Breaking down crystallized forms

Riding in the dressage saddle – at last!

I have had this dressage saddle for a number of years, but usually ride in my endurance saddle. Lately I haven’t ridden in it because my right leg kept coming out of the stirrup, particularly at the trot. I was thinking I’d have to sell the saddle even though it fits my mare Zuzka, really well, and I like the feel of it otherwise.

Then I rode in it the other day, and I was happily surprised that the right leg was no longer dropping the stirrup! What I surmised had happened was the femur, the long thigh bone, was not properly seated at the base of the ilium, the big bone of the pelvis, which caused the fibula in the lower leg to lose its place, so the leg flopped out.

It got me thinking about how we/I think that something is going to remain that way forever, once it sets in, sort of like a mindset, where we consider that now the leg is going to drop the stirrup and it will never get any better just because…

Dr. Arthur Lincoln Pauls, founder of Ortho-Bionomy, was interested in addressing what he called “crystallized forms” – where we think there is no choice. He wanted to explore what was beyond those crystallized forms – where could the body go if we allowed it choice, to find its own path of self-correction. Our minds, trauma, all sorts of things, can sometimes stand in the way, blocking the way to breaking down those crystallized forms of our thinking and in turn, what our bodies can and will do.

I receive Ortho-Bionomy on a regular basis. One of the things I tell clients yet forget myself is that many times we come for treatment of one particular ailment, but while that is being addressed, other ailments or problems may fall away. I have not gone to an appointment with the sole purpose of doing anything about my leg, for instance, because I had another saddle to ride in where this didn’t happen. I thought I was probably just getting older (perish the thought) and this was the new normal.

I know I’m not alone in that kind of thinking. It’s natural to tend to the things that are the most problematic. But what if we could achieve what seems beyond the body’s current ability, not shoving it around in a repetitive exercise class or judo, or insisting on lifting 100 bales of hay, but by just giving it time and encouragement to make the corrections it needs to make? And sometimes, I think, by forgetting about a problem, as I had, it gives the body the space to make a change. “Whew, she isn’t eyeballing me any more. Now I can relax.” [body part speaking]

It shows me that so much healing takes place while we’re busy making other plans, sort of like life. If we’re busy healing one part, then the others will join in if they can. We use the pause or “the space between the notes” in Ortho-Bionomy — where we allow a rhythm to continue or establish itself, whatever the case may be, that can lead to healing.

It reminds me too of how in liberty training in the Carolyn Resnick Method, we use “the pause,” and in it, we also sometimes turn away from the horse, find something else to do, so we don’t have all our attention boring down on him. He may find this interesting and come over to check it out. New thought patterns emerge out of curiosity. The horse becomes more of himself, curious, alive, wanting to engage.

So we can see how horses do not like crystallized forms.¬† They want us to be leaders, but true leaders, who are always looking for the best way to communicate. By giving space in the relationship we hear what the horse has to say. We learn true leadership, so that horses want to do activities with us, which is what we would all want in a relationship. Why wouldn’t our horses appreciate that treatment?

If I remain open to possibility, to breaking down those crystallized forms with people and animals, there is a greater chance of touching the unknown, receiving gifts I didn’t know existed – and possibilities beyond my wildest dreams.


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