How to be Happy Everyday

How to be Happy Everyday

27Every Sunday morning I start out the day wondering what I will do for my Sunday night post.  I try to make these more reflective, a little more focused on my everyday life.  I try to eat fairly low-carb, a result of having inherited some blood sugar issues and having a small addiction to Coca-Cola.  So I watch what I eat and usually don’t eat cereal but occasionally I get a craving for fruit and cereal and buy a box.  I am particularly fond of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but there’s a trick to this, like many cereals.  You see, you have to soak it in milk long enough to slough off enough cinnamon to form the cinnamilk at the end, but not so long as to lose the crunchiness of the cereal.  As I was admiring the fact that I had pulled off that delicate balance this morning, it hit me that I had my post for tonight.  Appreciating the small things.

26You see we can talk all we want about the big changes in life that will make us happier.  Those things are legitimate and what you should strive for in the end.  But what can you do to be happier along the way.  Recently a study identified gratitude as the single most important factor in happiness.  Whether or not that is true, it certainly is one of the key things that makes people happier.  Long-term happiness is typically most closely associated with strong ties to family (biological or selected) and friends.

For tonight I want to talk about gratitude.  We need to be grateful for the things we have in our life that make us happy, the small as well as the big.  Sure we are grateful for family, friends, good health, the money, food and shelter that has been provided for us.  But if you want to be consistently happy you have to do two things.  First, you have to remember that your attitude, how you choose to react to things, determines most of your happiness.  The second is to appreciate all of the little things around us that bring us happiness.  A beautiful blue sky, a partridge running across the yard, a magnificent sunset or maybe the roses in your garden.

25I often see in November people post 30 days of being grateful to their Facebook pages, that’s great, but if you only have that level of gratitude in November, well then it’s sort of like a fad diet.  You make yourself happier for a time but then lose those gains when you stop.  What I’d rather see people do is a gratitude Monday once a week, that way at least gratitude would stay on your mind year-round.  Maybe I’ll start doing a post on gratitude once a week.

So tonight my friends, be grateful for what you have, remember the little things that make you smile and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

Happiness and the Benefits of Gratitude

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Happiness is a Choice

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Happiness and Missing Some Perfect Days

Happiness and Missing Some Perfect Days

fix utah silouhetteI don’t like nostalgia, unless it’s mine. ~ Lou Reed

Today I’m allowing myself a bit of nostalgia, I’ve been back in the default world for a little over a month now.  I’m adapting, I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t been hard.  I’ve been working through the final edit on my book, Appalachian Happiness, and it’s been making me miss my time on the trail.  But that’s not what I’m specifically nostalgic for today, today I’m dreaming about my time in Utah.  When I took my first break from work a little over ten years ago my big trip was to spend 22 days hiking the high passes of the Himalayas.  In order to prep for that trip I needed to spend some time doing a little altitude training.  I’m lucky that my family has a cabin near Bryce Canyon National Park and I stayed there for three months.

fix utah red rocks

fix utah navajo 2My time in Utah was an idyllic experience, my days were absolutely perfect.  I would wake in the morning, cook breakfast, pack a lunch and then spend several hours hiking in one of the national or state parks in the region.  I’d return home, work in the yard a bit, eat a meal, read for a time and then take a late afternoon nap in my hammock.  I’d wake up, watch the sunset, eat dinner then sit down to write for a couple of hours before bed.  It was a wonderful and simple time.

fix navajo queen

fix kodachromeSo a short and simple post tonight, a little nostalgia as the default world grinds me down a bit.  But never fear my friends, I have a plan and things are moving forward and I’m having happy days my friends, I hope you are as well.  ~ Rev Kane

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

Great Hikes & Treks

Happiness is Taking Risks

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Happiness is a Choice

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

Sometimes Happiness is hard…

Sometimes Happiness is hard…

sad smiley
You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

This is not my normal type of post for the Ministry of Happiness, but these my friends are not normal times, or maybe they are, and if so, then I’m really sad.

