I’ve been practicing something for a while now.
Truth be told, some days I’m better at it than others.
But I keep coming back to the practice of “taking in the good.”
It’s a phrase (and action) I’ve learned from Rick Hanson, a neuropsychologist and mindfulness author. He teaches that our brains are hardwired to notice negative events. That’s why you can still remember in vivid detail that humiliating book report you gave in front of your entire fourth grade class, while you can’t remember a single wonderful thing about that year.
It’s called the negativity bias, and we all have it.
So a way to counter that negativity is to focus on the good that surrounds us each day–to notice the many gifts that seem to come from nowhere and fill our souls.
Hanson suggests that we take each one in fully, reveling in the moment, allowing it to seep into our every nook and cranny and warm us like sunlight on our backs.
I’m grateful that I have so many opportunities to take in the good when I’m out with the horses.
There are many days when I grumble about having to go to the pasture. Days when I’m so darned busy I think my head might explode, or my entire body will burst into flame if I add one more thing to my list of things to do.
Then I remind myself (again) that feeding is not an optional activity.
It’s a commitment–one that I’ve made to these horses and intend to keep.
So one day this week I’d had a particularly busy day, and was late getting out to the horses. I was stressed because I knew it was going to get dark soon, and I wanted to be finished with feeding before that happened. I could feel that knot in my chest expanding; my head buzzed with negative self talk.
Until I got there.
And then I took a breath, and another.
The horses had been moved to the far pasture, so I had to walk to find our Golden Girls.
The exercise felt good, as did the brisk air.
I came upon these trees backlit by the setting sun, and my entire mood shifted.
It was just so beautiful. I let myself take it all in, every gorgeous limb. I took a bunch of pictures and then went off to find the horses, who were very glad to see me, and their dinner.
Happy Thanksgiving dear readers.
Give yourself a moment or two today to take in the good.
And know that I am so very grateful for your continuing connection to my adventures in the pasture.