The Wander Years

5/29/2018

This is another throw-back post from my old blog, several years old.  While my writing has changed (and hopefully gotten a bit better), the message is still powerful and I’m amazed at the wisdom I had in my early 20s.  Looking back at this now, one of the great part is that I have had the chance to study what I call “the wander years”.  Common terminology calls this the liminal phase, or the phase between who a person once was and who they are becoming.  In case you want more, I did add my academic response to a discussion forum on this topic below. 

The Wander Years
I am in the middle of a forest. The trees are thick with a vibrant shade of green, but peaks of sunshine still manage to seep through. Purple, pink, and orange flowers line the either side of the trail. To the east I can hear the gentle babble of the sparkling blue river I just crossed. To the west, large purple mountains clash with the clouds, dotting an azure sky. When people talk about things being beautiful, a day being perfect, this is surely what they mean.
Unfortunately, I have not been able to fully appreciate all the natural wonders around me. I’ve gone mile without picking my head up.The constant chatter in my head blocks out the chirping birds, the light wind brushing the leaves, and even the crunch of my footsteps on the soft dirt trail scattered with twigs. My vision is skewed, not because of a lost contact, but because I am too busy searching for another trail.
I passed another trail a few miles back heading towards the south, and another a few miles before that heading toward the east. Neither felt quite right, so I kept going. Now I am second guessing that decision. I know there are a few more side trails coming up ahead, but will they lead me in the right direction? Where am I going anyway? I think I am…
Lost.
Well, maybe no quite lost.
I am….Wandering.

 

The term “wander” probably best explains the past 2 years of my life. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, it means to:
1a : to move about without a fixed course, aim, or goal
b : to go idly about
2: to follow a winding course
3a : to go astray (as from a course) : stray <wandered away from the group>
b : to go astray morally : err
c : to lose normal mental contact : stray in thought <his mind wandered>

Aside from 3b, I’d say, yes, that is about right.
After college, I thought I had a clear vision of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. How quickly that all became blurry. For starters, things happened that I couldn’t have predicted. Then I began to learn more, read more, and do different things. My thinking began to change. This took effect on the ideas I had for myself and my future.
Many times, I became frustrated. I knew I was on this Earth for a purpose, but what the heck was it!? Too many times, I let my frustration turn into disappointment, bringing me to tears. Running was not the answer, nor were the two jobs I tried out. Life satisfaction was a far off concept for me.
So, I wandered. And I’m still wandering. But I think I’m getting closer to that one path, that one trail that was meant for me and me alone.
Funny thing is, I’m getting there because of all the things I’ve learned along the way in these past two years. I’ve learned I hate driving an hour to work, in a busy and crowded city. I also hate dressing up and wearing heals. On the other hand, working with kids in an unstructured environment isn’t for me either.
I’ve learned people can’t read my mind. Sometimes, I just need to say how I feel, even if that’s not that natural thing for me to do. Communication is key.
I’ve learned to be me, and I’ve learned what I value. I like to be warm, happy, and well fed…but I don’t need a whole lot. I don’t really like BIG things, just small, simple things…and things that are as eco-friendly as possible.
I’ve learned I love running…but not when it becomes my forefront. Then it becomes work, and with that comes unnecessary pressure. I like running for its serenity, and how it enhances who I am.
I’ve re-learned what my values and my morals are.
The list goes on and on.
All these things have helped shape who I am, and expanded my horizons.
If only I would have slowed down, picked my head up, and enjoyed the views along the way…
Yes, I was wandering. But, as it turns out, wandering is what I needed to do. I may have gotten a few bumps and bruises along the way, but my wandering wasn’t really such a bad thing after all.
I haven’t done too much research on the subject, but I don’t think I’m alone in my experience of these “wander years”. Actually, I think the majority of the population goes through the same thing. Usually though, it’s given a negative connotation.
For adults, it’s most often known as a mid-life crisis. For teens and young adults, they’re either lazy or “dreamers” who need to come back to “real world”.
There are the exceptions of course…
There are the child prodigies and young entrepreneurs, some millionaires before they reach adulthood, who know exactly what they are born to do. Then there are those who have a calling so strong that they know, even when still playing in a sandbox, that they were meant to lead, preach, or heal.
It’s hard not to be jealous.
But truth be told, we are all meant to be on this earth for some reason, and most of us have to do quite a bit of digging to get there. And that’s okay! Because it is when we wander that we make mistakes, fall, and learn. It’s a time of exploration, self-discovery, and beauty…if only we take the time to pick our heads up and enjoy it.
[Again, it’s unfortunate that our society looks down on wanderers, instead forcing many people to take on jobs that they really don’t enjoy (yes, you can find meaning in those jobs too, you can find mean in your life in anything you do, but that’s another blog!). Recently, I listened to an audio CD, “Thrive” that listed Copenhagen, Germany as one of the world’s happiest places. A huge reason for this is because people have the freedom to try different job without fear of debt or others opinions – the sacrifice is that the majority of a person’s income goes to taxes, but hey, who cares if your happy!]
My hope in writing this blog is to encourage others to embrace their “wander years” because they are important parts of our lives. It takes a lot of trust in oneself, and maybe a Higher Calling, but there is no point in worrying or getting down on yourself in these years. Our wander years having meaning and purpose, whether they are spent exploring the mountains or working at a restaurant just to get by. As long as we don’t give up and believe in ourselves, we will all find the direction we are supposed to be traveling in and reach our destinations…or destinies.

