Ideas come and go. Options, offers, directions, evolve to meet the state of the moment. We are never in the same exact place we were yesterday. There’s always something new, always something to do, if the individual makes it so. At the cellular level, we are all changing regardless in continuous cycles of renewal. Our bodies evolve with the times depending on the systems available. What do we have now? What ways are available? People pursue forms without much thought and develop unintended habits which result in vulnerable bodies. If left ignored, these bodies fail earlier than expected. This may be a simplistic evaluation; however the concept of systems is too often forgotten in consideration of the status quo and remedies for discontent. The American Dream is not dead, but the train is moving too fast for us all to get on at once. It does occasionally slow for brief moments, and we have to be ready to hop on without hesitation. These moments are not inherently clear. Also, these brief moments are not always true opportunities to jump on board. How can you tell the difference? When do you make a move? This is where intuition, the ability to understand something immediately without the need for conscious reasoning, comes into play.
The first time I ventured into bear country, I packed way too much. My friend described what we were getting ourselves into as an “overnighter.” We would hike a couple miles into the middle of nowhere in the Northern Rockies of Glacier National Park and then come back out the next morning. The essentials included tents, some food, and a change of socks. Manufacturers design backpacks which can be loaded with the many trinkets available at sporting goods stores. I thought I should bring three extra pairs of clothes in case the weather conditions radically changed. I thought I should bring dehydrated snacks in case we were unable to cook food. I thought I should bring extra water bottles, other drinks, binoculars, a camera, bug spray, extra batteries, sun block, fishing equipment, some rope, a few other things, and a tripod for some odd reason. Soon after I packed all that stuff into my pack, I lifted it off the ground onto my back. It was heavy, but felt manageable. Before long into the few mile hike, pain set in. Throwing off extra weight was not an option, neither was asking my hiking mates to carry my load. I accepted the fate of a heavy pack and continued on. I did not need most of what I brought. And the trail climbed up and over hills I did not anticipate which exasperated the pain I felt. I did however, learn from this experience, and the next “overnighter” was far more enjoyable.
One way to enhance this ability is to better understand our system. Where do we live? Who do we associate with? What do we need on a daily basis? How does our immediate surrounding environment affect us? Why do we want? There is an obvious difference between “need” and “want.” The why do we “need” is often easier to answer than why do we “want.” The American Dream is a prospect of “want,” not “need.” There’s disagreement on this point, but when it comes to what the individual “needs,” it does not require all that much effort to get it. It’s when “want” is believed to be “need” that trouble arises into a paradox of not knowing what to go after. This leads people to set upon a course of action one day, then an opposite the next, and finally back to the same place. Having a firm grasp upon the characteristics of our system is only the beginning though.
We cannot change the status quo over night. Bernard Shaw wrote in Back to Methuselah, “You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?’” The most effective means of achieving a change in self is to work to improve the system. Our respective communities have so much influence upon our quality of life. It is a shame when neighbors treat each other as strangers. We have isolated ourselves to deal with problems as individuals instead of working together to solve those problems. Simply figuring out a way to survive is not enough, and unworthy of the life we’ve been given. Why merely survive, when we can improve our surroundings? We must begin to share our experiences and then work together to ease the hardships so many face at achieving what is necessary. We’ve all heard this before, but what have we done to live it? We can all learn the hard way on an “overnighter” through the backcountry, but I recommend we lighten the load.