Take Time to Stop and Take in the Beauty Around You

Take Time to Stop and Take in the Beauty Around You

Appalachian trail, happiness, hiking

Fall on the AT

One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today. ~ Dale Carnegie

We are all busy people, we have jobs and families.  We have responsibilities and commitments.  The last week and a half at work have been especially stressful.  I was out of the office for the most part for four weeks so the work has piled up and the deadlines, well the deadlines are best addressed by a better writer than me, Douglas Adams.

It’s been a hard time for another reason as well, one that  I was only aware of apparently on a subconscious level until my sister reminded me today.  It’s been two years since my granny past.  She was an incredibly important person to me and I miss her dearly.  I wrote about her before in a piece called, Happiness is Granny, and here’s a picture of her from a couple of years ago.

happiness, granny

My granny looking cool

Add to the mix people acting especially stupidly lately, things not going the way I’d like.  I’ve also been very quietly dealing with what I can only describe as some personal emotional devastation lately.  I’ve worked through most of it, in the next week it comes to ahead for me.  All of this has amped up my stress levels pretty significantly.  However, Thanksgiving is coming and it is by far my favorite holiday and I’ve got a nine-day Christmas break coming as well.  So things will get better my friends.

In the middle of all of this the other day I walked out of my office in a pretty high level of frustration and looked out at the mountains west of campus.

happiness, photography

The view from outside my office

I was instantly reminded of my favorite teacher in high school, Mr. Sullivan, the first person to truly teach me the lesson that we have to appreciate the beauty all around us.  You see our classroom faced the Catskill Mountains and there were many beautiful views like the one above.  He would on those days suddenly stop class, turn to us, command us in his best Shakespearean voice, “to the windows children, to the windows, look at the beauty, look at the beauty.”  He was a magnificent human and an even better teacher.

As a traveler an adventurer and a photographer I often put myself in magnificent places where there is beauty all around.  It’s how I get great photos, it’s not much talent, just me being smart enough to put myself in really great places like the Himalayas, Ireland, Havasupai Falls or even Burning Man. You can see over 1200 of my images on my Instagram account @ReverendMichaelKane.

happiness, burning man

One of my favorite photos from Burning Man this year

It’s easy to stop and appreciate the beauty when you’re at an event with thousands of pieces of art, or in the highest mountains on earth.  The real trick, the truly important trick, is to remember to do this in everyday life.

happiness, flowers, photography

A picture I stopped and took while driving between meetings this spring

We have to look at beauty everyday.  While we’re in the middle of driving kids to soccer practice, when we’re walking to our cars from our office or taking out the garbage.  Those are the moments it’s truly important to stop and drink in the beauty that is all around us.  Doing this will bring you happy days my friends. ~ Rev Kane

Some Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

My Polar Bear Adventure

My Himalayan Trek

Burning Man

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We are all damaged, but we can be happy!

We are all damaged, but we can be happy!






Defensiveness is usually someone silently screaming that they need you to value and respect them in disguise. When you look for deeper meanings behind someone’s pain you can then begin to heal not only yourself, but others. ~ Shannon L Alders

It is funny how often ideas come to me while driving, and while on the way to the gym today something hit me. I was thinking about a past relationship and how what I really couldn’t get past in the relationship was her damage. She was a great girl, but in her life she had been hurt too many times by other men. This manifested in ways that I could not accept, that kept us from being at peace in our relationship. This is not blame, only recognition; I have plenty of damage of my own. For me, I’ve been somewhat slow in my emotional growth and as a loner I have a hard time bonding with others. Add to that terrible timing in my relationships and for a very long time an inability to be fully open or trusting and you might not be surprised to know I’m not married. However to be fair, being married has never been a significant goal of mine, if it happens that would be great, but I won’t do it unless it truly feels right.

We are all damaged, the real trick is to understand and know ourselves well enough to know how we are damaged. Some of us can do this work on our own, some of us need counseling or other help to understand these issues. Once you know where and how you are damaged, that’s when the work begins because you have to work to fix these things. I’ve done a lot of work over the years, a lot of my damage has been repaired. Many of the things that doomed my previous relationships have been dealt with to my satisfaction but I’m still working and still on the path.

