If you’re willing, travel back in time and remember what it was like to be seven years old. Can you remember the school you went to, the mornings of getting ready for school, where you were at, the sounds, the smells and what you would do? For some of us, those memories are filled with warmth, love, excitement, and exuberant anticipation. For others, it was a very different experience.
During a lesson with my equine trainer, he observed how I would communicate with my horse to see what I needed to work on and where I was succeeding. After watching for a while, he entered the arena and began to tell me a story that another trainer taught their student. The tale was in response to their students’ question about having a better connection with their horse. He told her to go build a fence.
“What do you think that means?” *blink* *blink* I had no idea. I was drawing a blank.
To show me what this meant, he marched off with my horse stopping at various areas of the arena as if he were busy doing something.
Puzzled, I followed them around wondering what he was doing. He opened the arena gate and marched out towards the pastures and stopped at those gates with my horse in tow. He inspected the gate then turned around and marched back to the arena.
“Purpose! Building a fence is a purpose. I have to walk with purpose!”
When we walk with purpose, we’re usually sure of where we’re going, what we’re doing, and what the expected outcome should look like. Everything else becomes secondary if we’re really focused on what we need to do.
Thinking back to my earliest childhood memories, I remember wondering why I was born. What was I here for? At the age of four, I pondered this question and wondered whether my reality was the same for others. At the age of seven, my birth father was running late for work. While he rushed to get into the car, he realized that he locked his keys in the car.
“Look at what you made me do,” he screamed. His cold black eyes emanated fury and disgust. “I hate you! I wish you had never been born! You can walk to your babysitter.”
If I had any question about my existence at four-years-old, I realized at that moment that my existence didn’t have any value. I was not wanted. I had no purpose and I shouldn’t have been born. I didn’t ask for it, yet, here I was.
I began the trudge to the babysitter hurt. It was a hurt that was an ache in my chest and I wanted to cry but he taught me not to cry. If I cried, he would give me something to cry about and my babysitter should not know that my feelings were hurt otherwise, Mother would find out. If she found out, she would yell at him and there would be hell to pay. When I arrived, I sat down in front of the TV with the other children and stoically pretended like nothing was wrong until it was time to go to school.
I’ve been contemplating walking with purpose. Walking with purpose is something I do a lot but, usually, it’s on my own. The challenge is doing it with my horse. Bringing the focus to more recent history, I realize that my husband has looked to me to walk with leadership while I was relinquishing that to him. As a result, we both ended up wandering together to the wrong place.
This week, I’ve learned that walking with purpose is not stomping towards the goal with brute force. I’ve watched my husband in the woods when he’s moving towards his hunting grounds. He walks with purpose and with grace. He moves forward with confidence because the woods are where he feels his passion. Much like my trainer moves with the horses.
In her blog, “Collective Fear and Anxiety,” Dr. Bertrice Berry conveys:
“Instead of addressing out faulty thinking; our theoretical perspective, we go out and collect opinions, observations and poorly organized data to support our feelings and predetermined outcomes.
This is dangerous on so many levels.”
To walk with purpose, let’s focus on our passions. Let’s go build a fence.