So wander on my friends, and enjoy the adventure.

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We wandered A LOT during our 2017 trip to Montana.

From February 2018:

Not All Who Wander Are Lost

“Not all who wander are lost” is a line from one of my favorite poems by J.R.R. Tolkien* from his Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  It’s become a common bumper sticker (or in my case, a car air freshener that lost its smell long, long ago), but it has always held great meaning for me.  I was able to put words to that meaning as I read the assigned readings for the week.  Bridges (2004) calls the gap between one life phase and the next the neutral zone, while Stein (1987) describes the phase of a person’s internal structures from a former identity being dissolved and new structures constellated as the liminal phase.  Personally, I can going to call this “the wandering phase”, a phase that seems aimless at first, as if one is lost in the woods at night, grasping for direction by the light of the moon, and finally begins to find purpose at the approach of sunrise.

Further building upon the work of Bridges (2004) when he describes surrender as a time when “one must give into the emptiness and stop struggling to escape it” (p.140), I liken it to the hiker who must give into the darkness, make camp, and wait until morning to find help, also acknowledging that help may come in many different ways.  Four pages later, Bridges speaks of the “wilderness”, which he reveals in Hebrew also means “sanctuary”. To extend this analogy (or truth?) one more step and call upon the work of Brene Brown when she says “there are times when standing alone feels too hard, too scary, and we’ll doubt our ability to make our way through the uncertainty…this is when you reach deep into your wild heart and remind yourself “I am the wilderness””. In that sense, we are both our own wilderness and our own sanctuary.  The gap between phase of one’s life is not an abstract place, but a place when one needs to go inside oneself and seek one’s own truth.

The Hine (1987) reading reminded me of my own ceremony during a transitional phase in my life a year ago, though at the time I did not call it such.  It was just something that I felt called to do, which, when reading, alleviated my anxiety in being creative enough to create a ritual.  During this time, I was doing my best to surrender my identity as an competitive athlete.  In the year and a half previous to my ceremony, lots of tears, frustration, and anger ensued. Finally, after a lot of praying, journalist, and soul searching, I was able to begin to let go. I wrote a letter to my “old legs” and then, on Christmas Eve at dusk, I buried the letter into one of my favorite trees in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  This ceremony, like the ones described by Hines (1987) helped me to begin to find gratitude for my past self and embrace who I was, and still am, becoming.

 

References

Bridges, W. (2004). Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press.

Hine, V. (1987). Self-created ceremonies of passage. In Mahdi, L. M., Foster, S., & Little, M., Betwixt & Between: Patterns of masculine and feminine initiation (pp. 304-326). La Salle, IL: Open Court Publishing Company.