So my friends the keys are to know yourself, do your work and also try to be as accepting as you can be of the damage that exists in others. We are all in this together and forgiveness and acceptance are powerful acts. So understand, work, accept, forgive and have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane


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Happiness is a few minutes of peace

Happiness is a few minutes of peace

happiness, peaceful





The greatest self is a peaceful smile, that always sees the world smiling back. ~ Bryant H. McGill


So tonight friends a post inspired by a message I received on our Facebook page.  A group called A&S Elegance sent me a link to a lovely and really peaceful video with some of their original music in the background, a wonderful break, give it a look at listen.  Here are some other peaceful images and videos that you can use to take a little meditation or rest break, enjoy and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

happiness, peaceful






Wow, there are a lot of these sorts of things on YouTube so here’s a whole collection:

4 hours of peaceful music by Utopian Sounds

8 hours of peaceful nature sounds by Johnnie Lawson

happiness, peaceful








A shorter 13 minute nature sound recording by Johnnie Lawson

A 15 minute piece of meditation music by Yellow Brick Cinema, I really like this one a lot.

Finally a quick 5 minute piece by Yoga Meditation Music

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Happiness & Hugs

Happiness & Hugs

bliss happiness burning man





You can’t wrap love in a box, but you can wrap a person in a hug.  ~Author Unknown

Hello friends, I just recently returned from my latest to trip to Burning Man in the Nevada Desert.  I’m still decompressing from the experience and there will be much more to write about and many images to share over the next couple of weeks.  Right now however I’m sliding through the transition phase from the Burning Man world to what burners call the default world.  There’s a natural dip that occurs when you come back into the world and one of the key factors is human contact.

At Burning Man, on the Playa people rarely shake hands when they meet, the custom is to hug.  So during that week in the desert you get far more hugs than normal.  This raises your mood and makes you feel better about yourself and quite frankly humanity in general.  So I’m sitting here tonight writing this piece wishing for a nice big hug to make me feel better and the thing is, if there is someone near you right now, they’re in need of one as well.  So get up and go over there and give them a great big hug and you’ll both feel better and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

Related Articles

Post Playa Depresssion

Simplest Formula for Happiness

Happiness is Staying Positive

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Ask yourself this…!

Ask yourself this…!

A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer. ~ Bruce Lee

Hello my friends, tonight a list of questions that have been floating around on the net. They are a subset of the post you may have seen entitled 101 Thought Provoking Questions.

The overall list is interesting but way too long, so I thought I would take a smaller bite (23) out of the whole list. With a little more thought I’ve decided to go through the list of questions and do a post for each, with my own answers included to help you get started about thinking about these things. So some deeper thinking tonight my friends to help us all have happier days ~ Rev Kane

The List

Do you like who you are?

What would you regret not doing in your life?

What’s the wisest thing you have ever heard someone say?

If you had one year left to live, what would you try to achieve?

Are you afraid of being your true self around others? Why?

Are you enriching the lives of others?

What makes a meaningful life? Are you living one?

If you could live one day over and over again, what would you choose to do?

Who do you look up to and why?

Based on your current day-to-day life, what do you expect to achieve in 5 years from now?

Do you really listen when people talk to you?

What is the number one change you need to make in your life this year?

Do you think it’s too late to do certain things in your life? Why?

How can you simplify your life and focus on the most important things to you?

What is most important to you in life? Are you giving it the time it deserves?

When was the last time you tried something new?

Are you holding onto something that you need to put behind you?

What have you given up on?

How many people do you truly love and what are you doing for them?

What were you doing when you last lost track of time?

What can you not live without the most?

When did you last laugh so much it hurt?

What is stopping you from living the life you want to live?

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Happiness is Making Connections and Having an Impact

Happiness is Making Connections and Having an Impact

love happinessWhere there is no human connection, there is no compassion. Without compassion, then community, commitment, loving-kindness, human understanding and peace all shrivel. Individuals become isolated, the isolated turn cruel and the tragic hovers in the forms of domestic and civil violence.  Art and literature are antidotes to that. ~ Susan Vreeland

Looking for Inspiration

So it’s Saturday night and I’m going to be out of town for a few days starting tomorrow so I needed to get my Sunday night post nailed down and I had NOTHING!  I’m not in a mood to write an uplifting and positive post, because honestly it’s been a long week.  I had surgery on Monday and it seems to have gone ok, but the antibiotics I’m taking are really tearing up my stomach, but I’m adjusting.  I’m having to sleep on my left side and it’s been wholly uncomfortable and I’m not sleeping well. I’ve also hit that point before an adventure where I haven’t quite left my old life and haven’t quite entered my new life and so right now I just have a million things to do and I’m feeling just a bit overwhelmed and in limbo.

