Keeping Wild Horses

I’m an idea machine and it’s exhausting.

I’ve had people stare at me goggle-eyed and marvel, “It must be wonderful to be so creative.”

On balance, I’ll say that’s true. I’m never bored. I don’t feel the need to spend a lot of money because the space between my ears offers up an ongoing stream of entertainment and hilarity.

This has become more pronounced in the past five years as I did a lot of self-examining, boo-boo processing, and adopted a regular meditation practice. I spend much less head-time now listening to litanies of worries, what-ifs, and regrets. Now is a fun place to be, to pay attention to.

In my Now, any number of things may come barreling through: a snippet of music that I could likely turn into a tune if I head over to the piano; a great first sentence — a treat for writers; a fully formed scene that makes my heart pound — gotta find that notebook to jot it down in.

I have little notebooks, journals, and white board galore. I think of them as “corrals,” because the ideas and inspirations feel like wild horses.

Each one come galloping in, tossing it’s glorious mane, pawing the ground. I catch its gleaming eye and wonder what adventure we would go on if I took the time to tame him; to sit at the piano and pen the song; to outline the story and commit the work time to writing it. It could be glorious, I can envision the outcome.

Photo by Jean Beaufort

In my corrals I have some beautiful creatures waiting for my attention and care. Some are still completely amazing and wild (two movie concepts, for example,) and I don’t want to bring them out until I have a lot of dedicated time. Some are half-broke as I have invested some time and energy into this project or that. One horse is two chapters involving a cat. I can’t wait to lasso that one up and write about 30 chapters more.

This ongoing migration of ideas from the ether into my creative mind is getting tiring. I have too many horses to tend to; and quite frankly the corral itself is failing.

When I read Jeff Goin’s “4 Steps to Overcoming Distraction and Doing Work That Matters, it hit me that I was actually doing something in my interpersonal relationship that was going to benefit my horse-tending immensely.

My sweetheart and I live in a tiny house with a loft bedroom. There is no “sound privacy.” We are both self-employed, often looking at a day with no have-to’s on our calendars. It is way too easy to fritter our hours playing with the horses, riffing on ideas…maybe playing some music or cooking, we’ve been known to doodle. The result, my work-work falls behind.

This is new-ish relationship, two-years. We were both married to other people for 13-years prior and try to be sensitive to not repeating mistakes or tolerating behaviors that shouldn’t be tolerated. Let’s just say, I didn’t want to be bossy, but I had to take some control of the time flow.

I’ve always had a hard time advocating for myself in a meaningful way. My inability to marshal my thoughts or understanding my fierce emotions often led to drama drama drama. Yeah…enough of that for one lifetime.

But to do steps 1 and 2 from Jeff’s lists, I was going to have to wade into what felt like sketchy emotional waters. I love our free time together, he does to. It’s part of the fun! Dread.

Thinking about talking to my sweetheart made my throat tighten and my stomach jumpy. I’d be telling him there were times he simply had to leave the house, explaining why 6–8am MUST be quiet time where I can focus on what is most important and dear to me, having the discussion if planned afternoon delights were as meaningful as spontaneous play. Loaded stuff.

Or, so I thought. Turns out…no big deal. He loves my horses and wants to see me get one into shape, take it out for a ride, adventure. Who knew one of the best productivity tools I could have is a partner who understands how my busy brain works? By doing the interpersonal growth work, getting over that throat-tightening fear and advocating for my creative life, I now know my beloved is someone who is willing to help outs around the corral, remind me which horse I’ve committed to working with.

As a creative person, I feel like I’m being having such a great significant other is, in part, reward for doing my inner-work

I’ve spent the last five year learning what makes me tick, what wastes my energy and what enhances it, how to step away from my ego-centric perspective.

I’ve been lurking around Medium for almost a year and have picked up some wonderful tips, tricks, tools and hacks. I want to give a shout out to Benjamin Hardy’s “Eight Things Everyone Should Do Before 8a.m. Redesigning my morning resulted in a noticeable difference in my ability to focus and get things done. Good stuff!

I feel like having Mr. Rochester’s buy in will allow me to not only redesign the corral, but rethink how I handle this beautiful wild horses. Do I really need to keep them at all?

They will be fine, rejoining the great cosmic flow and cantering onward to a creative mind that wants to work with it.

Photo by Piotr Wojtkowski

The meditator in me suspects I will get better at simple watching some of the prance into my frame of awareness and back out again. There’s nothing wrong with pausing to admire such things, but I’ve got some horses to break, I’ve got work-work to do.

I’m building a barn.

The author on a mule! LOVE to Painted Bar Stables, where the trail horses live in wonderful herds the way horses should.

Green hearts are nice, but only if they’re genuine.

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