I had a hard time getting out of bed this morning.  It started with the fact that I’ve tweaked some muscles in my neck and it eases up during the day but stiffens overnight.  So raising my head this morning to get up was a painful proposition.  So I laid back down and got lazy and grabbed my phone and procrastinated getting out of bed.  I quickly encountered the news about the officers who were shot in Dallas, there was information about a black man found hung in Piedmont Park in Atlanta.  It was quickly deemed a suicide, too quickly some believe and no autopsy is too be performed.  It’s hard right now to simply just trust the authorities after the recent news about the deaths of more black men being shot on traffic stops or while selling CD’s in front of a store.  I don’t want to have that distrust but these days it is pretty hard not to.

The news hit me harder than I expected, I laid in bed for a while feeling what I can only describe as despair.  Sure, I got up, I went to work and while engaged in all of the busyness of my job I was distracted and felt ok.  But once that ended it was back, throughout the day via Facebook I saw posts that made me hopeful, posts about hope and unity going forward.  But I also saw far too much hate in the responses of people to the events that have happened and it filled me with despair.

I’m a lucky man, I have friends of all types scattered all over the world (I wish they were nearer).  My selected family is composed of a wonderfully diverse set of humans and this set includes conservatives, deeply religious Christians, Atheists, Buddhists, Muslims, flaming liberals, libertarians and people who really don’t care at all about politics.  I have gay, straight, bi and trans friends, I have monogamous happily married friends, swinger friends, even polyamorous friends.  These friends come in every shade of human and within all of those sets and there are some combinations of descriptors that make for some seriously lovely and unique humans.

In the last few weeks, we’ve seen a lot of the communities my friends exist in get attacked, from Orlando to Minnesota, from Baton Rouge to Dallas, yes I have family and friends who are cops as well.  I’m sick of it, I’m tired of the hate, the ignorance, the political polarization, the myth of an exceptional America.  An exceptional country does not harbor the levels of disrespect, hate and racism that exist in this country.

We have to change, for the savior of our country and our very souls we have to do better.  These issues are not the fault of liberals or conservatives, the media is not the problem, President Obama did not cause this.  We are the cause of all of it and that is both the good and the bad news.  The good news being that if we caused it, we can fix it.

unityWe have to get off of the stereotypes, but we also have to correct the problems of bias and racism that are cooked into the very structure of our society.  Let me tell you how I learned about white privilege in fourth grade.  In our elementary school locker room we had baskets we left our clothes in when we changed for gym class.  Some idiot flipped a bunch of baskets over while we were in class and our clothes were jumbled.  No big deal, there were three of us and there were three pair of underwear.  One generic pair that were pretty ratty, and two pair of Fruit of the Looms, one pristine, one in good shape but with a little split near the tag.  The three of us, one white, one black, and one brown.  Now two of us were middle class, one was very poor and as such he immediately and accurately was given the non-Fruit of the Loom pair.  That left two of us and I honestly believed that my underwear had no damage.  My friend Joe, also believed the same thing.  The gym teacher came in, heard the claim and without blinking gave the split pair to the black kid and gave me the pristine pair.  I felt vindicated until walking down the hall a little while later I remembered, mine did have a split.  For a long-time I didn’t understand why I was automatically given the best pair.  It took me being older and reflecting on it to realize it had simply been the color of my skin.

The way people look should not be how we determine how to treat them, but it is.  We treat white, black and brown people different.  Beautiful people are treated better, I get far better treatment in my work clothes than I do on the weekend in a pair of jeans.  If we determine someone looks gay, whatever the hell that is supposed to look like, we treat them differently.  Dressed like a hippie, have a big beard, be anything but 1950’s normal white in this country and you are treated differently.

