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If we listened to our intellect,
we’d never have a love affair.
We’d never have a friendship.
We’d never go into business
because we’d be cynical.
Well, that’s nonsense!
You’ve got to jump off cliffs
all the time
and build your wings
on the way down.
-Ray Bradbury

Having just returned from trekking in Solu Khumbu, Nepal, for the fourth time, relaxing on the beach in Thailand, and visiting my niece, Kristin, in Kyoto, Japan, I am spilling over with joyful experiences and vibrant memories that fill my heart with gratitude. So much happened during the thirty-seven days that I was in Asia that, in order to be conscious of what I learned, I’ve been spending time in silent reflection (my 600-plus photos as my guide). And I would like to share these reflections with you, my dear friends.

First: True riches and wealth lie in the heart of the experiencer, not in outside circumstances.

Nepal is ranked as one of the poorest nations in the world economically, and many would say, “Isn’t that too bad.” And yet, the Nepali are the some of the happiest and wealthiest people I have ever known. They are rich in love, relationships, and family; rich in healthy, nutritious food; rich in their connection to the earth, seasons, and the glorious Himalayas; rich in their spiritual beliefs, meaningful practices, and colorful rituals. Imagine this: in Kathmandu and throughout the country, Hindus and Buddhists actually share many holy shrines on a daily basis. Abundance is a personal experience.

Second: With positive intention, any activity can be a multifaceted blessing.

My intentions on this trek were to respectfully learn about Nepal and for the group to be positive representatives of our culture with everyone we encountered. As the fourteen of us bonded and became friends, trekked, learned Nepali, ate glorious, healthy food, had our vacations, and strengthened our bodies, the people who were in service to us also benefited deeply. To name just a few, our support staff, being experts about all things Nepali, practiced and learned English and about our culture. We created relationships with each other that will last a lifetime and opened our hearts and minds to embracing differences instead of fearing them. As a group, we chose to help Rumjatar Secondary School, impoverished and bursting at the seams, become a school where students have what they need to learn by building a library, and we also assisted with the reconstruction of the Lura monastery. Brains, hearts, and bodies all working together with positive intention are so powerful!

Third: “Don’t you think laughter is prayer?” (Mary Greenwood).

Talk about happy! From Nepal, one of the poorest nations, to Thailand, an emerging nation, to Japan, one of the wealthiest nations in the world, there is a common thread of laughter, taking oneself and others lightly with grace and humor.

I have my ideas why this is so, one being that Buddhism is a prevalent practice in these three countries. When they pray, they are praying for the well-being of all, not just themselves. Imagine having your laughter be not only a joyful experience for you but an offering of grace and light to others as well! The second is that in all three countries there is a strong belief that healthy community is built by each individual fulfilling their part, that we have an impact on each other and it’s each person’s duty to be respectful of others.

Fourth: The smallest gift given with great love is more valuable than one that is given as a “have to.”

So many times on the trail, we stopped and talked with a farmer tending his field, laughed with the children at our terrible pronunciation of Nepali words, said “Namasté!” to whoever passed by. In the past, I thought of gifts as physical things that I made or bought, and I always wanted them to be perfect. In Nepal, I realized that being fully present in the moment is a great gift to me and to whomever I am with. Ease, generosity, rapport, listening, laughter, and sometimes tears too. How precious to share them.

Fifth: Do it now. Life is too short to spend it sitting on the couch!

What are your dreams and desires? What gets your heart rate up, just by thinking about it? What are you longing to do that you have told yourself is too expensive, takes too much time, is too risky, etc.? These are the excuses we live with rather than having the lives we want.

Life is waiting for you to come to it. It doesn’t work the other way! Jump in. There is so much more, and my reflection continues.


1. What does this mean to you? “True riches and wealth lie in the heart of the experiencer, not in outside circumstances.”

2. What does this mean to you? “The smallest gift given with great love is more valuable than one that is given as a ‘have to.’”

3. What are some of the most memorable “precious moments” in your life?

4. Who in your life do you want to spend more real time with, feeling connected and present? Will you initiate it?

With love and gratitude,
Kris King

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