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  • Writer's pictureMichael Kennedy

If This Isn't Nice, What Is?

My wife and I recently took a long hike up to High Camp above Olympic Valley, CA. Along the way, as we paused to take in the creeks, waterfalls, trees, and the iconic Tram Face, Nicola said to me, "Hey Mike!"

"Yeah?" I said.

"Is this crazy, or what? This is like nothing I've ever experienced here before. We're hiking up Thunder Mountain Trail to High Camp! I've only taken the tram to the top and skied down. I'm seeing everything in reverse and I have a whole new appreciation of our slice of Heaven!"

Sometimes we get to experience some incredible things and we forget how lucky we are. Can you relate? I get caught up in trivial things and I forget how fortunate I am. For the most part, though, I try to keep things in perspective and remember to respond to my wife and say yes, this is our slice of Heaven, and that's pretty awesome.

You can't touch it, but you can certainly experience it. You can't buy it, but you can manifest it. You can't see it, but you can easily perceive it. Happiness is like a butterfly; one instant it's there, the next it's gone, and to experience it in the moment is a truly fulfilling thing we don't do nearly enough.

Author Kurt Vonnegut said, "I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.'"

For us it's not the Tram ride to the top that brings the most joy, it's the steep climb up the trail and the sore legs and sweat getting there, while noticing the manzanita, buckwheat, huckleberry oak and other flora and fauna along the way. It's feeling a connection with the ancient High Sierra Juniper Trees and hearing rushing water of nearby streams. These are the little hinges that swing the big doors of happiness in our lives.

It's easy to forget to pause when we get that good feeling - or when we experience anything awesome - and murmur or think, "If this isn't nice, then what is?" It's about being grateful, isn't it? It's about noticing and appreciating the things on our path, wherever our path happens to be. Life is beautiful, waiting to be noticed. And if it isn't, then what is?

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