Stein, J. O., & Stein, M. (1987). Psychotherapy, initiation and the midlife transition. In Mahdi, L. M., Foster, S., & Little, M., Betwixt & Between: Patterns of masculine and feminine initiation (pp. 287-301). La Salle, IL: Open Court Publishing Company.

https://themarblejar.com/products/i-am-the-wilderness-print

*

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes, a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king -J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

 

A Lesson on Love, From the Dog: How Pacer has Taught Me to Love Unconditionally

5/29/2018

This is actually from my old blog and is about 4 years old.  However, it seemed fitting to share again on this blog.

[I’ve written other blogs previously on lessons we learn for dogs, but I believe the greatest lesson these four-legged and furry animals (or should I say sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, grand dogs, etc.?) teach us is about love, and what it truly means to love.]

“Dear God, please help me to love myself as Pacer loves me.”

I wrote these words in my journal, not very long ago.

I was in the middle of reading Marianne Williamson’s “Return to Love” and I realized that I never truly thought about what it meant to love. I also realized then when I did love, it was often with conditional terms. “I love him, but not when he does that.” “I love her, but I can’t stand it when she’s acts like that.” Etc. Etc. But never were the terms of conditional love truer as when it came to loving myself.

My self-love and self-worth came with what I succeeded in, and often not succeeded in. At one point in my life this dealt with weight, grades, and basketball. More recently it dealt with my running times, job(s), and whether or not I thought I was doing anything worthwhile/making a difference in the world.

In other words, everything depended on the “if”. I only loved myself “if” I did this, I only loved myself “if” I achieved that.

Of course, I knew that kind of thinking wasn’t healthy. I tried to stray away from those thoughts. It helped a bit when I reminded myself that my family and friends loved me regardless.

However, it was until I thought about Pacer that I truly understood what it meant to love, and to love unconditionally.

With her, we fell onto that path naturally. From the moment she laid on my lap as we drove her home from North Carolina, our relationship was pure love, and that love went both ways. In fact, I love her so much, where I have nearly been in tears by just the thought of something bad happening to her.

I loved her despite the fact that on that trip home, she threw up in my lap.

I loved even though as a puppy, she nearly drove me insane.

I loved her even when she chewed my good running socks and I chased her for 20 minutes around the house, finally giving up in tears. And still when I let her outside to do her thing then wouldn’t come in back in, making me later for work, I still loved her.

Then there was the time I left the homemade veggie burgers on the counter, which she grabbed, ran, and devoured.

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Who chewed that?  Not me!

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She also has a protective and aggressive side, common I later learned, in herding dogs. With that, she bit someone (not a full on bit, but more of a bite you would give a sheep to get them in a circle). Instead of being mad at her, I cried at the thought of someone trying to take her away from me. (I decided a would run away with her before that would ever happen.)

She has surely cost us a small fortune, especially with “doggy boot camp”. (Once we had workers at our house, and I came home to my house set-up like a barricade…We forgot to put Pacer in her “place” and the workers shunned her off with plastic lids, closing doors, and putting couches in doorways. When I got through, Pacer was just sitting at the top of the staircase looking at me.)

Now, at 2 years old, things are much better, but she is still mischievous, rebellious, and full of energy.

For example, a few months ago “someone” left the garage open (which we never do) and she chewed my new pair of running shoes. (That “someone”, despite owning a running store, has still not yet gotten me a new pair.)

Speaking of running, I probably waste half of my energy on the trail telling her “No!”, “Pacer, back!” and “Leave it! (Squirrels are our friends, not food)”. And yet, she is still my favorite running partner.

Each time I get upset with her, the anger subsides minutes later. I forgive her, without even thinking about forgiving her.

I love her so much that any feeling of anger melts away. Lesson: Love is the only thing that matters, and should take precedence over everything else. (Reminder to self: Keep this in mind during next “difference of views”)

I love her, simply because she is my Pacer.

Thinking about it more, I realized she loves me unconditionally as well.

Never once when she was a puppy and I put her in her crate did she shun me when I came back home. I was, and still am, greeted with a wagging nub (her tail was docked) and much licking.

