Sunday, January 30, 2011

Traveling Lightly

I took my first journey into the wilderness about forty years ago  along the Kiamichi River in Southern Oklahoma. I had purchased a backpack cramed full of camping supplies at a garage sale and sensed the call of the wild. For three days I made my solitary trek through the woods in the blazing heat of the indian summer.

My single canteen of water lasted only a few hours as I was forced to drink from the river along the way. My food supply ran out the second day. The weight of the pack filled with camp supplies cut through my shoulders and into my back. Complete darkness enveloped the night as unfamiliar sounds called out through the brush. Loneliness settled into my mind and robbed me of sleep. I emerged from the trail teetering on the edge of exhaustion, nursing blistered feet, raw shoulders and a fever from my parasitic traveling companions.

 Looking backward, I realize that I came dangerously close to not surviving that first excursion into the unknown. My sense of adventure overshadowed my common sense.  I was totally unprepared. My survival was totally dependent on my ability to calm my fears, conquer my discomfort and keep going.

My best teacher has always been experience. My major triumphs  most often arise from my worst failures. In my weakest moments I find my strength.  The lessons learned from my first wilderness trek have shaped and molded much of the rest of my life.   

I know that life isn't fair or unfair,  it is simply the situation you find yourself in at the moment. Far more important is how you act in each situation. There is the potential for triumph in each tradgedy as well as failure in each victory.

I do not over burden myself with baggage.  You can carry far to much on your shoulders.  I now travel light on this journey in order to enjoy each step I take.  I shed the burdens of life and carry the joy. It is an easier load to shoulder and nourishes my soul.

I no longer travel alone. Traveling a solitary journey is not part of  human nature.  By loving others as well as myself, I have constant companions throughout even my darkest moments. By connecting with good people I have become a better person.

I live life with a purpose.  I plan for the positive outcomes I want and act upon my plans. Both "planning and acting" are equally important. Action without planning can be dangerous. Planning without action is meaningless.  Together, they are powerful.

Life is not hard. Situations can be hard, but life  is really very easy.  Find your path,  plan for your success,  act on your plans, embrace the love in others as you embrace your love of self, carry no extra baggage and have faith.  The master teacher said it best "give away your extra baggage and journey with me in the pursuit of love, God is love."