Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mixed Signals

I recently had an MRI on my knee, the right, knee, the knee that has already seen seven surgeries. As I lay on the table, I was told to relax and hold as still as possible. Then I was given a set of heavy headphones. And what was playing through those headphones? Disco music! Now how could I possibly relax with Donna Summer encouraging me to get up and dance? I tried to tune out all audio (Donna was competing with the clunks and clanks of the MRI machine) and for the next twenty-five minutes I  concentrated on my deep breathing exercises. Breathe in, count to six, breathe out, count to six.

I also began to think of the many times we give people (and our four-legged friends) mixed signals. Telling someone they did a good job without smiling, asking our horse to stop while leaning forward and squeezing with our legs, giving a firm directive, such as "No," said with the upward inflection of a question mark at the end of the word.

Our entire lives are made up of mixed signals and I, for one, have begun to really think through what I do and how I do it. It is a mentally tiresome process for me, or at least it was at first. With practice, it has begun to be easier. And, with my clarity of signals, I have found a clarity of thought that was missing before. My relationships with my horses are tighter, as are those with the people around me. And now, before I have that eighth surgery, I am going to crank me up some Donna and dance!

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