When fitness trainer Molly Keeler watched her beloved mother pass away, she realized that she didn't have to stand by. She could help others by being a "sidekick" to conquering fear, trying new experiences or creating friendships. Enter "Happy Trail".
Sounds a little twee? Well, not Molly, who brings her own style of no-BS, full-on support to those who want to try something new.
Tell us about Happy Trail - what is it and what are you hoping to accomplish?
Happy Trail is a movement towards connectedness, happiness, and compassion. Of people being there for each other through the joyful and sorrowful, the exciting and the scary. I hope to inspire people to live the life they desire, instead of letting fear dictate their choices or dreaming "what could be".
By facing some of my own fears and joining others on their journey to their Happy Trail as their sidekick, I document these adventures via video, photos and journaling on my website.
What inspired you to start it?
I lost my mother at 74 to Alzheimer's and learned so much being her primary caregiver. Besides feeling gratitude to have had the most amazing mother and appreciation to be with her in her last moments, there was also a lot of reflection. The realization that she stopped living her life so many years ago after her divorce to my father, and seeing first-hand how fear plays a part in our lives was eye-opening.
During this time, I had my "aha" moment when I realized that for the first time in my life I did not have to consider another person while making decisions. I asked myself what would I do if I could do anything, and the first response was to go to Europe. Who would go with me? Traveling on my own in a foreign country was quite scary to me…. and then literally said out loud “ I am not going to let fear dictate my choices anymore, I am going to F***ing Europe”! I gave up my apartment and started my website the next morning. I knew how many people feel the way I do and wanted to contribute positively to this crazy world.
How can people get involved with Happy Trail?
In all sorts of ways. You can request me to be your sidekick on what I am calling a Fear Challenge - where you face a fear you have head-on, or try something you have always wanted to but were afraid to do alone. I also want to share others' stories to prove what we have in common, even in places far away. Or, if you want to see me squash some of my own fears, you can request me to do just that.
You've had some bad things happen in your life but have found a way to control your happiness. Can you tell us more about that?
I have visited what I call “shit creek” many times, and one of the longer visits was my cancer diagnosis with no family history, smoking or BRCA genes. I was PISSED and never questioned beating the heck out of that beast and have been cancer-free for over 12 years. Then after my second divorce, I wondered where in the hell did all that strength go, and fortunately my sister in law Susan introduced me to mediation. Not to get all "kumbayah" but my life totally changed. I saw my patterns which were painful at times and had huge revelations of clarity. I realized that only I can make my life how I want it. Nobody is going to come knocking on my door with my dream job or deliver my happy sandwich, and neither is a partner. I am in charge of my happy.
What would you say to women who are thinking about creating change in their life, but are not sure where to start?
You are capable of anything you put your mind to and deserve a life that you love. Trust your gut, it is always right. Don’t think about Should Do, Gotta Do or What Others Are Doing. Choose according to what you believe and know what is right for you deep inside.
You don’t have to make huge changes right away, start with small steps. It could be as small as reading an empowering book to help you reflect on personal dreams, or take that dance class you were always curious about. Who cares if someone thinks it’s “crazy” or you feel goofy? We ALL are just trying to figure this life out.
All of our experiences - big or small - will add up and bring you towards your true self. That’s why I say that everyone has their own "Happy Trail".
Go on, get a sidekick! Read more about Happy Trail here.