I saw a post from someone today about how they were incorrectly pulled over and they listened to the cop and nothing bad happened.  The person that wrote it was white and the implication was clear, that if black people just behaved themselves they wouldn’t have any problems, wouldn’t get shot.  The post made me incredibly angry, this person’s world view is myopic and bigoted whether they realize it or not.  It made me sick that people liked the post.  I don’t fit the 1950’s stereotype of white America, I have been pulled over for driving while looking like a hippie, this past year a cop admitted that the way I looked was the reason for the stop.  I have had cops try to do illegal searches on these stops, I’ve been roughed up, I once had my driver’s license whipped into my eye.  Black and brown drivers have it way worse than I do.  So no, just obeying the law and doing what your told sometimes isn’t protection against harm, and when it happens often enough to a person, they understandably get frustrated and angry.  None of this justifies being unjustly shot by a cop and as horrible as the ingrained racism in our society is, the reaction can’t be to start shooting cops that’s equally unjust.

stewartI’m afraid for my country tonight, a hot summer Friday night with passions running high and protests in many, many places.  We may be seeing a return to the type of violence and upheaval we saw in the late sixties.  I would have hoped we could have gotten to the kind of positive change we saw after that period, without the violence, but it doesn’t look like that will be our path.

What can we do?  You’re one person, you can’t fix society, end institutional racism, de-polarize America’s politics by yourself, and you’re right.  But there are things we can do, simple things that may seem silly but may have more of an impact than you imagine.  First, smile at people, especially people who don’t look like you, especially people who are likely on the margins of society, hell go crazy and say hello or have a nice day for no damn reason, hold the door open for them, thank them if they hold a door for you.

Call out the bullshit in your world, if your friend or family member expresses an idea that is bigoted call them out.  Ok, you’re 90 year-old grandma gets a pass, but no one else. There is no need to do it publicly and start a fight, delete the comment, message them directly and have a conversation friend to friend without name calling or anger, the purpose is for everyone to understand each other, to understand the impact that our words have.  If someone can’t do that, do you really want them as a friend on your social media account?  I realize confrontation sucks, but allowing bigoted remarks to stand on your page is tacit approval of what’s being said.

Watch your assumptions.  I see people jumping on each other because they assume intent that may not be there.  Not every black person hates white people, not all whites are racist.  Just because someone supports Black Lives Matters it doesn’t mean they don’t think other lives don’t, don’t assume they do.  Equally, don’t assume that whites who feel frustrated or feel under attack are racists, you can feel the pressure of change, you can feel embattled and not turn to hateful thoughts.  We all must find a way to put ourselves in other people’s shoes.

Actually talk to people.  We have to talk to each other about these issues, not on social media, not in sound bites, but face to face.  We have to have discussions about the issues in this country, those conversations can be uncomfortable as hell.  But if they are done with open hearts and open minds, if we are respectful of one another’s feelings, we can do it and foster understanding and empathy.

My friends we have to try an understand each other, we have to care about each other regardless of whether or not we share a religion, a skin color, a sexual orientation or a political party.  Almost every person I know has either a religious belief or a philosophy that they adhere to in life.  I’ve made a point in life to be familiar with most of these and from Islam to Christianity to Taoism, to agnostic ideas of right and wrong none of these philosophies espouse hate as a way to a better life.  Sure, none of them are perfect, they can be interpreted in ways to create the “other” or outsiders.  However the core message that Jesus, Mohammad, Buddha, Lao Tzu, Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Mother Teresa, Khalil Gibran or any of the other philosophers of life we read espoused was simple, love one another, be good to each other, don’t kill each other.  If we could just do that, we’d all have happier days my friends. ~ Rev Kane

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Happiness is Independence

Happiness is Independence

flyI ask only to be free.  The butterflies are free. ~ Charles Dickens

I thought, given today is Independence Day in the United States, I would write about being free.  If you read this blog you know that I’ve recently gone back to work after an 18 month vacation.  The comment I get from folks when they first hear about that is, lucky you.  But it’s not luck.  Once I say that the conversation often turns to the fact that I’m not married.  There is some merit to that discussion but it’s not really about me not being married, what it is about is me being less encumbered than they are in life and that’s a choice.

