Happy News: November 18, 2014
Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears ~ John Lennon
Confused dog teaches baby how to jump (adorable video)
Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears ~ John Lennon
Confused dog teaches baby how to jump (adorable video)
Tonight a poet recommended to me by Adrian Manning, his name is Wolfgang Carstens. Wolfgang is a seriously interesting guy, his words are angular, sharp, they seem revel in the terror of honesty, good stuff. He’s also interesting in the different formats he uses to show his work. So here’s a written piece, a series of his work being read by him and finally an illustrated poem. Take a look, enjoy and have a happy day my friends
~ Rev Kane
throwing gutter balls
wouldn’t it be grand
if life had bumper-rails
like alleys do when children
go bowling–so that
everybody stayed true
to their course?
nobody would ever be derailed.
nobody would ever disappear
into the gutter.
goals would be achieved.
dreams would come true.
no broken marriages,
unhappy homes marred
but there are no bumpers in life.
here, from our birth
until our death,
we throw gutter ball
after gutter ball
until finally, exasperated,
we return our rented shoes,
crumple our scorecards
and slink quietly from the alley.
Readings some of his own work
A question of Nothingness and a couple of others
Recently as I have been researching information for other pieces I have been encountering the words of Paulo Coehlo, author of The Alchemist, again and again. I looked up the book on Amazon and read something interesting about the author. From Wikipedia:
In 1986, Coelho walked the 500-plus mile Road of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain, a turning point in his life. On the path, Coelho had a spiritual awakening, which he described autobiographically in The Pilgrimage. In an interview, Coelho stated “[In 1986], I was very happy in the things I was doing. I was doing something that gave me food and water – to use the metaphor in “The Alchemist”, I was working, I had a person whom I loved, I had money, but I was not fulfilling my dream. My dream was, and still is, to be a writer.” Coelho would leave his lucrative career as a songwriter and pursue writing full-time.
Given both my upcoming 2200 mile hike of the Appalachian Trail and my own desire to be a writer, I can only hope for a similar spiritual awakening and similar success. So tonight some quotes and wisdom from Paulo Coehlo, and if by chance Paulo should read this, a message to him in his native tongue from my time in Brazil, Io tenho saudade para brasil. Have a read, enjoy and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane
As I’ve mentioned previously I have undertaken planning to do a thru-hike next year on the Appalachian Trail (AT). My hope is that I will walk all 2,200 miles of the AT from Springer Mountain, GA to Mt. Kathadin, Maine starting in late February or early March, 2015. This is my trail journal where I hope to take you from my decision to do this, through my preparation and then notes from the trail and hopefully all the way to Maine. All of this in my journey and process to live happy days my friends ~ Rev Kane
When it comes down to it, all of the research, the equipment buying, book reading, conversations with former thru-hikers and gym work doesn’t mean anything until you get out and hike. I’ve been working in the occasional 6 to 10 mile hike on the Western States trail, I’ve been carrying around 25 pounds and to be honest those early single day hikes were harder than I had expected them to be. This led me to start working out harder at the gym and they got easier.
However the problem with the Western State’s Trail hikes is that the trail is not very hilly on the section nearest my house. Sure, there’s some up and down but nothing like the elevation changes I’ll see right off the bat on the AT. So the next step of course is to start going uphill. Luckily, living in Northern California and at the foothills of the Sierra Mountains, finding trails with elevation change isn’t that difficult.
Last Christmas I spent 3 days in a little place named Guerneville near the coast, just north of Santa Rosa and did some hiking in the Armstrong Redwood Reserve. The trip was great and the reserve was beautiful and more than that, a couple of trails I did had some steep elevation gains so I decided to do a three day test hike up in the reserve.
The first day was a bit hectic, I needed to check-in at the place I was staying between 3 and 7 PM and had to be out of the parking lot at the park by sunset. I arrived at the park around 1PM and jumped out on the East Ridge Trail and very quickly realized the combination of a 30 pound pack and some real hills was going to hurt a bit. The trail has about 400 of elevation gain in the first mile. The climb felt good, hard but good but I was certainly walking more slowly than I would like. I hit the high point of the loop I was doing and swung back down some switch backs back to the starting elevation.
The next piece was another 600 foot climb up the Pool Ridge Trail, this trail had a couple of switch backs but it’s basically 600 feet in a half-mile so it’s pretty gnarly. I was determined to do the climb without a break and so I was going pretty slow, but I did accomplish that goal and felt pretty good at the top of the climb. The rest was a nice walk descending slowly with a lot of switch backs with the final half mile flat through the park.
Here were the answers to the three questions for that day:
What was the most beautiful thing you saw today?
The most beautiful thing I saw that day were the redwoods, I really feel a connection to them, always have and it was wonderful walking along trails through these giants.
What did you learn today?
