Arriving in my inbox last week was an email about public service wisdom and the array of strategies employed when it is discovered you are riding a ‘dead horse’. For instance, #4 suggests to visit other countries to see how they ride dead horses, #10 supports
reclassifying the dead horse as ‘living-impaired’ whilst #15 advocates promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position. Tongue-in-cheek fun of course, but how many of us ride “dead horses” in our personal lives?
Dead horses are those things we’re continuing to pour our emotional and physical energies into even when there are no signs of life. They are those things that we’re trying to resuscitate or carry on our shoulders into tomorrow, next week, next year despite them being ready for burial. It can be that we whip the horse harder because we don’t want to give up. It may be that we adopt a different riding style (side-saddle anyone?) because of our emotional attachment to the beast. It could even be that we’re harnessing several dead horses together in an attempt to increase the speed (strategy #7). Irrespective of the ‘why?’, a dead horse won’t take you any further along life’s path.
It’s easier to see the physical dead horses however they aren’t always necessarily things – they could be beliefs that shape our self-image, habits that dictate our
behaviour or patterns of behaviour that continually set us up for disappointment. We may be grasping at the lost opportunity, we might be bound by a past experience, or we may be straddling unhealthy choices.
Are the things you are thinking and doing supporting health? Health in relationships, career, finances, spirit? If not, perhaps the horse has died and its time to get off. At the end of a day, a dead horse is a dead horse. It cannot be ridden any further, regardless of the strategies we employ, even if we modify our standards to include the dead horse (strategy #13).
Let’s identify the dead horses in our lives and bury them, once and for all.
Let hope rise.