Self Care Lessons from the Bottom of a Mud Puddle

by Carol Hess on September 14, 2011

When I was fifteen years old, I spent most of one winter at the bottom of a mud puddle.  And it taught me some valuable lessons – lessons which are coming in very handy these days on my self care journey. 

Desert Flame, better known as Desi.  That was the name of the horse my parents rented for me that winter.  He was one of my horseback riding teacher’s horses, and he came cheap.  That was because he became Desert Burning Inferno in the winter. 

There was something about the cold weather that turned him from a sweet, well-trained horse into a crazy bucking bronco.  And since I was no daredevil rodeo cowboy but just a suburban Philadelphia kid who loved to ride, I got thrown off . . . . alot.

Desi seemed to have a knack for finding the coldest, wettest, biggest, nastiest mud puddle, and that is where he would project me with great precision.  And with just as great precision, I would land on my backside in the deepest part of that puddle.

This unfortunate event happened, on average, at least two or three times every time I rode Desi, and I was riding him 4 or 5 times a week.  By my calculations, that means me and my ass hit the mud puddle a minimum of 8 times a week times about 12 weeks of cold weather.  In other words, my parents paid for me to get bruised, sore, muddy, and pissed off 96 times or more that winter.  Now there’s a bargain!  No wonder my father wasn’t keen on me continuing my horseback riding career. 

I never did become a great rider, just an adequate one.  But that was okay, because I became something much more important.  I became persistent.

Good old Desi and the mud puddle taught me to stick with something, even when it’s uncomfortable.  They taught me not to give up.  I learned how to get up out of that mud puddle, clean myself off as best I could, get right back on that blankety blank horse, and keep riding.

And that’s what I’m doing with the self care horse I’m riding.  I’m not doing it perfectly.  I’m ending up with my ample ass in a mud puddle more times than I like to count.  I make an unhealthy food choice, I skip my morning meditation, I blow off my daily exercise, I stay up too late watching tv.

But there is one thing I do absolutely perfectly every single day.  I don’t give up.  I know from experience that the weather will change, the horse will stop bucking, and I’ll be a better rider for having stuck it out.

What bucks you off on a regular basis?  And what gets you back on the horse you’re riding?

by Carol Hess


Categories Personal Empowerment, Self Care

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Gloria Thomas September 14, 2011 at 3:13 pm

What bucks me off on a regular basis, i.e. daily, is writing this blankety blank dissertation but i get back on the horse each morning knowing i must write to reach the end. I have learned a lot about perserverance, writing and what makes me tick, and after just under 2 years (I’m a slow writer) i am nearing the end of the final chapter with “just” the front and end to add then i can submit it. I’m riding to the end, too late to quit, and anxious to discover the person I have become…yipee aye yay! Thanks for your self-care blog!


avatar Carol Hess September 14, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Hey there, Gloria. Sounds like you have got that bucking bronco of a dissertation just about tamed. Congratulations on sticking with it! (I’m humming cowboy music as I type.) Thanks so much for stopping by Star Polisher and joining the conversation. Let us know when you’ve stopped riding that bronco of yours and they’re calling you Dr. Gloria, okay? We’ll throw you a party! :)


avatar Anne Melnyk September 14, 2011 at 6:42 pm

LOL! That would never happen these days Carol, what with all the liability issues that would arise. I think our generation were more accepting our personal responsibility for taking risks!

That said, the gift of persistence is an awesome one! You Dad may not have realized what he was paying for, but he got a deal none-the-less!


avatar Carol Hess September 15, 2011 at 6:49 am

I never thought about the liability issue. You’re right, Anne. Those were different times (and a LONG time ago!). Dad never did like that horse, especially when my mother decided to take up riding so we would “get our money’s worth.” But he indulged us because he was that kind of a guy.


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