A few years ago, my father-in-law organized a pack trip through some spectacular high mountain trails in the Rocky Mountains. We took horses on this trip with a couple of pack horses to carry all our gear. One of the horses was a young two year old gelding that was still being trained.
Every so often we would cross a stream and would stop in the middle of the stream to let the horses drink. In a particularly steep area, we came across a wide stream that crossed the trail. We walked the horses out in the middle of the stream to once again let them drink. The old saying, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink” is so true. The young gelding just stood in the water, looking down at it but did not drink.
I’ve never seen this before, but this young pack horse continued to stare at the passing water until something bizarre happened. Watching the moving water caused the young horse to lose his balance and he just tipped over and fell down a steep incline. The horse rolled a couple of times and the panniers were torn off spilling much of our gear in the water. We thought for sure the horse would have broken a leg or worse.
We jumped off our horses and slid down the hill to try and rescue the horse and collect our gear. As you can imagine, the horse was thrashing about, trying to stand up. There were still ropes and the pack saddle attached to the horse which made him panic all the more. It was only after a considerable amount of time and effort we were able to calm the horse down and get him back up to the trail. It was nothing short of a miracle that he hadn’t broken any bones.
After tying up the horse, we gathered up all the gear we could find and repacked it into the panniers. We tried to lighten the load on the young horse by carrying some of the gear on the other horses. After about an hour, we were on the trail again headed for our first campsite.
This experience reminded me of one of my girls when she was a toddler. We were at the beach enjoying the California weather. I have a video of her running on the sand near the water’s edge. As the waves would come in and the water line would move up the sand and then back out again, it would throw her balance off and she would fall. It’s a cute video but I can’t help but wonder how often we act or react like the pack horse or my young daughter. What are the things in our lives that we focus on? Will that focus move us closer to what matters most or cause us to stumble and fall?
There’s a classic book entitled “As a Man Thinketh” written by James Allen and published in 1903. The title is influenced by a verse in the Bible from the Book of Proverbs, chapter 23, verse 7: “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”. It’s only 70 pages long but is jam-packed with wisdom, the essence being, “A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.”
I’ve never been one who just listens to music on the radio while I drive. I’ve always preferred spending my time listening to talk shows or motivational speakers. Back in the days of cassette tape players in cars, I would keep a case of tapes of motivational speakers such as Zig Ziglar, Stephen Covey, Dennis Waitley, Ira Hayes, Paul Harvey, W. Clement Stone, Cavett Robert just to name a few.
One of my favorites was Earl Nightingale. He was a famous radio speaker and author, dealing mostly with the subjects of human character development, motivation, and meaningful existence. He died in 1989. He had a very distinctive voice with the ability to motivate without yelling or jumping up and down. There was pure inspiration in his voice. He had a masterful way of communicating and many of his stories will forever remain seared into my memory banks.
Some of my favorites are “The Common Denominator of Success”, “Acres of Diamonds” and “Miracle of Your Mind”. It would be well worth your time to Google these titles and listen to them. A classic is “We Become What We Think About”. Here’s a brief excerpt of that presentation:
Indeed, we become what we think about and that can be either positive or negative in our lives. There are times in our lives when we can become consumed with our thoughts. I can’t help but think about two Hollywood examples portrayed in film. First, there’s the entertaining holiday movie of Ralphie and his all-consuming plight of convincing his parents that the perfect Christmas gift would be a Red Ryder BB gun in “The Christmas Story” (one of my favorite Christmas movie traditions). The thought of getting that BB gun totally consumed his every thought.
Then there’s the Disney portrayal of an enterprising frog named “Mr. Toad”. When Mr. Toad first saw an automobile, he also became totally consumed with driving a car which led to “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride”. This obsession became a mania for Mr. Toad, one he just couldn’t control.
There are times when becoming Ralphie or Mr. Toad can be a strong, positive thing in our lives, as long as we are allowing ourselves to be consumed with good, positive goals and objectives. Even still, proper moderation is an essential key to keeping our lives balanced. We can never allow any such goals to take precedence over what matters most.
Be prudent – don’t let prepping consume you and occupy your every thought. There’s plenty of negative in the world that could keep us depressed and worried 24/7. Focus on the positive, not the negative news we hear each day. Take the time to properly prepare and then focus on the positive, hopeful and enjoyable aspects of your life. Don’t fret about the future – tomorrow will come regardless of what we do today.