. I personally can't see why people can't sit back and enjoy 45 minutes peace and quiet:)