Reflections of the Past

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Once in a while, when the complexities of life slow in pace, I reminisce. My thoughts wander back to when I was a young boy. Back then, a future life seemed only imaginary. Potential goals were countless in number. The inevitable future was exciting to ponder. I wanted my distant future to be known with certainty. Reality chose, otherwise. The excitement brought forth by the unknown was unparalleled and, to be honest, a little scary.

Like most children, I was interested in living adventurously and exploring a myriad of unknown possibilities. Living mostly sheltered from the harsh realities of the world, I was aware it was not a perfect place. The world we lived in back then (as it is now) was filled with “adult problems”. At the time, what I thought about them did not seem to matter. I was generally oblivious to concerns unrelated to my proximity. My world was a much smaller and simpler place. After looking back, I wonder if maturity is forced or does it come naturally to us?

My memories are filled with infinite detail and it seems daunting to fully describe them.

My heart feels like it is sinking when I remember the times I hurt others (whether intentionally or not). I have regrets. There is so much more I should have done to help others. I wish I would have done more to overcome my apathetic ways. Looking back now, I wish I would have given more and showed more interest in lives of others. I was often selfish and self-serving. For those I ever neglected or hurt, I am truly sorry.

My spirits rise whenever I remember the times I was immersed in utter happiness. I certainly had no concept such times were not everlasting. I wish I would have appreciated them more at the time. It never occurred to me the moments would be so fleeting. My memories of these experiences now has to suffice. The images of laughter and love come to me in unexpected bursts. For those with whom I ever shared those precious moments, I want to say thank you.

Like leaves wavering on a tree’s limbs when a gentle breeze passes by, all things related have a certain synchronicity. One force influences another. The passage of light through the oscillating foliage causes both shadow and brightness. The two contrasts move in a chaotic and rhythmic dance. Like the leaves, so is the way of my life. The symbiosis of relationships is paramount.

Stress

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Feeling stressed? You are not alone. The stress of everyday life is unavoidable and sometimes overbearing. Many aspects of life are within our control. Unfortunately, many are not. We often put too much worry on the things we cannot control. Our energy would probably serve us better if we spent it on the aspects of life in which we have a direct influence. Too much stress causes despair and depression. It affects our mental and physical well-being. In short, an excessive amount of stress deteriorates the quality of our lives.

Taking on issues and solving them one at a time helps. Claiming small victories in our accomplishments boosts morale and gives us hope. Celebrate the effort rather than the outcome.

Do not be afraid to fail in your efforts. It is through failure that our greatest successes are often unexpectedly realized. We have an innate ability to learn through trial and error. Many times, resolution requires more than one attempt. Persistence often pays dividends that ultimately result in success.

“Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they’ve started.”
– David Allen

It is okay to ask for help before, during, and after stress becomes too insurmountable. One of the most difficult things to do is ask for help. In most instances, help is just one conversation away. Use your past experiences for determining who would be most beneficial when asking for help. Avoid confiding in those who will revel in your misery or ridicule you. You will find that when you sincerely ask someone for help, most are willing. If not physically able, those who are asked may offer you words of encouragement. Many times, a motivational conversation is enough to alter your mindset and formulate a plan for success.

Let your dreams define the boundaries of what is attainable. Fight the urge to give up or become apathetic. Instead, replace those feelings with hope and determination. When driven by hope and determination, one will find repeated success in achieving his/her goals.

Please remember, you have the potential to do anything, not everything, and anything is always considered something.

Solitude

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After spending yesterday in an urban environment, I am happy to be back home, again. The bustle of a city often makes me feel uncomfortable and, admittedly, edgy while I am there. Navigating in the burghal surroundings is not my forte. Seemingly, my internal instincts take over and I yearn to have adequate space and…solitude!

I prefer spruce and fir to concrete and asphalt. The skyscrapers I admire are the peaks of the Rocky Mountains magnificently towering in the horizon, not the manmade architectural steel marvels that dominate an urban skyline. My sense of hearing appreciates the bellowing bugle of a bull elk on a crisp, cool morning more than the blaring of car horns on a busy freeway.

“In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.”

Albert Camus

By omission, I am strongly introverted. I am energized by finding a place where there is noticeable calm and tranquility. I love sitting, undisturbed, in a quiet place and contemplating the many facets of life. Solitude, for me, is usually discovered outdoors. One of the many pleasures of being outdoors and doing outdoor activities is finding a place of solitude. Seeking such a special place is part of the adventure.

