We are not our thoughts

No matter how many times they’re rejected, the waves still kiss the shore.  That’s the goodness of the universe we’re born into.

We are not our thoughts.  We don’t even need thoughts.  Our existence does not depend upon thinking.  Thoughts are important tools, but they aren’t our identity.  We need to remember how to live, how to just be, independent of the interruption and distortion of thinking.  Don’t let the tools run the craftsperson.

Our thoughts, instead, are how we create.  Before there can be a chair, someone has the idea of “chair,” prior to making one.  Before there’s a house, someone plans it out, from the mind, eventually in every detail before it is built.  Before anyone had any kind of house, someone conceived the idea of building one, prior to any houses existing.  We think the thoughts first, and later realize the physical manifestation.

Now, because we commonly believe we are our thoughts, we think incessantly. Descartes even enshrined this in our philosophy—I think;  therefore I am.  But it’s backwards, as we typically understand it.  Thinking may well be evidence for our existence (which is what Descartes was getting at), but that thinking is not  our existence itself.  To paraphrase Yeats, the falcon is flying the falconer.  Or at least thinks it is, and wants to continue thinking that.

The mind/ego will fight hard to keep its usurped throne.  This is why a wilderness hike takes time to bring you to clarity and mental peace.  But the mind/ego is not truly in control, and it’s not really you.  Instead of thinking your way out of all your troubles—stop thinking.  Seriously.  That alone will be an improvement (and why wilderness hiking helps so much).  Then set about purposeful creation—and enjoy the joy you are meant to feel.  Let it happen.  Allow.

Eckhart Tolle tells of a talk Krishnamurti gave in his later years.  “Do you want to know my secret?” the Indian saint asked.  Everyone listened.  “Here is my secret,” he said.  “I don’t mind what happens.”  We do plan, of course, so this is a distinction hard for us to grasp at first.  Simon Sinek offers a clarifying point in the title of his book:   “Start with Why.”  When we start with why we are doing something, the what  and the how  fall into place naturally.

When you want something, ask yourself why you want that.  If the answer has you smiling, excited, happy, full of joyous anticipation, then you’re on to something. Even if things work out differently than you’d planned, you’ll still find yourself on an interesting, enticing path, only farther along it than you were before, and having fun.

To quote Simon Sinek again—there’s a reason we say “arts and sciences,” never “science and art.”  The “art” always comes before the “science.”  Similarly, we don’t set out to win “minds and hearts,” but rather, “hearts and minds,” in that order.

In one segment of the documentary “The Living Matrix,” researchers show a series of images, some negative, some positive, and measure heart and brain activity for each.  Not surprisingly, the heart and brain waves are different for the positive images than for the negative images.  But this next part is fascinating.

The researchers then had subjects watch randomly generated images on a computer screen, not knowing which would come up—in fact, not even the computer knows.  And again, the heart and brain waves responded differently depending on the positive or negative image.  But what’s really interesting is the order of these “responses.”  First the heart wave would change, then the brain wave changed, and only then did the image change.  The heart “responds” first, informing the brain, not the other way around, and both “respond” before the random image even appears.  My friends, we are much more than we typically realize, and at essence, we are heart-centered.

In a related discovery, Dr. Gary Schwartz measured the heart and brain waves of both practitioners and clients in Reconnective healing sessions.  He found that during a session, the practitioner’s heart wave changes, followed by the client’s brain waves.  Interesting, no?

It—whatever “it” is, in the sense described in “Zen and the Art of Archery”—comes from the heart.  When our thoughts follow our heart, we are in purposeful alignment, and our positive emotions resonate with it.

Does this all sound a bit too mystical?  Are you more of a practical, business-oriented nature?  Then you need to spend a little time with Napoleon Hill.  You may remember him for his most famous book, “Think and Grow Rich.”

Napoleon Hill was hand picked by Andrew Carnegie to investigate and codify a formula, a philosophy of success.  What Carnegie and Hill laid out was not a business tactic, but a “vibration” as a basis for a Law of Attraction.  This was “the secret” mentioned throughout Hill’s books, based on interviews of hundreds of extremely successful businessmen.  The ability to focus the mind on a definite purpose and to see that purpose fulfilled, believing it, no matter how lofty, was the magical key to success.

Have a Definite Major Purpose, Hill stressed.  Then a reasonable plan for achieving that purpose.  Adjust as necessary, and don’t give up.  Ever.  Keep the focus on the success, not the lack of it.  In fact, originally, Hill told Carnegie he was the wrong man for the job, coming from humble origins.  Carnegie made clear as long as Hill kept to that vision of things, he would always manifest lack.  Sound familiar?

Hang in there.  No matter how many times they’re rejected, the waves still kiss the shore.  That’s the goodness of the universe we’re born into.  Truly, all we want is already here.  We just have to believe it.  And that’s from not the mouth of mystics, but from the fabulously successful.

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What is closest may seem clearest, but the rest is just as real [view from Dix Mt.]
Are you interested in hearing more about Wilderness Hikes as projects evolve in the future? Let me know here, so I have a list of those interested ready to go, by clicking here (and page all the way down to click “Sign Up” at the bottom):
Join the “Wilderness Hike” list.

If you’d like to hear about my “Getting Unstuck” book as it gets closer to release, let me know by clicking here (and you’re welcome to do *both,* of course–page all the way down to click “Sign Up” at the bottom):
Join the “Getting Unstuck” list.

October 2012 is a series of daily posts about “A Wilderness Hike,” taking readers through the healing of wilderness experience and glimpses of my work at Kwan Yin Healing and of my book, “Getting Unstuck.”

You can read the series from the start via the links here:

Oct. 1:    A Wilderness Hike
Oct. 2:   The Sixth Hour
Oct. 3:   Snowy Mountain
Oct. 4:   Letting Go of Baggage–the Wilderness Way
Oct. 5:   “Bear” the Thought
Oct. 6:   Mountain.  Buddha.  Impermanence.
Oct. 7:   The Rewards of Rain
Oct. 8:   Finding the Keys
Oct. 9:   “I’d love to, but times are bad.”
Oct. 10:  Attracting the Law of Attraction
Oct. 11:  We are not our thoughts
Oct. 12:  Honesty, Forgiveness, Healing
Oct. 13:  Getting Unstuck:  Feeling Overwhelmed
Oct. 14:  Money is remarkably easy to come by, if that’s all you want.
Oct. 15:  To be Time Rich, Learn to Be
Oct. 16:  Changing Thoughts for Changing Work
Oct. 17:  Finding and Sharing your Gifts
Oct. 18:  Do you want to be the boss?  Be sure you want to run the show.
Oct. 19:  Finding jobs within jobs
Oct. 20: Bright Mountain Dream
Oct. 21: Escape the Wilderness of Addictions
Oct. 22: The Importance of Spiritual Direction
Oct. 23: In Search of Enlightenment
Oct. 24: Relationship Thoughts from the Wilderness
Oct. 25: We learn in realtionships
Oct. 26: Chrysalis
Oct. 27: Self-Healing, part 1
Oct. 28: Self-Healing, part 2:  Time for a new perspective
Oct. 29: Dix Mountain
Oct. 30: The Mist-Filled Path
Oct. 31: From Wilderness to Wondrousness

Enjoy!

Attracting the Law of Attraction

“Ask and it will be given.”    ~ Matthew 7:7;  Luke 11:9

Sounds great!  Place your request, and await delivery!  Awesome!

So, as Abraham might characterize — “Where’s my stuff?”

Why isn’t the Law of Attraction working for you?

Well, actually—it is working.  Much like a computer, what you get out depends on what you typed in.  The computer certainly could  have produced what you wanted—but instead, it produced not  want you wanted, but what you asked for, whether you realized that or not.  This is the key problem with the Law of Attraction.  It gives you what you’re thinking about, manifesting your area of focus, not necessarily your dreams.

