There’s a parable that goes like this:
An old grandfather told his grandson: “My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, and resentment. The other is good. It is joy, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, and bravery.”
The boy thought about it, and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”
The old man quietly replied, “The one you feed.”
(via The One You Feed Podcast)
I originally intended to write this post about travel and adventure, specifically in the beautiful city of Sedona, Arizona. Instead, I stumbled upon much deeper thoughts about the spiritual impact of “big life memories” that are created by great experiences and adventure.
To me, spirituality is learning to detect the differences between energy and ideas created by my mind and those generated deep within my awareness. Spirituality is realizing that my inner spirit is my direct connection to the magnificence of everything — the Universe, the Almighty. Now, I am beginning to wonder if adventure and life experiences are a direct connection to my inner spirit?
Money, Memories, and Happiness
I have always felt happier spending money on adventures, activities, and events rather than things. A new study comparing happiness derived by life experiences versus material items may explain why.
Life experiences become a part of who I am deep within my awareness. Big moments last a lifetime (and even beyond) through the memories and stories told by others. Could it be that experiences and big life memories nurture my inner spirit and feed my good wolf, while material things simply feed the bad wolf and ego of my mind?
New and exciting adventures seem to make a bigger impression on my memory and spirit than familiar, everyday activities.
My family and I recently spent a week cruising on a brand new ship called the Norwegian Getaway. The cruise line was new to us and we had a wonderful experience. We traveled to three ports of call: the Dutch side of St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Nassau Bahamas. Two locations were new to me and all three were new to my wife and daughters.
Among many new experiences and adventures, one highlight was participating in an art auction. My daughters (ages 11 and 9) both had the chance to bid – and each won artwork for their bedroom walls. While I will enjoy the art, the thing that brings me true joy is remembering the look on my daughters’ faces, as they were completely absorbed in the excitement of the auction.
Like priceless moments, travel destinations can become symbols that trigger lifelong memories of happiness.
Sedona, Arizona is a world-renowned travel destination known for its spectacular landscape. It is one of my favorite places on earth and is an anchor for many wonderful memories.
My wife introduced me to Sedona on the first weekend we met. It was very romantic and we held hands for two entire days. I remember a complete stranger asking to take our picture as we were gazing at the amazing views. She said she wanted to take our picture because she “had never seen a couple so in love.” I keep that picture in my office and feel a strong sense of love every time I look at it.
Sedona is where we got married and hosted our rehearsal dinner. As we said our vows, we could see the iconic Snoopy Rock. Our wedding weekend was one of the best and most memorable celebrations of love in my life.
Sedona is where we started buying artwork together and where we hosted an annual Mother’s Day brunch for our moms. It is where we escaped for romantic getaways at one of our favorite hotels in the world, L’Auberge de Sedona. It’s also a place where I went on many amazing hikes and where Happy Living will be hosting our weekend retreat on August 21-22.
My memories of Sedona – all the people I have been there with, the experiences, and natural beauty – have become a deep and permanent part of who I am.
Big Life Memories
For me, adventures and experiences are far more important than material possessions. Prioritizing these big life memories is one way I feed my good wolf.
When I reflect on my life and think about the places I have been, the things I have done, and who I did them with, it makes me smile. It’s the memories I have been a part of making that brings me joy. The person I am continues to change and evolve based on my collective life experiences. And it is the big life memories that nurture my inner spirit and make me happy.
I can’t wait for my next adventure!
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