Becoming aware of the difference between what I want and how I ask

Horses continue to provide an excellent feedback mechanism. Within the past few weeks, Carlos my 6-year-old gelding, helped me clearly see the disconnect between how I am asking and what I desire.

Let me provide an example. The other day when riding Carlos I planed a 180-degree turn with a radius of say 10 meters. As usual, I applied a bit of leg pressure and eased the supporting reign; then I felt my energy increase. Carlos turned but in a much tighter radius than I wanted. Rather than apply a correction to expand the turning radius I allowed him to complete this turn and rewarded him for a job well done.

Right then came a profound awakening; he performed perfectly based on the physical aids and energy I offered. However, this wasn’t what I wanted. Clearly, I saw my part in the outcome. How much better to reward him for a job well done then to confuse and reprimand him for doing as I asked.

So let’s look at any relationship, horse or human. Is what I am asking for consistent with what I want? If I want softness in a relationship am I asking with the energy and in a way that will provide softness, or is my manner of asking likely to cause a firm and defensive response? Carlos was able to offer me this distinction with a simple turn to the right. Within our human relationships, the interactions are quite the same. However, the dynamics may not be as noticeable.

So how do I bring this into practice? First, I must be entirely clear on what I want, looking deeply to know my motive. Then within the connection of the relationship, I must ask in a manner consistent with my desire. Openness, awareness, patience, and sensitivity to the situation and are essential.

In the example, Carlos was tuned in emotionally and energetically. I was not at his level. When my energy elevated and met with his willingness and sensitivity, he interpreted my request perfectly; however, the result was more than I wanted. It was like insisting when a suggestion will suffice. With this insight, I can now see, with added clarity, how crucial it is to be sensitive within the relationship. How the means, the manner, and the amount of energy used when asking will determine what I receive.

What do I desire in my life? If I want softness am I asking in a way that will invoke softness? If I wish to be understood am I asking in a way that will create understanding? It is crucial to be aware of this dynamic. Otherwise, our relationships can become hard and resentful.

And now let’s look at another example of this same idea, the St Francis Prayer. The prayer begins by defining what is wanted.

“Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.”

Next, in the action steps, the prayer describes how to ask,

“Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.”

The last paragraph goes even further by describing our willingness to surrender our self to selfless service.

“O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.”

PAUSE and begin to notice how you are asking.  Reflect carefully on your motive and actions.  Ask in a way that will provide what we truly want.