The Beauty Around Us

I’ve always been fond of taking pictures.  Typically ones of my family, nature and a wedding or two.  I don’t consider myself a professional photographer, but every once in a while I will capture something that even strikes me, like this picture does (and I can be my own worst critic).  I was traveling up north and decided to explore a bit.  I exited my vehicle and began to take in the illustrious nature that surrounded me and I found it inviting, waiting for me to discover it and all its splendor.  You should try that sometimes.  Get out of the car during a road trip and discover what is around you. This can be especially challenging for us men, because we’re usually about the destination and the end results. It’s how we’re wired. So more often than not, we may have to consciously choose to go against the grain of our unique ability to focus on a specific task (with sharp precision) while ignoring important things or people around us, or the notion of “making time” on the road versus who’s on the road with us.  Simply put, we can place all of our energy on the destination and unknowingly disqualify the credence of the journey itself.  What good is getting anywhere if we lose sight of why we chose to go there in the first place?  Perhaps it may be as simple as becoming more attentive, slowing down, taking deep breaths and being open to suggestions from others, like the people in the car in this case.  Imagine that.  😉 Your way may be the fastest and most efficient, but an unplanned detour, traffic jam or a short stop at a location you typically pass by going 75 miles per hour may be just what the doctor ordered.


The best journeys have rest stops that we should frequently take advantage of.






So there I was at the trees, standing strong and tall (the trees that is).  They seemed to go on forever up to the skyline.  Something about them amazed me.  I’m not sure if it was the strength they represented, the depth of their roots or just the sheer fact they have been there longer than I have been alive!  What stories lie within their branches? I know it’s just a tree, but this caption left an impression on me.  Maybe it’s simply the fact that I chose to see them, by getting out of my car and reflecting on what it could be from my perspective. Everything and nothing at all.  Think on that for a moment…  Maybe that was the lesson.  Being still in the quiet.  Breathing the fresh air while listening to the birds chirp and seeing this for the very first time in my life and perhaps the last, from this specific location anyway. Whatever the reason, I’m glad I had this moment to reflect on how beautiful life is and all that is around me.  It truly was enriching for my spirit and soul and it only cost me time.  Time I will never get back, but a time that I will always remember because it will forever live in my memories as a significant moment.  A moment I reflect on even now.

For some of us, men and women alike, our lives are always in a hurry.  We are such a busy society, with not enough time to enjoy the beauty that was created for us to enjoy.  How do you slow down?  Have you ever taken a walk without your phone?  How much quiet time do you give yourself per week or when was the last time you had dinner with your family at the dinner table with no television or phone?  I know, an old adage meant for The Cleavers, but I try to do it at least once per week.  You can learn so much, especially from your children during this time.  The conversations are all over the place.  They’re fun, encouraging and most times we walk away feeling a bit more connected, understood and less stressed.  Sometimes the best question to ask with this is not, how do I make the time to do this, but how can I afford not to?  There is so much at stake when it comes to what we choose to do with our time, or not.  As I get older (especially as a parent) I recognize that even if my children live with me as adults, my time and my influence with them changes and I really have less time than I realize to shape them, become their hero or have quality time and meaningful conversations with them.  Therefore I get what I can and make the most of every moment.  Lastly I’ll also state that technology, (however useful it may be) can be a quality time killer.  I don’t allow cell phones at the dinner table, even my own.  When it rings, we don’t answer it.  I learned the world won’t stop and they can always leave a message or simply call us back, and yes, even if the call is mom.  It’s truly a wonderful thing and I’m happy to say, thus far no damage has been done, due to calls missed.

I’m not sure if this is a myth or not, but I have met a few people from the East Coast and they have all said Californians are infamous for making promises about getting together, but we seldom follow-up.  I’m curious what your experiences are with this.  Are we Californians flakes when it comes to spending time with friends and family or scheduling that lunch with a friend and something always come up?  I obviously have an opinion on this, but I would love to start a discussion in the comment section about what your experiences have been.  Please share your thoughts. See my questions below.


  1. How often do you have quiet time or dinner with your family?
  2. What does actual quiet time look like for you?
  3. Is the Californian myth true?  Why or why not?
  4. What advice can you give others to slow down and learn to enjoy what they have more?


Hank G



4 thoughts on “The Beauty Around Us”

  1. How often do you have quiet time or dinner with your family?

    Never. The dynamics of my geographically near family don’t support time together.

    What does actual quiet time look like for you?

    I go to Miller Park here in Sacramento and sit on a bench reflecting on the sounds specially the water. I recently have taken to simply sitting on the sofa without a planned though process and enjoy the thoughts that come up.

    Is the Californian myth true? Why or why not?

    I don’t know if it’s true or not because I haven’t spent time on the East Coast and haven’t discussed that with others there. I feel we as people do that everywhere.

    What advice can you give others to slow down and learn to enjoy what they have more?

    If necessary, schedule “me time” as you schedule other tasks/activities. On your way home, stop off at a local park, sit quietly observing the sights and sounds and how many different colors of green there are, people watch, and enjoy.

    I interact with the homeless/less fortunate often and am amazed at how much I learn from them. I don’t feel superior at all, I am humbled how I, at times, cry over lack of “comforts”. I told a buddy of mine that that led me to not turn on my heat many nights understanding how blessed I am to be inside! I have friends who are blind, not visually impaired, blind and I realize how blessed I am to see.

    The bottom line is, as we interact outside of our norm, we could easily see how what we have is abundance.

    1. Corey D, Thank you for thoughtful reply! I’ll focus on your last statement with getting outside our norm to learn and realize how blessed we are. As you stated we have to plan this and not allow it to occur by accident. Stepping out can be scary for people, but there is an entire world out there waiting to be discovered with so much to learn and truly come to terms with.

      I hope that you can continue to lead those that are blind to see the beauty around us.

      Hank G

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