I recently returned from a trip to one of my old hometowns in Corvallis, Oregon. My family relocated to the home of the Beavers 20 years ago, just as I was starting my first year of high school. We lived in the cute little town, our home on a creek and less than a mile from the Willamette River, for 2 years before moving back down to Southern California where I would finish high school in the complete opposite conditions than where I started.
In the 18 years that have passed since I lived in Oregon, with all of the travel that I have done, I had never returned to that place. But in early April I packed my bags, took the hour and a half flight north, and spent 11 days with a dear friend that I hadn’t seen in nearly 17 years.
As I sat in the shuttle driving south from the Portland airport, everything was as green and beautiful as I remembered it. The afternoon was clear and sunny and Mount Hood was majestic in the background.
Every day we went on a different hike, exploring the local forests and water falls or the rocky north pacific coastline or hot springs hidden in the woods.
On our first local hike early in my trip, we were hiking up Bald Hill and I kept asking my friend to stop to look at things along the trail. I was in awe of the different shades of green, the wild flowers growing from the earth, the water trickling by, and gracious that we could move slowly to enjoy all of the beauty of the Universe surrounding us. As we walked and stopped and walked and stopped, me pointing out interesting plays of light or the tiniest blooming flower or the contrast of green on top of green on top of green, my friend commented that she loved my “eye” and the way I see the world. She said it reminded her of her 7 1/2 year old daughter and helped her slow down and see things in a different perspective.
As we walked back down the hill, I told her that my ability to see the smallest details around me is simply a habit that I have cultivated by practicing being present and aware in each of my moments. Anyone can do it, not just 7 year olds or 7 year olds at heart. As we booked it down the hill, I told her the story about how I cultivated the habit of seeing beauty all around me. That story is now live over at the Bad Yogi Blog. Head on over there to read about how finding beauty is my shortest path to gratitude and how it might start changing your own life and perspective.
Peace and Love