Most people focus heavily on what they don’t want instead of what they do want.  We complain.  We wait in blissful stasis until something happens we don’t like, and then move in to swoop down upon the problem.  All very rational on the face of it.  But the consequence is a pattern of reaction, and not at all a focus on what we do want.

So we don’t put our attention on the income we want;  we worry about the lack of income we perceive.  We don’t focus on the endearing qualities of a romantic partner;  we stew over perceived faults and shortcomings.   And instead of enjoying that beautiful breath of fresh air in the morning and the delicious feeling of our muscles as we stretch, we focus on the aches and pains and slight sense of a cold coming on and bemoan that—as we see it—we’re falling apart day by day.

Watch a small group of people discussing their health.  “Oh, I have this ache or this pain,” one will say.  “Oh, that’s nothing!  You should see what happened to my arm!” another will retort.  “Well, let me tell you both what happened to me!” chimes in a third, and on it goes, until whomever is the most ill wins.  Seriously!  It’s a contest to see whom is worse off—and people want to win it!

Or perhaps they discuss their day, or their week.  “I can’t believe what happened,” it starts.  “Well, the other day, this happened,” followed by “Yeah, well let me tell you!” and again, whoever had the worst time, the worst luck, the worst experience—is the winner, and again, people compete vigorously for the prize, their pride at stake.

Does that make sense to you?  Does that seem right?  Does that seem wise?  Why would people want to ensure they are worse off?

“Tell a different story,” we hear from Abraham.  STOP telling the old story.

Eliminate the complaints.  Go on a 30 day complaint-free journey—literally, catch yourself and stop ALL complaints, on any subject, for any reason.  No complaining, about anything.

Replace complaining with gratitude.  This is different than mere acceptance.  Truly look around and see what there is to appreciate.  Even if it’s just a nice shade of blue.  Something, anything.  Build a new habit.

Be so busy appreciating what you have that you’re content to wait for what’s coming…and be excited about both what you have and what will one day be.

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My companion Shanti appreciating a break after scrambling up Dix Mountain
Are you interested in hearing more about Wilderness Hikes as projects evolve in the future? Let me know here, so I have a list of those interested ready to go, by clicking here (and page all the way down to click “Sign Up” at the bottom):
Join the “Wilderness Hike” list.

If you’d like to hear about my “Getting Unstuck” book as it gets closer to release, let me know by clicking here (and you’re welcome to do *both,* of course–page all the way down to click “Sign Up” at the bottom):
Join the “Getting Unstuck” list.

October 2012 is a series of daily posts about “A Wilderness Hike,” taking readers through the healing of wilderness experience and glimpses of my work at Kwan Yin Healing and of my book, “Getting Unstuck.”

You can read the series from the start via the links here:

Oct. 1:    A Wilderness Hike
Oct. 2:   The Sixth Hour
Oct. 3:   Snowy Mountain
Oct. 4:   Letting Go of Baggage–the Wilderness Way
Oct. 5:   “Bear” the Thought
Oct. 6:   Mountain.  Buddha.  Impermanence.
Oct. 7:   The Rewards of Rain
Oct. 8:   Finding the Keys
Oct. 9:   “I’d love to, but times are bad.”
Oct. 10:  Attracting the Law of Attraction
Oct. 11:  We are not our thoughts
Oct. 12:  Honesty, Forgiveness, Healing
Oct. 13:  Getting Unstuck:  Feeling Overwhelmed
Oct. 14:  Money is remarkably easy to come by, if that’s all you want.
Oct. 15:  To be Time Rich, Learn to Be
Oct. 16:  Changing Thoughts for Changing Work
Oct. 17:  Finding and Sharing your Gifts
Oct. 18:  Do you want to be the boss?  Be sure you want to run the show.
Oct. 19:  Finding jobs within jobs
Oct. 20: Bright Mountain Dream
Oct. 21: Escape the Wilderness of Addictions
Oct. 22: The Importance of Spiritual Direction
Oct. 23: In Search of Enlightenment
Oct. 24: Relationship Thoughts from the Wilderness
Oct. 25: We learn in realtionships
Oct. 26: Chrysalis
Oct. 27: Self-Healing, part 1
Oct. 28: Self-Healing, part 2:  Time for a new perspective
Oct. 29: Dix Mountain
Oct. 30: The Mist-Filled Path
Oct. 31: From Wilderness to Wondrousness

Enjoy!

“I’d love to, but times are bad.”

Most of us keep doing what we’ve been doing, denying it isn’t working.  As one of my friends likes to say, “How’s that working out for you?”  Start to step away from the story we keep hearing and into the story you’re creating.

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Stepping back and getting a good overview from the fire tower atop Snowy Mountain

Off in the wilderness, away from the racket of the TV and the newspaper and the radio and the Internet, we can start to step away from the story we keep hearing and into the story we’re creating—or should/could be creating.

Blaming the times we live in doesn’t work, as it reinforces the status quo, when often “bad” times open unique opportunities and provide extra motivation to change and grow.   “I’d love to, but times are bad,” is one of the greatest myths.   Get past it—it’s a sticking point, not a reality.  Oh, times can be bad, fair enough.  But that doesn’t mean this or any other time is a bad time to get started—quite the opposite is often true.

For example:

*Are you interested in starting a business?  When the economy is in a downturn, prices of the many things you may need are lower, from equipment to buildings to vehicles, especially used items from people going out of business.  You help them recoup their investment while you get a jump start on your new enterprise.

*Do you need to write a successful proposal?  A lot of people tell themselves there’s no point in doing this when money is tight—which only makes your chances better!  Seriously—your odds are better in bad times than in good.  Whether you’re looking for a federal, state, or local grant, or funding from a foundation or corporation, those funds are still sitting there.   Sometimes—literally—they never get used, because no one asked.  Ask.

*Is the Job market tough right now?   This is exactly the push many people get toward taking those moves that make their lives far richer, from getting more education to starting that endeavor they were nervous about leaving a job to do.   What better time?!  Nothing more to lose, and everything to gain.

Let’s look at some other common complaints.  But let’s call them what they are, in this context—excuses.  That’s right.  Laments such as these:

*The government is the problem—you just can’t survive in this political climate with these regulations (or lack of regulations).

*Taxes are the problem—an honest person just can’t make a living when “all the money goes toward wasteful programs.”

*The global situation is the problem—people just don’t buy local anymore;  no one cares about supporting workers in this country, and foreign competition is stealing all our business.  Damn soul-less international corporations!

*My community is the problem—people around here just don’t care.

…are all irrelevant excuses.   Yes, I said excuses.  Yes, I said irrelevant.  The problems may indeed be as you see them, but they are irrelevant to the decision to get unstuck.  These situations (and many others) merely set the ground rules, and those ground rules dictate neither the opportunities nor the fruits of pursuing those opportunities.  The strategies may change as the conditions evolve, but there are always opportunities in the new situations.  People will still have needs;  needs will still need to be filled.  That means businesses and jobs.

And one more irrelevant excuse….uncertainty.  This freezes many businesses and economies from time to time.   They aren’t sure what to do…so they do nothing while waiting to see, and consequently, economic activity slows.  That worsens the uncertainty, and nothing gets done out of fear of making the wrong move.

But to get unstuck means not making the “right” decision, but making ANY decision.  Really, honestly—ANY decision.  Once the decision is made, even if distasteful, even if not ideal, business and economies again know the rules and can act accordingly.  For example, it’s not this legislation or that international agreement or these economic indicators that are the problem—it’s not knowing which way they’ll go.  Even if they go the “wrong” way, people now know the new rules and can plan and act accordingly.   Motion again.

The same is true for individuals.  Decide what you want to do, and do it.   Have a reasonable plan, but if it’s the wrong one, adjust it and move forward.   Only staying frozen is guaranteed to keep you stuck.

Of course, most of us keep doing what we’ve been doing, denying it isn’t working.  As one of my friends likes to say, “How’s that working out for you?”

