I've been thinking about this subject a lot lately, since I'll be taking 40 people to Maui, Hawaii in less than 60 days from now.
This is my business. This is what I do. I take people on lots of adventures, near and far.
For at least the past 5 years I have been taking people on some type of adventure approx. 350 times each year! Before that, the number of adventures/year were closer to around 200. This is what I love to do. This is what my Live and Thrive business is all about - taking people on incredible outdoor adventures.
So naturally when I got this Colon Cancer, I just immediately thought of how it would be another one of my Adventure Trips.
This year alone, by the time Thanksgiving is here, I will have hosted 17+ Adventure Trips in 2013 alone! That's a record number for me.
Those are just the 3 - 7 day trips.
Then there are the "3 hour Adventure Trips". I like to call these "trips" because I can transport people into a new world in just minutes of the Salt Lake valley. It feels that way to me anyway. Getting up into the mountains feels like I've gone halfway around the world, without the time and money of airfare! That's honestly how great our mountains feel when we hike in them. Ask anyone who hikes with us and they'll agree.
The big million dollar question...
So how is it that I can prepare for an incredible adventure trip to Maui (like I did a few years ago) and be so miserable part of the time and yet have a Colon Cancer Adventure Trip and have it surpass all of my 17 adventure trips in 2013?
Why do people feel so bad for me when they hear I've had to deal with Colon Cancer and yet be so excited for me when I'm headed to Maui - which was not as good as I had hoped it would be!
I am spending so much time on this subject because I want to help people NOT make the same mistake I have made in the past.
The last time I was in Maui, which was approx. 4 years ago, I couldn't get past my own inadequate feelings which caused me to have a very difficult time being happy. I was constantly comparing myself against my good friend, who I invited to go with us and be our guide. She grew up in Maui and since I knew I wanted to take a group to Maui in the future, I paid her way and had her be our guide. I spent way too much time thinking about how much more comfortable she was with the island ways than I was. I compared my so-so body to her very toned body and felt very inferior. I didn't help when she was running round in less clothes than I was. I kept telling myself that I was a "mountain woman" not a "beach girl". I felt more comfortable wearing 3 layers of clothing and going snowshoeing than I did running around on a beautiful beach.
She did seemed to be so much better at everything than I was. She could surf really well and when I took a surfing class I felt like a beached whale learning how to surf. I was not as flexible or had as much upper body strength or whatever, I seemed to find all of my flaws.
It was so easy to compare and so obvious to feel like a fish out of water. To this day, when I look back on all of the beautiful photos I took in Maui, I can still feel the same painful emotions of inadequacy.
Assuming that you will always have a fantastic time when you go to a beautiful, tropical island paradise isn't necessarily true.
Assuming that you will have a horrible, ugly, scary, pitiful experience when you learn you have colon cancer is not necessarily true either.
Since that time, I've been working hard on changing my behavior.
It's actually a very easy thing to change if you know the secret.
It's called gratitude. Be grateful for every single LITTLE thing in your life.
Express gratitude vocally for every kind act, for every thing in life.
In the beginning you may not see that much to be grateful for, but as you express it more and more, your eyes will be opened and you will see how much goodness comes your way! It really is all given to you from God, so express that to Him and tell him Thank you!!
Whenever I go on an adventure or anywhere for that matter, I look for the smallest thing that is right before my eyes. I don't think it's enough to always just think about how grateful I am for a small simple thing. I try to express it verbally to someone. If I am hiking on a trail and I can smell the fresh scent of pine coming from the trees, I try to tell someone how good that smells. I want to "hear myself" express gratitude.
If you only think about what you are grateful for "in your own mind", many times you don't really acknowledge it. How many times do you put your keys down but you don't really pay attention to where or when you did that? I think gratitude is a lot like that. If you don't make a bigger deal about it, you don't even really notice it.
As soon as I found out on Monday, Aug. 26, that I had colon cancer, I made a conscious decision to look for the good in the entire experience and that I would make an extra effort to be grateful and EXPRESS my gratitude for everything that would happen to me. And that I would also get down on my knees and thank my Heavenly Father for this journey.
Even when I was in the hospital and the nurse would come and draw blood from me, I thanked for her for doing that. She seemed surprised and said "No one ever thanks me for sticking them with a needle".
I think my first Maui trip would have been a lot different if I would have had the attitude I have had now, like during this colon cancer adventure.
Instead of focusing on everything I didn't have at the time i.e. a better toned body, etc. and focused completely on everything good i.e. incredible beauty, the great family and friends I had with me, etc. It would have been a completely different experience.
I know a lot of people who come on my Outdoor Adventure Trips and outings struggle with these same feelings of inadequacy. I hope to benefit someone by sharing this.