Then earlier this week one of the few celebrities I truly look up to, Anthony Bourdain committed suicide.  Like a lot of other people his stories touched me, he was a kindred spirit in his outlook about the world and I’ll miss having him out there.  His passing has really made me sad.  I know that feeling of hopelessness and feeling completely disconnected from the world and whenever my mood shifts to the darker side of things that’s the way I feel.  I’m sorry he couldn’t find his way back from that abyss.  If you find yourself there friends reach, people care, I promise.  If nothing else you can always reach out to the suicide prevention hotline., by phone or even by chat.

Call 1-800-273-8255

Available 24 hours everyday

So all of this is swirling around in my head tonight and I can’t figure out what to write and then bam, I get a message.  The message was in the form of a poem from someone I grew up with.  The poem talked about how he joined our lunch discussions in high school, little did I know it had been to escape bullies.  We reconnected in the last year or so and he liked my poetry, even served as a reader for my book of poetry and recently he began sharing his own poetry, so we’ve reconnected on a whole new level.  His message gave me some credit for inspiring him to share his words and it really deeply touched me to know that I had that effect on him in any way.  It’s funny how we often don’t know the impact we have on the people around us.

Making connections and having impacts

So that’s what I want to talk about tonight, connection and impact.  Recently I was at a friend’s house and I was talking with someone who I’ve met before but hadn’t really talked with in detail.  She started asking about my life and after a time said to her husband, “we’re living wrong.” Now I disagree with the statement but I got the sentiment, she wants to be doing the type of things I do.  That’s what I hope this blog does for people at one level, that by writing about what I do and how I do it, others may gain some inspiration to create their own adventures and live happier lives and I’m always available for individual advice on how to do it.

be happy, human contact

A hug to be happy

Tell someone they mattered

As an educator, I’ve been fortunate enough a couple of times to have students return after a time and tell me about the positive impact I’ve had on their life.  There is little in life that is as satisfying as those moments.  It’s a really special thing to know you’ve had that kind of positive impact on another human’s life and unfortunately at times I forget that as an educator and a writer, that’s what I’m trying to do and sometimes I’m successful.

The thing is that we often have this impact on people without trying or ever even knowing about it and that’s ok.  Sure, it’s magnificent when we find out, and the lesson is there that you need to tell the people who have inspired you, who’ve meant something to you.  You will be doing them an incredible kindness.  But we inspire people by our example.  By living a life that has purpose, that is about living, not just existing, you show others how important it is to live that way and the happiness and fulfillment it can bring.  You become an example for others, especially your children.  There is a parallel from the education world, parents who go to college and include their children in their homework sessions and make them feel apart of the process, hugely increase the chance those kids will also go to college.  Similarly, parents who live a purposeful and happy life are more likely to raise children with a similar outlook.

Living Fully and Reaching Out

The companion piece to living fully is to make connections, to connect with those who come along and to reach out to those who you can have an impact on.  In my line of work I get access to students, faculty and even younger managers who I can reach out to and help find their path.  But we all have people in our lives where this opportunity presents itself, jump on it friends.  Take the time to listen, to care and to impart some wisdom if you have it to give, you never know how impactful your time and attention can be for someone.

Tonight has certainly been one of those nights where in writing this blog I hopefully gave you something worth reading but selfishly I gained more out of it than I gave.  Regardless, I hope it helps you have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane


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Happiness Resources: Habits for Happiness

Happiness Resources: Habits for Happiness







Tonight, a tour around the web for articles and links on the habits of highly happy people. Enjoy the read and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

The 12 habits of calm and happy people

22 Habits of Happy People

7 Habits Happy People Have and Never Talk About

10 Habits of Happy Couples

10 Little Things Happy Couples Do

7 Habits of Happy Kids

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Happiness Resources: Making Change Happen