Often times, we believe that the reason we can’t do the things we want in life, the things we dream about doing, is that we have all of these things holding us back that we can’t do anything about.  Of course what we often forget is that we placed most of the chains that hold us down on ourselves.  There are few obligations that we have in life that we didn’t place on ourselves.  Marriage, kids, a mortgage payment these are all choices we make in life.  Where we live, how we live, what job we have are all choices we made.

Sometimes it seems like these aren’t choices at all, society’s expectations, love, the fear of being alone leads to marriage.  We have kids because we want to, because our partner wants to, because our parents want grandchildren, for the survival of the species, because it’s what’s next.

The reasons are somewhat irrelevant, we love our partners, we love our children, we do our best to be good people.  We do what we think is right often without a thought to the consequences down the road.  We’re human, imperfect and that’s ok.

The message I want to send in this piece my friends is that no matter where you are now, those dreams you have are not out of reach.  This is not a theoretical proposition, during my travels over the last couple of years I encountered people at every level of their lives chasing their dreams.  I met retired folks following society’s script, people who dutifully waited until they had retired before they chased their own dreams.  I also met people who waited with their partner’s for that day, only to have their partners die before they could enjoy their time together.  I met families with young children chasing their dreams together.  I met husbands and wives pursuing their dreams with supportive families at home.  What I’ve learned in the last couple of years is that the old adage, where there’s a will there’s a way is true.

You can do it, you can chase and achieve your dreams, you just have to increase your level of freedom.  How do I do that you ask, when I have bills to pay and people who depend on me?  There are a few steps  The first, the biggest and absolutely the hardest is that you have to decide to do it, to commit to following your dream.  Whatever IT is.  Once you have decided that you will do it, the rest is logistics.  Planning is the obvious second step, along with a healthy dose of patience.  Reality does get in the way, initially you may not be able to fully accomplish your dream but you can make steps towards it that can make you happier.

For me, my dream is to be a full-time writer and traveler.  I may not have a wife and kids but I do have people who depend upon me, people I feel obligated to be there for when things are tough.  I’ve also encumbered myself with my choices in life.  I have significant student loan debt, my possessions are an issue, without a wife or children, I’m basically on my own in retirement.  All of these things create obstacles to me just walking away from my current life and becoming what I want to be.

So I’ve committed to getting there and I’ve started planning.  Several years ago when the housing market crashed I bought a house, turned it around and sold it when the market came back.  It paid for my 18 months vacation, what that time was, besides absolutely wonderful, was a test run.  The process of stepping into a completely new life was complicated.  How to you cover your monthly bills?  How do you keep health insurance?  What do you do with all of your possessions?  Learning how to do all of that was a vital step toward reaching my dream.  I’m finishing up editing the book I wrote about my time traveling, another learning process.

I wish I was closer to my dream, I’m still years from getting there, but I know I can now.  It’s not a theoretical construct anymore, it’s a process that has steps.  Currently, working again is actually one of the steps, coming back to California and working keeps me in the retirement system, that pension is a piece of what I’ll need to put together to make my dream workout.  I’m also taking other steps, getting my debt taken care of, and reducing the amount of my possessions.  If you are traveling you have to store your stuff, the less you have the cheaper it is to store things.  I once read that if a possession isn’t something you frequently use, or adds to the beauty in your life, it’s not worth keeping.  I’m currently employing that filter.

I relate these personal details to show you that you can do it, you can pursue and achieve your dreams, you can make them real.  Your circumstances are not mine, the things that you need to overcome will be different, maybe harder, maybe easier but you can make them happen.  We live once, this isn’t a practice run, make your dreams happen or they never do, that’s just the way it is.  This is why I write this blog, I want you to be happier, I want you to fulfill your dreams.  If one of you reading this take these steps, gets closer to your dreams because of these words, then I’ve succeeded and my days and yours are that much happier my friend. ~ Rev Kane

Some Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Our Best Happiness Posts for 2015

Revisiting Some of Our Best Posts & Pictures

Readers Favorite Appalachian Trail Posts

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Happiness is a Choice

Happiness is a Choice

529cToday I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain… To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it. ~ Kevyn Aucoin

So I moved to the desert, I have taken a new job and the job I’m happy to say is working out really well.  I rented a great house on five acres with beautiful sunsets.  The house has also been incredibly difficult, there have been a huge string of things that have gone wrong, over the last couple of months I’ve also had a break-in and theft at my storage space, my credit card has been cloned and I’ve had to fight battles with a number of different major corporations over incorrect bills and other frustrations.