What I learned today was that my back can handle the weight of full pack pretty well, I’m hoping to hold my full pack weight on the AT to around 30 pounds and that felt like a doable weight. Before the hikers out there chime in, yes, I wear my pack appropriately and drop as much weight as possible onto my hips. But there still is some dug on your back and I was a bit worried about mine.
What made you happy today?
Just being in the redwoods, walking instead of being behind a desk, feeling like I was making progress towards being ready for the AT.
Woke up a little sore but was ready to go, the plan for the day was to climb the East Ridge Trail up to the Bullfrog Pond at the top of the park. The way the brochure was written it seemed like a total climb of about 1000 feet, probably should have looked at the topographic maps online. Because the fact is the elevation changes should have been added together, so I was expecting about a 1000 feet but it was actually 1500 feet plus over four miles. Not a huge amount of climbing but it messed with me, the mental aspect of hiking is every bit as important as the physical aspect. Twice as much climbing as I had expected really zapped my energy, add to that the mileage was longer than I anticipated and the hike suddenly felt like the Bataan Death March.
It didn’t help that once I finally arrived at the Bullfrog Pond, after descending for a half an hour, I found a dried up former mud pit, very disappointing. So I ate lunch and reversed the hike. I had hoped to return by the Pool Ridge Trail but the maps were very confusing and I didn’t want to risk getting lost and having to walk extra to get out of the park so I just reversed my steps.
The climb up had included some incredibly steep sections and as hard as they were to come up, I knew they would be even harder to face on the way down. I was right, but by the time I got back to a familiar spot I was about a mile left to the hike, my quads were screaming and I was pretty miserable. I finished out the hike, bought a sub and a big coke and crashed out. I woke a few hours later and showered, and was already a bit sore so I popped some ibuprofen and crashed back out, I planned to repeat the Day 1 hike in the morning.
The most beautiful thing I saw on Day 2 was a honey bee nest that had been dug out of the side of a hill by a black bear.
What I learned on Day 2, or more accurately what I was reminded of on Day 2, was how important the mental aspect of hiking was, not knowing the trails and being surprised by both the length and the elevation of the hike, really took a toll on me.
What made me happy on Day 2, not much, although I did find a few moments near the end of the hike where I started to laugh at myself. Understanding what had gone wrong I had to laugh, something I’m sure I will experience on the AT, particularly in the beginning weeks, long days that are harder than I expected but in the end I’m out hiking, not sitting in an office dealing with the inanity of all that encompasses, that thought made me happy.
Well the evening of Day 2 to be exact, the pain set in. Late that night I woke and was very tight and very physically unhappy. I took some more ibuprofen, did some stretching and went back to sleep. When I woke up in the morning and swung out of bed I could barely stand up. When I could it was a very tentative and painful experience. That pretty much killed any hiking that day. I went out and had a big breakfast and then went up to the park to take a short and packless walk through the park to loosen up my legs. I was sore for a couple of more days.
The most beautiful thing I saw that day was an ibuprofen bottle for obvious reasons.
What I learned, quite a lot, particularly I learned that there were muscles that I hadn’t been working on in the gym. My hip abductors and the muscles along the front of my shins. Most of this discomfort came from the descent.
What made me happy, oddly enough my joints, after a couple of really hard days and a lot of sore muscles but my knees and ankles felt ok. I had a little knee pain but nothing significant and nothing on the scale of the muscle pain I was having. Muscle strength I know how to gain and isn’t all that serious, so I was in pain but I was happy.
Hard but happy days my friends ~ Rev Kane
YOU MIGHT DIG THESE AS WELL
Tonight our weekly look at the type of good news that regular and cable news ignore, with a special focus on veterans today. My family has been well represented in the military, two grandfathers in World War II, a father who served in Germany, an uncle who served in Vietnam and my first cousin is currently on active duty on the USS New York. I’m proud of all they have done. ~ Rev Kane
A Salute by Today of Military Moms & Dads
A video of wonderful military family reunions
In war, there are no unwounded soldiers. ~ Jose Narosky
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain. ~ Frank Herbert, Dune
We have been talking a lot here lately about my upcoming adventure, for those of you who are new, I’m about to quit my job and spend 6 months hiking on the Appalachian Trail. Of course this also involves selling my house, quitting my job and effectively being unemployed and homeless for the next year. Now it means being homeless and unemployed in the best way possible of course, but it is still more than a bit daunting.
This thought hit me especially hard tonight, I’ve been in the mountains for 4 days doing some training hikes and tonight I’m sitting here watching television in a nice warm cottage, a fire in the fireplace, more than comfortable. I have my things around me, all of the comforts I could want or need, snacks in the refrigerator, restaurants only minutes away. I can make myself hotter or colder with the flick of a thermostat, have all manner of electricity and hot water at the ready.
Come the middle of December all of that is gone, I will be driving cross country, camping a lot of nights, some of those nights will certainly be rainy and colder than I would like. There will be nights I don’t know where I’ll be sleeping. nights sleeping in the car, I’ll be camping, occasional hotel nights, staying form time to time with friends but there are no absolute set plans. There will be a lot of time where I am alone without internet contact with anyone. I know, first world problems.
