Happiness, Mindfulness & Decisions

Happiness, Mindfulness & Decisions

rev kane

Rev Kane relaxing in the arctic snow flurries

Make bold choices and make mistakes. It’s all those things that add up to the person you become. ~ Angelina Jolie

It’s been a confusing couple of weeks for me, of course it’s also been an incredibly busy.  There is the standard 50 hour work week.  On top of that is my blogging work, my creative writing and of course everything related to marketing my book that just came out Appalachian Trail Happiness.  I’m not complaining, I’ve brought this all on myself as I work toward getting to my goal of transitioning to someone who makes more of my living via writing and speaking engagements.

Also, things are going well.  I’ve picked up two more speaking gigs in the last few weeks.  I’m also very excited to have finally gotten through to the permit lines for Havasu Falls and will be doing a backpacking trip into the fall in April.

Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls

I’m also looking to buy a new camera for hiking, it’s been a few years since I’ve updated my camera equipment and I realized on my Jordan trip that particularly in low light photography the technology has eclipsed what I have currently been using.  Plus I want to go to something lighter than my DSLRs.

There have been a couple of big decisions I’ve been mulling over, one pretty personal that I’ll keep to myself for now.  The second is more career oriented.  As those of you who read this blog regularly know, every five years I leave my job and take off on an adventure.  My next one is creeping up in 2019.  I’m hoping to do a really big trip if I can get sponsorship, the plan is to do a hike on each of the seven continents with a few side trips as well.   Tentatively I’m looking at Everest Base Camp, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Machu Pichu, finishing the Appalachian Trial, the overland trek in Tasmania, the Western Highland and Great Glenn Ways in Scotland and of course any place I walk on Antarctica will be utterly amazing.

The trip has been tentatively settled in my mind for a time.  The question I’ve been struggling with has been related to what position I come back to after the trip.  I’ve been sitting on the fence between, dropping into a program directorship or faculty position, jobs that would give me more personal satisfaction.  Or, come back to larger higher paying positions that have less student contact.  A lot of what has been driving my decision is how it will impact my pension at retirement based on when I’d like to retire.  After wrestling with this decision I’ve decided that the higher paying positions make more sense.  I think I’ve been at this decision for a time, but now I’m finally comfortable with it.

This is the dilemma we all deal with, we all have that idea of what would be a perfect career, but reality gets in the way and it’s hard to get to where we want to be.  The answer is to have a clearly set goal, to be patient and make progress, constantly make progress until you can finally jump fully into what you want to do.

happiness, everest

At the Everest Rock Bar after the white-knuckle flight to Lukla on the trail to Everest

So I’ve had all of this on my mind and I’ve been really busy.  This has led to me also being really scattered, not paying as much attention to my health and that has messed with my sleep a bit.  Which all means it’s time to do what you always have to do when you are out of sorts and come back to basics.  Sleeping right, eating right, exercising and being more mindful.  So I’ve started eating better, starting meditating as well and started focusing on being more mindful.  That point was especially driven home when a friend thanked me for the signed copy of my book I sent him, just one problem, in my scattered state I forgot to sign it.  Coincidentally I had just done a post on mindfulness so that worked out well.

I’ve also ramped up my workouts, because in a little over four weeks I’ll hit the trail to Havasu and I really can’t wait.  Tonight my friends I hope you are all busy as well, I hope you are making progress on your goals and having many happy days ~ Rev Kane

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

My Everest Base Camp Travelogue

Happiness and the Benefits of Gratitude

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Happiness is a Choice

Writing Away the Darkness

Appalachian Trail Happiness, Where to buy the Book

My Polar Bear Adventure

 

Posted in personal happiness | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happiness, Gossip & Comments

Happiness, Comments & Gossip

01
What I’ve found – and the older I get, the more I understand this and stand behind it – is, my whole life has been an exploration of telling the truth. It’s scary to be truthful, and it’s scary to reveal yourself, and I’m very attracted to doing things that scare me. ~ Jane Wiedlin

So I encountered something online today that I thought was worth sharing and talking about.  I see a lot of really mean comments on social media these days.  As someone who is on social media quite a bit I also get my fair share of these type of comments.  My favorite one to talk about because of the sheer and utter silliness of it was related to a photo I shared of a sunset.

fix-1The comment on the photo when I posted it on Twitter was simply, “fake.”  I ignored the comment, what was it meant to mean?  Was it that the sky wasn’t real, lol?  Ok, sure I know the person commenting was implying it was a Photoshop construction not a real photo.  In the photo above, I’ve tweaked the contrast and saturation a little to get the image to reflect reality a bit more than the image that came out of the camera.  But the comment really was only about one thing, this person wanted a reaction.  He wanted to make me feel bad and get me to react.  But why?  What is missing in this person’s life that he needs to lash out negatively for attention?  You can see this type of behavior in almost every comment section to any kind of article.  Completely innocuous articles have comments that turn into horrid political dog fights.  I find it incredibly sad.

