I started last week off on a champagne filled boat ride with my professors and my co-workers. It was a chilly scenic morning filled with promises of future wealth. We passed by billions of dollars worth of property in boats and houses. It was an eye-opening experience and filled within me a drive to find ways to one day gather enough monetary wealth to afford those luxuries that I saw that day.
A couple of days later, I was able to group together two friends to go on a much-needed retreat to Sequoia National Park. We stayed two days and two nights at Cold Springs Campsite. By our campsite was a river and backpacking trail that both teemed with wildlife.
It was here on the past few days where I was forced to revisit my priorities and my purpose in life. The past few days helped me rethink the things I do on autopilot and focus on my heart’s true desires. I saw majesty in the form of nature and realized how microscopic we are in comparison. I witnessed genius in the form of a half-naked boy fishing in the river, with caught fishes in his shoes. It was through him I realized the importance of simplicity and finding joy in the present and appreciating the things in front of you. I was also reminded again about the importance of brotherhood. A close friend of mine shared his story of someone that matters so much to him and the amount of joy that he felt through shared experiences. This experience reduced me to tears as I knelt down the dirt path reminiscing about my own times with my friends who were there for me in tough times.
It quickly dawned upon me that I have been looking at life through a faulty lens for some time. After the breakup, I embraced dangerous philosophies that did not provide any room for emotions. I have been a whiny pessimist for the last couple of months and it was there at Sequoia where I had to face the reality of who I was becoming.
I realized that it was only up to me to choose who and what I wanted to be. I was the one who decided that I was a victim so I should harden my shell and never open up again. I was handling my experiences the way I thought was right, and I can’t ever change that. I can only now acknowledge that I have control over my happiness and ultimately my life. I can change, only if I want to. After all, only things happen in life. Whether or not they are good or bad are entirely up to me to decide.
I found a glimpse of my better self in those mountains. I brought that person back to where I am now, and I am excited to witness my continual growth. There is an infinite amount of greatness and power stored within me, and it is MY responsibility to tend to the garden of Paul so that I can bear witness to the sweet fruits of my labor.
Ditch the shoes and let nature envelop you.