 

Are you interested in hearing more about Wilderness Hikes as projects evolve in the future? Let me know here, so I have a list of those interested ready to go, by clicking here (and page all the way down to click “Sign Up” at the bottom):
Join the “Wilderness Hike” list.

If you’d like to hear about my “Getting Unstuck” book as it gets closer to release, let me know by clicking here (and you’re welcome to do *both,* of course–page all the way down to click “Sign Up” at the bottom):
Join the “Getting Unstuck” list.

October 2012 is a series of daily posts about “A Wilderness Hike,” taking readers through the healing of wilderness experience and glimpses of my work at Kwan Yin Healing and of my book, “Getting Unstuck.”

You can read the series from the start via the links here:

Oct. 1:    A Wilderness Hike
Oct. 2:   The Sixth Hour
Oct. 3:   Snowy Mountain
Oct. 4:   Letting Go of Baggage–the Wilderness Way
Oct. 5:   “Bear” the Thought
Oct. 6:   Mountain.  Buddha.  Impermanence.
Oct. 7:   The Rewards of Rain
Oct. 8:   Finding the Keys
Oct. 9:   “I’d love to, but times are bad.”
Oct. 10:  Attracting the Law of Attraction
Oct. 11:  We are not our thoughts
Oct. 12:  Honesty, Forgiveness, Healing
Oct. 13:  Getting Unstuck:  Feeling Overwhelmed
Oct. 14:  Money is remarkably easy to come by, if that’s all you want.
Oct. 15:  To be Time Rich, Learn to Be
Oct. 16:  Changing Thoughts for Changing Work
Oct. 17:  Finding and Sharing your Gifts
Oct. 18:  Do you want to be the boss?  Be sure you want to run the show.
Oct. 19:  Finding jobs within jobs
Oct. 20: Bright Mountain Dream
Oct. 21: Escape the Wilderness of Addictions
Oct. 22: The Importance of Spiritual Direction
Oct. 23: In Search of Enlightenment
Oct. 24: Relationship Thoughts from the Wilderness
Oct. 25: We learn in realtionships
Oct. 26: Chrysalis
Oct. 27: Self-Healing, part 1
Oct. 28: Self-Healing, part 2:  Time for a new perspective
Oct. 29: Dix Mountain
Oct. 30: The Mist-Filled Path
Oct. 31: From Wilderness to Wondrousness

Enjoy!

Finding the Keys

In the end these things matter most:   How well did you love?  How fully did you love?   How deeply did you learn to let go?

~ The Buddha

This October 2012 daily series, “A Wilderness Hike,” started with the promise of sharing glimpses of my forthcoming book, “Getting Unstuck,” much of which was worked out during these long, clarifying excursions into the mountains and wild forests.  Today those glimpses begin!  So here goes.

Imagine we could do what we love, melting away obstacles, letting go of fear, and living happy—and now, not later.   What would happen if the world existed to fulfill our dreams and desires?  How would we feel if everything around us were a reflection of our energy and what we were creating?  And what if our purpose here were exactly to fill this role as the best way to serve the universal good?

When I conceived “Getting Unstuck,” I sat down to write a practical book.  I was watching so many people struggle, and unnecessarily.  They were looking for work.   They hated their jobs.  I saw how people were stuck in other area of their lives as well.  I listened to people’s stories about how they were stuck.  I expected to write of struggles, hard work, recovery, methodologies, and I did write about those things.  But when I stepped away from the details for an overview, I found I had written something else entirely.  In short, in every section, in every chapter, in every part of every approach, there was a consistent and persistent theme:

The Keys to Abundance are Love and Gratitude.

There it was, looking all mystical and idealistic.  But there it was—the essence of the very practical processes and analyses I had spend months recording.  Love and Gratitude.  I had long preached that it’s easier to do what you love than to settle for what you don’t.  But now I had myself discovered that this was only the surface.  To be successful, to enjoy Abundance in all areas of life, begin with Love and Gratitude.

Struggling to do what we believe we have to do just doesn’t work well.  Unfortunately, it’s also the most common approach.  We are often motivated more by avoidance of what we don’t want than by what we would prefer.  We are a reactive lot.  We prefer to coasting to climbing, and coasting only happens downhill.  So we ward off the trouble, and never get to building what we’d like.  But if we aren’t working to build our dreams, we’re working to build someone else’s dreams.  Our dreams then slowly die on the shelf—and needlessly.

So how can we move past the obstacles blocking this destiny?  And what about the fears holding us back?  What do we do about unfavorable conditions?  What’s the secret to making something so seemingly idealistic work for us?   This is a journey that first requires us to take a good look at ourselves and our habits.  If nothing changes, nothing changes.  And what changes first are not circumstances or situations, but thoughts and emotions–Happiness and Hope come first, not as a product;  waiting for either keeps people stuck.   It’s backwards.

Instead:

*We must appreciate what we have (the new possibilities at the very least).   Anything else puts the problem on the circumstances, which we can’t effectively change.
*We must work with the current situation (letting go of blaming the situation—we must change instead).  When we make peace with where we are, we see opportunities.
*We must see a vision of the future, even if only a small way down the road.   This should be compelling, enticing, irresistible, exciting, juicy, something passionately beckoning.  We have to get honest with ourselves about what we want—what we really want, the entire package.   Then even the beginning of the journey will be fun and exciting.  We’re on our way!

We can’t get what we want when we don’t know what it is.   And most people, ironically, either don’t know what it is, or aren’t being honest with themselves about it.  This is a journey that starts with self-reflection.

Ironically, self-reflection is the hardest;  being honest with ourselves is often a real challenge.  Here’s where a wilderness walk helps—the stark, clear, mirror around us slowly brings out only what’s true, leaving the projections and self-created complications behind.

Image
Peering through the clouds from Snowy Mountain
Are you interested in hearing more about Wilderness Hikes as projects evolve in the future? Let me know here, so I have a list of those interested ready to go, by clicking here (and page all the way down to click “Sign Up” at the bottom):
Join the “Wilderness Hike” list.

If you’d like to hear about my “Getting Unstuck” book as it gets closer to release, let me know by clicking here (and you’re welcome to do *both,* of course–page all the way down to click “Sign Up” at the bottom):
Join the “Getting Unstuck” list.

October 2012 is a series of daily posts about “A Wilderness Hike,” taking readers through the healing of wilderness experience and glimpses of my work at Kwan Yin Healing and of my book, “Getting Unstuck.”

You can read the series from the start via the links here:

Oct. 1:    A Wilderness Hike
Oct. 2:   The Sixth Hour
Oct. 3:   Snowy Mountain
Oct. 4:   Letting Go of Baggage–the Wilderness Way
Oct. 5:   “Bear” the Thought
Oct. 6:   Mountain.  Buddha.  Impermanence.
Oct. 7:   The Rewards of Rain
Oct. 8:   Finding the Keys
Oct. 9:   “I’d love to, but times are bad.”
Oct. 10:  Attracting the Law of Attraction
Oct. 11:  We are not our thoughts
Oct. 12:  Honesty, Forgiveness, Healing
Oct. 13:  Getting Unstuck:  Feeling Overwhelmed
Oct. 14:  Money is remarkably easy to come by, if that’s all you want.
Oct. 15:  To be Time Rich, Learn to Be
Oct. 16:  Changing Thoughts for Changing Work
Oct. 17:  Finding and Sharing your Gifts
Oct. 18:  Do you want to be the boss?  Be sure you want to run the show.
Oct. 19:  Finding jobs within jobs
Oct. 20: Bright Mountain Dream
Oct. 21: Escape the Wilderness of Addictions
Oct. 22: The Importance of Spiritual Direction
Oct. 23: In Search of Enlightenment
Oct. 24: Relationship Thoughts from the Wilderness
Oct. 25: We learn in realtionships
Oct. 26: Chrysalis
Oct. 27: Self-Healing, part 1
Oct. 28: Self-Healing, part 2:  Time for a new perspective
Oct. 29: Dix Mountain
Oct. 30: The Mist-Filled Path
Oct. 31: From Wilderness to Wondrousness

Enjoy!

