Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Rock Canyon: A Place of Solace

My readers have spoken and I must respond. It seems that most of the team wanted to hear about my adventure by myself up Rock Canyon at 1 am. The funny thing is that that is not my best adventure and kind of a hard story to tell. The story of my time in the canyon is very short. The real story is what led to me going up there. I think I will try and give some background so you can understand why I did what I did. I can’t fill in very many details of the events of that night, but I will try and give you enough so you can understand why my journey up Rock Canyon was necessary.

Last Wednesday started out as a fairly good day, but I have never been one to leave things as they are when they are okay. I decided that the time had come for me to gain some needed closure in my life. So I went about a covert operation to try and gain some closure from a situation that has left me in much pain for some time. (Yes, I plan on being this ambiguous the whole time). This operation was thwarted by people that I really believed cared about me. I realize that they didn’t really understand how much I needed some closure and they didn’t understand that stopping me in my caper would stop the needed closure. But the result was the same. As I was coming to grips with what happened and more importantly, why it happened, I was getting more and more frustrated.

I then went to say goodbye to my good friend who was going to be moving back to California. A friend that I wish I spent the time necessary to get closer to, but I didn’t. I then was frustrated enough that I thought a run would help, so I went running for a couple of miles. That gave me little help, so I went to talk to my good friend Mary. I spent a few minutes talking to her, and then I had to leave because she needed to talk to another one of our friends. Normally I would have just stayed and joined in, but this girl she was talking to was on my list of girls I’m not allowed to communicate with (my least favorite list in the world).

So I left Mary feeling that my life was really a mess. I feel that my life is only as good as my relationships are, and, well, it sure seemed like they were doing well. It was almost 1 am at this point and I had nowhere to go. I wasn’t going to go home; there was no way I was going to sleep anytime soon. So I decided I needed to go somewhere where I could focus on the one relationship that I felt was going well in my life: my relationship with God.

I drove up Rock Canyon and called Mary, told her where I was and I told her that I would send her a text when I was down so she knew I was okay. (I realize that Mary isn’t my mother, but when I hike alone I want someone to know where I am.) I got out my sleeping bag that was in my car and unzipped the bottom enough so I could stick my head through then I started hiking. I hiked fast to try and get some energy out, so I don’t know exactly how long I hiked, I just know it wasn’t very long. I went up about a mile and climbed up a large rock and lay down. It was quite comfortable because I was in my sleeping bag and there was a nice layer of snow, but I have never been in so much pain in my life.

I lay on the rock and thought and prayed, but mostly cried. I felt like I was so stuck in my life. I couldn’t seem to move forward, definitely couldn’t go back, and I hated where I was. So I lay there and prayed and cried and thought. I was in a lot of pain, but I still noticed that it was a beautiful night. There was a low cloud cover which caused the city lights to be reflected so it was quite bright where I was. The snow made everything pure and beautiful. It was a very still night.

After I had been laying there for a while (I really have no idea how long, it was all a blur). I think it was long enough that my tears were melting the snow underneath my head. I heard a sound that instantly triggered the word ‘animal’ in my head. As I was getting up to see what it was I realized that the sound didn’t belong. It was the sound of metal tags jingling against a collar. I found the source of the sound relatively easily. There were two dogs jogging up the trail. I sat there and watched them as one walked by and the other noticed me and started barking. After he barked for a while his master, who was still out of view called him back. When the guy came into view I tried to move a little so he would notice me. I even said something, but his dog was barking too loud that he didn’t notice. When he got close to me he turned on his light to try and find out what his dog was barking at, so I waved and said, “He’s barking at me.”

We talked for a couple of minutes. He said he hikes up Rock Canyon every night. He usually goes to the campground, but he had a late start tonight so he probably wouldn’t go that far. He made sure to ask if I was staying the night—I must have looked very odd laying on a rock in my sleeping bag. Then he continued on. I went back to thinking and crying and praying.

I eventually didn’t have any tears left and so was forced to return home. I got home, wrote down some of my thoughts (which are published on my private blog).

