Recently I was receiving some help with my beautiful mare Ruby from a friend and instructor in classical horse training methods. These methods, which are based on the ground (ie not ridden), aim to help the horse develop their physicality in a natural way such as to carry their weight effectively and with balance. You could say it is a kind of equine yoga or pilates.
As I struggled to grasp the technique of the method, engaging my mind far too actively rather than my “feel”, I became clumsy and frustrated. My friend helped me by saying, “Help Ruby to be even more magnificent. More proud.”
That helped me to engage with the essence of the activity rather than the technique – I could see, sense and appreciate the radiant magnificence of this beautiful mare. But then my friend said, “You can be more magnificent too, Pam. And proud.”
Hmmm I was less comfortable with that. I resisted it for a moment in my mind. Because you do, don’t you? Resist the notion, at some level deep down, that you can be “great”. That you can have great-ness. You worry that others will think you are arrogant, conceited, full of yourself. “Pride comes before a fall” jostles with “Who do you think you are?” to keep you in your place.
But being proud and striving to become magnificent is not about being conceited. Because it comes with bucketloads of humility, compassion and self-compassion. And on the whole it also comes as a result of the painful learning process which is your life journey.
But as I digested those words more carefully, and looked upon the shining, muscled, beautiful creature beside me, I began to think, ‘Perhaps I can be magnificent, too, like Ruby? Perhaps I can also be proud? Perhaps I should already be proud? What about that? Perhaps I can embody, and own, right now, what is great about me?’
Then something happened. My horse, who was walking beside me as I trained her, stopped dragging her feet and holding her head stiffly. She became taller suddenly, her ribs and chest expanded, her head dropped a little revealing relaxed, powerful muscles down her neck as her back lifted. She suddenly looked like a horse from the Spanish Riding School, a ginger version at least, proud, exquisitely beautiful, definitely magnificent.
As her posture changed before my eyes I exhaled an admiring “Wow!” Then I noticed that my own posture, too, had changed. My head was up, my chest was out, the tension from my shoulders had dropped. I felt taller. I also felt proud. Perhaps I could also see my own magnificence as well as that of my horse, if I looked carefully enough?
Do you mute your greatness or allow others to do it for you – the harsh voice of the self- critic, echoing the internalised voices of those who feared you over the years, chipping away. Do you look at others, and imagine that their greatness overshadows your own, making you feel smaller, lesser. And even the pursuit of personal awareness and knowledge itself, which is geared towards helping you to become your best self in the future, stops you seeing your own magnificence right now. So try it. Look carefully. Be proud. Be Magnificent. Because you are – right now.