She loves me even when I accidently step on her paw.

And last year, when I accidently cut the skin on her ear while trying to get a knot out of her fur, she still forgave me (actually, it took me much longer to forgive myself.)

She loves me despite what job I have, if I had a bad day, made a mistake, and…despite how fast I run (however, she does prefer fast).

She simply doesn’t care about all those exterior things… She just loves me because, well, I am me.

And that’s enough.

A few months ago I wrote about my mom’s dog, Annabell, who has an incurable disease affecting her kidneys, causing her to piddle everywhere. Still, she is as energetic and playful as ever, plus the normal puppy mischief. My mom always tells everyone “all she wants it to be loved”.

That is so true!

And it’s true with all dogs.

Love is at the very essence of their being. And isn’t it so with us too? I think so.

Because of Pacer, I am learning what unconditional love is, and to bypass any imperfections in others, and in myself. (Isn’t perfect boring anyway?!?) It is definitely not easy. It takes practice.

But, it is worth it.

Even despite those chewed up $100 pair of shoes.

Love Letters to Mother Nature: # 4

Dear Mother Nature,

Spring.

Again you change, switching from a cover of white to dawning* a rainbow of colors.

In the past, spring simply meant the coming of summer, my favorite season.

But now…

But now I appreciate spring on its own, for the beauty, aliveness, and the scents.  Oh, the scents!  Especially the petrichor, the smell of the Earth after it rains*.  Mother Nature,  your perfume swoons me to another world.

I rejoice at spring’s first flower, bursting with color from the moist, snow-melt earth.  Daily, new colors spring forth with shades so exotic I don’t even have names for them.

And the green, oh the green!  The electrifying hues of just-born plants pushing through the soil, made only more stunning with the darker shades of Evergreens around us.

I too feel like I am being reborn.  Blossoming like a wildflower, reaching for the sun.  Fresh and new, I enter the world, ready for a new cycle of life, a fresh start.

Mother Nature, I am open to your love that nurtures and heals my soul.  I am ready to re-awaken.

Love Your Daughter,

Ray

 

*Intentional play on words.

*Thanks to my friend Morgan for teaching me this word!

The Thief of Joyous Running

While this blog strays away a bit from my usual posts for this site as it is running related, I chose to write this anyway after 1) my sister suggested I write this and 2) running is often a microcosm and metaphor for life.  So even if you’re not a runner, I trust that you will find some meaning in my words.

“Hey Sandi…?”  Followed by a slightly awkward glance as the runner passes in the opposite direction.  In the brief moment our paths cross, I usually give a nod or small smile.  Should I say “hi”, tell him I’m not Sandi, or not say anything? By the time I think this over, I usually end up with the third option and just let the runner go by.

Usually, when someone calls me Sandi on the trail, I take this as a compliment.  You see, my twin sister is badass.  I mean, she is fast.  And strong.  Like about to represent the USA in the World Mountain Championships in Poland next month strong and fast.  And sometimes I just leave it at that.  Other times, I let my joy of trail running be stolen.  Who’s the thief you ask?  Myself and my habit of comparison.

2018 Salida half (2)
Me, Sandi, and her partner Sage after her win at the Run through Time Half Marathon in Salida.

Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States, said: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” *

Those words have held true for my most of my life.

Here’s a look at my thought process and downward spiral:

“I must not be that slow if they thought I was Sandi.”

“And maybe I’m not that much heavier.”

“Or maybe they think Sandi got slow and gained weight.”

“Why can’t I be as fast and skinny as Sandi?  We have the same genes!”

And so it goes.  Ugly right?  Makes one feel kinda crappy.

Why does this make me and, probably you, feel crappy?  Well one, my guess (or at least my hope so I don’t feel totally alone in this habit) is that you’ve had similar thoughts.  Second, when we compare or judge, it is usually a reflection of ourselves.  It has to do with our own lack of self-worth, feelings of not being good enough.  (So please, give yourself some compassion here!  You mostly have a wound from a past trauma or situation that made you feel like this.  Comparison and judgement are often the ego’s idea of self-protection.  It’s of course a false form of protection, but it helps to know this so we can learn and change the habit.)

