The other day I had an incredible ride out near Orange Lake. My girlfriend and I were trotting along, experiencing the sights, sounds and beautiful vistas of winding dusty trails set between long leaf pines, views of sparkling water and sweeping boughs of moss floating off the branches of the live oak trees. The birds, squirrels, hawks, turkeys and occasional snake were also venturing out, tasting spring’s promise. It was magical and definitely full of  surprises.

Joan and I talked about how life sometimes seems to go so smoothly and then takes a turn for the worse and we often don’t know why. At times we take life’s ups and down with grace but other times it is fraught with anxiety. We give and share but it doesn’t always work out like we hoped. With age, we agreed, we’ve become better at recognizing what is important, how not to be attached to outcomes and more often than not navigate troubled waters. Yet, we can still be surprised at the unanticipated outcome.

The gift we receive when giving, receiving or sharing with no expected outcome, is magical. Just like my ride.  It is a “gift” that fills our life and creates happiness. The “gift” verses the “act” of sharing, giving and receiving works best when there are no strings attached. When we allow “surprise” to become an active part of our life and no longer feel the need to try to control the outcome. We feel buoyant as joy bubbles up.

I believe that when a gift or present is given fully with no expectation as to the outcome, the response the receiver gives is always correct. How or why we provide nurturing, teaching, loving, caring, cherishing or helping others influences the marginal, mediocre, average, good or fantastic outcome.  I wonder; does the the act of giving with expectations tarnish or affect the outcome?  

I thought about this all the way home after my ride. When I ventured out that morning for the trail ride, my only “goal or present”, share friendship, enjoy Mother Nature and spend some time with my horse. I did not intend to judge, instruct nor be attached to any particular outcome.  My experience was to be as it was to be. It was to be right, even if the mosquitoes were worse than anticipated, the weather a bit too warm or my horse more anxious that I expected due to all the activity in the woods. And yes, as it turns out, I had an amazing morning.

By freely sharing time, helping or reaching out to one another (animal or human) from the heart a deep sense of connection, calmness, healing, love surrounds us. And what happens when we “give, share or accept” with a hidden, not a heartfull , agenda?  What ensues when we give “freely” yet harbor an expected outcome? Have you ever given your child or friend a special treasure from your past, only to be disappointed that they did not cherish it as you expected (now I’m not talking about “good manners, politeness, etc.)? The act of giving may have been sincere, but the belief deep down that you should have received a reciprocal gift, such as the gift of gratitude or thankfulness, often leaves a bad taste. Did you become disappointed or resentful because you did not get what you wanted from the “act” of giving and did this in turn then tarnish the initial present?

The process of sharing, giving or accepting a gift from someone does not have to be difficult or create unhappiness when it comes from the heart with no strings attached. The horses teach me this. They share their gift of love and beauty with no expectations. Just like when I am grooming them or massaging their backs. When I offer thru love, yes I’d like to improve their coat or stiff muscles, but a tallied end result is not necessary. It is the process of giving love that I want them to feel and be part of. When I remove my expectations, I have no tension or pressure in my hands or heart. I work on them from the heart of giving. I am not attached to the fact that they will look, feel or be better when I am completed. Although I am pleased and often surprised when they are. I accept their honest feedback. Either way I know I did my best, gave them my love and somehow they know this. Removing burdens or expectations during the process of giving, receiving and sharing seems to create a deeper bond, trust and connection. That is my reward, if one has to name it, but again I do not expect it. My gift is pure, so is theirs.

Try out this little method.

  1. When you give, share or accept an invitation, do it with a full heart from a heartfull place.
    1. Check in with yourself.
      1. Did you give or accept the gift graciously but secretly attach a “what’s in it for me”?
      2. Did you not tell the recipient of the their obligation or hidden payment?
        1. The tell-tell secret is this, if after your acceptance, shared experience or intent is complete; do you feel
          1. resentment
          2. disappointment
          3. envious
          4. bitterness
          5. sadness
          6. frustration

                  If yes to any of the above feelings, re-check into your heart. Discover the real reason or intent that you gave, shared accepted an invitation. Don’t be surprised because, quite honestly, sometimes we ourselves don’t even recognize that we have a hidden agenda or secrete expectations. It may be a habit or something we learned, but it can be unlearned. Start over, check in with your heart and it’s fullness.

  1. Try again and this time ask if your are fully accepting, sharing or giving from your heart.
    1. Make this a habit. Check into your heart. Identity and verify your real intent. Is it with pure “love” (compassion, care, help, succor, support, etc.) for another?
      1. How will you know?
      2. You’ll feel
        1. happy,
        2. fulfilled
        3. satisfied
        4. content
        5. pleased

Your normal delightful and wonderful life will again unfold. Stress, concern and control will no longer be an outcome and the magic from your heartfull intention will happen.

 Barbara is a certified EGCM®life coach. She, along with her husband, dogs, cats, horses and cows, live at Wayfinding Farm, located near Ocala Florida. Wayfinding with Horses, LLC is a coaching service designed to help you achieve personal growth and development. Using the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method (EGCM®), Barbara supports you as you explore, discover and connect to the possible. For more information go to or Call/text Barbara at 352-804-4224.