My best group doubles as a pictorial tutorial on how to be.
They arrive early in Jordan Village. When I turn into the parking lot I hear them before I see them. They are chatting and laughing with a stranger recruited to take their photograph. I am enjoying them even before meeting them.
Note #1: be conscious, not self-conscious.
I take photos before getting names. “Who’s 'Flawless'?” I ask, referring to an Airbnb profile name. They laugh.
While responding to questions I assess their abilities. Worried about the challenges of the hike I apologize and seek forgiveness. To this they laugh again.
Note #2: when in doubt or fear, laugh.
They absorb Nature's beauty then come to the creek to celebrate:
3. Each Other
All of their energies are various forms of Love: of Life, Nature and Each Other.
Note #3: celebrate what you have while you have it, e.g. ability, friends, time, money, love, consciousness, transportation, personality, humor, nature, etc.
Notice all the points of physical connection:
So many are so afraid of touching and being touched. In many cultures a kiss on the cheek is customary because touch is essential to feeling connected thus centered and at peace.
Note #4: love comes and acts in many ways. Find your ways.
In response to the heat and effort they sing, joke, shout, dance, splash and praise the Day over the sound of rapids.
Note #5: live as if you created the day, because you have.
Unafraid of expressing joy, nature extracts every ounce of their beings. Their worship of the moment serves the Creator of all Good. They say the canopy of leaves and stream remind them of the islands.
Few guests ever show interest in photographing me but these folks insist on posing with me throughout.
Laying in the river I am connected to each by hand or foot. Fearless of human contact their touch symbolizes that love so many are without.
Note # 6: without love, without everything.
They say one must love oneself to be loved but it's the reverse. To love oneself one must be surrounded by love. That's the truth. No child loves themselves without being loved first.
Unlike the serious walking groups I see hiking with poles a-flying this group stops and savors.
Smiling not for the camera but each other.
Note #7: flaunt not to an imaginary audience that sees through you. Pose simply out of appreciation of a moment worth remembering.
It is hard disrupting their playfulness to get them back on trail.
After climbing the escarpment I pull out the maps to let them rest and breathe. They are decent enough to pay attention. I explain where we are - geographically. Spiritually, they're exactly where they're supposed to be.
We stroll the old village to the top of the falls.
What is Life but what we breathe into it?
At the second waterfall I pour Plum Wine and they toast the fact that they're not at COSTCO or Square One.
Such love and energy is not always welcome in the world beyond theirs. That they might not receive love from some only deprives the prejudiced party. These guys support each other accordingly:
On the road back they play music, sing and dance in the road.
I am laughing and uplifted by their number; their joy embraces me externally while filling me internally.
Note #8: song and dance exist for reasons worth exploring.
On to Rockway Vineyards where Maida leads them to the outdoor tasting bar and treats them like the elevated Spirits they are.
Note #9: joyful people reap great rewards.
They pay less attention to the wine and more to Maida and each other. The wine is secondary. This is the joy of love upon love.
They buy about twenty bottles then join me on the patio where the Chef greets them with free pizza.
At the end of this day they are beyond thankful - as am I for realizing Note #10: beauty is a choice. Exude it or suffer.