On the weekend the weather in Vernon, BC was perfect for mountain bike riding in Kal Park. It was lovely to be in the park riding with my pal Stan Eaman. Just for the record, Stan is about twenty-five years older than me and is a world class mountain bike rider. 

Stan Eaman has helped me in so many ways after the death of my daughter and we visit often and contemplate many things. It was Dirk Sigalet from Vernon, BC, another kind fellow, that encouraged me to go see Stan when Emily tragically died in 2019. It was the very next day after talking to Dirk that I randomly ran into Stan at the Bean Scene in Vernon - and so much has grown from that day. There have been many parts of this journey that have been incredible. Stan has provided me and many others in Vernon with real support and has a wonderful perspective on life. His ability to openly discuss grief and healing has been one of the most significant paths for me. Stan's approach is built around Wisdom and Compassion. 

These pictures tell the story of our ride in the park on the weekend. 

Finally, Stan needed my help!!  

It does not take much to get into some trouble while riding deep in the park - and that is why it is probably best to always ride with a buddy.  

Stan shouted to me from the trees, "Sherman, I might need some help here." I hopped off my bike and found Stan had become "one" with the tree. It is like the tree gently caught Stan, but he certainly needed some help to get free of mother nature. All this with a big smile on his face!  Once I knew he was ok, we both decided this was a real photo opportunity. 

Stan is so much fun!  Stan and his way of being reminds me of the great teaching: "Don't Worry, Be Happy." 

“Don’t worry, be happy” by Bobby McFerrin is the only a cappella song (without instruments) to reach #1 in the US. It was Song of The Year in 1989. The simple message and quirky sound made it a surprise hit. The phrase “Don’t Worry Be Happy” came from the Indian guru Meher Baba, McFerrin saw a poster of Meher Baba with the phrase and thought it was “a pretty neat philosophy in four words.”

Now there, is this song I wrote
I hope you learned note for note
Like good little children, don’t worry, be happy
Now listen to what I said, in your life expect some trouble
When you worry you make it double
But don’t worry, be happy, be happy now

“Hakuna Matata,” meaning “no worries” is also a key song as well as a major plot point in The Lion King. “Hakuna-matata” is a Swahili language phrase from East Africa, meaning “no trouble” or “no problems” (literally hakuna: “there is no/there are no”; matata: “troubles” or “problems”.)

Within all of us is the enemy, worry. We will all worry at some point in our lives. However, we can’t let it conquer us. Alarm us, yes as worry can be useful. It’s an evolutionary trait meant to protect us from dangers. In a normal measure, anxiety can be an alarm system or a motivator, the push needed to finish a project on time or meet a deadline. But we can’t let worry take control. 

Mark Twain said it this way, “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” We need to learn to wait to worry, at least until we have a valid reason to worry. “Worry is interest paid on trouble before it falls due” is a quote from W.R. Inge who was an Anglican priest, professor of divinity at Cambridge, and Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, plus nominated three times for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Until we know differently, don’t worry. Studies have shown that only 8% of what we worry about ever comes true.

Dan Zadra, one of the foremost publishers of inspirational books, said, “Worry is a misuse of the imagination.” It is also a misuse of time and energy; it can rob today of all its joy. Robert Downey, Jr. (yes, Iron Man!) said, “I’ve noticed that worrying is like praying for what you don’t want to happen.”

Life can deal us stressful situations, how we manage those situations is what counts. Stress, like worry, is a choice. We can choose a response such that we don’t feel stress or at least recognize that our reaction is causing the stress. This is easier said than done but can grow with discipline, practice and understanding. We talk about choosing to be happy, but it is really a key component to having joy in life. Happy and positive people like Stan Eaman look for ways to be successful and create their opportunities; negative people look for ways to worry and complain, creating their own misery.

Thomas Jefferson and our founding fathers included in our Declaration of Independence that “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness” are unalienable rights of man endowed by our Creator. The key point is that happiness is not a right, but the pursuit of it is. As Ben Franklin said, “The U.S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.” If we are not happy and do not enjoy what we are doing, we are not going to be able to give it the diligence that it needs. That can spell the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment. 

You can see from these pictures - Stan does not worry!  

Sherman Dahl 
The Emily Dahl Foundation 
October 2023