A few years ago, I booked a horse-riding outing for my daughter and accompanied her, as she was only some 6 or 7 years old. I remember watching her from behind, me juggling between utter panic about falling off the horseback, the attempt to figure out how to adapt to the animal’s pace and thinking:”what if she falls down? I’m powerlessly stuck on that horse and wouldn’t even know what to call to her in case she had a problem.” Of course, I was mildly calmed by the presence of the guide who was leading my daughter’s horse, but really only so slightly.
And there she was, her torso hopping up and down, and it looked as if she would just bounce off any minute (she’s a featherweight), but she looked completely happy and at ease.
When we returned to the stalls for some hot chocolate I asked her whether she hadn’t found it tough. (For reference, my stomach was still in a knot, my legs wobbly and I had chafing marks on my inner legs that would make me walk like a cowboy for days.) She looked puzzled at me and said:”Why? No…it was easy. I just sat there and it went all by itself!”
I thought she was trying yo play it utterly cool at first, but it turned out it really had been a piece of cake for her. She is a very nature- and animal-sensitive child, and anything involving any of these just puts her in her element. No self-doubt, no huge reflection about how she should act. She is just herself and in the world where she is the most at ease and follows her intuition, her gut feeling, without thinking.
And I admire her for that ability. And as time goes on, I see it slowly dissipating and I tell myself that I need to do anything I can to let her protect and cultivate that strength, so she doesn’t end up the self-doubting and -torturing being that most adults end up being. And that I should follow her example from time to time, try and just left that self-doubt slide off me and simply do what feels right.