People keep asking, did you flip out, who did you go off on?  The answer is no one.  I’m also not bummed out, not falling into old pitfalls like getting depressed or angry, I’m not stressed out.  My attitude, beyond small moments of frustration, has been fairly zen, I’ve remained in a good mood.  Sure I’ve eaten a few unhealthy meals on frustrating days but a couple of cokes and a milkshake are not the worst things I could do.  I’ve remained happy and the question is why?

I point to two things, first was my time on the Appalachian Trail, which I miss terribly every day.  Being on the trail taught me a lot of things, but most of all it taught me patience, to take my time and not let things get me upset as easily.  Today, in the midst of what was a difficult day, I ran into two Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) hikers at lunch.  It was awesome, we had a hiker in common who I met on the AT, it was absolutely wonderful to be called hiker trash again.

The second reason I’m doing well, is something I’ve learned as a result of writing this blog and my research on happiness.  Happiness is absolutely a choice, things happen to us, some are good, some are not so good.  We can’t always control what happens to us, life throws things at us we can’t see coming.  What we can control however is how we react to those things.  I know that sounds quaint, one of those lovely sayings that we think is nice but not real.  I’m telling you it is, it just takes a moment at the beginning of the day to express some gratitude for what you have in your life.  You need to take a minute to give yourself some perspective on whatever problem you’re facing.  I’ve worked hard in my life, I have a good job, great friends, I’ve spent the last 18 months on an awesome adventure, I get to write to you good folks.  I have a good life, so even though today might be a total shit day, tomorrow likely won’t be and a lot of days before haven’t been, so there’s no need to become unhappy.  I can and I do choose to have happy days my friends and with a little effort, so can you.  ~ Rev Kane

Some Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Our Best Happiness Posts for 2015

Revisiting Some of Our Best Posts & Pictures

Readers Favorite Appalachian Trail Posts

 

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Happiness is Living in the High Desert

Happiness is Living in the High Desert

528 perfect dayWater, water, water….There is no shortage of water in the desert but exactly the right amount , a perfect ratio of water to rock, water to sand, insuring that wide free open, generous spacing among plants and animals, homes and towns and cities, which makes the arid West so different from any other part of the nation. There is no lack of water here unless you try to establish a city where no city should be. ~ Edward Abbey

I have recently moved to the high desert, at about 3000 feet in the Mojave Desert of California.  I’m lucky to live on a five acre lot with a beautiful view of the mountains, it’s a fantastic spot.

529c the new houseThe funny this is that I really don’t like the heat, I grew up in the Northeastern US and so I grew up in humidity, green forests and four seasons.  It was a surprise to me when I first encountered the desert years ago that I didn’t hate it.  The more time I spent in the high desert the more I began to love it.  I have attended the Burning Man festival several times in the Black Rock Desert and I loved being out in the desert.  However, there is a difference between visiting for a couple of weeks and actually living in the Mojave.

For those who know, this next part will even make less sense, I’m not a morning person, but what I love most about the desert are the mornings.  There is something about the dry morning breeze in the desert that is absolute perfection.  As much as any quiet morning is great, there is something truly special about desert mornings.  Maybe, because of the heat, you know how fleeting and therefor precious that cool morning air is to you.

Summer will be brutal, it already has been, it was above 105 the last couple of days.  But I’m really excited about clear fall nights, particular meteor shower viewing in October, Although even with the hot days, the Perseid meteor shower in August should be great.  The combination of very little light pollution and clear dry air should make for an amazing show.