If I can be completely honest with you friends at some level this whole thing scares me senseless. And perhaps this is what makes me different, but that is the point. To hide myself away in a nice comfy little cave, in a nice comfy little job doesn’t create growth, doesn’t make me happy. Making myself thoroughly uncomfortable five years ago led to the creation of the Ministry of Happiness, it’s why the image on the site is of Cho Oyu at sunset in the Himalayas, from my last adventure.
It is my hope a book will come out of my next adventure, some more peace, some achievement, and opportunity to spend some quality time with my nieces and nephews. It also will of course leads to things I can’t see or imagine right now, again the point of all this. Overcoming our fears is what makes us stronger, better, helps us grow into the people we hope to be someday. So I’m afraid but I’m pushing forward, getting more ready to go each day. The goal is to keep moving forward and to make happier days my friends
~ Rev Kane
You’ve done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination. ~ Ralph Marston
One of the things that bothers me is when I see people who seem to be skating through life. Now a lot of folks would say, why let it bother you, it’s their life and their choice. I don’t necessarily disagree with that statement and if I believed they had made a conscious choice to live that way and were happy about it, it wouldn’t bother me. Unfortunately friends I don’t believe that is case at all and as someone who tries to help people live happier lives I want to help.
I learned a long time ago, and so it in myself when I was struggling in life, you can’t really help people make change until they are ready. So unless I have some indication a person is looking for assistance, I have to let them pass by, even though it makes me sad.
On those occasions what I would say to the person if given the chance is don’t be insubstantial. Life is complicated and it can be hard, things will not always go the way you want them to, you won’t always be where you would like to be in life. So, what is really important, is to be the best you wherever you are, whatever you are doing. If you are a custodian, be the best custodian in the world, or cashier, or desk clerk or banker or administrator.
If you are unhappy with what you are doing and you push that unhappiness out to others all you do is increase the amount of misery in the world, stop it. We’ve all encountered those sour people and they aren’t helping themselves or anyone else. The first step in you changing your circumstances is to take responsibility for your life, change what you can, move forward as possible. This all works better, happens easier, if you are putting your best foot forward and be giving to the world and extend a smile and a helping hand when you can.
We all need to keep this in mind my friends, especially on those bad days when things aren’t going well. So smile, extend yourself, don’t be insubstantial and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane
When I started counting my blessings my whole life turned around
~ Willie Nelson
Sometimes we make things harder than we have to, we look for complicated ways to get the things we want, even happiness. Maybe if we just paid attention to the little things, the good things that happen to us each day, we might find we have all we need to make us happy.
Just a few of the things that made me smile today:
* Seeing a post I missed with my little niece in her Halloween costume
* Having a Ministry of Happiness post go viral
* Having a few people tell me that my leaving my job is a loss for my school
* A pleasant walk on a surprisingly warn November day
* Packing for a mini vacation I’m taking for the next few days
Take a few minutes and make your own list and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane
Get out, explore.
Challenge authority. Challenge yourself.
Become who you say you always will. Keep moving. Don’t stop. Start the revolution. Become a freedom fighter. Become a superhero. Just because everyone doesn’t know your name doesn’t mean you don’t matter. ~ Brian Krans
My life at the moment is moving at break neck speed, selling a house, packing up my house, moving my things into storage, quitting my job, changing my address, making travel plans, training for the Appalachian Trail, all of that on top you know working and all the normal life stuff. In the midst of all of this I was thinking about my trip east. I’ll be driving east and then north basically camping my way across the US, getting in some hiking and camping time in preparation for my Appalachian Trail thru-hike. While thinking about this trip I had the weirdest thought for a moment, what would I do during my downtime? For a moment this thought terrified me, then I began laughing. Why was I laughing?
Well, having nothing to do, actually having downtime is sort of the point of all of this. What will I do, I’ll be hiking, taking photos and writing. I quickly thought back to my time in Utah 5 years ago training for my Himalayan Trek. Each day I would get up, eat, hike, eat, rest, do some reading, eat, photograph the sunset and then write for several hours before bed. It was heavenly and what I wrote in my journal at one point was, “this is what life is supposed to be for me.”
When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny. ~ Paulo Coelho
That idyllic existence is what I’m returning to, but change scares all of us, even me, a guy who actually does trainings on change management. But change can be a very good thing, I’m expecting the change I’m about to face will be. I’m going to once again challenge myself, physically and mentally to do the Appalachian Trail thru-hike. But also I’ll be challenging myself to write a travel book and do some other writing as well, even more than that I’ll be pushing to get my work published, something I’ve been too intimidated to try before.
So hopefully after this year or so is up, I will have done some significant writing and maybe even gotten a few things published. My hope is to bring you all along for the ride so we can all have some happy days my friends ~ Rev Kane