The Rewards of Rain

As I climbed higher, I saw why, and scrambled to the summit—we had climbed above the clouds, and were now standing in bright sunshine on an island of rock surrounded by a fluffy white carpet stretching across the sky in every direction. It remains to this day perhaps the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen.

Nearly every day, I take my dog down to the trails around Stony Pond for an hour or so, where I run or ski, depending on the weather. Much of the time we’re left to the geese, ducks and beavers, though when the weather turns sunny and warm, people regularly camp there, enjoying the peace and beauty of nature by building large fires, blaring radios and drinking lots of beer—often leaving the bottles and cans littered behind them the next morning, the remains of the fires still smoldering.  A family goes fishing, and crowds around the battery-powered TV they’ve brought, watching sitcoms. A young woman on horseback talks on her cell phone. Getting away from just some of it all, apparently.

During deer season, hunters park their campers here, choosing to hunt by walking the well-worn foot paths around the pond, waiting for the deer to give themselves up, rather than traveling into the woods where the deer live, coming out at night by the hundreds to graze in the fields. It’s just easier, I guess, near the comfort of the camper.

Leaving the comfort of the noise, the truck cabins, the telecommunications and the sunny weather has its rewards. One rainy spring morning, for instance, my dog found a fawn hiding just around a tree trunk (we apparently surprised the doe)—just about 18” long. When I investigated, the fawn bellowed (damn, those things have lungs!) and wobbled to its feet—it could just barely stand—and bellowed again. It was the cutest little creature—head far too large for its body, legs far too skinny—the usual “I’m small now but I’ll soon grow big” syndrome we recognize in puppies of large breeds. I quickly led my dog away, leaving the youngster to the unseen doe, but those few precious moments remain a happy memory.

One Saturday, desperately needing to get away and clear my head, I decided to ignore the rainy weather and climb Algonquin Peak.  Of course, climbing in a drizzle means walking in a dense, gray fog, and today was no exception. I saw none of the spectacular views—I could barely see twenty feet ahead, just following the trail (and my dog) as trees continually emerged from the mist. This became a real problem when I reached the tree line, nervously trusting my dog’s nose to find the trail, now just rock, trees gone, using the occasional cairns as confirmation rather than guides as intended. I started to worry about finding the trail down again, when the fog started to clear a bit. As I climbed higher, I saw why, and scrambled to the summit—we had climbed above the clouds, and were now standing in bright sunshine on an island of rock surrounded by a fluffy white carpet stretching across the sky in every direction. It remains to this day perhaps the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen.

Not that I’m recommending climbing the High Peaks alone in the rain—on another occasion, an excursion up Mt. Colden, I got turned around in the fog and wandered about for a few scary hours before finding the proper trail again. I forced myself to stop and change into fresh, dry polypropylene underwear and wool clothing. Freshly dressed, warm and dry, I started shivering nonstop—I had been in the initial phase of hypothermia, the first sign of which is poor judgment. (Ironically, I had stopped to change only to ensure that doing so would be a habit in case I ever did get hypothermia. “Ah,” I noted to myself, “THAT’S why I have that ‘make it a habit’ rule.”) I hurried down the mountain to a lean-to, built a fire, laid out my thermal pad and sleeping bag, and prepared a warm dinner. Crisis averted, but lesson learned—almost the very hard way.

Back home, away from the spectacular views and the dangers of the mountains, rain can certainly be a nuisance, turning the clay soil into a soggy, muddy mess for days at a time, making dry feet impossible unless I keep a pair of socks and shoes in the car. In the spring, I don’t even try for clean clothes, as a single splash will muddy my pants. But at the same time, relaxing in a lawn chair, watching the birds dart through the tree branches, taking in the fresh scent, listening to the sound of rain on my shed’s aluminum roof, catching up on some reading–this is not a bad way to spend an afternoon.

Not counting when my wet, muddy dog rushes into my lap.

Image
The Adirondack High Peaks above the tree line (viewed from Mt. Marcy summit)
Are you interested in hearing more about Wilderness Hikes as projects evolve in the future? Let me know here, so I have a list of those interested ready to go, by clicking here (and page all the way down to click “Sign Up” at the bottom):
Join the “Wilderness Hike” list.

If you’d like to hear about my “Getting Unstuck” book as it gets closer to release, let me know by clicking here (and you’re welcome to do *both,* of course–page all the way down to click “Sign Up” at the bottom):
Join the “Getting Unstuck” list.

October 2012 is a series of daily posts about “A Wilderness Hike,” taking readers through the healing of wilderness experience and glimpses of my work at Kwan Yin Healing and of my book, “Getting Unstuck.”

You can read the series from the start via the links here:

Oct. 1:    A Wilderness Hike
Oct. 2:   The Sixth Hour
Oct. 3:   Snowy Mountain
Oct. 4:   Letting Go of Baggage–the Wilderness Way
Oct. 5:   “Bear” the Thought
Oct. 6:   Mountain.  Buddha.  Impermanence.
Oct. 7:   The Rewards of Rain
Oct. 8:   Finding the Keys
Oct. 9:   “I’d love to, but times are bad.”
Oct. 10:  Attracting the Law of Attraction
Oct. 11:  We are not our thoughts
Oct. 12:  Honesty, Forgiveness, Healing
Oct. 13:  Getting Unstuck:  Feeling Overwhelmed
Oct. 14:  Money is remarkably easy to come by, if that’s all you want.
Oct. 15:  To be Time Rich, Learn to Be
Oct. 16:  Changing Thoughts for Changing Work
Oct. 17:  Finding and Sharing your Gifts
Oct. 18:  Do you want to be the boss?  Be sure you want to run the show.
Oct. 19:  Finding jobs within jobs
Oct. 20: Bright Mountain Dream
Oct. 21: Escape the Wilderness of Addictions
Oct. 22: The Importance of Spiritual Direction
Oct. 23: In Search of Enlightenment
Oct. 24: Relationship Thoughts from the Wilderness
Oct. 25: We learn in realtionships
Oct. 26: Chrysalis
Oct. 27: Self-Healing, part 1
Oct. 28: Self-Healing, part 2:  Time for a new perspective
Oct. 29: Dix Mountain
Oct. 30: The Mist-Filled Path
Oct. 31: From Wilderness to Wondrousness

Enjoy!

Mountain. Buddha. Impermanence.

All things have the nature of mind.  Mind is the chief and takes the lead.  If the mind is clear, whatever you do or say will bring happiness that will follow like your shadow.   ~Dhammapada

Hiking in the Adirondack High Peaks in October is tricky.  The days are short, the drive up there long, and the weather likely to be rainy and cloudy in autumn, especially at high elevations.  But it’s still good hiking weather overall, and the fall colors are vibrant.  So I checked the weather a week ago . . . hmmm, maybe hike Saturday instead of Friday . . . then an update a few days ago—Yay!  10% chance of rain Friday!  70 degrees!  Perfect.  Just perfect.   Friday it is.

Then I double-checked Thursday night at 10, just before hitting the hay for a good night’s sleep before the morning trek—30% chance of thunderstorms?  Not good for being on the side of mountain.  I check the hourly forecast.  After 4 p.m.   Hmmm.  Well, that’s doable.  I should be well on the way down.  I’ve climbed Algonquin Peak several times before, if not for a while, and although it’s New York’s second highest peak, it’s more of a steep climb than a long one.  I’ve done it in six hours round trip.  No problem.

