This morning I was reflecting on a memory from my Equus coach training.

One of the things that I learned how to do is to walk into a pasture full of horses, pick one out, and halter it.

On the surface, this sounds pretty simple. I mean, it’s three steps, and once you learn how to work a halter it’s pretty straightforward.

However, like many things — just because it seems simple, doesn’t mean it’s easy.

What usually happens when you first attempt to do this is, the minute you set your sights on a horse and start moving towards it, the horse will prick its ears in your direction and then immediately start moving away from you. Sometimes this is at a slow walk, sometimes it’s a full run. Either way, you can pretty easily find yourself chasing a horse around the pasture for a good long time, and their legs are way longer than yours.

Despite feeling pretty proficient with the whole haltering thing, this exactly what happened to me the first time I tried it. I picked out my horse, started moving in it’s direction, and it quickly began making its way to the other end of the pasture (along with half a dozen other horses that happened to be standing nearby).

I’ll never forget what happened in that moment. The Master Facilitator who was shadowing me (because hey, they’re not going to let you go in there ALONE straight out of the gate) — turned to me and said, “90% of this is what’s happening inside of you. Only about 10% is what’s happening on the outside.”

I knew immediately what he meant. I’d stepped into that pasture with an agenda, a goal that I wanted to achieve. I was focused on the steps — pick horse, approach horse, halter horse. My inner taskmaster was delighted — we have a plan! Let’s do this!

And… my focus on the outside (by attaching to the outcome), was acting as a ‘horse repellent’ — instead of helping me, it was hindering me.

When I reflected on what was happening on the inside, I realized that, by clinging to my agenda, I was no longer connected to the horse. The horse could have been a fencepost in that moment — just something I needed in order to complete the task.

There in the pasture, I took a moment to regroup and settle myself. I looked at the horse (who was now eyeing me warily), and felt inside of myself for the feeling of connectedness and communion that I knew was available (and it’s always available). When I found it, I allowed it to fill my heart.

And then I approached the horse, holding on to that feeling. Allowing my body and eyes to soften, allowing my mind to relax. Approaching without an agenda or goal, just the desire to connect, communicate, and receive feedback. The desire to be in conversation, to stay open to whatever wanted to happen, instead of trying to control what happened.

I felt the horse’s eyes on me as I crossed the pasture, noticed as his watchfulness dropped, and he eased into relaxation and then took a step in my direction. I placed my hand on his powerful neck, speaking softly as turned his face towards me in acknowledgement. He lowered his head, and I eased the halter over his muzzle and ears.

I’m not sure what prompted this memory to come forward, but I needed this reminder today.

Sometimes I get so focused on what I want to do or be or create in the world, that I forget to leave space for the magic that wants to unfold.

Sometimes I get so caught up in what’s happening on the outside, that I forget to tune in and make sure that what’s happening on the inside is in alignment.

Remembering this horse today, and reflecting on the powerful lesson he taught me.

It’s 90% inside, and only 10% outside.

Turn your attention in, and watch the magic step forward to meet you.