The desert is not void of life, there are lots of critters wandering around, some that you get to see and some that are a lot more secretive.  I’ve recently bought a UV flashlight to go scorpion spotting.  I currently have a property full of bunny rabbits, chipmunks and Helen and George, two gopher snakes who are obviously quite fond of each other.

george and helenThe other thing is that the desert and in particular the view from my house over the mountains at sunset have been spectacular.  So I’ve been photographing it each day, have a look at a couple and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

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Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Our Best Happiness Posts for 2015

Revisiting Some of Our Best Posts & Pictures

There are Angels Among Us: A True Story of Giving & Kindness

Remember the Sweet Things

Happiness is Not Safety

 

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Happiness and the Extraterrestrial Highway

Happiness and the Extraterrestrial Highway

ET Highway Sign
Is E.T. out there? Well, I work at the SETI Institute. That’s almost my name. SETI: Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. In other words, I look for aliens, and when I tell people that at a cocktail party, they usually look at me with a mildly incredulous look on their face. I try to keep my own face somewhat dispassionate. ~ Seth Shostak

Somewhere in the desert of Nevada, just Northeast of Las Vegas lies Area 51.  Long believed to be a hot spot for UFO sightings and secret government projects, it is a magnet for UFO believers.  Of course as it is a military base that doesn’t technically exist, it’s also fenced off and patrolled my military affectionately known as the “camouflage guys.”  So you can’t actually approach Area 51 but you can drive Highway 375 in Nevada which runs close to Area 51.  On the way I stopped for gas and a drink and was finally assigned a drivers license that explains so many things about me.

alien licenseNow the state of Nevada will never pass on an opportunity to create a tourist attraction and some time back the governor designated Highway 375 as the Extraterrestrial Highway.  I’ve always wanted to drive it and recently this May I got the chance.  Normally this is brutally hot desert, but I caught a break and not only was it not very hot but a rainy spring had left the desert in bloom.

desert bloomdesert bloom and snowMy first stop of course was the Extraterrestrial Highway Sign and my timing was beautiful and the cause of the facial expression in the photo.  It was a sunny day and I was squinting to see the screen on my phone to take the picture, and just at the point I clicked the picture a sonic boom exploded over my head.  What a perfect introduction to the highway.

highway signJust a short ways up the road from the sign I spotted my first alien, it was a big grey.

giant alienThe road itself was imposing for it’s remoteness and lack of traffic but in many places was beautifully framed in blooming wildflowers.

the roadThe real attraction of the ET Highway is of course the metropolis of Rachel, NV.  Basically a spot on the highway that includes the Little Ale Inn.  It contains a bar, restaurant, and a gift shop all in one room.  It also has a couple of rooms for rent if you are so inclined to hang out for the night and UFO watch.  The food was actual ok and the people were super nice, you may recognize the Little Ale Inn from the movie, Paul.

Little ale inn 2Here are a few shots to give you a feel for the place.

little ale inn menu little ale inn little ale inn side little ale inn bar self parkingOn my little adventure I unfortunately didn’t encounter any aliens but I had some fun, a pretty drive, a decent lunch and picked up a couple of souvenirs in Rachel.  Now it wouldn’t be the ET Highway without a little weirdness and I did see two dead cows along the road.  Additionally, I saw a fur covered carcass that I truly could not identify.  The desert will do that to a carcass, or maybe it was just the drive on a lonely desert highway playing with my perspective, or maybe….The Truth is out There, have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