I can’t tell you how many times comparison has been a dark cloud in my life.  I’ve compared myself to my classmates in grad school ‘They’re so smart! How did I get in?”, relationships “He’s so intelligent, handsome, and skinnier than me.  Why is he with me?” (that lead me to unconsciously act like a jerk that lead to the breakup), and even to all of the pro-athletes in Boulder that work out for hours each day and have bodies of gods and goddesses.

The funny thing is, when I truly reflect on where I am in life right now, I’m happy with where I am and with who I am.  I’m about to enter my 3rd year of graduate school in Naropa’s Transpersonal Wilderness Therapy program and work for SAGE Running part-time.  I don’t have time or energy to work out for hours and have 6-pack abs.  Which is totally fine! I rather be working to become an awesome therapist! I also have a wonderful partner who loves me and will call me out when I start to become “Judgey, McJudgey” (his words, not mine). My body is still exhausted from the extreme exercise and dieting in my younger years, but now I can still run for a few hour in the mountains with my dog.  That is happiness for me.  Life is truly amazing!

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All smiles (and tongue) running with my best friend in Salida.

So recently, when I went on a 3-day solo as part of my Rites of Passage journey for my Transitions class (I know, I know- I did that for school! Again, totally awesome.) In addition to going into my 3-day solo with two intentions I wanted to honor for myself, I also considered the piece of me that I wanted to let go of.  I decided the piece of me that I wanted to let go of was my comparing self.  It may have served me in some ways over the years, tried to protect me, but I was ready to say “thank you, but I never want to see you again.”  I can’t say what went on during my 3 day solo, as I feel it is a bit too sacred to write in a blog, but what I can say is I focused on loving and honoring myself.  I found my beauty, deep within in me and in my body-including my curves and touching thighs.  Part of what I found was love for myself, which pushed out any need to compare myself to others.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that my comparing mind is gone for good.  It likes to sneak back in here and there.  But I’m on the lookout and ready to call it out when it rears it’s ugly head.  Like today, when I was beginning a run with my pup at Golden Gate Canyon State Park.  We were headed up a rocky trail that had a lot more vertical than I expected, and I was hiking.   There was an instant where I thought “I’m sure a lot of other runners could run up this.”  Then, the magic came.  I said to myself “Who cares?  Let’s just enjoy this time in nature with your best friend.  If you end up hiking a lot, then you just get to spend more time outside!  And I did hike a lot.  And I smiled a lot.  Which I actually think helped me save some energy to run at the end, in between my pup’s creek baths.  It was a beautiful, joyous morning.

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Pacer, distracted by another dog, while I try to take picture at Golden Gate Canyon State Park.

I’m sure there is someone our there thinking “But comparison is a motivator, it makes you want to get better.”  And maybe it does.  My issue with comparison in running is the “beat the other guy/woman” piece.  The ego steps in.  I’m not enlightened enough to say that comparison and ego are always bad, but at least from what I’ve witnessed, ego and comparison might help get you ahead for a bit, but it doesn’t last.  In looking at elite runners, the ones who continue to win are the ones who have an internal motivator, the ones who continue to find joy in what they do.  Looking at all runners, the ones who are often able to run for years are the ones who can do so with less comparison and with more focus on the process.  They have an inner drive, a gratitude for their own ability, and a sense of play whenever they get outside.

With that being said, I’m definitely not perfect.  But when those clouds of comparison begin block out my light, I’m learning to see the thoughts for what they are and bust my rays right through them.   Then I get back to playing with my dog.

With Joy,

 

Ray

 

*Okay, maybe comparison isn’t always bad: https://medium.com/thrive-global/roosevelt-was-wrong-comparison-is-not-the-thief-of-joy-9e490cd6225

Love Letters to Mother Nature: #3

(Originally written on 1/19/18)

Dear Mother Nature,

I love all of your cloaks, your seasons.

Each inspires me and grants me glimpses wonders and wisdom.

But, dare I say, your beauty impresses and stuns me the most when you lie asleep.

