Providence: Escaping the City & Losing Yourself In The Wilderness

Location: Heather Lake, North Cascades, WA

If you want to feel God, immerse yourself in the wilderness.

“Oh no! A post about religion? I’m leaving!”

Nobody cares. Besides, I’m talking about God in the sense of Creation.

I’m not claiming to know the secrets of the Universe, how we got here or what happens when we die. I am simply saying that when you are all alone in the wilderness, witnessing the magnificence of Mother Nature, you cannot help but feel the connection to something larger and more breathtaking than you can even imagine.

“One with everything,” says the Buddha.

That’s exactly what I feel when I’m hours-deep into exploring a new place. It takes some time for my body and mind to adapt to the journey, but then, a state of pure clarity takes over.

My breathing becomes rhythmical as a product of hiking and climbing. Slow and steady deep-breathing kicks in, allowing enough oxygen into my system to keep trekking.

The extra oxygen promotes an amazing state of mental clarity, focus, and presence.

And when you activate those three qualities, you are truly connected with the Universe.

This isn’t meant to be all woo-woo and voodoo.

It doesn’t take hiking to be in a state of focused and present mental clarity. You can develop the willpower to activate those qualities on demand.

However, if you’re having trouble finding that willpower, go to AllTrails and pick a hike near you. (I have no affiliation with the site, I just find it to be an incredibly useful resource. Be sure to use the filters!)

Find something that will challenge you, and don’t stop until you conquer it.

Hiking a difficult route is one of the best ways to push yourself, to power through mental barriers, and to test your determination all the way through to the very end.

When your body is tired and aching, when your mind is telling you “this is ridiculous, just turn back,” and when every fiber in your body wants to quit, that’s when you keep fighting!

It’s in that very moment that you develop your willpower.

And that willpower will carry over to the rest of your life.

This is how you program yourself to conquer goals and push through to the end, even when you’re exhausted. This applies to life, as well as business.

The most difficult part of a journey isn’t overcoming the terrain… it’s overcoming your own mind. You are your biggest obstacle.

Again, this applies to life and business too.

Our minds are what tell us “we can’t” or “we can.” “We will” or “we won’t.”

If you want to accomplish your goals, you must have a positive mindset, an abundance mindset.

If you do not, you will not earn the rewards you seek.

When it comes to hiking, those rewards are fantastical views of mountains, valleys, lakes, waterfalls, glaciers, flowers, wildlife, and the list goes on and on.

These places are meant to be hard to reach for a reason. If you want to experience the true wonders of the world, you must work for them!

This is true of anything in life. If you want success, you must work for it.

Passivity is the path to regret.

Some people say, “Take me back.” I say, “We’re going back!” Don’t wait around for someone else to spark action in your life. Take action yourself! If you want to go places in life, it’s up to YOU to get yourself there. Make that shit happen and be happy. We almost didn’t take this road. I said, “We’re here anyway, let’s give it five minutes, then turn around.” Upwards and upwards the #Jeep climbed, and three #PinkFloyd songs later, this was our reward. Open yourself to opportunities and they will come. #TakeMeBack #Wanderlust #Nature #Mountains #Sunset #Clouds #MotherNature #PNW #PacificNorthwest #Cascades #MtPilchuck #MountPilchuck #TakeMeBackNow #Hiking #HikingAdventures #Views #MasculinityRising

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Where Do We Belong?

I can feel the tension and stress evaporating from my body the moment I step out onto a new trail. I take that first big breath of fresh air, and start to walk.

As I walk, a new kind of tension develops. The tension of physical exertion and carrying a pack sets in, yet this tension simply serves to bring awareness to my own body.

I am more aware of my posture, my stride, and my stability.

This is the type of stress that I welcome. Your body takes the abuse, while your mind is set free!

We are meant to be among Nature, not isolated from it.

Think of ancient villages, temples, and monasteries. Take note of how they welcomed the environment to create a more inviting space.

They didn’t shun Nature, they welcomed her as a friend.

Perhaps this is why I’ve always been drawn to the “Zen” type of environment. My spirit feels its place among the balance of Nature.

Zen. Feng shui. Balance. Aesthetics. Whatever you want to call it.

Simply recognize that as human beings we must find our balance among Nature, not isolate ourselves from it. And part of that is going out and exploring.

We are animals just like any other, but with some major advantages. From an evolutionary standpoint, we are meant to move and stay limber throughout life.

The modern lifestyle has become an invisible shackle around our bodies and minds.

Humans had to hunt and fight for survival in the past. And now we have an obesity epidemic from gorging on processed junk and eliminating most sources of daily physical activity.

Everyone should be in touch with their body and understand how it functions best.

That comes from adopting a consistent workout routine and being aware of what you ingest and how it affects you. This process requires a personal dedication to becoming more mindful.

Check in with yourself, and recognize the parts of your life where you are succeeding… and where you’re falling short. Once you’ve identified opportunities for improvement, take action to create the proper balance.

Your mind and body do not belong within a cage.

They are meant to roam free. Like this:

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How To Escape The Stress of Living In A City

Growing up in the country, I didn’t experience life in a city until I moved to Seattle in 2013.

Even now, I still haven’t truly lived “in the city.”

You know, living smack-dab in the middle of downtown, dealing with unrelenting gridlock, cramped living spaces with no privacy, and hordes of homeless beggars that would just as quickly stab you as take your money?

Yea… that part of a city.

I have steadily crept closer and closer to the liberal jungle called Seattle over the past four years.

And the closer I get, the more problems I see… the more problems I feel.

There’s a reason why there’s more stress and negativity in a city. People are living in a stress-inducing environment.

It’s hard to relax and de-stress when your surroundings put you on sensory overload.

A city bombards its residents with higher concentrations of people, crime, noise, lights, pollutants, allergens, positive ions, and wireless signals.

All of these are constant stressors that will damn-near immediately disappear when you are out in the wilderness.

I recommend placing your phone on “airplane mode” when you’re out hiking or exploring.

For one, it saves battery life since your phone won’t constantly search for signal to a tower. Secondly, it helps you escape those wireless transmissions I just mentioned.

You don’t escape the stress of a city by remaining trapped within it. By exploring Nature, you’re leaving all of these stressors behind while exchanging beneficial negative ions with your surroundings.

I’ve touched on negative ions in the past, but the short version is that negative ions promote a sense of well-being and support energy levels, and you’ll find them out in Nature.

So go find them…

Namaste,

Nick Hagood
Masculinity Rising

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