At Zion National Park in Utah, on the hike to the emerald pools, there are various sources of water which turn the mud in the park a clay-orange. It was almost impossible for me not to play with it. To commemorate the beauty, I asked one of my hiking partners to draw on my face with it.  Photo Credit: Ciprian Nedelcu

At Zion National Park in Utah, on the hike to the emerald pools, there are various sources of water which turn the mud in the park a clay-orange. It was almost impossible for me not to play with it. To commemorate the beauty, I asked one of my hiking partners to draw on my face with it.
Photo Credit: Ciprian Nedelcu

“You can’t climb limestone! Everyone knows you cannot climb limestone!” My hiking partners looked at me in awe–as if I had said something completely mind-boggling. Some jokes were cracked later on, regarding my love for rocks, in general. My cousin even referred to me as a “total hippie.”

Though I already have my career plan down-pat, I do wonder what I will minor in, and if rocks become a bigger passion of mine, I do plan on taking a few geology courses. When I go hiking, I do not have a care in the world. The air is crisp, the mountains flourish in a much taller manner than I do, and everything seems minuscule–including the petty problems that seem to so often cloud my mind.

And perhaps I sound cliche (I have been catching myself believing in things like “the universe’s destiny” and “personal legends” lately), but hiking is, indeed, a way to clear the mind, body, soul and spirit. Granted, I do empathize for the humans who join me on every hiking trip, because I do catch myself sounding like a middle-aged Earth Science teacher, telling everyone about how “awesome it is to step on the same land dinosaurs once did!”

Hiking is my contentment. In the past, it was something I would engage in once, maybe twice a year, but now, with more freedom and more of a sense of wanderlust, I find myself going hiking a lot more often. And now, it is to the point where I feel as if hiking is the only way I can truly find a sense of myself.

[vision_pullquote style=”1″ align=”center”] There is nothing wrong with playing with mud, sweating, or getting your clothes dirty–especially when perusing nature. [/vision_pullquote]

While I can go on for days about meditation and the things in which I douse myself in order to find my happiness, there are three key points to be highlighted for people still struggling to find themselves in the activities in which they engage:

Meditation is not about chanting
Sitting criss-cross-applesauce on the floor and chanting “om” is not the only possible form of meditation. As a matter of fact, anything that can make one feel cleansed is considered “meditation.”

There is nothing wrong with sweating while hiking or working out
There have been so many instances in my life where I have heard someone say “I’m too scared to get dirty” or “I don’t want to sweat my makeup off” or (my favorite) “I don’t want to get my hands dirty.” There is nothing wrong with playing with mud, sweating, or getting your clothes dirty–especially when perusing nature. The more adventurous you are, the more memories you will form.

Take that photo!
Afraid of looking too “foolish” in the silly picture you wish to take with your hiking partners? Don’t be. The truth is that fun hiking trips with your friends most likely do not happen often, and there is nothing wrong with looking back at silly memories you might’ve formed.

Perhaps the contentment I find within nature will compel me to build a career out of it, or perhaps I will keep it as a hobby for as long as my legs will carry me. There is nothing pretentious or wrong about being compelled to do the things that bring on happiness–whether that is climbing a mountain, or creating art pieces for fun.

One thing is certain: one can be happy, no matter what.