Listen to the cowboy from Jones Creek, Texas talk about struggle.

Awareness Life 6 min read , May 19, 2021

Aingeal Rose & Ahonu interviewed Pete Spates. Pete says of himself that he is a cowboy from Jones Creek, Texas. In this episode, he talks about struggle.

Listen to the cowboy from Jones Creek, Texas talk about struggle.
Listen to the cowboy from Jones Creek, Texas talk about struggle.

We are speaking to Pete today because he raised the issue of struggle and he did it by way of a story. And we want to bring that story to you today. So let's remind Pete about what we were talking about. You were telling us, Pete, about your uncle, that he called your homestead, what was it, a struggle place? The old struggle ranch. Tell us that story.

Frankie Spates, uncle of Pete from Jones Creek, Texas talks about The Struggle Ranch
Frankie Spates, uncle of Pete from Jones Creek, Texas

Pete: Well, the thing about that was, Frankie worked cattle down in that part of the country and we had a ranch at the time, but everything in life is about the struggle. So the question had come up in my mind here several months ago was if I had all the money in the world, what would I do with all the money in the world? If I could buy any car, any truck, any boat, any house that I wanted.

After I did all that and I went to every place that I could go, what would I do with the money that was left? And the only thing that I could think of doing was being able to help other people. So, going back to my uncle, he always called the old ranch there, the struggle ranch. And he said, we're always struggling. Well, in the last few years I've begun to become more interested in the struggle itself. And really and truly, life is about the struggle, if there's no struggle for life, then how are we going to qualify and quantify who we are in life's journey?

Pete Spates on The Struggle Ranch in Texas
Pete Spates ranching in Texas

So, for me, the struggle ranch is about being able to overcome the obstacles that you have in your life. And then, are they going to occur? Absolutely. We're all going to live through something. So the big thing that we've got to remember is what are we going to do to ensure that our life has a quality, and the quality is about the struggle itself?

Ahonu: Well, Aingeal Rose and I wanted to talk to you in particular about this, because for many years it has been our commitment, I suppose you could call it, to realize and help people through what you're calling the struggle. But the way we were describing it always was, it's like the plant that grows out from a crack in the street, or the tree that grows out from a crack in some rocks. And it's like life tries so hard to be, to live, no matter what the circumstances are.

And what we've always been trying to do is to turn it around in our minds and say, well, that's not a struggle. That's just the beauty of life surviving, let's call it, or living, doing its best to live no matter what the circumstances are. So what I'm hearing you saying when you describe that, is that struggle perhaps is not even the right word, because struggle, to me, to my mind means hardship, pain, difficulty, whereas what you're talking about is that the very act of living is challenging. Let's call it a challenge. It's a challenge, and therefore shouldn't be seen as negative. Am I right in interpreting it that way?

Pete working cattle, after leaving The Struggle Ranch in Texas
Pete Spates roping cattle

Pete: Absolutely. I mean, he called it The Old Struggle Ranch because he always felt like he was struggling to keep the thing in place, but occurrences in life where we have obstacles and issues that we have to get over, I mean, we all go through them. I mean, everybody goes through something. You don't come out of this, you don't come out of life without some type of an injury or some type of a problem, physical or in some cases even mental, depending on the circumstances.

But that's also the struggle. And so, for him, he saw that in life, but he also saw the beauty of life based on not getting things just handed to him. I was asked by a chiropractor here several, several years ago, he said, well, can you list the bones that you've broken? I said, well, it's easier to list the bones that I haven't broken because it's going to be a much shorter list. Well, that's the struggle. And so you're going to get knocked down. The key of living life and being knocked down is not the problem. It's getting back up is the problem. And if you keep getting back up, you can't be beat.

Windy enough for me to be a kite... Pete Spates after leaving The Struggle Ranch
Windy enough for me to be a kite... Pete Spates

So, the struggle is going to present those opportunities, if you will, or call them opportunities, to get back up. And so, it's not just about having misadventures or bad relationships in life. And of course, in a lifetime, it's really and truly about how you're going to handle those situations and how you're going to overcome them.

Ahonu: So do you think that when we talk about struggle, then that's like turning dross into gold or that's what sharpens the steel?

For Pete Spates, roping a horse is not a struggle
For Pete Spates, roping a horse is not a struggle!

Pete: Yeah, well, it's like it's like water is an interesting thing. Water in its liquid form is fluid. It takes the shape of any container that you put it in. If you freeze it, it'll crack a rock. If you get it hot, it creates steam and then it becomes a vapor. So a lot of times, if you think about how water is and how life is, it's about the same thing. It's a distinction, a difference of being able to change the circumstances based on, if you want to call it something in particular, being really super hot or super cold.

So, we can start to draw some kind of a conclusion based on adaptation. If we get good at adapting, and I don't recommend people becoming masters at adaptation because you have to go through the struggle to adapt, I put it that way. But it's a hard thing to really, really see how something that's negative can turn into something positive. And you mentioned a while ago, how does a tree grow out of a rock? How do how does grass grow out of the crack in the concrete? Life has this way of overcoming the obstacles that are presented by life itself. So when we start to really think about that, it's really about taking control and getting something done where when we get knocked down, you get back up and you keep going on. Life is about taking and putting one foot in front of the other.

Swimming cattle across the Intercoastal Canal. 1970s
Swimming cattle across the Intercoastal Canal. 1970s

If I keep putting one foot in front of the other, I'm going to keep moving. If I don't, then I can be overcome all struggle, or I can succumb to whatever tragedy or aspect of an issue that happens in the course of a lifetime and none of us gets out of here without lumps and bumps.

Ahonu: So now you can hear why people come from all over the country to attend Pete Spates' clinics because he brings that same wisdom to his workmanship with horses. OK, until next time, thanks and bye for now.

Aingeal Rose & Ahonu