Tonight I want to say, whatever it is they are missing, I hope they find it.  I hope that they find peace and happiness in their life.  I really hope that they will learn that being angry online will not solve their problems.

Trolls online remind me of people who gossip.  People gossip because there is something missing in their lives.  But we all get sucked into it, especially in office environments.  I know it’s hard to step above it but we need to.  Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it will make us happier.  When we gossip, we know we are doing something we shouldn’t, it’s usually something negative and unnecessary and so we feel guilty and this diminishes our happiness.

So how to we keep ourselves and our co-workers in check.  What I bumped into online today were three simple questions that we should ask ourselves before we talk about something, and before we post something online.

  1. Is it true?
  2. Is it kind?
  3. Is it necessary?

Is it true? Do you know for a fact that what you are about to say or post is accurate.  Is the information from a reliable source, not sure, then don’t say or post it.

Is it kind?  Is what you are about to say or post something that is mean spirited, will it make someone feel bad?  If so, then why post or say it, what is the point?

Is it necessary? What is the point of what you are about to say or post.  If you don’t need to say or post it, if it’s not true and/or kind, just stop.  If more of us would employ these questions before we say or post something we’d all have happier days my friends.

~ Rev Kane

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

Happiness and the Benefits of Gratitude

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Happiness is a Choice

Writing Away the Darkness

Posted in personal happiness | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happiness and Changing Perceptions

Happiness and Changing Perceptions

happiness, everest

Rev Kane and a hiking friend

Studies have shown that 90% of error in thinking is due to error in perception. If you can change your perception, you can change your emotion and this can lead to new ideas. ~ Edward de Bono

I don’t look like a Reverend, or a Dean or some people may argue I don’t even look like a nice guy.  Looking not much differently than in the picture above I was once kayaking at Moss Landing near Monterey, CA.  I saw a woman in another kayak start to paddle my way, stop, start, stop and then finally with great resolve paddle straight at me.  I found it odd and eventually she pulled up alongside me and said hello.  She was a volunteer who talked to people about the various species in the area and answered questions.  After I’d explained I was an ecologist and likely more trained than her, she smiled and said goodbye.  Then, she stopped and told me that coming up to me was her big challenge for the day.  I looked confused and she told me she was completely intimidated and afraid of me because I looked so mean, and that coming up to me was an act of bravery and she was so happy that I turned out to be so nice.

me drinkOur perceptions are often wrong and my atypical appearance given the titles I possess often confuses people.  We must overcome the reactions to our initial perceptions and look a little closer.  I truly believe that seeing the world as it is, instead of how we believe it to be will bring us closer to happiness because it brings us closer to reality.  The reason I decided to talk about this tonight was because recently I’ve had a string of these type of interactions, so I thought I would share as a way to remind all of us to guard ourselves against our own misperceptions.

Rev Kane at Mardi Gras in Mobile, AL

Rev Kane at Mardi Gras in Mobile, AL

I was in the grocery store recently and ran into a woman I work with and she was with her young daughter, probably 3 or 4 years old.  I said hello and the little girl got shy and wrapped herself on her mother’s legs.  As I passed by she said to her mother, “was he a boy or a girl?” Her mother said, “Mr. Kane is a boy,” “but I thought only girls had pony tails,” the little girl replied.  I laughed.  I found it funny because she’d asked if HE was a girl and although I have a full beard, apparently the pony tail had more power.  I like that my confusing presence has opened her little world a little bit.

fingerThe little statue I have pictured above is one of my favorite pieces of art that I owned.  Recently my landlord’s wife was admiring it, telling me how much she liked it.  We talked about the artist a bit and suddenly she says, “oh, God, it’s flipping me off I hadn’t seen that.”  She was suddenly no longer interested in the piece.  I thought it was cute that because the piece was aggressive she suddenly found it ugly.  Same piece, just another perspective, another perception and everything was different.

happiness burning man

Rev Kane in his first year at Burning Man

Watch your perceptions my friends, look for truth and have a happy day. ~ Rev Kane

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

Happiness and the Benefits of Gratitude

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Happiness is a Choice

Writing Away the Darkness

 

Posted in personal happiness | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What is Happiness?

What is Happiness?