On the drive up, the heavens pour.  Hmm.  Well, maybe not in the MacIntyre Range of the mountains, and maybe this early downpour will clear the way for a sunny afternoon.  When I arrive at the Adirondack Loj, all is clear.  Cloudy, but dry.  Except for the ground and rocks.  OK.  Doable.  I see the number for Forest Ranger Emergency Dispatch when I log in to the register.  I’ve seen it many times before.  Today, I think “I should really add this to my phone.”  Seems prudent.

On the climb up, the weather clears, sunny skies.  Then cloudy.  Then sunny.  Then cloudy.  Gray clouds move in.  Then out.  Then in.  Who knows.  Constant flux.  Impermanence.  Isn’t that what the Buddha told us?  Nonattachment.  All is impermanence.  In the mountains, you can’t help but notice this.  The conditions are usually changing.  Even when they “aren’t,” the view from the summit shows them changing all around.   Nothing is constant.  We merely cling to our thoughts, our inventions of “reality.”

Image

Algonquin Peak viewed from the Mt. Marcy summit

Two and a half hours, and I’m still nowhere near the tree line.  Hmmm.  Seems I’m not as quick a climber as I was a few decades back.  Go figure.   Well.   Despite the clouds coming and going, it’s not thunderstorm weather, as far as I can tell.   I calculate what time I need to descend to get back, if not before dark, at least on the flat, well-traveled parts of the trail, the last mile or so.   I have a flashlight.  And a husky, with a good nose for trail.   A white, easy to follow one at that.  Things will work out.

The summit was gray.   Windy, cold, nothing to see but the moss, some alpine grass, and the rocks.   Not even birds scavenging for crumbs.  I had brought two cameras, since this would be my last chance for a while to get some good shots.   Not today.  Impermanence.   My husky and I settle downwind of a boulder for some supper.   Three hours and 45 minutes up.  Sigh.  At least I’m not sore—the healing stuff I’ve been developing this summer is working well, and I’m looking forward to getting it all down on paper to share.  I’m tired, though, and enjoy the rest.  It’s an almost 3,000 foot ascent, much of it at the end.  A good day’s work.  I hope the clouds will clear for a bit, as they had all day.  But not today.   I wait a little longer than I should, hoping.  Let it go.  Enjoy the climb for itself.  No views today.

I started down.  Maybe I can make better time descending.  I pass a mental marker just at the tree line.  Hmm.  A little bit of time.  Well, all will be well.  The rocks are slippery—ironic, since the summer was been so dry, but the last week has been solid rain.  I continue down.

“Cruuuuuuunnnnnncccccccchhhhhhhhhhhssssssssnnnnnnnaaaaaaaaappppppp!!!”

I’ve never heard such a sound.  I lie on the ground on my back, screaming in agony.  I had just stepped down from a boulder, maybe three feet, just a little forcefully from the distance.   I don’t know what has happened.  I’m worried my knee is broken.  Very, very not good.  I don’t have the gear to spend the night at this elevation.   I carefully, breathlessly, attempt to stand . . . OK.   I feel my knee.  OK.   No pain.  Probably not broken.   I try a few steps.   OK—-gasp!   Not OK!   Keep it straight.  It’s the turning that hurts—as in crumbling under me again as I collapse in agony again hurts.  I need a staff—but nothing but small vegetation at the edge of the alpine region.    Release the pain, Tim.  Don’t assume.  Don’t reinforce it.  See the healthy knee.  Good.   So slow.  I try.  I cling to the small branches of the tree line spruce.   A few hundred feet.  Then a painful collapse.  A few hundred feet.  Then a painful collapse.  A few hundred feet.  Then a painful collapse.   This is not good.   First, it’s going to take forever, and second, one bad fall and I could lose my leg, unable to walk, stuck there.  What what else can I do?  A few hundred feet.  Painful Collapse.  A few hundred.  Collapse.

I hear my own voice, repeating what I often suggest to others:  “It’s taken me a long time to learn this—don’t try to do everything by yourself.  Get help.”  I get out the phone, and dial Forest Ranger Emergency Dispatch.

“What is your emergency?”  I explain the situation.  I can probably get down, but things aren’t good.  I do have food and water, plenty.  I’m warm.  And I have a flashlight (though I’m not sure it’s good for all the hours I’ll need it).  The operator has the Ranger call me.

He asks several questions.  I don’t have any wraps or ibuprofen.  I can try wrapping my extra shirt around my knee.  The support helps a little.   Is there anyone with me.  “No, I’m alone,” but as I say that, a party of three comes along behind me, “but some people just came up, so I guess not now.”  One of them stays with me.  The Ranger will be up with a headlamp, hiking poles, wrap, and ibuprofen.  But it will take time.  Hours.  My new companion finds a staff—just happens to be where he first looks, a six foot dead tree, but strong from the tight layers it grew in the alpine environment.  It helps a lot.  He looks after my husky, and we start the slow descent down a lot of rock.

A few missteps, but much better.  A slight drizzle comes, but doesn’t last.  The stars come out.  The night is warm.  We chat.  All in all, not a bad time.  Impermanence.  I’m glad all this happened after learning to release soreness with self-healing.  I’m appreciative that a summer of mountain hiking has my muscles easily up to the task—a tender knee combined with sore/weak leg muscles would have been awful.

The Ranger arrives eventually, and my new friend moves on to catch up to his party (not that far ahead of us, as it turned out).   My knee gets a wrap, I get ibuprofen and hiking poles, and my new Ranger friend takes over husky duty as we enjoy a laborious, but doable and peaceful long slow hike through the wilderness on the way back to the Loj.  Usually this trail is brimming with traffic.  Tonight, not a soul.  Truly, I’m grateful, peaceful.  Slow down, Tim.  Relax.  A bad fall once more.   A few painful twinges.  But overall, all is well.  A long drive home yet, starting near midnight.  I’ll pull over later for a couple hours nap, arriving just before dawn to collapse in bed, see what the next day brings.  I’d wake to find the knee stiff, but greatly improved.   All is well.   All is impermanence.   Nonattachment.  A good day’s lesson.  A celebration that I’ve learned the lesson of gratitude.

And that New York has such excellent Forest Rangers!

Are you interested in hearing more about Wilderness Hikes as projects evolve in the future? Let me know here, so I have a list of those interested ready to go, by clicking here (and page all the way down to click “Sign Up” at the bottom):
Join the “Wilderness Hike” list.

If you’d like to hear about my “Getting Unstuck” book as it gets closer to release, let me know by clicking here (and you’re welcome to do *both,* of course–page all the way down to click “Sign Up” at the bottom):
Join the “Getting Unstuck” list.

October 2012 is a series of daily posts about “A Wilderness Hike,” taking readers through the healing of wilderness experience and glimpses of my work at Kwan Yin Healing and of my book, “Getting Unstuck.”

You can read the series from the start via the links here:

Oct. 1:    A Wilderness Hike
Oct. 2:   The Sixth Hour
Oct. 3:   Snowy Mountain
Oct. 4:   Letting Go of Baggage–the Wilderness Way
Oct. 5:   “Bear” the Thought
Oct. 6:   Mountain.  Buddha.  Impermanence.
Oct. 7:   The Rewards of Rain
Oct. 8:   Finding the Keys
Oct. 9:   “I’d love to, but times are bad.”
Oct. 10:  Attracting the Law of Attraction
Oct. 11:  We are not our thoughts
Oct. 12:  Honesty, Forgiveness, Healing
Oct. 13:  Getting Unstuck:  Feeling Overwhelmed
Oct. 14:  Money is remarkably easy to come by, if that’s all you want.
Oct. 15:  To be Time Rich, Learn to Be
Oct. 16:  Changing Thoughts for Changing Work
Oct. 17:  Finding and Sharing your Gifts
Oct. 18:  Do you want to be the boss?  Be sure you want to run the show.
Oct. 19:  Finding jobs within jobs
Oct. 20: Bright Mountain Dream
Oct. 21: Escape the Wilderness of Addictions
Oct. 22: The Importance of Spiritual Direction
Oct. 23: In Search of Enlightenment
Oct. 24: Relationship Thoughts from the Wilderness
Oct. 25: We learn in realtionships
Oct. 26: Chrysalis
Oct. 27: Self-Healing, part 1
Oct. 28: Self-Healing, part 2:  Time for a new perspective
Oct. 29: Dix Mountain
Oct. 30: The Mist-Filled Path
Oct. 31: From Wilderness to Wondrousness

Enjoy!