Happiness Resources: Making Change Happen

happiness humor change

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself ~ Leo Tolstoy

Tonight a couple of quick resources related to making and keeping positive change in your life.  I especially like the first piece it has a lot of great advice, so give it a read and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane


First a great piece on the Anatomy of Change

Personal Growth: Four Obstacles to Personal Change

Five Steps to Positive Life Change, this one is a little more theoretical and wordy


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Goodbye Anthony Bourdain

Goodbye Anthony Bourdain

anthony bourdain, suicide, travel, adventureI woke up this morning to the news that Anthony Bourdain had died, or more accurately had committed suicide.  It made me incredibly sad, if you read this blog and follow my travels it will come as no surprise that I saw Anthony Bourdain as both a kindred spirit and someone who I looked up to.  His life, being paid to travel, explore and tell stories would be my dream life.  So many people like and looked up to him, his popularity spread across a lot of age groups.  In the last five years I’ve twice been given what I consider to be an amazing compliment.  Both times, by younger women, I was told you kind of remind me of Anthony Bourdain, one even added, you know the attractive older guy thing.  I’ll take that compliment and comparison every single time.

One of my friends on Facebook this morning captured it very well when she wrote he was one of us.  I really got what she meant, he might have been this mainstream CNN chef guy, but in fact he just felt like he was one of us.  What do I mean by one of us, well, complicated, a bit of a square peg, not quite normal.  I tend to drift towards the people who don’t quite fit, who are a little off, people who are more than they seem and often yes, this also means they are at least a bit damaged.  Anthony Bourdain, although I never met him, very much felt like one of us.

Suicide has been very much in the news with the death of Kate Spade earlier in the week and a report that suicide rates in the United States have been climbing over the last ten years, alarming so in some places.  The message about suicide and mental health gets hammered home when it’s someone famous, someone who seems to have everything the rest of us dream about.  Recently, I posted what Will Wheaton wrote about his own mental health, depression and anxiety it’s a really amazing read.

I’ve written in the past about my own depression, my own brush with suicide, the fact that thankfully when I had the gun in my mouth I was too much of a coward to pull the trigger.  I know that I’ll never commit suicide after that moment, after years of working on my own issues, but I’d be a liar if I said that I no longer understood that feeling.  That I still don’t have those momentary thoughts where I think it’s all pointless, those moments where the mouth of the well of despair isn’t wide open and inviting me to jump back in.  So I understand how someone who seems to have everything can end up back in that well. I’m sorry Anthony Bourdain found his way back there.

In my biography I call myself a sampler of life, I love life in all of its myriad of differences, love exploring every bit of it, finding new things, new kindred spirits and experiences.  Life is so short and tenuous, but such an amazing adventure.  It is always my hope that those who struggle can get a glimpse of that, can find a way to reach out to the people who care about them in the hard moments, although it often doesn’t seem like it, please know they are out there.  What I want for everyone today is a long comforting hug from someone who cares.

Goodbye Anthony Bourdain

anthony bourdain, suicide, travel, adventureAs you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life — and travel — leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks — on your body or on your heart — are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt.  ~ Anthony Bourdain





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Happiness is Letting Go

Happiness is Letting Go

happiness fight clubThe truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward ~ Steve Maraboli
One of my favorite films of all time is Fight Club, there are a lot of reasons I love this film and one of the sentiments that the narrator expresses is how Tyler Durden has, “the ability to let what truly doesn’t matter slide.” Now my friends this is a level we all should aspire to in our lives. We spend far too much time focusing on things that truly don’t matter. How many times in our day do we get angry at someone in traffic or at the grocery store, how much time to we spend mulling over this or that off-hand remark made by someone, we truly don’t care about.

We do this all of the time, let situations that don’t truly matter bring us down, let those we don’t carry about impact our mood. We’ve been programmed since childhood that appearances matter, we watched our parents worry about others opinions. We need to learn how to break this cycle, to worry less about what other people think. In the end, we live alone, we die alone, along the path of our life the only person who we have to lay down with every night is ourself, we have to be ok with ourself and we need to learn to approach the philosophy of Tyler Durden, and let what truly doesn’t matter slide.

Give yourself a hug tonight and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane

Other Posts You Might Enjoy!

Worry, the Enemy of Happiness

Fear is Killing Your Happiness

Happiness is Reducing Stress

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