Simple Joy

Simple Joy

Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.  ~ Omar Khayyam

So I sat down tonight to do my weekly post and I hit the wall that is writer’s block.  I played some of the mental games I normally do in this situation and nothing seemed to help.  Nor did cooking a pot of curry, a shower, a fire or anything else.  Finally, in a last attempt to stir my brain I Googled happiness and the first thing that popped up was a definition.  So I decided tonight that I should answer that most basic of question, what is happiness.

Let’s start with the dictionary definition:

Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being defined by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. Happy mental states may also reflect judgements by a person about their overall well-being.

unaka quoteOne of the places, as the quote suggests, where I find happiness is in nature.  I love hiking and just being in nature.  Natural quiet is something I seek out as our world becomes ever louder.  To be able to sit in the sun and hear nothing but natural sound brings me incredible contentment.

We all have those moments and times where we find joy, pleasure or contentment.  But we do not survive on just those moments, they provide temporary sustenance for our souls but my goal is to live in a state of happiness.  I’m not naive, I realize that no person is happy every single second of their life.  Things happen to us, those close to us are hurt or die.  We make the wrong choice and get our hearts broken and sometime the vagaries of chance claim our day.  Yes, these things will happen to all of us, they are unavoidable.

This is why I’d like to add something to the dictionary definition of happiness.  Resilience, happiness is about feeling joy and contentment, but it’s also about resilience.  Resilience is your ability to bounce back after a set back or even tragedy.   First, it’s important that we know what happiness is, that we experience joy and contentment so that we know what state of being we’re chasing.  Second, we need to become stronger people, we need to understand that we can survive the things that happen to us.  We can not only overcome and get past them, but that we can be happy again.  You can learn how to build all four types of resilience.

We must develop the tools and habits in our life to make sure we can attain happiness when things go wrong.  We have to associate ourselves with people who make us feel good about ourselves.  We need to smile, choose to be positive and to take the best side of any situation.  We need to be grateful for what we have and express that gratitude.  At a most basic level we need to stay healthy, we need to sleep enough, avoid stress, exercise and eat right.

If we do these things we can be happy, we can stay in a state of contentment and find joy and even when things go wrong we can find our way back and have happy days my friends ~ Rev Kane

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

Happiness and the Benefits of Gratitude

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Happiness is a Choice

Writing Away the Darkness

Posted in personal happiness | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Appalachian Trail Happiness, Where to Buy the Book

Appalachian Trail Happiness, Where to Buy the Book

at-happPlease forgive my shameless plug tonight but I wanted to provide all of the purchasing information for my book in one place ~ Rev Kane

Thanks to everyone who came out to Sierra College to hear me speak.  If you are interested in the book you can find it anywhere listed below.

Amazon & Kindle   – You can find both the paperback ($9.99) and ebook ($2.99) at Amazon, if you buy the paperback you get the ebook as a bonus for 99 cents if you are so inclined.

Createspace  – If you order through Createspace ($9.99), Amazon doubles my royalty.  I’m assuming they do this to help drive traffic to the Createspace store.  So if you want to help maximize my royalty this is the best way.

Signed Copy – If you would like a signed copy please contact me directly at happinesskane@aol.com.  For these I have to order a copy from Createspace, then sign it and ship it to you directly, due to the double shipping I charge $15 for this option.

No matter how you buy the book, I’m thankful that you have and thank you very much for supporting my work and I hope you enjoy it. A quick synopsis is below. ~ Rev Kane

Appalachian Trail Happiness is both a collection of stories and recollections of Michael “Rev” Kane’s 1000 mile hike on the 2200 mile Appalachian Trail and also an example of how to live a happier life through action. The founder and author of the blog The Ministry of Happiness, the book both brings you along on his hike while also addressing what makes us happy and inspiring people to find their own adventures. Through three daily questions:

What was the most beautiful thing I experienced today?

What made me happy today?

What did I learn today?

The book explores the positive side of long distance hiking and makes insights to the benefit of adventure in making us happier in life.

Posted in Appalachian Trail (AT) Happiness | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Appalachian Trail Happiness, Buy the Book

Appalachian Trail Happiness, Where to Buy the Book

at-happPlease forgive my shameless plug tonight but I wanted to provide all of the purchasing information for my book in one place ~ Rev Kane

One quick note I will be doing a talk on the Appalachian Trail and the book on Friday, February 10th at 7:30PM for the Sierra College Natural History Museum Speaker Series.

The talk will be held at the Sierra College Rocklin Campus
5000 Rocklin Road, Rocklin, CA 05677

$5 adults   $2 students/seniors  free for museum members

Amazon & Kindle   – You can find both the paperback ($9.99) and ebook ($2.99) at Amazon, if you buy the paperback you get the ebook as a bonus for 99 cents if you are so inclined.

