Sunday, March 23, 2014

When Being Completely Irrational Is Good For You

Yesterday Terry and I rode 109 miles beginning at 3:00 am and ending around 8:00 pm. Terry decided that we should do this because in December I turned fifty four and she turned fifty five, hence the total of 109 miles. There were many good reasons to try to do this--showing what older riders can do--showing what Corollas and Shackleford and Choctaws and and other mustangs could do-- showing my little riders how to stick with a goal even when it becomes difficult--to promote and pubicize our program--and many other rational reasons.

But the irrational reason is the most important to me. All of life involves struggle. Second only to integrity, the character trait most important to me is resilience. Resilience is simply the refusal to give up. It does not mean that one always wins. It means that one always shows up to play---and plays hard. The resilient always achieve more than the nonresilient if for no other reason than math--the more games one plays in, the more times one shows up to fight, the more opportunities to accomplish things that matter.

My greatest fear is not death. My greatest fear is to die without having mattered.

And that is where the irrational meaning of this ride matters for me. With every challenge comes a voice in the head that says "Don't do it. You can't do it."

And a much louder voice answers it back, "Hell I can't! At age 54 I rode 109 miles in a day-- the vast majority of those miles being at a trot or canter."

Successes like this breed resilience. The last 44 miles were excruciating. We never considered ending the ride early.

The most personally signifiant part of the ride is that I did not quit. I did not ride today.

Weather permitting, before the sun comes up in the morning I will run a horse 6-8 miles before going to court. My body will have bounced back by then.

There is no rational connection between riding 109 miles and believing that you can handle whatever comes at you.

It is not rational. It is just real.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I doubt very seriously anyone in their right mind will say that Steve Edwards did not matter..unless it is some politician..but I repeat myself.
(It may be a little early for Mark Twain this morning.)
I can think of a couple or three dozen poeple without straining that will defend that.

I think I said in a much earlier comment that Cervantes had it right, Some windmills need tilted at, and it matters not why, it just needs to be done, if for no other reason than to prove to oneself that it can be done.

I think there is a lesson for everyone in that, considering that I babble about horses almost continually, I get alot of, "I am scared of horses, I don't see how you all do that," and dozens of other sentiments along the same line.."Mustangs? But they are wild and dangerous!" Invariably I ask how much exposure they have had to horses, and the answer is almost always zero, or one bad experience, or too many out of context internet videos..
Now, I am not saying that everyone should necessarily be involved with horses..(yes I am, but that is a different topic) My point is that these folks accept what to them is a completely irrational fear without ever really examining it or trying to overcome, and build upon themselves..make themselves better or stronger. I wonder how many other little hangups they bear every day that will never be brought up and faced?
The courage it takes to start up a horse farm dedicated to saving a critically endangered breed of horse, and then, in the face of the same society, and further, in the face of an industry that for it's own selfish sake says, "You can't do that, that is crazy," sets out to teach youth to tame and ride those crazy wild mustangs, and in so doing, tame themselves, and grow as complete beings...
Nahh..Nobody can say that Steve Edwards did not matter. If they do I may let Snow tap dance on them like they were a trailside tree rat..
109 miles in much less than 24 hours...a century ago it was a somewhat common occurrance..nowadays it is very special occurrance, and an important one.
Those of you with those niggling little fears...come on, climb up on that pony and ride, you can do it, we can help. -Lloyd