Riding Lessons

At some point in my life – after being thrown from a horse or thrown off course –  I remember someone in authority telling me to, “Get right back on that horse!”
If you’ve been thrown from a horse, you know the last thing you want to do or possibly can do given the extent of your injuries, is get right back on that horse.
In theory the immediate do-over counteracts the embarrassing, terrifying, or deeply disappointing dismount and nips the fear of ever trying anything remotely scary again in the bud.
I’ve been doing things lately that have left me with some inexplicable internal injuries. Nothing of the sort that should concern anyone. Just the kind that makes me question why getting right back on that horse is a good thing if I haven’t had any additional riding lessons.
Isn’t the point of any lesson to learn from it? If we don’t exactly know what causes our fall from grace, how can we prevent it from happening in the future?
I’m learning as I work through my Daring Leadership/Leaders Rising course that if you are a leader or a creative person or public persona whose job it is to continually put yourself out there, you are going to fall. You may even fall often.
The trick then is to learn to land so you can rise repeatedly.  As the Zen saying goes, “Fall down seven times, get up eight.”
Last week I did something out of character for a writer. I went on live tv. Unlike a blog post that can live in obscurity forever, what happens on live tv, stays on tv… and the internet and can show up as a random rerun at 1am.
I’m not sure what made me think this “horse” would be a great one to get on after the last dog and pony show. Maybe it was the false sense of security that came from riding this one before.
I’m happy to report there were no disturbing incidents with this metaphoric horse like the ones that happened when I took my actual horses (who where in heat) to the fair when I was in seventh grade.
I did, however, experience the kind of vulnerability hangover that happens when I become visible and happen to get a glimpse of myself and the episode on my Facebook feed. Seeing this makes me recommit to my writing in hopes that I might be able to earn a respectable living without ever being seen in public again.
But here’s the rub. The creative life, the courageous life, the connected life demands that we be seen, heard, and felt in order to be experienced. That means getting right back on that horse. Even if it’s a Shetland pony.
So once again Monday morning or the next challenge/opportunity rolls around for each of us. What do you say, shall we saddle up and ride?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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