Witnessing urban evolution throughout my lifetime prods my knowledge of mountain men. They surely must have wantonly sought out solitude to ply their trade. The courageous hinterlanders of this era did so with the hope of gaining financially for their endeavors. Although mostly motivated by greed, many of these frontiersman, also sought out a life of solitude and adventure. The spirit they exhibited to take on the wild is, for me, enviable.

Mountain men often crossed the line between solitude and loneliness. For as tough and independent as they were, they also loved companionship and camaraderie. Rendezvous was a much-anticipated occasion. Rendezvous provided an atmosphere to sell plews, drink alcoholic spirits, meet up with old acquaintances, and make new friends. Rendezvous was an imperative respite in a life of loneliness and solitude.

As hearty and obstinate as the mountain men were during this short era in American history, I am not certain they would be able to survive in modern cities. Kudos, to those who choose to live in metropolitan areas. I commend them for their patience and tolerance. My intentions are not to criticize the urban lifestyle. City dwellers have learned unique skills and tactics to adapt and survive in the urban environment. I acknowledge it is their preference. Their preference, however, is not mine.

Zig Wisdom

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“Making a big life change is pretty scary. But know what’s even scarier? Regret”

-Zig Ziglar

If you are at a place in life where you are feeling complacency, I encourage you to take a few minutes and peruse quotes by Zig Ziglar. I find them inspirational. I hope you will, too.

Moving On

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Sometimes, life changes course at the most unexpected time. Whether it be by divine intervention or chance, a wide range of emotions may be experienced due to a change in circumstance. I am not immune.

Recently, I decided to terminate my employment. I am taking a position at another organization. I feel this was a good decision, but my heart sinks a little when I think about the friendships and associations made in my previous place of employment. The bonds formed will naturally weaken due to distance and time. In a few years time, my existence there will be but a faint memory to most.

In turn, I will have an opportunity to form new relationships with people I have yet to meet. Not one to shy away from adventure and change, I look forward to carrying on in a new location. My apprehension and wonder are mixed with excitement and eagerness. The organization (which offered me new employment) has already invested a great deal of resources and hope in me. I do not want to disappoint those who have already given me their trust. I want to justify their decision to hire me by being the productive “new guy” on the team. Due to being successful after the interview process, my confidence is strong. I feel up to the task.

Alas, the mountain slopes and sunrises will be just as beautiful and inspirational in the next place I will call home. All of the proximal topography will be new and different. I am looking forward to exploring unfamiliar mountain ranges as they welcome me with their propitious embrace. I yearn to take advantage of their proximity and will utilize what they have to offer in order to gain personal satisfaction and fulfillment. Any time spent in the upper alpine is productive time.

How thankful I am to have such blessings. I give praise and glory for my opulence to, He, who created me. For I am certain, without Him, none of this would be possible.

Legacy

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All humans have an expiration date. Our last day, for most, remains unknown. There is merit to living each day as if it were your last. Each new day gives us an opportunity to forgive. Each new day gives us an opportunity to love. Each new day gives us an opportunity to do something we have always wanted to do, but never did.

The longer I live, the more I notice how quickly time passes. We have a relatively short lifespan to make a difference. Why spread negativity, when you can influence others with encouragement and caring? Pass on what you know, and be attentive-absorbing everything around you. Leave a good example in the footprints you choose to leave behind on your path of life.

If I had the decision to spend my last days doing whatever I could, I would selfishly spend them on a mountain top enlightening every capable sense. I would go to a place where sound, smell, taste, and sight are magnified a thousand fold. Granted, the ocean, desert, and prairie are truly magnificent on their own. But, I would choose the mountains to write my last chapter. Nowhere else do I feel more free and alive. I would love for those feelings to last me for an eternity.

There is a pleasure in a pathless forest,
There is rapture under a lonely pine,
There is society where none intrudes,
On the mountain slopes few will climb:
I love not man the less, but nature more,
From these horizons, in which my own eyes steal,
From all I may ever be, or have ever been,
To mingle in all of nature, and feel,
What I never express, yet unwilling to conceal.

Inspired by “There Is Pleasure In The Pathless Woods” written by George Gordon Byron