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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Don't Get Back On The Horse

Recently I was speaking with a dear friend who just got back from an extended vacation intended to refresh him.  As he returned to his job and daily activities however, he found himself more demotivated and uninspired than ever. 

“I just can’t seem to get back on the horse”, he said.

When I was in Costa Rica on the Qoya retreat two years ago, one of the activities I chose was horseback riding.  I got thrown off a horse when I was 12 so I prayed for a calm, easy, gentle giant to return to riding.  My friend Becca on the other hand, saw a spotted looking thing with a punk rock haircut and a walleye.  “I want that one!”  she said. (Becca is a brilliant jewelry designer and has great taste for the eclectic. She owns a fabulous company with her Mother and sister called POUND. Check em' out.)

That bronco threw her off onto the rocky beach within 40 seconds.

In that moment, Becca had a choice to make.  She could be afraid of horses for the rest of her life, go back to her room and lick her wounds (justifiably), or she could “get back on the horse”. 

What would you do?
The bronco in question, Becca after the throw & a signature POUND treasure
Becca choose to get back on the horse.  The key thing is though, that she made sure to choose a different horse on which to ride. 

I often talk about how the double edged sword of living in such a conscious age is that while we are given so many tools to practice acceptance and improve our lives, sometimes we can use these tools to drive ourselves crazy.  Rather than choosing a different horse, we change the saddle, brush the horse, feed it carrots, and get frustrated when we get tossed off over and over again.

In my own journey, I saw this play out dramatically in my work life.  I worked at a corporate job in my twenties and stayed about three years past the point of when I wanted to leave. I hated my job. I felt like my soul was dying, I wasn’t sleeping and I had severe anxiety. When I encountered people who were passionate about their work I wanted to punch them in the face.  But every day I would write effing gratitude lists for my job, or I would buy flowers for my desk.  I would do all sorts of things to rearrange the deck furniture on this sinking ship.  The whole time I thought something was wrong with me that I couldn’t get back on the horse of productivity and professionalism.  What I realize now is that it would have made everyone’s life easier: myself, my family, my co-workers, if I had just listened to what my intuition that was telling me: find a different horse. 
I was raised on a horse farm, so I know about these things. :)
A very common question I get about using seduction as a spiritual practice is “how do you seduce yourself into something you don’t want to do?” Well, that is a contradiction in terms.   If you don’t want to do something, it has not, nor will it ever seduce you.  It first has to become more attractive. 

Let’s take working out as an example.  You want to get up in the morning and go to the gym but you just can’t seem to do it.  If this were me I would probably get myself some hot new workout clothes, find girlfriends to meet me at the gym in the morning, reward myself with a smoothie before my workout for even waking up, put gold stars on my calendar for every day I worked out, keep a special set of fancy bath products in my locker and worship my naked body in the mirror after my workout with sandalwood lotion.  The possibilities are endless!

However, there is one key factor that I am leaving out: at this time in my life, you couldn’t pay me to join a gym.

To me, gym culture feels violent, boring and stinks of self-loathing as a means to create transformation.  That ain’t Kitty Cavalier. (Note: there are people reading this who love the gym and I honor you.  It’s just not my journey right now.)  For me, I don’t exercise. Instead, I connect to this temple that houses my soul with pleasure based movement. Qoya, dancing in my living room, morning stretches in my bed, chasing Winnie through a grassy field, the occasional yoga class, lifting my leg to admire it and flexing it to feel musculature.  All of these “work me out”.  But I have given up on having a “workout schedule”.  It just doesn’t seduce me and never has.

Photo by Jodi Jones for Qoya

That being said, I spent at least 30 years of my life trying to fit into what exercise is supposed to look like.  I bought the gym clothes. I arranged the buddy meet ups. I made the smoothies.  But after so many years of trying and failing to “get back on the horse” it has become clear to me, that that is just not my horse to ride.

By accepting that fact, my body feels ecstatically happy and freer than ever.  All the mental clutter of self-judgment for being so bad for not exercising is gone, and what has taken its place is the time and energy to focus on the things that really seduce me.  And when I do that, I look back on my days with great love.

Ahhhh, seduction.  You get me every time.

Whirlin’ and Twirlin’,

Kitty Cavalier

PS - Want a seduction bomb that will crack open your inner seductress like an erupting volcano? Your Seductress Unveiled begins September 9th. Join us!


  1. This is brilliant! To varying degrees, we're all often looking for permission to follow what feels good and ditch the rest. Thanks for giving us that today, Kitty. Love.

  2. What a beautiful article!!! Love this concept and can't wait to try some new horses!

  3. Love the metaphor! And not just because I'm a horse gal. :)

    Sometimes you do need to ditch the nag and find yourself a beautiful thoroughbred to ride.