Rules For Life – Everything is a Blessing
by Ken La Salle
Late last month, I set foot on the Pacific Crest Trail for what turned out to be a short backpacking trip. As I began, I assumed my topic for this month’s Rule For Life would be found somewhere out on the trail. Perhaps, I reasoned, I would be inspired by the scenery or the time alone or even just the physical exertion that comes from hiking through the desert. What I did not anticipate was how my topic would come from the other hikers on the trail.
The month of April is a busy month on the PCT, which winds up and through the mountains of the west coast to cross the United States from north to south. Many of those who hike the trail begin in April and in the time I walked that path I must have passed at least fifty different hikers. Each one, and in fact nearly every one, possessed the most optimistic and inspiring attitude. Were I to put their outlook into words, I suppose I would say “Everything is a Blessing.”
No kidding. Everything is a blessing. Nothing to these people was a set-back or a hassle or even a catastrophe, which was difficult for me to comprehend because I was in the midst of my own catastrophe. With a head cold and an arthritic ankle, through constant rain and sometimes near-freezing temps, my hike was less than pleasant. And I strove to understand this amazing attitude these people held.
I’m not going to tell you that I know what it means to say that everything is a blessing, because I know how much it hurts to lose a loved one or to be cheated or to experience real fear like so many of you. I don’t know how you might easily reconcile a great, personal tragedy with this outlook.
And yet, I was inspired to watch as these amazing people did just that. Every turned ankle was little more than a reason to rest. Dark weather, to them, just meant a respite from the heat of the sun. One of the young people I met had just fallen down with a full pack on, a really hard spill, and he said to me, “I’m sure glad I fell now instead of later.”
A part of me wanted to say, “Well, you’ll probably fall later, too.” I didn’t, because I was certain he would be okay with that.
So much of our lives are spent, these days, hedging our bets, anticipating the worst, waiting for the other shoe to drop. When was the last time you reflected upon your afternoon or your day or your life and found yourself happy with what you saw? Why do you think that is?
Imagine taking whatever it is that makes your life less than satisfactory and understanding it as a blessing. Because for everything to be a blessing, that means the bad stuff, too.
I believe, that at its core the idea that everything is a blessing is an expression of your joy at simply being here. Simply being alive. How can anything be a tragedy when you’re lucky enough to be alive? When you’re lucky enough to eat or laugh or be at peace? It’s an expression of gratitude towards the universe that brought you out of nothing. It’s going to do with you whatever it will; we have little say about so many things. Our option to misery and hate, fear and futility is to see everything as a blessing.
When I returned from backpacking, I told my friends and family that it was a “lesson in Murphy’s Law.” Everything that could go wrong did – but I also discovered this incredible way of looking at life. And how could I complain, when a door had been opened to me to such understanding?
Everything is a Blessing.
About the Author
Author and Playwright, Ken La Salle grew up in Santa Ana, California and has remained in the surrounding area his entire life. He was raised with strong, blue-collar roots, which have given him a progressive and environmentalist view. As a result, you’ll find many of his stories touching those areas both geographically and philosophically. His plays have been seen in theaters across the country and you can find a growing number of books available online. Find out more about Ken on his website at www.kenlasalle.com.