Interestingly my last hike started and ended with the same message, which was:
LIVE YOUR LIFE IN THE MOMENT
Quite literally in the end, with those exact words printed on a sign, in a place I decided not to stay.
I’ll tell you why in a minute…
The sign didn’t say which moment though.
There are past moments that can feel sad, and future moments that can feel scary, then there’s THIS moment you’re in right now. All of which I’ve been exploring.
I’ve been wanting to hike Ozone Falls for awhile now, so that’s where I headed for this adventure. It was FULL of interesting “moments” too, starting with a stop at Sunset Overlook on my way to Ozone Falls.
I stopped there on a whim when I got a hit of nostalgia nearing the turnoff.
I felt compelled to revisit this picnic table there at the lookout specifically… and the happy memory it holds from a trip that seems like forever ago now.
I love to revisit places that hold my smile, that hold memories of pure happiness that you can relive for a moment, kind of like a pit stop to refuel on JOY if you will. 🙂
You replay bad moments and memories in your head all the time… try replaying some of the GOOD ones, without thinking back or forward, just BE in the beautiful moment it was. It’s amazing how it can make you feel! ❤
This particular stop made me smile, and made my heart feel SO full of love. I sat there long enough to let it FILL me with the happiness I felt there before…
Mindset Shifts for Positive Attitude and Gratitude
I’ve been practicing this a lot lately. Instead of thinking back and being sad about something that’s gone, I think back and smile at how great it was.
Or instead of thinking forward at how far I have to go toward something, I imagine myself in that future moment with the happiness and sense of accomplishment it holds, and let that feeling motivate me to take action toward getting there.
Speaking of getting somewhere, I was wasting daylight so I got back on the road for the rest of the trip to Ozone Falls – a 110 foot waterfall in Crab Orchard, TN just off Interstate 40.
Legend has it that the area was named “Ozone” because of the “stimulating quality of the air” created by the mist that is generated after the long plunge of the water.
I’ve been wanting to explore this waterfall for ages, and I finally got to see it – first from the top, then from the bottom.
Both views were breathtakingly beautiful. I carefully navigated the large rocks at the top of the falls, which dropped off sharply into the gorge below.
It was a short walk to the top of the falls and I met several people coming in and out to enjoy the view.
I was alone up there for a long moment though, admiring nature’s amazing work of art, and simply feeling the warm sunshine and light breeze against my skin.
There’s nothing like finding the perfect spot to just BE, to let everything go and think about absolutely nothing except what’s right in front of you. And to simply FEEL how it feels. 🙂
It’s hard to stay caught up in your stress or your tangled thoughts & feelings when you’re faced with such an amazing sight! JUST LOOK at this video:
Wow… ❤ Right? 🙂
Is that not amazingly beautiful?!
In addition to enjoying a moment to myself to fully immerse myself in the beauty around me, and the inner peace that brings, I exchanged fun conversations & smiles with other people coming and going to enjoy the view.
There are times I head out on a hike because I want to be alone, but the people I run into on the trails always make for something interesting to add to my thoughts for that day.
Like the older couple that had been together 57 years and shared a love for waterfalls – and a sparkle in their eyes when they looked at each other, still. 🙂
Next I hiked around and down the trail to the bottom of Ozone Falls…
It was a breathtaking view from every angle with a large amphitheater style gorge carved out of the bluff and the pool of cold water that disappeared underground.
There are large rocks across from the waterfall – some literally as large as houses, and a mist that rises up to cool you off as you hike down to it.
The way the water resurfaces from underground past the pile of large boulders creates a wandering stream that makes you curious what’s around that next bend.
I had every intention of spending the day exploring for awhile, climbing the bluff to check out caves and hiking downriver to see where the water leads…
I even brought plenty of “fuel” – a pocket full of nut butters, which was quite literally 1,000 calories of healthy fats & real food in my pocket. 😉
These are the “fat bombs in a packet” I’ve been telling you about. Similar to MRE’s they are convenient, healthy real food you can enjoy anywhere. See:
Keto Nut Butter Fat Packs You’ll LOVE ❤
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Just because you’re alone doesn’t mean you can’t have fun!
Whether you’re single, or you simply want to go do something that your friends & family or spouse doesn’t want to do, you should have as much FUN as you possibly can in life.
That’s my motto anyway. 😉
I actually prefer to hike alone because it’s an opportunity for me to unplug from daily life and let my thoughts untangle and unwind.
It’s a time to just breathe and just be, and allow nature to prove that my problems are really trivial in the grand scheme of things.
But I also like to have fun and PLAY and I refuse to let being in my forties (45 to be exact) or being single stop me from doing just that. 🙂
This was my semi-successful but not at all graceful attempt at a backbend in more years that I can count, lol. I’m just glad I didn’t land on my head! 😛
I decided to climb up the rock bluff below the main trail to see how far I could see downriver, so I could decide which direction to go from there.
Unfortunately that bluff was FULL of stinging nettle – a plant that stings you like a bee and causes an immediate and very painful reaction. 😯
lol, ack! 😛
As I was hiking out to get back to my car to wipe the plant poison off with alcohol wipes (which worked, btw), I crossed the point in the path where a man had been rescued just a few days before…
I remembered reading the story about an accident there at Ozone Falls just days before my hike, but that fall took place down in the gorge. So I’m not sure if the blood on the trail occurred during the rescue climb, or if this was a fresh incident.
