For as long as I can remember, I dreamed of having my own horses. It wasn't until my mid-thirties that my dream came true. Granted, it hasn't been all rainbows and butterflies. Horses eat. They eat a LOT. Then you have the added cost of board, supplements, farrier, vet, and on and on. A horse is a commitment, not just financially, but also with time. They need other horse friends, and domestic horses are dependent on humans for everything. There's a lot of time and work, but most horse lovers wouldn't trade it.
I love spending time with my horse. She lets me join her herd and somedays we just hang out. Other days we exercise and work. She knows where my stress spots are and will remind me to relax. I know her body language and when she's having an "off" day. We've put in the time to have a relationship that is unique to us.
But my favorite thing has to be when I get to share the magic of our connection with others. I love it when my horse willingly makes a connection with someone and watching the wonder in their face. There is something deep and profound in allowing others to join our space. My little horse seems to know when to be gentle and when to challenge a student. She speaks to each of them in a way that connects with a deep part of who they are. It's truly a magical thing to watch.
As I reflect on our little herd, I'm reminded that joy can be found in hard work too. Joy is not an effortless feeling that just comes with the wind. It's something we each must seek out and cultivate. In part, joy is a life skill, a choice. It takes careful consideration. Obviously, not everything is going to bring us joy and there are things we just have to do because they need to be done. But, have you ever noticed how your heart sings when you are doing what you were designed to do? We all have those things that make us glow from the inside out. Even if they are hard, they still bring us joy.
For me, I find that sharing my space to have deep and meaningful conversations with others brings me joy. Giving out of the abundance that I have brings me joy. Knowing that someone else's day got brighter because I was able to help or offer an unexpected surprise brings me joy. It's different from just being happy. Joy, I think goes much deeper and requires a connection. It could be a connection with people, or nature or your Maker, but joy radiates from the inside out. Happiness, seems to be circumstantial and comes to us from the outside in.
But here lies the rub. If I choose joy, the responsibility is on me. It's my job to connect. It's my job to actively seek out what it is that makes my heart sing. Once I find those, it's my job to cultivate those skills and connections. Joy, therefore, must be a choice and today I choose the joy of sharing what I'm passionate about; a connection with horses.
How about you? Where do you find your joy? What makes your heart sing? And are you willing to do the work to nurture your joy?