Createspace  – If you order through Createspace ($9.99), Amazon doubles my royalty.  I’m assuming they do this to help drive traffic to the Createspace store.  So if you want to help maximize my royalty this is the best way.

Signed Copy – If you would like a signed copy please contact me directly at happinesskane@aol.com.  For these I have to order a copy from Createspace, then sign it and ship it to you directly, due to the double shipping I charge $15 for this option.

No matter how you buy the book, I’m thankful that you have and thank you very much for supporting my work and I hope you enjoy it. A quick synopsis is below. ~ Rev Kane

Appalachian Trail Happiness is both a collection of stories and recollections of Michael “Rev” Kane’s 1000 mile hike on the 2200 mile Appalachian Trail and also an example of how to live a happier life through action. The founder and author of the blog The Ministry of Happiness, the book both brings you along on his hike while also addressing what makes us happy and inspiring people to find their own adventures. Through three daily questions:

What was the most beautiful thing I experienced today?

What made me happy today?

What did I learn today?

The book explores the positive side of long distance hiking and makes insights to the benefit of adventure in making us happier in life.

 

Posted in personal happiness | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Remember, We All Want to be Happy

Remember, We All Want to be Happy

01Peace cannot be kept by force, it can only be achieved by understanding.       ~ Albert Einstein

I don’t normally do politically oriented posts on this blog and this will likely be a one time thing, there is more than enough political turmoil on social media to occupy all of our time and give us plenty of anxiety.  When I think of politics and political discussions I start thinking of happiness.  However, there is a lot of political strife and division in my country right now.  It unfortunately seems to be bringing out both the best and the worst in my fellow Americans.

01

I know the language is harsh but I have to agree with the sentiment

I had an interaction on Facebook  the other day.  I saw a post from someone who referred to all Iranians as Neanderthals, I objected to this comment. Someone else then piled on explaining it applied to all Muslims, not just Iranians. Likely, neither of these individuals had ever been to Iran or any Muslim country.  I wonder how many, or if, they have Muslim friends or even know any Muslims.  It is unfortunate our President and others with a large media reach, Bill Maher for example, keep spreading propaganda related to Muslims and Islam. It’s sad really, and utterly divisive, it gives tacit permission to bigots to spew their hate.

Hevs with Saudi Arabia in the background

My friend Hevs with Saudi Arabia in the background

One of the things I advocate for a lot on this site is travel.  Generally, it is for the purpose of making you happier by broadening your experience, stretching you and getting you out of your normal life in the default world.  There is a secondary benefit, one that I don’t talk about as much, a detail really to the idea of broadening your experience.

fix-selfie-with-noel-bedouin

With my new Bedouin friend Noel in Petra, Jordan

When you travel, particularly to other  countries/cultures you get to see the world from a different perspective.  You get to see your home country through other people’s eyes.  You see that people in other places have the same day-to-day concerns that you and I do.  You see that parents love their children everywhere, that the sounds of kids playing and laughing is universal.  You learn that a smile is a smile in every language.

smiling baby

Sherpa Mother and Child I met in Nepal

My hope is that Muslims in the United States and overseas see the outpouring of support Americans are showing at airport protests around the country. Our governments may be bad actors, but people are people. We all love our families, we all work to keep food on the table, we all wish we had more say and control over what our government does. Most Americans understand that Islam is not our enemy, that every religion and every country has bad actors who make their countries and religions look violent and unloving.

happiness nepal

Rev Kane making friends in Nepal

My hope for the people in my country is that no matter how anxious we get, no matter how divisive our politics, we remember that deep down we are all brothers and sisters.  All human beings with the same wants, needs and desires.  Please remember my friends no matter your politics, religion or nationality, we all want to be happy, so let’s treat each other with kindness, compassion and express gratitude for the good in this world. Then we can all have happier days. ~ Rev Kane

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

Happiness and the Benefits of Gratitude

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Happiness is a Choice

Writing Away the Darkness

Posted in Happiness is Adventure, Happiness on the Road, personal happiness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Trail Family Meeting on the Appalachian Trail

Trail Family Meeting on the Appalachian Trail

unaka-enhancedOnly one who wanders finds a new path ~ Norwegian Proverb

So as I posted recently my friend Awesome is thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail.  We hiked together on the AT back in 2015 and he instantly became trail family.  Awesome’s week has been going well,  he says his body is holding up well and he’s enjoying his hike.  This week he made it up to the Top of Georgia Hostel and took a break.

