I’ve acquired two habits over the past decade that have made me happier and healthier. They came to me without forethought, and almost by accident.
One of these habits I’m keeping a secret. If shared, I fear you’d think I’m wackier than you already do.
The other habit has to do with a regular hike I take up the mountain to my Singing Rock. It isn’t a long hike, maybe a twenty-minute stroll at my meandering pace. About 10 years ago, I was hiking when I noticed this rock emerging from the sagebrush. It had a flat top about three feet off the ground, so I hopped up to take a rest. And suddenly, sitting up there, I felt an urge to sing.
Before I continue, you must understand I can’t sing a lick. I have no pitch or resonance or any of those other things professional singers possess. No one has ever asked me to sing along to anything. But there I was: by myself, up on the side of a little mountain, sitting on a comfortable rock. I looked around, took a deep breath and began to sing my mother’s favorite song. “Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling…”
It sounded good, a little too good, almost like it wasn’t coming from me. I sang louder. “From glen to glen, and down the mountain road.” I didn’t know the words, so I made them up. “The summer’s here and the flowers are growing.” For a minute, I wondered if this beautiful tune was coming from me or the rock I was sitting on. I abruptly stopped singing to check it out. There was silence, and I was thrilled. I was a rock star, of sorts.
I’ve been making the journey up to my Singing Rock ever since. My repertoire has grown to include “Yesterday,” “Greenfields” and, more recently, “Candle in the Wind.” I’m great at all my songs, and I may have even improved on the original lyrics.
So, the lesson I’ve learned is that it’s nice to have a little haven of my own, where I can sing “I Want to Be Me” (Sesame Street) and really feel like I mean it. We all deserve to find such a comforting place.
As for my other decade-long healthy habit, it will remain a secret. Otherwise, you may think I’m “Crazy” (Patsy Cline).