Branching Out

I am a fan of Facebook and have gratitude for the ability to communicate with people throughout the world and stay in touch with the many people I meet during my travels.  I like any platform that allows people to connect and form relationships.  It may be social media for some and hiking clubs for others.    When you let new people into your life, you cultivate tolerance by exposing yourself to new viewpoints and fresh activities.

I unexpectedly spent my 4th of July with some friends that I met several years ago after a speaking event.  After hearing that presentation, they decided to walk the Camino.  Petra is the family matriarch and has lived in the Wood River Valley for 93 years.  My fellow pilgrims, Chuck and Christie, have dedicated their lives to taking care of their aging mother.  Their kids live in TX and I learned something new about competitive cheering from their 14-year-old granddaughter Hannah.  If she were a public company, I would bet the house on her future.  Her father, Ian, was a master griller and served me my first ever Wagyu cast iron sirloin steak.   We had so much fun that we did the entire thing again to celebrate the 6th of July.

Dean is a new friend that has been following these blogs for many years.  He reached out to me and invited me on a mountain bike ride.  We met at Galena Lodge on a sunny Saturday morning.  Together with Bob, Ezra, John, and Gerard we rode Rip and Tear, Gladiator Loop, and Mine Shaft.  The trails and pace were as new as the unknown faces.

After the ride, we enjoyed cold beverages and conversations.  Bob was clearly the strongest rider in the group and my jaw dropped when I found out he was 74.  When we met, I thought he was my junior.  Ezra lives in Smiley Creek.  Last week, I visited my friend Jan and  she owns a second home in that hood.  We had lunch at Ezra’s family lodge before my first hike around Pettit Lake.  Smiley Creek is a tiny mountain community with 50 homes.  It turns out that Petra’s sister, Ella Marie, is an original Smiley resident.  Once again, by opening up, I find amazing connections and a feeling of oneness.

I accept that all of these people have come into my life for a reason and accept them as gifts along the path.  I do not care who they voted for, who they choose to sleep with, or how much money they make.  I care about how they treat each other and me in the moment.

Gossip is a form of interaction that is guaranteed to create separation.  Two or more people attempt to bond by exposing and highlighting a defect or personal problem experienced by another human.  We are all defective.   Beware of the bestie that leaps to this platform in your presence because they expose your secrets in a similar manner.  Like a downhill bike ride, gossip is the easy route.

Instead of focusing on our differences how about taking the leap to unification by shining light on the things we all have in common.  We all have a physical form, spend approximately 30,000 days upright, and inhale about 20,000 times per day.  We were all born and will all die.  We crave friendship and happiness.

As they say in India….when “I” becomes “We”  Illness becomes Wellness.