What CAN I do? A rather personal blog about focus

What CAN I do?  A rather personal blog about focus

This weekend the blog is late.


You may have noticed that.


It is also quite personal.  I hope you don’t mind.


After six months of being in and out of hospital, my dad is finally in a lovely care home down on the Kent coast – and this weekend was my first visit to him there.


It’s hard when major aspects of your life change.  For my dad, he has gone from being an active, enthusiastic, energetic 89 year old who built model steam engines, cared for mum 24/7 and always had a laugh and a smile – to a quiet, sleepy man who is mostly in bed.  He still has his sense of humour, and when I visited he still managed to make some jokes about the horsehay on my clothes.  But he is fading.  He is however, relaxed and well cared for – in a lovely sunny room and with visitors most days to chat about the old and new days.

He also gets to see mum whenever he wants:  Mum has dementia and is in the same home, so most afternoons she is helped along to his room and they sit there holding hands – -the emotions still strong after all this time and despite the changes in both of them.


It’s hard to see your parents fade.


And of course it has made me focus on my own life.  And how I am choosing to spend it.


Many years ago, one of my sisters died quite suddenly.  She was 46, and my other sister and I realised that although looking forward to “doing things later” can be quite enjoyable, it is also risky and you may never reach that “later”.

That event triggered me to return to the UK, get back into being with horses, take up my art, write a novel – all sorts of things that I had generally said “one day I will…” to doing


Sometimes it takes a major event to remind you that for some people “one day” doesn’t happen.



So all this with my mum and dad is having a similar impact.


My mum and dad have had amazing lives:  Dad was a pilot instructor in the war, mum was an aircraft mechanic.  Dad became a technical draughtsman, mum a teacher.  They raised four children – and raised us pretty well I think.  And the older I get, the more of both of them I see in myself.


And this set me to thinking – what do I want from my life?



This can be a scary question – sometimes it brings us right up against the walls of what we can’t do, what it’s too late to do (I think competitive gymnastics is out for me at this stage LOL)


But – we CAN focus on what we CAN do….


A couple of things this triggered me to write this week:


1.  You don’t have to be scared

Life is too short to lose ANY of it being scared of your horse.  Being with your horse is supposed to be FUN, it’s recreation, it’s rewarding – -for many of us it’s therapy and it’s OUR time – so why waste ANY of it being scared?

There are many confidence coaches and courses out there – -go find one!

You have a RIGHT not to be scared

You DESERVE not to be scared


You have the right to be confident and be having FUN with your horse…..


Take up that right – and take action for yourself…..

Whether that action is going on a course, reading through this blog – buying a book – it doesn’t matter

What DOES matter is that you believe you are WORTH IT…..and being happy with your horse is allowed and encouraged


2.  Focus on what you CAN do

So many of us spend our time thinking of all the things we CAN’T do.  For me right now that is a LOT

I can’t make plans personally because we are sorting mum and dad’s estate out and that is taking up all our time, I can’t spend as much time with my horses as I would like to due to this; I can’t afford to pay someone else to do the work so have to do it myself – -I can’t…..I can’t….


And while all that may be true, DWELLING on it really doesn’t create a positive mood or attitude for when I DO get time with my horses.

In fact, when I am with them I am so full of al the CANTs that there is no room at all for just being with them – so I hardly enjoy that.


Which seems to me an incredible waste.


A waste of them, a waste of me – and a waste of an opportunity for happiness.


Now obviously I can’t wish away the can’ts – but what CAN I do?


–          I CAN make a list of what I need to do and plan it

–          I CAN take an extra fifteen minutes when I go to feed my horses, and spend that time touching them, feeling them, breathing them in and enjoying them

–          I CAN have next Monday afternoon to be with them

–          I CAN ……


As I do this I feel myself filling with what I CAN do….


And that is positive, warming and fills me with happiness


Of course, it’s not everything I WANT to do – but even knowing I CAN do a little, is a far better feeling than being full of what I CAN’T do…..


And one more thing – that helps me let go of the CAN’Ts and turn to the CANs – is I just add the word “yet” onto my negative sentences

Eg I can’t ride my horse – yet

I know I WILL ride her – but right now with everything else going on, it makes sense to leave it until I have a few days clear to really focus on getting things going well….


I can’t organise my paperwork – yet

Sure, I can’t get to the paperwork because my house is full of things we are clearing from my parent’s house – but I know where it is and I WILL get to it as soon as the house sale is all finalised….


See how adding the word “yet” can change things?


I can’t be confident about xyz – YET – but when I learn to read my horse better, and have a few more skills under my belt I WILL be more confident….and I CAN learn those skills….



Spending this weekend with my parents has reminded me how important it is to seize the opportunities that I DO have, instead of spending my time wishing for opportunities I DON’T have….


And with this focus, I am noticing many more opportunities –

–           the five minutes when I check my horses, what CAN I do?  By working on how I touch my horse, and doing small yielding games, I can build a soft responsive horse ready for when I DO have time

–          The few minutes when I am waiting for the surveyor to come to my parent’s house, I can answer a couple of emails so I have less to do later


I am grateful to have this reminder while I still have time to act on it


And so I shared this rather personal blog with you with the intention that you might take something useful away from it.


That you may find a way to see that anything you CAN’T do – yet ….is something you may be able to do in another way, another time –

That you may find a way to see what you CAN do….


And that most importantly of all, you don’t waste any more time being scared and unconfident – you take this time, this day, this moment – to decide you CAN be confident – and you CAN learn how to be…..


And you CAN enjoy your horse and yourself…..


Yours, in confidence




7 thoughts on “What CAN I do? A rather personal blog about focus

  1. As always Cathy you give me so much – in boosting my confidence and reminding me how I can move forward. I hope you know how much you help people who read your blog.

  2. been in very similar circumstances and this is definitely the focus that gets you thru. Also finding great benefits of the scale rather than can and can’t. . .

  3. This is the best blog for what I am needing right now. Thank you for sharing about your parents and the I Cans. I need this right this minute. There are no coincidences, it was God timed. Thank you.

  4. I’ve been coming out of a case of “The Can’ts” slowly and this post gives me a few more ways to work around it. So, thank you!

    And I’ve taking to having my horse give to pressure-sideways or back- to line him up to eat. I’m finding it works better for both of us. He doesn’t get overwhelmed by me asking to many different things(I realize now), and I don’t get frustrated because he ‘did it before but isn’t now’. Little steps will get me ahead more than a giant step that ends with a fall.

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