“Bear” the thought

I’m often asked how to focus thought, how to direct the mind, usually with the message that “I can’t concentrate on just one thing like that . . . I’m not capable of doing it.”

You really are.  Here’s a lesson I learned years ago at Marcy Dam one dark night.

Scrunch. Scrrunch. Scarrrunth.

“Just great,” I thought, awakened by the sound of tractor-trailer tires on gravel. “Here I’ve hiked into the mountains to escape into nature, and I STILL can’t get away from the noise of traffic.” Then I realized I was at least 5-6 miles from the nearest highway. I had driven five hours to the High Peaks, then down the long road to the Adirondack Log, then hiked an hour up to a lean-to by Marcy Dam, the first leg of a two week backpacking trip with my shepherd mix, Sasha.

Scrunch. Scrrunth. I sat up.

Sasha was sitting as erect as could be, her back pressed against me, stiff as possible while every part of her body trembled slightly, her attention focused intently ahead.

Scrrunch. Scarrunthh!

The night was cloudy, no light at all. Still, through the complete dark of the forest, the sky was lighter above the trees where the land sloped down toward the dam. Against that backdrop, bit by bit, I watched a large, dark shape slowly pull itself up one of the trees suspending my food. [Backpackers bag their food and tie it suspended between two trees, at least 15 feet from the ground and from either tree, to protect it from persistent woodland creatures, like raccoons and—bears.]

Scrunch. With every pull of the bear, my dog’s alert, staring head abruptly inched up another angle. Scrunth—another inch. Scrunth—another head adjustment. Scrunch. Scarrunthh!

The bear had reached the line suspending the food. A moment passed while the bear realized it couldn’t reach the bag, and let out a low grumble.

Scrunch. Scrrunth.

The bear headed down, my dog’s attention fixed, her head abruptly adjusting to each change in the bear’s position.

Scrunch. Scrunthh.

Lower and lower—bear and dog’s head.

Scrunch. Scrunthh.

Having reached the bottom of the tree, the bear placed its back feet on the ground. My dog responded. So softly I could barely hear her, throat just two feet from my ears, Sasha let out a long, low, very soft, almost inaudible “grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrruff.” There. I barked. Now YOU do something.

I did. Looking around for a few pots to bang together to startle bear, I reminded myself that startled bears take off in whatever direction they’re pointed, so be careful before startling. But how was I going to manage that in the dark, when I could see little more than a large, ominous shape?

I needn’t have worried, since knowing it wasn’t going to get our food, the bear simply walked away, down the path toward Marcy Dam. (Other inexperienced hikers there, who had hung their food from the lean-to overhang under the theory “the bear won’t come up to us,” were less fortunate, abruptly unprovisioned courtesy of the Night Visitor.)  Once the adrenaline finally settled, I settled down to sleep—my dog still sharply on the watch.

And not once, during the entire episode, did I think about bills, or work, or various personal challenges, etc.  The bear had my total, focused, concentrated attention.  No stray thoughts.  And effortlessly so.

Image
View from Marcy Dam
Are you interested in hearing more about Wilderness Hikes as projects evolve in the future? Let me know here, so I have a list of those interested ready to go, by clicking here (and page all the way down to click “Sign Up” at the bottom):
Join the “Wilderness Hike” list.
If you’d like to hear about my “Getting Unstuck” book as it gets closer to release, let me know by clicking here (and you’re welcome to do *both,* of course–page all the way down to click “Sign Up” at the bottom):
Join the “Getting Unstuck” list.

October 2012 is a series of daily posts about “A Wilderness Hike,” taking readers through the healing of wilderness experience and glimpses of my work at Kwan Yin Healing and of my book, “Getting Unstuck.”

You can read the series from the start via the links here:

Oct. 1:    A Wilderness Hike
Oct. 2:   The Sixth Hour
Oct. 3:   Snowy Mountain
Oct. 4:   Letting Go of Baggage–the Wilderness Way
Oct. 5:   “Bear” the Thought
Oct. 6:   Mountain.  Buddha.  Impermanence.
Oct. 7:   The Rewards of Rain
Oct. 8:   Finding the Keys
Oct. 9:   “I’d love to, but times are bad.”
Oct. 10:  Attracting the Law of Attraction
Oct. 11:  We are not our thoughts
Oct. 12:  Honesty, Forgiveness, Healing
Oct. 13:  Getting Unstuck:  Feeling Overwhelmed
Oct. 14:  Money is remarkably easy to come by, if that’s all you want.
Oct. 15:  To be Time Rich, Learn to Be
Oct. 16:  Changing Thoughts for Changing Work
Oct. 17:  Finding and Sharing your Gifts
Oct. 18:  Do you want to be the boss?  Be sure you want to run the show.
Oct. 19:  Finding jobs within jobs
Oct. 20: Bright Mountain Dream
Oct. 21: Escape the Wilderness of Addictions
Oct. 22: The Importance of Spiritual Direction
Oct. 23: In Search of Enlightenment
Oct. 24: Relationship Thoughts from the Wilderness
Oct. 25: We learn in realtionships
Oct. 26: Chrysalis
Oct. 27: Self-Healing, part 1
Oct. 28: Self-Healing, part 2:  Time for a new perspective
Oct. 29: Dix Mountain
Oct. 30: The Mist-Filled Path
Oct. 31: From Wilderness to Wondrousness

Enjoy!

Letting go of baggage — the wilderness way

No longer was I having replays of incidents long past, existing solely in head, clinging to victimhood like a badge.  And once I recognized what was happening, things got easier.  Feel the pain.  Work through it.  Let. it. go.  Over.  Done.  History.

One of my favorite hiking places is John Brown’s Tract.  There are no mountains to climb here.  There’s no real destination either—though there are lakes and lean-tos well worth making destinations.  I’ve hiked a very seldom used trail to a wilderness lake, for example—truly a wilderness lake.  The trail stops, there’s no way around it, there’s nothing by wildlife, the only way over it taken by the hawk circling the edge for prey.

The allure of John Brown’s Tract is its accessibility to wilderness.  On the one hand, drive up the highway, park in one of the convenient lots, and start down the trail.  Simple and easy, and it’s why it’s a popular set of trails.  However, look at the map, and you’ll notice that north of this network of trails, there’s . . . nothing.   No roads.  No jeep trails.  No paths.  Literally—not even foot trails.  Nothing.  You are in the heart of wilderness, and proceeding into it without compass, map, and a LOT of experience is essentially suicide.  No help will come, and even if help knew to come, it probably couldn’t find you, almost certainly not in time.  Twist your ankle crossing a stream, and you stay there until your spirit gives up and leaves your body.

Image

Fortunately, it’s easy enough to hike for hours into this wilderness without crossing into the untraveled and unmarked wilds.  And I have done so many, many times.  I especially go here when I just want to hike, and don’t care where.  Often this is when I’ve got things to work out, and a long wilderness hike is just the place to do it.

Many of the notes for my “Getting Unstuck” book came from these explorations.  Here’s an example.  I’ve heard many people wonder, “Could I ever get past my baggage?”  I know the feeling.

I was just 18 months into recovery from alcohol addiction, my head finally starting to clear, and I used the clarity to start to think ahead.  In the wilderness, where the constant sound and energy of human society starts to fall away, the true reality of nature quietly shines through.    I was looking for myself again.

On these walks, enjoyable as they were–I kept missing someone to be there with me.  I imagined what she would be like.  Or maybe that I’d meet her sitting in a lean-to.  Who knows.