Adventure & Happiness

My Polar Bear Adventure

Mardi Gras 2016 – Krewe of the Bosom Buddies

Travel Makes You Happier

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On Hiking Alone

On Hiking Alone

01I really like this quote, thanks to my sister for sharing it with me. There has been a lot of talk in comment sections, in the NY Times and on Social Media about the woman who died in Maine. A lot of people are posting reminders, never hike alone, it’s not safe. Let’s understand something, hiking is inherently not safe, you can ask a lot of my hiking friends, or me for that matter. Hiking is a dangerous activity one misstep can lead to damaged, knees, backs, bones or even death. We talked about this a lot on the Appalachian Trail last year.  A wrong turn can get you lost and in some places lost for good. You can get bit by poisonous snakes, mosquitoes (the most dangerous), bears, or mountain lions.  But I’ll tell you this, sitting on the couch will kill you a hell of a lot faster and in less pleasurable surroundings.

fix nh1 colorIt’s not always possible to have a hiking partner and most day hikes are unbelievably safe, at least as safe as any hike can be.  There are also some serious benefits to hiking alone, you’re quieter so you see a lot more wildlife.  You get to be alone with your thoughts and even find natural quiet.  You get to pick your own pace and control how far and how hard you go without inconveniencing anyone else.

fix nh2Now, there are trade offs, there always are, hiking alone is more dangerous and remote hiking can exponentially increase that danger.  I just think in most places, on most days, the trade offs are acceptable, but my eyes are wide open and yours should be as well.  If I die on a hike because I’m alone, I’m good with that, not the dying part, the fact that I willingly put myself in that situation and knew the potential consequences.

3 q day 1More important than having a hiking partner, in my estimation, is preparation.  I think a solo well-prepared hiker is safer than a pair of unprepared hikers.  You should know the area, at least at a general map level. You should have a map, supplies (yes your pack will be heavier), you should give an itinerary to someone and they should know what time/day means you’re overdue and they should be concerned.  You should have a compass and know how to navigate with it.  Knowing at least a little bit about living off the land is also a good skill to have.  You don’t have to be Suvivor Man/Woman, but you should have some basic skills especially if you are going remote.  Knowing how to properly deal with wildlife like bears, snakes and mountain lions is also a good idea.

KODAK Digital Still CameraNONE OF THIS, is to say that people who have gotten lost or died weren’t prepared.  No matter how prepared you are things can happen that you can’t control.  It’s horribly sad when hikers get lost or injured and end up dead.  So please be prepared, be careful but don’t completely abandon the idea of hiking alone, I’m not going to give it up anytime soon, and I plan on having many happy hiking days. ~ Rev Kane

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

My favorite AT photos from 2015

Thru-hike Gear Lists

Thru-hike FAQ’s – Part 1

My Appalachian Trail Resources Page

Appalachian Trail Happiness: Trail Community

Appalachian Trail Happiness: Precious Moments

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

Happiness is Art: Some of My Favorite Poets

Happiness is Art: Some of My Favorite Poets

01An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way.  An artist says a hard thing in a simple way. ~ Charles Bukowski

Happiness is Poetry: Bukowski

Even More Bukowski

Warsan Shire

Warsan Shire

At the end of the day, it isn’t where I came from. Maybe home is somewhere I’m going and never have been before. ~ Warsan Shire

Some of her poems

Happiness is Poetry: Warsan Shire, Again

More of her work

01“Art” without the blood and torment Mickey Mouse without the mouse turds. ~ from Illumination Information

Happiness is Poetry: Doug Draime

Six Poems

Other Poetry Posts You Might Enjoy!

Rev Kane

Pablo Neruda

Hosho McCreesh

Langston Hughes

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Happiness is Staying Calm

Happiness is Staying Calm

528 perfect day
To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition, the end to which every enterprise and labor tends, and of which every desire prompts the prosecution.                    ~ Samuel Johnson

So I’ve finally moved into my new house and will be starting my new job this week.  Above is a shot of the view, here’s a shot of the place in the distance.

the new houseNow, just about everything that can go wrong has pretty much gone wrong on the move.  First the house was supposed to be ready on the 20th which was perfect.  It meant I could fill up a Uhaul and unload at the house then return to Sacramento, pack up the last little bit in my car and be in town 10 days before the job started.  Well, the landlord (happily) decided to pull all of the carpet out of the house and put in new wood laminate flooring.  It looks great, unfortunately it meant the house wouldn’t be ready until the 25th.  This meant I know had to move from storage space to a new storage space 400 miles away and instead of off loading the majority of my stuff in one shot, I’ll be doing it for weeks one car load at a time.

