Comfort zones

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The meadow may be covered in mud from the gateway right down to the stables just now, but daffodils are beginning to show their radiant golden smiles, growing a little brighter each day. The shy snowdrops have softly emerged too, their soft bowing heads covered in raindrops, which sparkle as soon as the dawn light captures them. Life is stirring once more in our sanctuary. In our Bridie’s meadow. The bleakness is subsiding and everything is coming back to life before our eyes.

Winter can be hard work, but this season itself has been very kind to each of us, as we’ve battled through the weather to tend to our precious herd. They need us and it is the greatest of responsibilities to have four doting equines relying on you. Without fail they wander over to greet us every time we arrive. It is not always the breakfast they want first. Sometimes they are just glad that without fail we are there with them, as promised.

It was a foggy morning recently when I headed down to the meadow, hot flask of coffee in my hands; boots already caked in the stickiest of mud within five steps of climbing over the gate. Yet, the day was opening up for me, encouraging a morning ride for myself and my littlest pony – Blossom. Nine years she has been my little one. We share such a special connection. I just know she reads me inside out as I do her.

After a lot of pottering and fussing with grooming muddy tails, feeding everyone breakfasts and serving out hay, it was time to saddle up and set out on a ride. It was oh so quiet as we set onto the lane, locking the gate behind us, receiving an affectionate gaze from our three herd members left behind in the paddock. Blossom and I ventured on wards.

For some reason today, I felt an unusual feeling that we must deviate from our usual trails and explore somewhere new. Blossom obliged and we embarked onto a woodland path that my lovely friend and her noble steed (our third herd member) had discovered.

We bounced along, Blossom’s ears alertly seeking what may be around the next corner. ‘Are you sure about this’ I could feel her saying.

The truth was. I wasn’t sure about this at all. I wasn’t entirely sure where we were headed, and why I had even decided today that ‘new’ would be good for us. It was a beautiful woodland, but I couldn’t help but feel a little alone on this trail – like Blossom and I had gone a little beyond what we would both consider a safe difference from our happy land of familiarity. We pressed on, and eventually stumbled upon the long lane which would lead us home. Blossom whinnied as we trotted past stables and young horses getting excited beside the fence line. It was as if she was asking them if we were indeed on the right route home.

Perfectly, the home stretch was soon in sight. Blossom and I both relaxed as our trusty hill side came into view. We marched home, a mixture of relief and surprise at our near miss with getting ‘just a little bit lost’ . . .

I knew Blossom would have got us safely back. Horses have a remarkable connection to their home. But what I couldn’t understand was why I’d felt like I had to venture out of my comfort zone today. Why did I feel pressure to do so. A year ago I struggled to ride at all for fear of leaving the safe confines of our meadow. But we conquered this with baby steps.

Now, we were back safe, we’d had a lovely explore, but did we truly enjoy that ride . . . we were both anxious together and a little uncertain to be in this new area??? Is it ideal to go outside your comfort zone if it doesn’t feel truly right?

Why did I feel pressure to go beyond what I usually love and feel happy exploring??

There are some people that are happy breaking down walls, and pushing through their comfort zones . . . in all honesty, I’m not sure I am one of those people, and I think it’s okay that I am not . . .

For some reason I forgot that important quiet message within, as Blossom and I set out that morning. . . I forgot that it’s okay that I like my comfort zone. It brings me a lot of joy, peace and security.

I know I can venture out of my more comfortable areas if I want to, I know I can now try new things if I would like to . . . I’ll even enjoy the view as I go . . . but for now, I feel I am best suited to doing what makes me feel happiest – staying within the areas that feel like ‘home’.

Everyone’s different – and that’s a good thing – I’ll save my more adventurous expeditions for when I’ve got my friend riding beside me. Blossom, I am delighted to say, agreed with me on this!

We all have different comfort zones. Some people are naturally more adventurous. Some like routine. Familiarity. Some enjoy setting new goals, some like starting new chapters. We have our own way and our own little guide book to how we walk our lives. . . sometimes it’s okay to check in with your own internal map, and just acknowledge you’re indeed on the right path that is perfect for you.  It might look a little different to someone elses trail – but there is a place for everyone, no matter how big or small your comfort zones may be. If it’s right for you. . . that’s what counts most.

I am going to trust that I am okay as I am and simply enjoy the ride – even if it’s a gentle stroll across our favourite local bridle path – it’s what we do best.

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