Bluebird Lane Blog
Bluebird Lane Blog

You Have a To-Do List. How About a Ta-Da! List?

by Lori Albrough

One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.
– Marie Curie

OK, so if a two-time Nobel-prize winning scientist can write that, doesn’t it only make sense that the rest of us might, from time to time, feel weighed down by all of what we HAVE to do, never mind what we WANT to do? If it sometimes seems like the gap between where you are at with your horse and where you want to be is a canyon, then I have a practice I want to share with you.

I am convinced that our positive attitudes and our thoughts are one of the most powerful tools that we have in our riding and our training. We can’t separate our whole lives from our horse lives. We bring every part of ourselves into our horse interactions.

Our horses are herd animals, exquisitely tuned-in to subtle body language, body chemistry, and other manifestations of thought that we probably aren’t even aware of. That’s why us bringing a positive, winning attitude is key.

Maintaining that winning attitude for the good of your relationship with your horse may be important, but it is not always easy. Not with all the pressures and negativity that surrounds us day to day. We can’t hide our head in the sand and pretend that negativity and pressure doesn’t exist, but we can decide to implement practices, habits, and systems to counteract those negative thoughts and influences. My practice is to offset the tyranny of the To-Do list with the positivity of the Ta-Da! list.

You know how I love rhymes, and here’s a useful one: The solution to pollution is dilution.

Negative influences which can pollute our attitudes include work pressures, toxic media, and, often the heaviest weight of all: our self-imposed pressure to meet our own high standards and timetables, or even thoughts that we aren’t good enough for our horse, or that his talents are wasted on us. Let’s dilute that polluting negativity by taking the time every day to acknowledge what is good, what we have done, and even, what is awesome.

That’s the goal of the Ta-Da! list, to keep your focus squarely on the good. What you’re grateful for. What you’ve accomplished. What is done! You want to notice doors that have been kicked open for you, even a crack. By making a practice of focusing on what you are grateful for, what has gone right, and what you have accomplished, you begin training yourself to look for these things throughout your day. When you look for them, you open up to more of them, and more of them will come to you.

Here’s another of my favorite rhymes that explains this: Energy flows where attention goes.

The Ta-Da! list practice will take 5 minutes a day. Set a timer if you wish. Each evening sit down for five minutes and write the following in your journal:

Gratitudes : Five things you are grateful for

This can be anything. Stick to five even if sometimes you feel like you could go on forever. There will be days when coming up with five will seem daunting, and then you’ll be grateful that you don’t have to work so hard.

It’s interesting to look back and see what themes emerge over time (my horse, my dog, my husband, my home, good food, living in a free country). Some days you may have to start at, “that I have a pulse”, and that’s OK too. You can even be grateful for dirty dishes (they show that we’re eating pretty well around here!)

Gifts : Any synchronicities that occur (try for 3 to 5)

Gifts are things that show up, that are leading you to your intention.

For example, when I was getting to the point where I wanted to introduce the flying changes to my Second Level horse, I thought that first a tune-up lesson for myself on a schoolmaster would be in order. But how? My initial thought was that these horses don’t grow on trees and people don’t let just anyone ride them. Then one day shortly thereafter I was at my coach’s barn and I admired the work of a beautiful PRE gelding, who was just my size and schooling Fourth Level. His owner said, totally out of the blue, “Would you like to take a lesson on him?” Yeah, would I ever! It was perfect!

That was a big example, but any little synchronicity that shows up in your life should go on your list, like unexpected income, phone calls, serendipitous meetings, opportunities, new friends and resources. Write them down. Even if it’s something that might not go through, it’s great to recognize that it’s there at all by writing it down.

Gains : Any accomplishments you have made or gains you’ve created

These can be big or little. There is no difference. Did you keep your hands steady more often than not in your ride today? Terrific! Write it down. Did your horse accept the bridle, round up lightly from behind and stay connected for two steps? Fantastic! That counts! Two steps will lead to three, I guarantee it. Was your horse resistant and you didn’t get frustrated with him and instead just kept calmly asking for what you wanted, for as long as it took? That is huge! Write it down.

Be proud of yourself for the smallest steps. Positive reinforcement in training your horse involves noticing everytime he does something right, and rewarding him for that. The Ta-Da! list does the same thing for training your own positive, winning attitude!


5 Responses to “You Have a To-Do List. How About a Ta-Da! List?”

  1. David VanHoof wrote:

    Hi Lori,

    I’m a huge proponent of self development and your newsletters always cause me to look inside myself and evaluate where I am concerning your chosen topic of the week.

    On a scale of 1-10, with the higher number being the better, sometimes I’m a 9 or 10, sometimes a 5, and once in a while I’m a 1 or a 2…however, the tips and suggestions you write about always give me tools to make those things a more relevant part of my life.

    I just wanted to take a minute and say “Thank you” for sharing your thoughts with us in your newsletter.

    The website I listed above is a blog I’ve started and I’d like to have your permission to re-post your newsletter on my blog…it would include all your information and I believe would be a great resource to my readers.

    Thanks again Lori…continue to be blessed and at peace.
    David VanHoof

  2. daisy wrote:

    wonderfully clear on how to look at our daily life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Becky Singer wrote:

    Hi Lori, great article. I tend to overlook and not fully appreciate the gifts and synchronicity in my life. Like my riding instructer who led to my free horse and the dead clutch which prevented me from looking at a different horse instead.

    Im glad to see Levi found a home, I hope his owner has great success with him.

  4. Lori Albrough wrote:

    David, congratulations on your blog! I am so very happy to hear that my work resonates with you. I would be happy to have you re-post my articles on your blog, as long as you include my blurb and link. I’ll send you the info.

  5. katie wrote:

    Hi Lori, I sense you’re a Simple Abundance Sarah Ban Breathnach fan! Love it! I’m new to your site and blog- I love the positive thoughts on this Ta Da post!!
    Thank you, I needed that today (or everyday!)

Leave a Comment