Ride First

I am advocating for a world where we all ride first.

Say what Adelle?

Unless you’re a horse-person I’ll probably have to expand a little more.

What is your your escape from the world? Your saving grace? Where does your inner peace come from?

Playing guitar? Journaling? Running? Working in your garden? Meditating? Yoga?

My escape is my riding. In such a regimented world we live in, so structured by “the man” – "riding first" is probably the most difficult thing in the world to do.

Most of our days look like this: Alarm goes off, *insert autopilot here,* get up, get the kids up, breakfast, lunches, showers, clean clothes, coffee… where-is-the-coffee, wallet, jacket, lets go! Despite the routine, you may, or may not still be “late” on any given day.

Then we go all day, exchanging hours for money to exchange money for bills – this main part of the day often takes our most critical thinking, energy and capacity to get through, and rightfully so, we all need to make a good living – (I just hope you’re doing that in a job that you love).

Then we end that part of our day, and head into phase two of our day. May look similar or slightly different than this, but:

Groceries, supper, extracurricular children’s sports before and/or after supper, wash the car, have you seen your spouse today? Like SEEN them? Ah whatever, survival of the fittest around here. Dishes, laundry, homework, work you didn’t finish at work, when was the last time you intentionally breathed? Good thing our bodies do that for us automatically.

I mean, the above are the core basics that fluctuate day to day, but for the most part, these are your priorities. (priorities?)

Then, you’re exhausted. You’re too tired to ride, journal, exercise, run, play. Tomorrow. Tomorrow you will change, it’s a lighter day, you’ll be better tomorrow. Click – on the tv, because that doesn’t take any brain power, it’s like the dull numb of a beer, ahhh. We are relaxing.(?) You deserve it.

No, actually, you don’t. What you deserve, is to be recharged, filled up, present. You deserve to see your spouse (like, really see them), hear your kids, love the dog, FEEL yourself.

You have to do it. You have to do it first. I can’t tell you how, but it has to be first, somewhere in your day. It absolutely cannot be last. Before bed is no time to recharge. That’s what sleeping does, out of desperation and survival. It can be first thing before you head back to work from your lunch break. It can be first thing before you make supper. It can be first thing before you pick the kids up. It can be first thing before soccer practise. It can be first thing before the dishes.

Why is it so hard for us when we are sitting at our desk or on the couch burning or already burned out, to take ten damn minutes to breathe, go for a walk, journal, or do something to give us a rapid-charge? We wouldn’t think twice about it if it was our phone running out of battery in the middle of the day. #ohsnap

And maybe, just maybe, you’re already doing something for you first, and you just need to change your perspective on it. Instead of walking the dog in the morning being a chore, maybe you can change your perspective on it being the best part of your cup filling day. If you’re really jammed, maybe it can be sitting down for SIXTY SECONDS to take your first few sips of coffee. Listen to the birds chirping. Listen to NATURE, OR NOTHING, OR MAYBE YOU’LL EVEN REALLY START TO HEAR YOURSELF.

Sometimes you might even need a thing that instigates you doing your first thing.

When I got up this morning, I wasn’t going to ride first. I was going to ride late, after the heat of the day wears off around 8pm. (AKA: I wasn’t riding today). Ok Adelle, if you’re not riding first thing, you’re getting up and doing your qigong, because when you don’t do that first, you don’t do it at all either.

Qigong is one of my new things that I am having a hard time fitting in first. I love it, it works so much better for me than still and silent meditation, because it’s my body moving AND my mind meditating. But, time. It takes time. Like THIRTY MINUTES. But when I put qigong first somewhere in my day, it literally energizes or revitalizes me. Today, I did it first, and then had a surge of overwhelm to go ride my horse (second first!). Then I was so filled up I came in and wrote this blog (third first! I’m on a roll). Now, its 10 am, I’ve been up since 6 and my personal cup is sooo filled up – I can’t wait to see what I produce today at work!

I am not a hour by hour slugger, I cannot just pace out average mediocrity for an 8 hour day. I will have a two hour stint of brilliance, producing 4x the quality of work that I could in a whole day, and then an hour of brain-dead-can-barely-respond-to-a-general-inquiry-email, repeat. What I need to do those zombie hours, is take another recharge, and produce like I know I can when my cup is full.

Riding first is a HARD habit to get in to. I spent 20 years in an 8-4, and riding always came after, if it came at all. If you dare to try to ride first, here’s what I still experience. I will go out and ride, feel so full of peace and calmness, ready to legit take on the world today and then… I come in the house. I look at the clock. It’s 8:30, the coffee isn’t made, my teeth aren’t brushed, I AM LATE.

But I’m not late. Because when I ride first, I can trade my hours for duties more passionately, focused, and productive, because I am already filled up. When I give give give from nothing, I’m too tired to recharge and produce shit for the people putting their trust in me doing a good job. When we ride first, we can pour out of our cup, full of gratitude for the rest of the day. How we do life now is so backwards. I am so blessed to work for an organization that understands and supports this type of working lifestyle (luckily we are leading the way in mental health #keypoint). Sometimes I’m working at 7 at night, sometimes we are group texting while I’m riding on horseback down the road, sometimes (lots of times) I’m lying in bed solving a problem or thinking up our next great idea – especially in the shower. Sometimes I’m away from home for an 18-hour day trip, or maybe even storm stayed in some airport hotel.

But on all the other days, I ride first.

I hope you do to.

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