My aunt taught me to ride a horse the summer that I was 11. Over the Kansas prairie we trotted and eventually cantered. Being in the mid-west, I learned to ride with a Western saddle. Basically, this meant I needed to be careful about how I held the reins. Specifically, I remember being instructed not to pull too tight and to eventually work toward holding the reins with just one hand.
Loose reins? One hand?
Even my 11-year-old self thought this was asking for problems. For me to be in control, didn’t I need to grip tightly, closely, fiercely? Counter-intuitive though it may seem, loose reins are needed in order to really be able to guide the horse. And to trust the horse.
Somedays, life feels a little bit like riding a horse for the first time. My instinct to grab the reins tightly, closely, fiercely rears itself in a moment. How is it that all these years later I can still feel like that 11-year-old girl trotting across the prairie?