I have often heard of people talking about their "bliss". I nod, smile, without really grasping what it is that they are talking about. According to Webster's Dictionary, "Bliss" is defined as 1) complete happiness; 2) Paradise, Heaven. Wikipedia describes "bliss" as "an emotional state that is characterized by perfect happiness (feelings of enjoyment, pleasure, and satisfaction)." I could grasp what they were saying on a intellectual level, but not on a heart level. That is until three weeks ago.
Three weeks ago, my daughter and I signed up for riding lessons. My daughter had asked a number of times about learning to ride a horse, and I would always nod and say something dismissive like, "Uh-huh," or "I'll look into it." I didn't mean to be dismissive. There was just so many other things that always needed my attention, or my "looking into" skills. Riding lessons always were pushed into the background for more "practical" pursuits like tennis, or soccer. However, there was something different about the way she asked me this time. I recognized that tone. The longing and wishful hope in her little heart as she tentatively asked me again. This time I got online and started looking for folks giving riding lessons near to where we lived. There weren't that many listed so the short list was very short. One phone call later, I had set up a meeting with the instructor. Two days later we met her, and the rest is history. Both my daughter and I are taking lessons now. Different days, so we each have our own space to learn. We both enjoy our time at "The Barn".
It was after my second lesson as I dismounted from "Little Man" that it really hit me. I have found my Bliss. The thing that ignites in me such strong feelings of enjoyment, pleasure and satisfaction, that at times I feel I am going to burst. Sometimes, when I am going around the ring, practicing my posting and point 2's, I cannot help but laugh. My trainer says she gets a kick out of me because my enthusiasm is infectious. I honestly cannot remember anyone saying that about me. No matter how hard I've worked, how shaky and wobbly my legs feel after a session, my heart and soul feel light. My mind, quiet and still. After being with the horses and ponies, I feel alive. For me that's a really big deal. For over ten years, I've felt utter hopelessness. Such overwhelming sadness had a hold of me that it paralyzed me. At it's worst, I could barely function. Nothing interested me. Taking care of myself was an overwhelming chore, let alone trying to take care of my family. I would try to pull myself up by my bootstraps and fail. Failure, guilt and frustration became familiar companions to me. Until my darling husband couldn't take my pain anymore and pushed me to get some real help. Many hours of therapy and hard work later, I no longer feel like that. After much thingamajigging with meds, I could feel even. That was over five years ago. I had made peace with my even state. After all, it was better being even than the other. Still, when I'd hear of others talking about finding their "Bliss", or being able to really feel joy, I was at a loss. I could remember what joy felt like. Almost like a faded memory from long ago. Like a beloved loved one that had passed away a very long time ago. The power of their physical presence long gone, but the memory of who they were and what they were lightly lingers in the small corners of your mind. That is how it felt for me to think of happiness and joy. Abstract concepts that could be understood. Then I got on a horse's back and all that changed.
"The Barn" has become my refuge and escape. The place I seek out when I just need to remember what it means to be me. Not a mommy, or a wife. Friend, sister or daughter. Just me. The little girl with all the big dreams and unshakeable belief in herself. The young girl who knew that life is good even if it can be unfair and sad at times. The young woman who just instinctively knew she could be successful in life. That's what "Bliss" brings you.