Comet, a two year old quarter horse, is definitely the one at Fire Horse Ranch that can quickly put a smile on your face. His personality, character and antics often contribute to smiles, laughter, and good stories to share. Look into his eyes and you’ll find innocence, goodness and curiosity, and you can almost see the wheels turning in his mind.
When he’s fed his daily herbs, they’re mixed in with other food and placed in a large round rubber bowl. Up until a few weeks ago he quietly ate from the bowl without any fuss. Then things started to change.
I noticed a funny trail in the dirt one day and realized that as he was eating he’d begun to slide his bowl along the ground. Mind you it wasn’t just a couple feet one direction or another; it was a good 30 feet! And each time he ate out of this bowl the direction he moved was completely different.
After a while, I noticed he had stopped sliding it around and had begun putting his front feet into the bowl and pawing at it until if flipped over. You can imagine what happened next….all his food ended up underneath the bowl and out of his reach. Once he realized what happened he would start pawing at the bowl with a bit of frustration and make a fuss trying to get it to flip back over. Rather than flipping it back over he seemed to just slide it and push it around, still upside down, with the food still out of his reach. I would then have to go lift the bowl up and remove it so he could eat.
The first couple of times it was funny and I got a chuckle over it. However, I eventually tired of all of his food ending up in the dirt and scattered all over. So he graduated to a bucket that hangs on the fence that can’t be tipped over, and the food all ends up where it’s suppose to.
This scenario reminds me of how we often have everything we need right in front of us (the food in the food bowl), yet don’t recognize it for what it is. We then try to rearrange it, make it look different, move it, turn it upside down and inside out, hide it, ignore it, and perhaps even eventually become frustrated. Once we repeat these behaviors often enough they become habit. At that point it’s very hard to see that what we want is already in front of us, and if the format doesn’t work (tipping the bowl over and not being able to get to the food) to try something new that does (putting the food in a different type of bucket that provides access to the food).
Where might you be putting your feet in your food bowl, scattering it about, turning it upside down and denying yourself access to what it contains? What have you become frustrated with that may simply need a new container? Where have subconscious behaviors been created that once recognized can easily be changed?
Take a look at your food bowl. Step back, walk around it, and look at it with a clear perspective. You might just find a better way to partake of what it contains.