That was a really depressing story wasn’t it. Sorry blog fans. I usually write a better story than that. I guess I wanted to give you the story you asked for, and there it is. Don’t worry about me. The next day I talked with Jeff and he made everything all better (he always does). I have my ups and downs like everyone else; I am just trying to enjoy the ride.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It's been a long December

I think that it is time for my readers (all three of you) to vote for which story I tell. Here are some adventures from the last couple of weeks. Just leave a comment to vote for which one you want to hear more about and I will write about that one. (Must be 18 or older to participate, no cash value, only one vote per person (except Jeff, he has two votes), all votes must be received by Tuesday December 23 at 11:11 PM)

Adventures in the last couple of weeks:

• Sweet Snowfest adventure up Rock Canyon. This included but isn’t limited to: Somersaulting race, snow angels, sliding down mountain trails. Hot chocolate and Hot-tubbing party. Story of Diane’s comment.

• Brady’s soup party then night hike. Beautiful weather just before the storm. Great fire and fun and friends.

• Concerts: BYU choirs with Maria, we sang Halleluiah Chorus. Kurt Bestor with family, left halfway through and had hot chocolate with my friends and read Christmas Stories. Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert with Megan, what a great concert and good times with a great friend.

• Great chat with Jeff. He can still solve all my problems in one evening. What a great guy with a great wife.

• Evening with Mary and Natalie. We looked at lights and then we hiked up to the top of a cliff and I let off some steam by screaming to the world—very therapeutic.

• Didn’t break my neck – just thought that I would throw that out there.

• Hiked up Rock Canyon by myself at 1 am and laid on the ground in the snow and pondered life for hours.

• Watched almost every sunset, watched the moon every night that it was out before 2 am, looked at Venus and Jupiter almost every night and enjoyed the stars every night that they were out.

• Loved, laughed, cried, hurt and still spent every day with people that were important to me.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Life I Live

I did want to write about our annual Thanksgiving Couch-Burning. Then I realized that event doesn't describe my life for the last week. Instead I will include a couple of pictures from the event and write about something else. I recently looked at my favorite quotes and I thought I wanted to share my favorite quotes with the team and maybe a couple thoughts on each of them.

Me and My BFF Jeff at the Couch Burning

Me chillin' next to the burning couch

A man only begins to be a man when he ceases to whine and revile, and commences to search for the hidden justice which regulates his life. And as he adapts his mind to that regulating factor, he ceases to accuse others as the cause of his condition, and builds himself up in strong and noble thoughts; ceases to kick against circumstances, but begins to use them as aids to his more rapid progress, and as a means of discovering the hidden powers and possibilities within himself.
-James Allen, "As a Man Thinketh"

This is one of my favorite quotes in the whole world. I have read this many times. I have memorized it more than once. I love this because I want to learn to use my circumstances for my more rapid progress and to discover the powers within myself.

"Promise yourself to be strong so that nothing can disturb your peace of mind, to make friends feel that there is something inside them. Look on the bright side of everything and make your dreams come true. To think the best, for forget the mistakes of the past, and to press on to other things. To give so much time to improving yourself, that you don't have time to criticize others. To be too large for worries, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, too happy to permit the presence of trouble. To think too well of yourself and to proclaim this force to the world, not in loud voices, but in great works."-James E. Talmage.

I like this quote because it has so much that I want to do and to be. I especially want to be too large for worries, too strong for fear and too happy to permit the presence of trouble. I hung this quote on the bathroom mirror on my mission and tried to live by it. I appreciate this passage because recently I have more fully come to understand this. I feel that I have had a lot taken from me but my ability to choose if I am happy of not. I haven't always chosen to be happy, but sometimes I do. It is those times that I do choose to be happy that I count as great victories.

We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. –Viktor Frankl “Man’s Search for Meaning”

I appreciate this passage because recently I have more fully come to understand this. I feel that I have had a lot taken from me but my ability to choose if I am happy of not. I haven't always chosen to be happy, but sometimes I do. It is those times that I do choose to be happy that I count as great victories.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. -Nelson Mandela

This is quote that I believe was originally by Marianne Williamson. I just know that it is true. From all I have seen of people we are afraid of how great we are. Too many people spend too much time hiding from their greatness. That is why it is so wonderful when someone steps out and decides to be great.

I think that is enough for now. I hope that you all enjoyed some of my favorites through the years. I am still inspired by all of these quotes and I hope to someday live up to them. More stories to come later...