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I'm A Weirdo.

I’m a weirdo. I’m OK with that.

I am sure there are ‘right ways’ of doing things. I’m sure there are efficient ways of doing things and ways of doing things that help one achieve particular outcomes in an efficient way.
There are also just ways of doing things that feel fun, that make sense to only me, or that help achieve outcomes that I haven’t yet considered.
These thoughts occurred to me as I mowed the front field this evening. Rather than the normal straight-line approach to mowing the entire field,  I mowed it like my mower was a starfighter I was on a mad hunt for weeds that were taking evasive action and shooting back at me. I stopped part of the way through to take this picture and admire my creation.
(Warning: If you are OCD this image may disturb you)
Why did I mow it like that? Refer to the title of this blog.

Playing With Possibilities

If someone asked me what I was hoping to gain by doing a thing in the way I did, I would likely give an answer that would cause them to cock their head to the side, while saying: “Oooo Kaaay” under their breath as they slowly turn away, realizing there is no way to have a logical conversation about this with me.
A recently older version of me would probably try hard to come up with an answer that sounded good to others. Perhaps there would have been a different answer for different people so I could keep them all happy.
An even older version of me would not need to come up with an answer because I would have done it the 'right way' in the first place.
Before that, there was a version of me that got it wrong a lot, but I was a student trying to hone my craft. I just needed more practice so all variations were forgiven.
Way, way back I can remember a young version of me that would get everything wrong all the time and people were delighted. 
They would laugh. I didn’t know better. I was playing. 
I would laugh. I didn't know better. I was playing.
Today, I feel closer to that oldest version of myself than I have in a long long time... but as an adult, to act with such irreverence for 'proper' outcomes is to be a weirdo. Have I learned nothing? Have I not matured? Or...
Dr Ellen Langer, Professor at Harvard and the ‘Mother of Mindfulness’ in her book: The Power Of Mindful Learning describes a difference between Intelligence and Mindfulness: Intelligence is a means of achieving desired outcomes. Mindfulness is a process through which meaning is given to outcomes.
I could come up with some perfectly good-sounding meanings and reasons for the outcome I achieved. But it wouldn't be WHY I did it. I did it that way because I'm a weirdo.

Mindful Mowing

Dr Langer goes on to say that we have to maintain what some have called intelligent ignorance to make the best of any situation.
That’s it! Mindful mowing. I was making decisions at each moment, assessing the length of grass, type of weed, and sharpness with which I could turn. I had to constantly scan the environment, and remember weeds I passed while targeting others. I could make a decision, then revise it, I could come at things from any direction I wanted. I focused close in, then stopped to scan the whole field, assess, and continue.
I let my instinct in the moment determine my action, rather than a set of rules, based on someone else's picture of 'the proper desired outcome'.
If I had just mowed the correct pattern I probably could have thought about other things, things about business, or stuff I have to do later, blogs I could write, podcasts I could do. Would that have been more efficient?
If I have learned anything as I have matured, it’s that it’s better to be fully here, now in exactly the moment I am in, in a playful and free way, than to mindlessly do one thing while thinking about another, or doing what I have always done (or what is always done), simply because someone said that was the way to do it. 
And it led to a blog after all!
Mindfulness opens possibilities and creativity.
Solana Karen 4.18 web

Intelligent Ignorance

Who knew mindfulness could be so much fun? It's not about deep thoughts, being able to meditate 12 hours a day, or being a perfect person with only pure thoughts. It's about embracing not knowing. It's about playing with possibilities in this moment and being open to new outcomes. It's about being a weirdo and loving it.
Mindless or mindful? I pick mindful. It's much more fun.
Feel free to apply this to things other than mowing.
Leave a comment below to share how this applies to horsemanship 😉
by Karen Rohlf

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Karen Rohlf, author and creator of the Dressage Naturally program, is an internationally recognized clinician who is changing the equestrian educational paradigm. She is well known for doing dressage with a priority of partnership, her student-empowering approach to teaching, her virtual courses, and her positive and balanced point of view.

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