I enjoy formulating analogies. Analogies are mental metaphors that aid in linking and clarifying ideas. According to one online dictionary, they enable comparisons based on the similarities “between like features of two things.” Lately, my thoughts have been focused on growth and change as well as judgment and fear. These feelings would appear to be at opposite ends of the spectrum, the first two emotions being productive agents of self-development while the latter two are counterproductive and discouraging. The emotional tug-of-war created by these polar opposite feelings has been a source of frustration for me but also, interestingly enough, highly intriguing. In working through these thoughts, I have been employing the use of analogies. The best analogy I could come up with to address these reoccurring feelings was that of developing a rapport, a relationship with an animal, like a horse. I am certain most English speaking people have heard of ‘falling off the horse.’ But if we have fallen off or are currently off the horse how do we get back on? What caused the fall? Is the fall necessarily a negative experience? And will the horse we eventually get back on fulfill the same roles or cover the same terrain?
The horse in my analogy represents the things I aspire to accomplish in singing. The horse symbolizes my music dreams. Working on goals and projects, often in deliberate measured steps first acquainted me with my horse.
But then they fall. Many successful artists and musician have lapses in their creative energies and professional aspirations. They have been discouraged and uninspired. They tumbled off the horse because they lost focus as a team. It could have been caused by something unforeseen; a dip in the road or another animal suddenly appearing and spooking the horse. Or perhaps they fell off because they were preoccupied with unimportant thoughts. Is the saddle perfectly positioned? Am I holding the reins correctly? How are the other riders viewing my abilities? By being too focused on sidetracking details, they lost perspective on where they were going with their dreams. Regardless if the cause was self-doubt, unfair comparisons, unrealistic expectations or being overly concerned with the opinions of others, the connection between the rider and the horse, the singer and the dream was broken.
But how do we get back on the horse? How does one reconnect with a dream or aspiration? The rider maybe hesitant as to her ability to climb back on because she is very aware and most likely pained by their fall. The first step might be climbing on the horse and sitting there, allowing herself and the horse to ease into closer proximity to one another. The next experiences may be small and brief, a trot around the stable, for instance. These micro accomplishments might not seem like much at first. However as confidence builds, this team will be able to venture further and longer in their riding. As the comfort level builds, trust develops and the framework for collaboration and teamwork is reestablished.
I have been realizing that a dream doesn’t need to diminish. It may need to be approached differently. With a more self-aware rider, past limitations and defeating thought processes may be bypassed by establishing a reasonable and realistic pace you lead your horse. Having personally experienced this, I’ve learned to “be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.”