It’s 6:00 a.m. in the California wilderness, somewhere between Yosemite National Park and Mammoth.

A small group of expeditioners and I are backpacking over a mountain pass.

The closest humans besides our group are more than 20 miles away.

I brew a cup of coffee and mosey down to a slow-running river just outside of camp. 

The sun is just peeking over the mountain range, and steam rises off the water.

It is the definition of tranquility. 

The stuff that authors and creators have pined over for years.

At that moment, the whole world is silent, and I feel completely connected to myself and my surroundings. 

Uninterrupted calm.

Since that day nearly five years ago, I’ve often thought about how to reach that place of calm again. 

Usually, my mind thinks I should go back to a place like that river. 

But then reality sets in, and I get sad because that trip took a year to plan and three days of hiking in the middle of nowhere to reach that place of calm.

Over the last few months, I’ve set out on a quest to find that place of calm where I live. 

Which is San Francisco, and it is not calm here. The closest people are like three feet away (if you’re lucky), and there are no calm rivers with steam rising off them in the morning. 

But there are trees and open spaces, and if you wake up early enough, you can get ahead of the crowds. 

This morning I found my place of calm. 

Sitting in front of a tree in Alamo Square Park that is named Monterey Cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa) #35503, according to (just thought you might like to know).

cypress tree

The sun was rising over a hill, hitting the tree in a way that lit up the bark. 

There, I went to the same place of calm and connectedness I’d reached back at the river in the mountains. 

At that moment, I realized I could find calm anywhere; it doesn’t take a wilderness expedition or a trip to somewhere completely different. 

Finding calm is essential because it acts as a reset, a place to gather before proceeding with my day. 

My advice for you—find yourself a Monterey Cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa) #35503 to sit in front of and find your calm each day.

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