I decided to switch phone providers due to poor service at the new place, so I switched, got a new Galaxy S7 that promptly went completely to crap on the drive down with the Uhaul.  So I got that replaced when I returned to Sacramento on my last day in town.  Of course, when I arrived at the realtor’s office on the 25th she said, “there’s a lot going on at your house.”  That was an understatement.  The floors weren’t done, this wasn’t a shock but the flooring wasn’t fully in, bathroom fixtures had been torn out, rooms that had flooring still didn’t have baseboards, washer and dryer pulled out as well as the gas stove.  Happily there is also an electric cooktop I can use.  Oh and did I mention the well pump had died, that’s right, no water, but I was told the pump would be in later that day.  Well it was in at 9PM the next night.

The stove was plugged back in the next night and when I went to light it, it did not work.  I would meet the owner the next day and find out that the previous renter had left a little gift by completely emptying the propane tank for the house.  So the stove wasn’t working because I’m out of propane, luckily, but expensively, the hot water heater is electric.  Oh and the air conditioning is not set up yet, no worries it’s the Mojave Desert, how hot can it get:)

I have also learned as I’ve been setting up the utilities that my house has two addresses.  One that totally makes sense, it’s the road the house is on.  The second for a street that honestly does not exist except in the mind of Southern California Edison, as they told me when I first called, your address does not exist.  But eventually I got the second address and the meter number and so now I exist in their eyes.

Snakes! Yes, that was the other thing the realtor told me the property has snakes and she was thoroughly freaked out about it.  But the snakes turned out to be gopher snakes, which eat mice, rats and other little critters so I’m actually happy they are here with me. I’ve named them Helen and George and they, as you can see in the first shot, are very fond of each other.

george and helen george and me helenSo the first night I set up my bed and found a good spot in the room but of course all of the outlets on that wall of the room were not functioning.  It would turn out to be a circuit breaker but it meant a little bed shuffling over two days.  I had cable installed so that I can also have internet, you know where this is going.  After a two-hour installation I was up and running, well so it seemed.  Once I finally had time to sit down and watch some TV a bunch of channels and the On Demand system weren’t working properly.  I called tech support the next day and they helpfully sent some magic signals along the cable lines to help fix the problem.  The net result was of course that now I have lost all of my HD channels, all of my premium channels, and the On Demand system in its entirety.  Thanks for the help, of course they’ll send someone out next Friday between 1 and 5 to help me out.  Thankfully my internet service is working.

It hasn’t been all bad, my new gym is ok and there is lots of wildlife on the property including hordes of rabbits.

bunny rabbitThere is also lots of random small statues and art pieces on the property.

angel harp finger first angel flower potAnd finally the views are spectacular

528a 528b 529a 529cNow, I could be horribly frustrated, stressed out and really wound up about going to work on Wednesday with all of this going wrong.  Bad idea!  If I’ve learned anything about happiness while writing this blog it’s that attitude is everything.  You make a choice to be upset, to be frustrated to be stressed, or not.  I’m choosing gratitude, I’ve got a good new job, I have a beautiful house, with amazing views and lots of wildlife to watch and  I have internet service I’m thankful for all of that.  I’m a fortunate person overall because I’ve been smart and worked hard to get to this place.  I’m also staying positive, I believe my new job is going to be great and all of these quirks with the house will work out in the end.  That’s what this last year has really done for me, it’s really helped me get into a space where I can make the right decision about things,  the decision to be happy.  May you have many happy days my friends and you can, because the choice for happiness is up to you. ~ Rev Kane

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Our Best Happiness Posts for 2015

Revisiting Some of Our Best Posts & Pictures

There are Angels Among Us: A True Story of Giving & Kindness

Remember the Sweet Things

Happiness is Not Safety

 

 

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