Either way it made me pause for a moment and consider that hiking downriver over large slick boulders and climbing bluffs may be better planned for a day when I have a hiking buddy with me, or at least on a weekend when there are more people around.
My arm was swelling up by the minute anyway, so I continued hiking out to take care of that. The stinging nettle plant was a new one for me. I’m always watching for snakes and wildlife, but now I’m paranoid about the plants too! lol 😛
The alcohol wipe did the trick. By the time I drove the hour+ back to my town my arm looked fine, so I didn’t need to rush home for a dose of benedryl after all.
I decided to stop for dinner at a little local place that has a deck overlooking the Barren Fork River since I survived the plant attack. 🙂
The sign above caught my eye while I was in the ladies room, where I went first to wash my dirty hiking hands.
I stood and looked at it for a long moment, remembering the picnic table I sat on for a good 20 minutes earlier in the day, and how it felt to live in THAT moment.
It made me realize that all of the moments of my life are there for the living, like time traveling through memories and feelings…
I like that. ❤
I’m sure the sign meant THIS moment, which is a concept I agree with and try to live by. But THIS moment is not always a great one.
Sometimes it is, sometimes you’re just doing the dishes or paying the electric bill or dealing with grief & loss or feeling lonesome or heartbroken or whatever.
And then there are those moments where you feel so full of joy it bursts out as light in your eyes and a smile across your face. Or moments when you laugh so hard you cry, or love so hard you cry…
Those moments are YOURS to keep, and yours to live in – anytime you please.
I didn’t end up staying for dinner at the place where I stopped. After I washed my hands I sat out on the deck overlooking the river, but instead of looking over the menu I found myself thinking back to that sign.
I decided I didn’t really love the moment I was in right then. It was loud and hot and nothing appealed to me on the menu. So I left to go visit my father for a few minutes, then got take-out on the way home.
You know what?
That’s okay too. 🙂
I love that I have the option to exit a moment.
There are far less obligations and restrictions than we lead ourselves to believe.
Every moment of your life is full of options and choices.
While you can’t always just politely say, “actually, I’ve changed my mind – but thank you” and hand the menu back… you can easily shift into another moment in your memory that makes you smile.
I do that often when I’m stuck in traffic, waiting at the doctor’s office, or even sitting on my swing on the back deck.
Ah and speaking of the doctor’s office, I got a call from my doctor this week following a recent appointment. I have to go back in for some biopsies week after next.
In the meantime I am living in the moment I’m in, or in any moment I choose, but I am NOT living in a future moment that does not yet exist.
That causes unnecessary stress.
The moment I am living in right now does not include the biopsy results, so there’s no point what-iffing myself into a tizzy.
In this moment, everything is just fine. I feel happy and healthy and the sunshine is calling my name… so I’m going to go play in it for awhile and enjoy the day. 🙂
It takes practice and discipline to learn how to live in the moment you’re in, or redirect your mind to a moment you can enjoy – or even to enjoy it for the beautiful memory it is, instead of reliving everything that happened since that moment.
I call it “reeling yourself back in.”
Practice it: Anytime you find yourself spinning or stressing or thinking too hard – reel yourself back into the moment you’re in. THIS moment.
More often than not, you’ll discover… everything is fine. 🙂
Actually you’ll learn that in MOST moments everything is just fine. It tends to be human nature to live in ANY moment other than the one you’re actually in right now – worrying about the future, what if this, what if that, regretting the past, reliving a loss, feeling old grief, wondering what will come next, stressing over things that haven’t even happened – and may never happen.
Stop doing that! 😉
First, because you’re missing out on life and on the moments as they pass. And second because most of that does not serve you in any way whatsoever.
I admit that when I first pulled off the road on my trip to Ozone Falls it was because the hit of nostalgia was more like a stab in the heart.
I made my way straight to that picnic table – where I could have just as easily crawled into that moment to have a good cry over what once was.
Instead, I chose to close my eyes and feel the sun on my face and breathe in the late summer breeze… and take myself back to that moment in time where things were easy and wonderful and blissfully happy.
That felt SO good!!
At a time when I was feeling lonesome and empty and unsure on so many levels, reliving a moment of JOY was just the cure I needed.
Our minds are a tricky thing, taking us down paths of pain and worry and stress most of the time. Once you learn that you are in control though, you can flip that switch anytime you please -and just turn it off.
Or time travel through your happy moments, even…
Which is just as much fun as it sounds. 😉
Ozone Falls was a beautiful sight, and I fully intend to return and explore upriver and downriver and as much of the designated natural area as my feet can cover.
I take away so many wonderful things from my solo hikes.
The beautiful views are so amazing in person, only a fraction of which I can truly capture with a camera to hold those memories – and share them with you.
But it’s the life lessons that Mother Nature teaches me, and the way she calms my otherwise busy and hectic and stressful life, that have the biggest impact on me – and on how I live my life.
I hope sharing those bits with you gives you food for thought, and helps you navigate the craziness of life and love and loss and everyday living, as much as it does me.
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