Some days when you take a walk, you find yourself on Memory Lane, and if you are anything like me, oftentimes when you find yourself there, all you can do is whistle going, “Wow, I did that.” Back in 2009, I did something that most people today simply don’t: I moved onto a ranch in a small town in the middle of nowhere, approximately 3 hours from the Los Angeles I have pretty much always called home. The “town,” for lack of a better word, had an overall population of 805. People were outnumbered 3:1 by horses, goats, and even wild coyotes; there were no supermarkets or chain drugstores, but there was one gas station, even though it had a sign stating “Out of Gas” for months at a time.
Reading this, I’m sure a few people are scratching their heads wondering why I’m telling you all this. Well the reason is simple. Before that time, my experience with nature was limited to backyards, simple parks, and the occasional hike in an area like Corriganville. But this horse ranch where I found myself working and living was unlike anything I had ever experienced. I don’t remember ever seeing a real-life horse in person before, and let me tell you they have a certain je ne sais quoi that goes beyond anything I could ever describe in words, an essence that transcends communication, yet speaks volumes.
Living out there, I learned how to truly work up a sweat and what a pleasure it could be to kick back on the porch to watch the sunset after a hard day’s work. I learned what luxuries we in the city take for granted every day. Out there on the ranch, there was no internet, no cable, no satellite TV; heck, there was barely ever enough of a signal to get any use out of your cellphone, and every morning you had to spend some time at the pump to make sure you had the water for the shower. There are times that I truly miss the experience, but at the same time there’s a lot I took from it.
Working there, I had to learn how to breathe again, how to open my eyes in the sunlight, and really learn to appreciate all the magnificence of the world around me. Believe it or not, the environment surrounding you at this very moment is filled with a thousand variables that make your situation unique, wonderful, and frankly amazing. Far too often, we can get a bit too involved with the lackadaisical luxuries to really appreciate it all. Now I’m not saying you should uproot and try your hand at living in a kibbutz or a collective farm or some such, but what I am suggesting is that you unplug yourself every now and again from the high-tech world to just spend a moment existing and living in the now.
Meditate, go out and see the sun, take yourself for a walk (with Fido if you’ve got one), and just exist for a little while away from the technology. Remember what it feels like to breathe deeply and release that tension with actual reality, not just the TV version. It’ll be good for you.