"If you are depressed, you are living in the past.
If you are anxious, you are living in the future.
If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” Lao Tzu
I was both depressed from the past and anxious about the future as I led Tara from the pasture to the hitching post at the stable last evening. My riding friend had had to cancel on me, and the last time I had ridden my cute redheaded horse solo, she had been so antsy that the only way I could calm her down was to ride up and down the fence-line within sight of her herd. So instead of enjoying the pleasure of Tara’s company in the moment, my thoughts boomeranged from our last uneasy ride to a possible repeat performance ahead of us.
When I rounded the corner leading Tara and she saw she would be the only horse at the hitching post, she came to an abrupt halt. She looked all around, then her appraising gaze settled on me. She is very much an alpha mare and can be quite intimidating, but I held her gaze, which reminded me of the look a girl might give to a disappointing blind date. Whereas a bad blind date might say all the wrong things, it was as if she could tell I was thinking all the wrong things. She made me laugh out loud, and then made me determine that this was not going to be a disappointing evening. I stopped mentally burdening her with our past ride and stopped imagining what she might do.
I hummed softly as I groomed her, taking time to scratch her belly the way she loves. As she stretched her regal neck out in pleasure, I told her how much I enjoyed spending time with her, what a God-send she was to my life. As I settled comfortably into all the present offered at that very moment, appreciating how she gleamed like burnished copper in the evening sun, I wondered why I would want to be anywhere else, past or future. We enjoyed a peaceful and companionable ride, both happily present and accounted for.