But how?  I had just gone through horrible pain in recovery.  I had fantastic hurts from past wrongs, from difficult breakups and love lost to the trauma of a partner’s betrayal.  I was a wounded animal, carrying incredible hurts.  I felt like witches were flying all around me, taunting me:  “You’re no good!  You’re damaged goods!  You’re no good for anyone!”  Was this my future?  Was this what I had to live with for the rest of my life?

At this time, I had come across Satchel Paige’s quote, “Love like you’ve never been hurt.”  I couldn’t imagine how I would do that.  But I could clearly see that if I didn’t learn how, I would never have healthy relationship again.  I decided on the hike finally.  I would learn how.  I had too.

It.  was.   not.   easy.    But it was a lesson in several things, starting with Acceptance.  For Acceptance, I would have to let go of all feelings of being wronged.  Resentments had to go.    I had to find humility.  I do not mean deciding everything that had happened was fine.  I do mean letting go of the part of me that wanted to cling to it—my ego.  Face it.  These long festering hurts, once we get past all the justification and the righteousness, all boil down to “I can’t believe you did this to ME!”  Time to get over myself.  And that, certainly, was.  not.  easy.  But it was necessary.  Absolutely, bottom line necessary.  If I couldn’t do that, I couldn’t heal and let go of the hurt I had packed up to drag around.  I had to do it.  And it took time.

But I felt so much lighter!  No longer was I having replays of incidents long past, existing solely in head, clinging to victimhood like a badge.  And once I recognized what was happening, things got easier.  Feel the pain.  Work through it.  Let. it. go.  Over.  Done.  History.

When the Holiday Season came up a few months later–which I define as Thanksgiving through Valentine’s Day–instead of dreading its return once again, I starting thinking about how to make my own new happy traditions.  One of those things was to get out and meet people, just to have fun, to start to live again.   And because of that–I met someone and sat having a seven hour conversation over coffee.  I was in a wonderful relationship again.  Magic and Romance had returned.

Oh, we broke up.  Then got together.  Then broke up again.  And I moved on.  But I had learned to love again.  I was not broken.  And I was not stuck.

We all need truly clear mirrors to do our inner work.  For me, the John Brown’s Tract wilderness is ideal.

And we all need to love.  Just keep doing it until it works.  I will too.

 

Are you interested in hearing more about Wilderness Hikes as projects evolve in the future? Let me know here, so I have a list of those interested ready to go, by clicking here (and page all the way down to click “Sign Up” at the bottom):
Join the “Wilderness Hike” list.

If you’d like to hear about my “Getting Unstuck” book as it gets closer to release, let me know by clicking here (and you’re welcome to do *both,* of course–page all the way down to click “Sign Up” at the bottom):
Join the “Getting Unstuck” list.

October 2012 is a series of daily posts about “A Wilderness Hike,” taking readers through the healing of wilderness experience and glimpses of my work at Kwan Yin Healing and of my book, “Getting Unstuck.”

You can read the series from the start via the links here:

Oct. 1:    A Wilderness Hike
Oct. 2:   The Sixth Hour
Oct. 3:   Snowy Mountain
Oct. 4:   Letting Go of Baggage–the Wilderness Way
Oct. 5:   “Bear” the Thought
Oct. 6:   Mountain.  Buddha.  Impermanence.
Oct. 7:   The Rewards of Rain
Oct. 8:   Finding the Keys
Oct. 9:   “I’d love to, but times are bad.”
Oct. 10:  Attracting the Law of Attraction
Oct. 11:  We are not our thoughts
Oct. 12:  Honesty, Forgiveness, Healing
Oct. 13:  Getting Unstuck:  Feeling Overwhelmed
Oct. 14:  Money is remarkably easy to come by, if that’s all you want.
Oct. 15:  To be Time Rich, Learn to Be
Oct. 16:  Changing Thoughts for Changing Work
Oct. 17:  Finding and Sharing your Gifts
Oct. 18:  Do you want to be the boss?  Be sure you want to run the show.
Oct. 19:  Finding jobs within jobs
Oct. 20: Bright Mountain Dream
Oct. 21: Escape the Wilderness of Addictions
Oct. 22: The Importance of Spiritual Direction
Oct. 23: In Search of Enlightenment
Oct. 24: Relationship Thoughts from the Wilderness
Oct. 25: We learn in realtionships
Oct. 26: Chrysalis
Oct. 27: Self-Healing, part 1
Oct. 28: Self-Healing, part 2:  Time for a new perspective
Oct. 29: Dix Mountain
Oct. 30: The Mist-Filled Path
Oct. 31: From Wilderness to Wondrousness

Enjoy!

Snowy Mountain

My head was almost pounding.  I wasn’t ill, and didn’t have a headache.  Rather, although I had thought myself calm and relaxed and peaceful that Sunday morning, when I hit the trail, the quiet around me starkly revealed the racing, swirling thoughts in my head, not a bit peaceful upon closer examination.  I sighed.

Image

I waited for the rain to stop.  The weather report had given the all clear, but the clouds had different ideas on the drive up.   The shower was passing, though, so with a bit of dragging my feet while preparing my pack—despite an anxious husky ready to get going!—the trip up Snowy Mountain thus began in sunshine.

The sound of the wind through the trees mingled with the sound of water dripping from the leaves.   Have you noticed how similar these sounds can be?  The leaves through the trees, a brook tumbling over rocks, a gentle rain hitting—at first, quietly building, they all sound identical.  Incidentally, so does the sound of an approaching car at first, still in the distance.  Vibration, frequency.  All that is, us too.  Vibration and frequency.

As I walked across dual 8 x 8s nailed to cross pieces at the ends to serve as bridges over particularly wet spots (the trail crosses streams three times as well), my feet rang them like wood blocks, a musical surprise counter to the expected dull thudding trod.  “My friend Marcus would love this,” I thought.  He’s a sound healer, a spiritual musician, and merging wilderness healing and music would appeal to him, I’m sure.

My head was almost pounding.  I wasn’t ill, and didn’t have a headache.  Rather, although I had thought myself calm and relaxed and peaceful that Sunday morning, when I hit the trail, the quiet around me starkly revealed the racing, swirling thoughts in my head, not a bit peaceful upon closer examination.  I sighed.  I need to do things like this more often, take on fewer work commitments, I thought.  At least spend more time meditating, not letting my head get so full.

The ancient Chinese believed the Earth made a fundamental sound, called the Kung, and ancient emperors had officials travel among the villages to ensure musical instruments were properly attuned to it—a low F, for you musicians.  The concern was that city life drowned out the sound of the Kung, leaving residents out of harmony with the earth.   The Kung was ringing my bells now, for sure.  Frequency and vibration.  I had lost connection.

The rainy start offered a rare treat from the summit—a gorgeous rainbow stretching across the mountains.   It also offered a cold, windy experience in the fire tower.   But a sunny meadow just a bit down from the top offered a delightful place to sit,  have a bit to eat, and relax.  Really relax.  My husky, who doesn’t have the same relaxation challenges, took a Milk-bone, stretched out in the grass, and after a few more, rolled on her side for a nap.  A chipmunk, emboldened by the sleeping pooch, scouted the area for crumbs, checking out my trail mix.   More alert than relaxed.    Probably wise for a chipmunk too near a husky.

Image

The trip down was quiet, calm, expansive, peaceful, large—wilderness stretching unchecked (as far as I could see from my vantage point) in all directions.  Time to get back to the car, listening for those distant tire sounds—or was that the wind?—letting me know we were close to the trail’s end.

Returning home, something of the mountains seems to come back to the hills.  They seem connected, rather than different regions.  The wilderness is there, here, accessible if we could learn to see it—or hear it, or feel it.  Vibration, frequency, Kung.

