Navigational compass firmly in hand I head out the front door, make a sharp left as the arrow directs, and head for the lake. The sun is fading quickly so I pick up my pace. LizardSally, Wilderscout and Lost_No_More may be on the same path tonight, driving my determination to get to Cohen’s Troll Bridge and find the cache before they do. As the arrow moves closer to N 028, 33.967′ and W 081, 23.048′ I switch my phone to map mode, and in the dim light consult the guide once more for details, clues, anything I may have missed the first few times through. The bridge is before me, cold and ominous, the lurking creatures beneath untold in number and size. I shut off my phone, suck in my breath and force myself forward, down the slippery ravine to the base of the bridge. Daylight has dodged the darkness once again and escaped into hiding, leaving me alone to fight the black shadows. Time is running out. I can barely make out the line between water and stone as I cautiously step forward, the mud sucking at my shoes. I grab a wet rock, slipping in and out of the muck, sloshing quickly through to the other side. I’ve got to find the treasure. My hands feel for crevices along the stone walls and along the embankment, hoping the snakes and gators have other vermin to wrestle. I switch my phone on for a little illumination in the dark cavern-like under-bridge, repeating the one hint quickly hammered out by Mr. Singleton, where a bird might sit. What bird would be stupid enough to sit where trolls dwell? And then I spot it. Not what I expected, not where I had been looking, completely on the other side, through more muck and monster-dung, but I know I’m home. I scramble quickly across the forbidding expanse, grabbing the gnarly roots of the aged tree to pull myself into position. Digging frantically with my bare hands at the tree’s base, the cache top emerges. Cars rumble overhead, and joggers pass unaware, a scant 100 feet from where I sit, clueless of the triumph I have achieved. I open the box slowly, savoring the moment of discovery. It is my first cache and I will not rush the pleasure. I carefully select a sacred prize from the array of used McDonald’s toys, log in my name and date by the dim light of my phone, and once the box is secretly stashed again, head back to my house. Cohen’s Troll Bridge, otherwise known as the Lake Ivanhoe Bridge, has been conquered, treasure found, and my adventure-loving soul grins a big, dirt-smeared smile all the way home.
This was my first run with Geocaching, a free, real-world treasure hunt that is international in scope. Download a free app for your phone and you can, anywhere at anytime, click on to see how many caches are nearby, waiting to be discovered. Of course, a bit of imagination and hunting at dark helps increase the intrigue, but it’s fun no matter when or where you begin. After all, who doesn’t like a treasure hunt? Sunken ships, buried chests of gold in desert caves, even scavenger hunts and word search puzzles offer the allure of possibilities, pursuit and reward upon completion, no matter how great or small the treasure may be.
After pondering other cache descriptions, coordinates and clues, I started to think a crazy thought: what if there was a similar app for the soul? A bonafide treasure hunting app that helped people find their spark and love life more. It could be called the SoulSpark app. I can hear the ad now: Not sure where to find your spark for everyday living? Need a little passion? Want to know your purpose? Clueless how to get those energizing ideas and dreams back? Get the SoulSpark app now! For more delight in your day, passion for your pastimes, and spark in your soul, click on the free SoulSpark app anytime, anywhere. Just follow the clues right to the treasure trove of your heart’s desires and true-life calling. You can’t go wrong. Before you know it, life will be an adventure and pleasure once again! The SoulSpark app, available on all IPhones and Droids, see local stores for details.
Maybe I’ve been writing too long in one sitting, but how great would that be? It would certainly fit in with all the other click-here-get-results apps that abound. Would you buy it if it were available? I would, absolutely. While I know the strength of my passion and purpose, I also know that life’s “trolls”–those troublesome changes that wreak havoc on the comfortable status quo–can loom large and leap out of nowhere. Circumstances change, relationships shift, careers morph, life transitions and when you least expect it, our purpose on earth is up for reexamination. Suddenly there’s a need to unearth again, what is truly important? Why do we love doing this but end up doing that? What is essential for a regrets-free, fulfilled life, and how do we get there from here?
This whole Geocaching experience hits home when you pause to consider: if people are willing to go through mud and muck, hill and dale, across the world on treasure hunting adventures for the grand prize of a pat on the back, a Slurpie coupon or even real money, then why not be willing to bring that same enthusiasm and determination to a treasure hunt of something far more impacting–the treasures of our heart and soul? How much more amazing and life-changing are the treasures of knowing who you are, why you’re here and how your life can make a positive difference in the world? How much more rewarding to find your spark again for everyday of life, appreciating the beauty, joy and possibilities of the here and now?
It may not be as easy as clicking an app, but the treasure hunting principles are the same. In seeking your own heart’s passion and truer purpose, start paying attention to the clues. Be willing to explore your work region, home turf, and unexpected places like childhood daydreams that have stayed with you and secret, ridiculous dreams that keep popping up in the crevices of your oh-so-practical mind. Shine the light on these questions as a starting point. Don’t rush through, but reflect, study and dig in deep:
• What do you enjoy doing that, when you’re involved in it, you lose track of time?
• What skills and abilities do you have that make you proud and you love to use?
• What moments in your life have stayed with you through the years, where you felt deep peace, joy or satisfaction?
• What activities and experiences energize you?
• What do you enjoy talking about or reading?
• Where does your mind wander when you have quiet moments alone?
• What topics interest you, what curiosities do you have, and if money weren’t an issue, what would you love to try?
These are your compass arrows pointing the way to your treasure, questions whose answers offer insight and clues to your deeper truths. They are starting points that set you in the right direction. Your truest sparks, passions and purpose will always be those things in your life that are most important to you, that uplift and energize you just by talking about, remembering or doing them. You have to start with what you know to get to where you need to go. So start your treasure hunt today, take time to focus on finding your spark and you’ll be well on your way to discovering the treasures of you. And when the trolls come a-trompin’, just keep on walking in the direction of your heart. It beats them out every time.