Van Beek: An attitude of gratitude
An attitude of gratitude. At a time when many are speaking of doom and gloom, it may feel like we are searching for a needle in a haystack to find that ray of hope, yet it is all around us.
We are enormously fortunate to live in a place that others only dream of. The connection to nature brings about a sense of peace and tranquility that our urban counterparts rarely experience. While we are all adapting new strategies in finance, education, and lifestyle, we are also being given a unique gift … time.
Sometimes the journey to success is prompted by unanticipated challenges and it may come at significant cost, yet, in the dust of chaos, we may discover new talents, which may inspire new ventures.
All that we previously wished we had time to do can now become reality. Remodeling our homes, partnering with our children on new educational ventures, attempting exciting challenges in fitness, cooking, gardening, “mindfulness” training, expanding our businesses to accommodate alternate models of commerce, and for better or worse, spending an increased amount of time with family, while finding new ways of connecting with friends.
“There is peace, even in the storm,” Vincent van Gogh said.
To counter stress, it helps to focus on what’s good. Many successful people begin and end each day with a gratitude list. These things listed don’t have to be major to be significant. If they are important to you, they are worth identifying. Major could be a new client that doubles your income, or a child conquering a significant challenge. Something small could be as simple as enjoying how great the dog smells after its bath, or that you finally finished reading that book. The idea is to stack up these good feelings, and soon that happiness will become your norm.
With the many changes we’ve encountered, regarding the coronavirus, we are more aware than ever of the importance of protecting our physical and mental health. One of the best ways is right outside our front door … nature.
While we worry about 6-foot social distancing, most outdoor activities are conducted at distances beyond that limit. A shortlist of activities could include walking, biking, swimming, tennis, golf, jogging, horseback riding, hiking, skateboarding, or just sitting under a tree, daydreaming about your next adventure. The fresh air, exercise and beauty benefit everyone.
With outdoor experiences come safety measures and responsibilities. We must respect that the wilderness is filled with awe and because it’s a wild potential danger. So:
- Bring a fully charged cell phone. Even with no reception, a 911 text can often be received.
- Even if familiar with the trail, bring a map (in case an alternate return route is needed).
- Bring a compass as backup to your GPS.
- If alone, tell someone where you are going and your estimated return time.
- Leave a copy of hiking plans visible in your car.
- Always bring water and snacks.
- Carry a small first-aid kit and Swiss Army knife. An extra pair of socks and a lightweight jacket are essential if you’re on the mountain after sunset.
- Bring a tarp to serve as a shelter during an unexpected night’s stay.
- With active wildlife nearby, carry bear spray.
- If biking, bring a multi-use tool, spare tires, and a small pump
- Remember that kids are fast and there are many enticements in the mountains, along with numerous ways to get injured or lost. Keep them close.
- Keep dogs leashed for safety from wildlife, who consider them prey.
- Never feed wildlife; they know no boundaries and can become deadly.
- If you encounter a bear, back away slowly, shout in a deep voice, and try to make yourself appear larger. Never turn your back on a bear.
- If you discover that you are near a moose, move away slowly and if in danger, step behind a tree, it may protect you from a charge.
- Mountain lions are extremely dangerous. If attacked, you must aggressively fight back in hopes that they consider you not worthy of the trouble.
- Summer is fire season and caution is essential, particularly when camping. We nearly lost Basalt to carelessness.
Venture outdoors, it’s healthy, and our main reason for living here. Remember, there is much more that’s good in life, than bad. Live with an attitude of gratitude, and you’ll enjoy every single day.
James van Beek is the Eagle County sheriff. You can reach him at email@example.com.
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