 

Are you interested in hearing more about Wilderness Hikes as projects evolve in the future? Let me know here, so I have a list of those interested ready to go, by clicking here (and page all the way down to click “Sign Up” at the bottom):
Join the “Wilderness Hike” list.

If you’d like to hear about my “Getting Unstuck” book as it gets closer to release, let me know by clicking here (and you’re welcome to do *both,* of course–page all the way down to click “Sign Up” at the bottom):
Join the “Getting Unstuck” list.

October 2012 is a series of daily posts about “A Wilderness Hike,” taking readers through the healing of wilderness experience and glimpses of my work at Kwan Yin Healing and of my book, “Getting Unstuck.”

You can read the series from the start via the links here:

Oct. 1:    A Wilderness Hike
Oct. 2:   The Sixth Hour
Oct. 3:   Snowy Mountain
Oct. 4:   Letting Go of Baggage–the Wilderness Way
Oct. 5:   “Bear” the Thought
Oct. 6:   Mountain.  Buddha.  Impermanence.
Oct. 7:   The Rewards of Rain
Oct. 8:   Finding the Keys
Oct. 9:   “I’d love to, but times are bad.”
Oct. 10:  Attracting the Law of Attraction
Oct. 11:  We are not our thoughts
Oct. 12:  Honesty, Forgiveness, Healing
Oct. 13:  Getting Unstuck:  Feeling Overwhelmed
Oct. 14:  Money is remarkably easy to come by, if that’s all you want.
Oct. 15:  To be Time Rich, Learn to Be
Oct. 16:  Changing Thoughts for Changing Work
Oct. 17:  Finding and Sharing your Gifts
Oct. 18:  Do you want to be the boss?  Be sure you want to run the show.
Oct. 19:  Finding jobs within jobs
Oct. 20: Bright Mountain Dream
Oct. 21: Escape the Wilderness of Addictions
Oct. 22: The Importance of Spiritual Direction
Oct. 23: In Search of Enlightenment
Oct. 24: Relationship Thoughts from the Wilderness
Oct. 25: We learn in realtionships
Oct. 26: Chrysalis
Oct. 27: Self-Healing, part 1
Oct. 28: Self-Healing, part 2:  Time for a new perspective
Oct. 29: Dix Mountain
Oct. 30: The Mist-Filled Path
Oct. 31: From Wilderness to Wondrousness

Enjoy!

The Sixth Hour

It’s a sobering energy, a disengaged presence, beautiful, but unaware of its beauty, peaceful, and unconcerned whether you come or go, relax or fret, in fact live or die, the difference immaterial.   Not even uncaring—simply not caring, the concept of caring in that sense beyond its nature.  Here, you are irrelevant.

When I was escaping from the city to the mountains, I found there was a consistent rhythm to my hikes.   The first two hours were largely settling into the natural setting, shifting from frazzled to relaxing.   Hours two to four were about being in the experience, the heart of the hike.  My head would be full of the problems at home, swirling about, but I was hiking along, enjoying the walk.

But something regularly shifted for me at the sixth hour.  It was here that suddenly the mental clouds parted, and challenges that had seemed complicated and tangled would abruptly clear.  Solutions just bubbled up, simple and straight-forward paths, effortlessly conjured with no effort on my part—if you don’t count the six hours of hiking.  It was hard to imagine what I had ever found difficult about these problems.  (If you’re wondering—the eighth hour was about being tired and ready to get back to the car for the day!)

As my life simplified—and probably as I matured as well—I didn’t face knotty problems so often, at least not the twisted obsessive what-am-I-going-to-do kinds.   But from time to time issues would arise that weren’t resolved with patience and critical reflection, and I learned to take these intentionally to the mountains (or at least to the wilderness, mountain or no), deliberately planning a six-eight hour day or more specifically to give myself time to get into this position of clarity and focus.

Long walks alone, though, don’t do the job.  I live in a beautiful county with many lovely trails, and on a day when I don’t want to travel, I can walk all day in peace.  Sometimes I do, and I appreciate that peace and beauty.  But other than the benefits of relaxation, it doesn’t bring the same balance and clarity.

The wilderness is different.  It’s a different kind of quiet, an untamed balance, not a cultivated garden (which certainly have their own charm and beauty), but more of a state of being, of something inherent in its existence.  It’s not shaped—it just is.   Nor am I romanticizing.  It’s a sobering energy, a disengaged presence, beautiful, but unaware of its beauty, peaceful, and unconcerned whether you come or go, relax or fret, in fact live or die, the difference immaterial.   Not even uncaring—simply not caring, the concept of caring in that sense beyond its nature.  Here, you are irrelevant.  The problems you carry in even more so.   Not even enough to be silly.

When I took all-weather backpacking trips, this reality was part of the centering.  Hike in, and then set about properly pitching the tent in a dry/safe area, preparing dinner on the tiny backpacking stove, hanging the food high between trees to keep it from bears and raccoons, getting out of the day’s clothes and into fresh dry ones, and all in order and quickly, because if I didn’t do all these things—I would die (of hypothermia).  That’s a focusing principle, especially those trips in December/January (one way to beat the holiday stress).  It was actually part of the allure—such straight-forward necessities were a relief from the perceived problems from which I was escaping for a few weeks.

Today I experience the centering of wilderness in less extreme day trips.  The energy, though, is the same as when I was running from my own mountains of stress.  That quiet, detached calm pervades, and that clear, stark mirror reflects only what is, and not what we make of it or try to see in it.   There is only truth, without ego—something that’s hard to see in our daily spaces.

The photo is a view toward Elk Lake on the way up Dix Mountain.

Please share your experiences and thoughts in the comments.   I’d love to see them.

Thanks!

Are you interested in hearing more about Wilderness Hikes as projects evolve in the future? Let me know here, so I have a list of those interested ready to go, by clicking here (and page all the way down to click “Sign Up” at the bottom):
Join the “Wilderness Hike” list.

If you’d like to hear about my “Getting Unstuck” book as it gets closer to release, let me know by clicking here (and you’re welcome to do *both,* of course–page all the way down to click “Sign Up” at the bottom):
Join the “Getting Unstuck” list.

October 2012 is a series of daily posts about “A Wilderness Hike,” taking readers through the healing of wilderness experience and glimpses of my work at Kwan Yin Healing and of my book, “Getting Unstuck.”

You can read the series from the start via the links here:

Oct. 1:    A Wilderness Hike
Oct. 2:   The Sixth Hour
Oct. 3:   Snowy Mountain
Oct. 4:   Letting Go of Baggage–the Wilderness Way
Oct. 5:   “Bear” the Thought
Oct. 6:   Mountain.  Buddha.  Impermanence.
Oct. 7:   The Rewards of Rain
Oct. 8:   Finding the Keys
Oct. 9:   “I’d love to, but times are bad.”
Oct. 10:  Attracting the Law of Attraction
Oct. 11:  We are not our thoughts
Oct. 12:  Honesty, Forgiveness, Healing
Oct. 13:  Getting Unstuck:  Feeling Overwhelmed
Oct. 14:  Money is remarkably easy to come by, if that’s all you want.
Oct. 15:  To be Time Rich, Learn to Be
Oct. 16:  Changing Thoughts for Changing Work
Oct. 17:  Finding and Sharing your Gifts
Oct. 18:  Do you want to be the boss?  Be sure you want to run the show.
Oct. 19:  Finding jobs within jobs
Oct. 20: Bright Mountain Dream
Oct. 21: Escape the Wilderness of Addictions
Oct. 22: The Importance of Spiritual Direction
Oct. 23: In Search of Enlightenment
Oct. 24: Relationship Thoughts from the Wilderness
Oct. 25: We learn in realtionships
Oct. 26: Chrysalis
Oct. 27: Self-Healing, part 1
Oct. 28: Self-Healing, part 2:  Time for a new perspective
Oct. 29: Dix Mountain
Oct. 30: The Mist-Filled Path
Oct. 31: From Wilderness to Wondrousness

Enjoy!