I love these old sayings... and boy, isn't it the truth. What exactly does that saying mean? Like always, I look to my relationships with horses to fully understand the concept because, lets face it, as prey animals, horses are way better equipped to have peaceful, harmonious relationships than we are.
Number one: communication. Do you ever think that the person you are struggling with the most doesn't ever listen to you? Do you feel like they are constantly twisting your words? Well, there may be a reason for that. The ability to communicate how we are actually feeling is hard. It is also hard to express what we want to without mixing in all these other things - other messages that might be misconstrued. I often go back to the original agreement that I learned from Don Miguel Ruiz, "Be Impeccable With Your Words." Can you imagine what life would be like if everyone did that? I believe that in order to be impeccable with your words, you have to be authentic... There can't be any deception in your meanings, there can't be any hidden agendas or ego driven language. Once again, this is why I love horses. There isn't any of those things in their communication what's so ever. A horse lets you know what's going on when you ask. If you don't ask, well, you will surely find out later on in the ride. I will always remember when I started "listening" to this amazing Paso Fino named Kid. He became a relaxed and calm ride once we were able to communicate with each other.
Number two: Giving and Receiving. Every relationship has times where one person gives and the other receives. It happens in this organic type of dance where each partner is fulfilled by either giving or receiving. Notice I did not write the word "taking". There is no taking in a healthy relationship. If a person is taking from you, that means they are not asking. That is a boundary that is being crossed that needs attention from the person who owns that boundary.
Number three: Time... This is the biggest one. In today's world, I've heard things like "time is money", "I have no time for myself!", "I have no time for my family." Well, if all these things are true, what exactly are you doing with your time? Honestly, I've also heard, "I just don't have time for this." or "I don't want to take the time." Each of these statements are ways to skate around the misuse of time. Here is where horses really can help us. To a horse, there is no such thing as time. There is no clock that we need to refer to, no stopwatch or even calendar. To them, living is more about safety, connections, and relationships. Isn't that interesting? What we desire most, seems to be what we give away first. If you are struggling with time management in your life, if may be time (pun intended) to reach out to a life coach. Honestly, no one will ever hold you accountable to your own goals and dreams like a life coach can. My horses have given me the opportunity to step in that world where time doesn't exist each and every day. I cannot thank them enough for that. I connect with them on such a deeper level and enjoy learning from them as much as I can.
Number four: The three R's Remember the three R's in school... I never liked the way Reading, Writing and Arithmetic somehow meant three R's... my little pet peeves don't matter, but what does matter is that those three R's are not the most important. No one remembers how they learned to read, write, or do math. What they do remember is how they felt while they were learning. It is the same in relationships. We don't always remember what was even said, we only remember how we felt when we heard it. What if we went with these three R's for early learning environments? They are the same for horses as well.... Relationships, Repetition, and Routine.
Going back to that beautiful dance, the tango, and why it takes TWO is really a matter of TRUST. If you ever seen two people actually dancing a tango, or two people in a beautiful relationship, or a horse and person riding as one, all these things are honestly expressions of TRUST in their most authentic form. The tango requires a relationship of trust, a ton of repetition until the movements are correct, and a routine that feels right to both partners.
The tango requires time, effort, patience, and above all commitment. It does not mean to ignore your intuition. We can be committed and also listen to our intuition. In fact, when we do, we set ourselves up for the very best that a relationship has to offer.
The next time you hear this old saying, or even pause for a moment about how you can better your relationships, remember, it takes time, commitment, and trust... You got this!