I came across these photos from my trip to the zoo this summer. It is my happy place. I feel a connection to the animals and nature as I watch them interacting with each other.
Have a lovely day!
I went hiking in West Virginia this past weekend with my niece. There is something so exhilarating about hiking in the freezing cold with several inches of snow on the ground. I like the feeling of pushing myself out of my comfort zone, especially right now when my life is in flux.
I’m still grappling with my feelings about the way this past year has turned out, having left the comfort and security of a job I had for twenty years to try something new, only to find out the new job was a bad fit. I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss the comfort of my old job, even though the last couple of years there were especially difficult.
Now, here I am, searching for something else. I am impatient with the process, having worked since I was a teenager. I have a little time to figure out how I want to spend my final years working. The time off is giving me room to breath, recoup a little, and set some personal goals for the upcoming year.
During the past year, I have become obsessed with listening to and reading stories about women who have gone off on big adventures, and I dream about doing something like that myself some day. Recently I’ve been fueling this desire by listening to Tough Girl podcasts, and I have decided to set a goal for myself in honor of my big birthday this year, and also the ten-year anniversary of my dear brother’s death. The year Scott died, I did my first half marathon and also went on a medical trip to South Africa. I never got to talk to him about these adventures. Scott and I had always dreamed of doing the Amazing Race together, and I want to honor that wish by doing a week-long bike ride this summer. I will write more about it once I finalize my plan.
In October, I took a rowing class. It was harder than I thought it would be, but also quite fun and a great way to get exercise while being out side in nature. I am looking forward to getting back out on the water in the spring, and will continue with some indoor rowing this winter. Here is a short clip of one of those rare moments when we were all able to be somewhat in synch with each other.
“The reward for practicing accepting what we’re given is we become intimate with everything that’s not us. We become intimate with the nature of life. And it’s the rhythm between our own nature and the nature of life that allows us to find the thread we are — the thread we are in the unseeable connections that hold everything together.” – Mark Nepo
I love the concept of finding the “thread we are” in nature. Sometimes I find it hard to get out of my head, especially when I am trying to make a decision or solve a problem. It seems counterintuitive to simply let go and accept where I am in the moment, not to mention incredibly difficult given my obsessive compulsive personality.
The other day I decided to take a walk and as I strolled along, I realized I was stuck in my head, oblivious to nature around me. I remembered what Mark Nepo said in his Book of Awakening about dealing with difficult thoughts and emotions by finding something in nature that most represents how you are feeling. I started looking for things during my walk, and slowly I was able to stop the obsessive thinking.
I would recommend giving this approach a try, and remember to go easy on yourself if you have trouble letting go of your thoughts — they are part of nature too.
Sometimes the best way to deal with stress is to take a break from it. Going back to nature is a powerful way to put my life in perspective and give rise to a more simple state of mind.
Going camping, hiking, and being away from home for 24 hours was just what I needed. I remembered how it felt to be a kid again, hanging out in the woods and not thinking about schedules or what I should be doing next. It is a rare moment when I can actually stop thinking about what the future holds, but I managed to this weekend.
The night sounds of frogs, crickets, and campers talking in the background was music to my ears as I fell asleep.
As I gazed up at the stars beaming in the sky, I was profoundly aware of how small I am in this vast universe, and it was strangely comforting.