Friday, March 15, 2019

Five Steps to Happiness - The Glorious Table

I fight the urge to hyperventilate as we get close to the trailhead. I wish the cause was adrenaline and excitement, but that’s not the problem. Self-recrimination runs wild. How could I do this to myself again? What was I thinking when I said another yes to this kind of trip? Did I forget that I’m not in my twenties anymore? I take deep breaths and force a tremulous smile as we disembark from the van and I’m quickly thrust into the role of experienced, calm hiker with our group.
I zip my comfortable flip-flops into my pack with my other thirty pounds of essential supplies, slather myself with 100 percent Deet, and lace up my hikers. There’s no turning back now. The only question is how much happiness I’ll be able to wrestle out of the climb.
The first section is always the hardest, I tell myself. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, taking one more step and then one more.The hot sandy trail leads through streams and slowly slants uphill, becoming rocky.
As I take what must be the 18,209th step, I draw in another deep breath, look up, and pause to fully soak in the beauty around me. The snowy peaks of the Wind River Mountains rise above the trees on either side of me. My heart swells as I hear birds chirping, and I feel the soft breeze on my skin. All this must have been here as I was trudging along, but I hadn’t noticed until I looked up. Only 18,209 steps could bring me to this beautiful place near the Continental Divide, where purple flowers push themselves out of rocky cracks. Only a change in my gaze could allow me to see the flowers and the mountains instead of just the ground at my feet. Only a change of my gaze could bring happiness.


Every single day of my life is like that. Moments happen. Circumstances swirl out of my control. My feet get wet, I have miles left to go, and the load is heavy. But often, at those very same moments, birds are singing, a warm breeze is softly touching my skin, and a view I forgot to notice is before me.
The simplest path to happiness most often requires only a shift of my eyes. When I apply the lessons of the Wyoming wilderness, I’m surprised by how much happiness lives in each of my routine, everyday moments.

Hop on over to The Glorious Table to read the five steps to happiness I learned in the Wyominh wilderness.

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