01

Awesome

It had slipped my mind that another member of my trail family, my buddy Mau, was working at the hostel in Georgia.  I got a great reminder when a text message came in from Awesome telling me they had just met.  I was so excited to hear this and was glad that the two of them had met on the trail.

Mau and Rev Kane

Mau and Rev Kane

I have stories about both of these fine gentlemen in my book that was just published, Appalachian Trail Happiness.  I have an incredibly amount of respect for both of them, Mau who finished the trail in 2015 ad Awesome who’s on his way this year.

at-happI miss my trail family, I miss being on the trail.  I did a short hike on the PCT today, the only moments of true peace I seem to find are on the trail.  Today was a particularly beautiful day, a combination of snow on the trail and sixty degree weather made for a great little hike.

pct-2 pct-3I hope you are finding ways to get some peace, take care of yourself, it’s important, and have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane

Other Posts You Might Enjoy

My Best Appalachian Trail Posts

My 22 Days in the Himalayas

Happiness is floating on the Dead Sea

My Polar Bear Adventure

My Swim with Whale Sharks

Petra a 2300 Year Old City

Posted in Appalachian Trail (AT) Happiness, Happiness is Adventure | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Appalachian Trail Happiness

Appalachian Trail Happiness

at-happThe clearest way into the universe is through a forest of wilderness ~ John Muir

So I’m happy to announce that my book is live and on sale on Amazon, the link is below:

Appalachian Trail Happiness

Rev Kane on his first day on the Appalachian Trail

Rev Kane on his first day on the Appalachian Trail

 

 

 

https://www.amazon.com/Appalachian-Trail-Happiness-Michael-Kane/dp/069283236X/ref=redir_mobile_desktop?_encoding=UTF8&dpID=51K9HTg0jTL&dpPl=1&keywords=appalachian%20trail%20happiness&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_FMwebp_QL65&qid=1485199328&ref=plSrch&ref_=mp_s_a_1_1&sr=8-1

Posted in Appalachian Trail (AT) Happiness | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Happy Transformation

A Happy Transformation

 fix-selfie-with-head-scarveTransformation is a process, and as life happens there are tons of ups and downs. It’s a journey of discovery – there are moments on mountaintops and moments in deep valleys of despair. ~ Rick Warren

Every Sunday night I try to write a very personal note about happiness.  Not a post about art, poetry, happy news or resources but a post that relates personally to my own journey in search of happiness.  I’ve talked about my story before, I wasn’t always a very happy person.  I struggled in my late teens with drugs and alcohol and eventually found my way to my own personal rock bottom.  It was a long road from that moment to the beginning of the Ministry of Happiness seven years ago. I did a lot of work on myself over those years although I still suffered from periodic depression.

fix-selfie-with-noel-bedouinThe Ministry of Happiness was born out of my own personal research and search for happiness.  I created this blog to be able to share what I learned, it’s blossomed, thanks to all of you, into much more than that.  I thought it would last a year, seven years later I’m still learning, still writing and still finding out some much about how to be happy.

fix-selfie-wadi-rumAbout five years ago at a friend’s anniversary party I had a couple of interesting encounters.  Two separate people who I had grown up with, but how hadn’t seen me in twenty years, both commented on how nice it was that I had become a happier person.

01I was reminded of that night recently on a couple of occasions.  Recently while talking with some colleagues at work about how I take off and runaway to travel every few years, a colleague remarked that’s why he’s always smiling.  Another person related how she told someone we worked with that I was the happiest, most frequently smiling person that she has ever worked with.

Simple Joy

Simple Joy

I have to admit these descriptions of me by folks I’ve worked with for about 8 months took me by surprise.  I don’t see myself as a bubbly, yippy skippy kind of person.  But multiple unsolicited observations deserve some consideration and introspection.  So as they say on TV I went to the video ok, not so much the video as the photographs.  What I noticed, particularly in the pictures of me over the last couple of years, is that I am smiling more in the photos that were taken of me.  Looks like there might actually be something to this whole happiness business after all.  I am reminded of a very early post on this blog, The Art of Smiling and Staying Positive.  Happiness begins with a choice, you choose how you react to the conditions and situations in your life.  Smiling helps as well, your smile makes other people react positively, which in return, makes you react positively.  A positive feedback loop of positivity is a really good thing and makes everyone happier.  So smile my friends and make the choice to be happy and you’ll find yourself having happy days, it’s worked for me, it can work for you.  ~ Rev Kane

Other Posts to Help with Your Happiness!

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Why I’m Happy Right Now!

Remember the Sweet Things

How Travel Makes You Happier

Happiness is Not Safety

 

 

Posted in personal happiness | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment