It’s All Contagious

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Riding along a dirt road, pack pony lead in one hand, cell ‘phone in the other, Jesse James on cruise control bewteen my knees I realized that the teenager with the well behaved puppy had passed me on her bike three times.  I got off the ‘phone and said “Hello” – the usual Q&A ensued and then, her face alight, she said: “I want to do something like this when I grow up!”  “You can, and I hope you do!” I replied.  “It’s an amazing life.”

The word “enthusiasm” came into English from the Greek in 1603 and means “possession by a god” or “having God within.”  And to use the simplest definition I know:  God is Love.

The missive from CuChullaine arrived on a morning when my self-confidence was low and my emotions were in a tangle.  His enthusiasm (and eloquence) not only reminded me of who I am, who my peers are and what I’m doing out here – it called me to my highest!
  

6.July dawned clear and sunny after several days of rain.  Jesse James happily gave pony rides to the children in the next camp over, my gear was all dry after a night in an old sheepherder’s cabin and I was in a great mood as I rode out.  It had been several days with no cell ‘phone service and I’d finally found a spot where I could call out and let my inner circle know that I was doing well.  An SUV pulled up and a man rolled down the window and started talking to me, ignoring the fact that I was already engaged in a conversation on my ‘phone.  He looked vaguely familiar and I ended my call to give him my attention.  “Aren’t you the one who was down in Fort Thomas?”
I was many miles from there mentally as well as physically – it rang a bell but no lights went on.
“Help me out here” I said with a smile “I’ve been a lot of places on this Journey.”
He looked displeased with my lack of instant recall.  “The S’s – you stayed with the S’s.”  The lights went on: Fort Thomas was where I’d been laid up for 7 weeks with Finehorn’s injury, staying with the Mormon rancher and his family.  One of the most difficult times in the Journey – a time of despair and feeling like a loser – I’d been increasingly desperate to get out of the situation and feeling stuck there by my own incompetence.  Things had been going reasonably well until, in a fit of honesty, I said that I probably wasn’t going to get baptised as a Mormon in the next few weeks, at which point things became rapidly and increasingly uncomfortable.  I recognized this man from church.  He’d been the one asking my host’s wife if “that freeloader” was still around.
“Frankly, I’m surprised you made it this far.”  His voice let me know exactly what he thought of me and my adventure.
“Actually, I’ve made it all the way from Northern California… ”
…but he was already driving away.  He’d just wanted to share a bit of the overflow of his heart…

There’s a story about a Native American grandfather who tells a story to his grandson about the two wolves who live in his heart.  One wolf is angry and bitter and negative.  The other wolf is loving and compassionate and enthusiastic.  The wolves fight for control of the heart and the mind.  The grandson asks which one will win and the Grandfather replies “It all depends on which one I feed.”

I was staying with an Apache Pentacostal pastor and his wife on the San Carlos Rez.  The TV was constantly showing the “news” and it honestly seemed like Every news story involved a young Hispanic or Black man in some sort of violent trouble involving guns and/or drugs.  This wasn’t the USA I’d been riding through.  I’d seen absolutely none of that in “real life” – but Local through National News – that was the story being reported.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.  ~ Philippians 4:8

Gryph and I woke up one morning in early February feeling road-weary and realized we hadn’t had any fresh fruits or vegetables in a week!  The last few nights had been difficult in various ways and we were sorely in need of some enthusiasm.  Ask and Ye shall Receive: We were picturing an ideal situation and we asked for someone to come out and greet us as we rode by and ask us in, rather than it being on us to pick a door and knock.  We also asked for broccoli.   As the afternoon wore on, we were on a back road passing a hang-gliding club when a car stopped across the road and a woman got out, filled with enthusiasm.  She’d been thinking that very morning that she needed some horses to come by and eat the weeds growing up in her corral.  She asked us where we were planning to stay that night and we admitted that we didn’t have a clue.  She invited us into her house for dinner and a rest.  “Do you have broccoli?”  we asked.  She laughed.  “We’re vegetarians and I actually just picked up a huge bag of broccoli at the store.”
  

Notice in the verse above that Paul starts with recognizing what is “true” -> this isn’t about some escapist, head in the sand version of reality, denying that there are difficult people and situations in the world, ignoring the drought affecting so much of the country I’ve been riding through, the hay shortages, the chemical pollution of our waterways, the corrupt politics, the corporate rape and pillage of the environment and the economy.  (bumper sticker: I’ll believe that Corporations are People when Texas Executes One.)
This is about choosing to focus on what we want to see more of in the world!
  

When I was growing up in Texas my folks used to run family camps and one of the things that I remember my dad teaching was that if you say something critical to someone, it takes two compliments for them to hear/feel a balance of positive and negative.  To this I would add that the positive comments need to be at least as specific and well-thought-out as the criticisms are in order to be effective “antidotes”.

What’s true for me is that the majority of the people I’ve met – while widely diverse in many ways, living very different lives and subscribing to a dizzying range of spiritual and political beliefs – have been helpful and kind and generous and welcoming and enthusiastic.  My experience has been that in the midst of hard times and uncertainty there is room at the table for a wayfaring stranger, the hay bin is half full rather than half empty and Reality is more interesting than TV.  That’s not what you’ll hear on the news!

My wonderful brave cousin Melanie sent me an e-mail about her recent decision to “make art.. finally. fully and unconditionally..”  along with  photos of the process of making the piece which she was working on as she came to that revelation.  She wrote: “and so we pursue the more.”

“My Cup Runneth Over” says David in his 23rd Psalm.  It seems like whatever we are full  of runs over and splashes onto the people around us.  It is such a blessing whenever I am splashed on by somebody’s Joy and Enthusiasm.  That has been happening to me so frequently on this Journey that it about wipes out the few pockets of negativity and harshness.  There’s a Divine magic in that process for which I am so grateful.  Blessings on all of you who are splashing the good stuff around.  May you be Contagious!

About Sea G Rhydr

Sea G Rhydr and her trusty steeds, Jesse James and Finehorn - embarking on a grand adventure to cross America.
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One Response to It’s All Contagious

  1. Pat Cooper says:

    Wowsers, Sea!! Really encouraging to read this, and reaffirming as to where we need to put the emphasis! You’s a really good writer! On you go! Love you, Auntie Pat

    On Mon, Sep 10, 2012 at 8:47 PM, Free Range Rodeo wrote:

    > ** > Gryph Rhydr posted: “”Nothing great was ever achieved without > enthusiasm.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson Riding along a dirt road, pack pony > lead in one hand, cell ‘phone in the other, Jesse James on cruise control > bewteen my knees I realized that the teenager with the well be” Respond > to this post by replying above this line > New post on *Free Range Rodeo* > Its > All Contagious by > Gryph Rhydr > > “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” ~ Ralph Waldo > Emerson > > > Riding along a dirt road, pack pony lead in one hand, cell ‘phone in the > other, Jesse James on cruise control bewteen my knees I realized that the > teenager with the well behaved puppy had passed me on her bike three > times. I got off the ‘phone and said “Hello” – the usual Q&A ensued and > then, her face alight, she said: “I want to do something like this when I > grow up!” “You can, and I hope you do!” I replied. “It’s an amazing life.” > > The word “enthusiasm” came into English from the Greek in 1603 and means > “possession by a god” or “having God within.” And to use the simplest > definition I know: God is Love. > > The missive from CuChullaine arrived on a morning when my self-confidence > was low and my emotions were in a tangle. His enthusiasm (and eloquence) > not only reminded me of who I am, who my peers are and what I’m doing out > here – it called me to my highest! > > > > 6.July dawned clear and sunny after several days of rain. Jesse James > happily gave pony rides to the children in the next camp over, my gear was > all dry after a night in an old sheepherder’s cabin and I was in a great > mood as I rode out. It had been several days with no cell ‘phone service > and I’d finally found a spot where I could call out and let my inner circle > know that I was doing well. An SUV pulled up and a man rolled down the > window and started talking to me, ignoring the fact that I was already > engaged in a conversation on my ‘phone. He looked vaguely familiar and I > ended my call to give him my attention. “Aren’t you the one who was down > in Fort Thomas?” > I was many miles from there mentally as well as physically – it rang a > bell but no lights went on. > “Help me out here” I said with a smile “I’ve been a lot of places on this > Journey.” > He looked displeased with my lack of instant recall. “The S’s – you > stayed with the S’s.” The lights went on: Fort Thomas was where I’d been > laid up for 7 weeks with Finehorn’s injury, staying with the Mormon rancher > and his family. One of the most difficult times in the Journey – a time of > despair and feeling like a loser – I’d been increasingly desperate to get > out of the situation and feeling stuck there by my own incompetence. > Things had been going reasonably well until, in a fit of honesty, I said > that I probably wasn’t going to get baptised as a Mormon in the next few > weeks, at which point things became rapidly and increasingly > uncomfortable. I recognized this man from church. He’d been the one > asking my host’s wife if “that freeloader” was still around. > “Frankly, I’m surprised you made it this far.” His voice let me know > exactly what he thought of me and my adventure. > “Actually, I’ve made it all the way from Northern California… ” > …but he was already driving away. He’d just wanted to share a bit of > the overflow of his heart… > > > There’s a story about a Native American grandfather who tells a story to > his grandson about the two wolves who live in his heart. One wolf is angry > and bitter and negative. The other wolf is loving and compassionate and > enthusiastic. The wolves fight for control of the heart and the mind. The > grandson asks which one will win and the Grandfather replies “It all > depends on which one I feed.” > > > I was staying with an Apache Pentacostal pastor and his wife on the San > Carlos Rez. The TV was constantly showing the “news” and it honestly > seemed like Every news story involved a young Hispanic or Black man in some > sort of violent trouble involving guns and/or drugs. This wasn’t the USA > I’d been riding through. I’d seen absolutely none of that in “real life” – > but Local through National News – that was the story being reported. > > > Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are > honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever > things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any > virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. ~ Philippians > 4:8 > > > Gryph and I woke up one morning in early February feeling road-weary and > realized we hadn’t had any fresh fruits or vegetables in a week! The last > few nights had been difficult in various ways and we were sorely in need of > some enthusiasm. Ask and Ye shall Receive: We were picturing an ideal > situation and we asked for someone to come out and greet us as we rode > by and ask us in, rather than it being on us to pick a door and knock. We > also asked for broccoli. As the afternoon wore on, we were on a back road > passing a hang-gliding club when a car stopped across the road and a woman > got out, filled with enthusiasm. She’d been thinking that very morning > that she needed some horses to come by and eat the weeds growing up in her > corral. She asked us where we were planning to stay that night and we > admitted that we didn’t have a clue. She invited us into her house for > dinner and a rest. “Do you have broccoli?” we asked. She laughed. > “We’re vegetarians and I actually just picked up a huge bag of broccoli at > the store.” > > > > Notice in the verse above that Paul starts with recognizing what is “true” > -> this isn’t about some escapist, head in the sand version of reality, > denying that there are difficult people and situations in the world, > ignoring the drought affecting so much of the country I’ve been riding > through, the hay shortages, the chemical pollution of our waterways, the > corrupt politics, the corporate rape and pillage of the environment and the > economy. (bumper sticker: I’ll believe that Corporations are People when > Texas Executes One.) > This is about choosing to focus on what we want to see more of in the > world! > > > > When I was growing up in Texas my folks used to run family camps and one > of the things that I remember my dad teaching was that if you say something > critical to someone, it takes two compliments for them to hear/feel a > balance of positive and negative. To this I would add that the positive > comments need to be at least as specific and well-thought-out as the > criticisms are in order to be effective “antidotes”. > > > What’s true for me is that the majority of the people I’ve met – while > widely diverse in many ways, living very different lives and subscribing to > a dizzying range of spiritual and political beliefs – have been helpful and > kind and generous and welcoming and enthusiastic. My experience has been > that in the midst of hard times and uncertainty there is room at the table > for a wayfaring stranger, the hay bin is half full rather than half > empty and Reality is more interesting than TV. That’s not what you’ll hear > on the news! > > > My wonderful brave cousin Melanie sent me an e-mail about her recent > decision to “make art.. finally. fully and unconditionally..” along with > photos of the process of making the piece which she was working on as she > came to th

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