With a blanket of white covering your curves, snow dancing down like sleep dust on all of your children.  Hibernating, resting in preparation for our own blossoming.

As you exhale and the wind sweeps snowflakes over your frozen lakes and napping trees, it’s as if I can see all dreams.  Past, present, and future.  They sparkle and shine as they reflect the light from the sun and moon.  Magic.  Living and breaking in your dreams.

Sometimes I walk through your reveries, the wind kicking up and snow fluttering around me, gently kissing my cheeks.

Am I part of your dream?  Or am I living your dream?

Mother Nature, I bid you a goodnight and the sweetest of dreams.

Love,

Ray

 

 

Supergirl’s Return

It has been about 2 months since Pacer came down with the HGE virus and made her heroic recovery, to save me from loneliness and my own negative self-talk.  So I would still have my adventure partner, best friend, and love of my life.

With the help of my student loans, my dad/Pacer’s grandpa, Aunt Sandi and Uncle Sage, and the kindness of everyone who donated to the GoFundMe page, the $7,000 vet bill is paid off.

Going in to 2018, I could not be more grateful.

On my Christmas card this year I wrote the M.K.Clinton quote “The world would be a better place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.”  Luckily, I know many people do.  I am hopeful for a nicer world.

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Our holiday card photo.

Pacer and I had our first snowshoe of the season today on Leadville’s 11+ mile mineral belt trail.  Afterward, I stopped by Coldfoot Auto Repair to see Randy and Jackson, Randy’s chocolate lab.  In August, Randy managed to fix the axle in my car (despite being a one man car shop and not having the part on hand) while Pacer and I hiked up into the mines, giving me both a great deal on the repair but sharing his light with me (he has blue, joyful, and soulful eyes).

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Supergirl on the Mineral Belt Trail.

This coming summer, Supergirl and I hope to complete all the “dog-friendly” 14ers in Colorado (she’s currently at 30-something).  The thought makes me smile.

Actually, I laughed and rejoiced out loud on our snowshoe hike today as Pacer wiggled her nub and pranced with joy in the snow… my baby is happy and healthy.

And I have people who love me.  Strangers willing to donate money to help pay for veterinary bills.  The world is not perfect, but it is good.  And there is plenty of love to go around.

With Love & Gratitude,

Ray and Pacer

 

Family Xmas 2017
Happy Holidays from the Supergirl Family!

Love Letters to Mother Nature: # 3

Dear Mother Nature,

I imagine your canyons to be the intestines of the world, taking in and digesting all we feed you- the junk foods, the health foods, the superfoods.  We give you madness, terror, anger, fear, doubt.  It’s no wonder why you regurgitate in hurricanes and tornadoes sometimes.   But we also give you happiness, hope, love, and so much more.  In return, we receive sunny blue skies, shooting stars, and gentle, cleansing rains.

You also nurture us with love.  For us, you eliminate what you can of the bad and give the rest of your body, and us, your children, the good.  The healing.  We don’t always return the love, but you still keep giving.

Mother Nature, you continue to astound me.

In these canyons, you swallow me whole.  I feel so small, yet so connected with the rest of life.  I may be tiny, but I am vital.

Most of all, you swallow me in your love.  All of my parts-the beautiful parts and the parts I deemed as mistakes.  You accept all of it.  I am learning to accept all of me too.

Last, I wanted to let you know that I love you too.

Yours Forever & Always,

Ray

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Supergirl: The Bravest, Toughest Dog in the World

At this time, I’m not able to really write about Supergirl’s recent encounter with a HGE, which led her to Alpenglow, an Emergency Vet Clinic.  Below is my FB post, along with a link to the GoFundMe page my sister started to help take care of the $7,000+ bill.  I was away in the canyons of UT while the event occurred, by my sister describes what happened on the page.

My love and gratitude for everyone’s support, donations, prayers, and well wishes.

My FB post:

“30 hours after finding out that my baby was so sick while I was a way, I am still feeling a tornado of emotions. Mostly, I’m feeling enormously (x the moon and back) grateful that she is okay and that she had the best support team in the world surrounding her.

There’s also the guilt, whether rational or not, that I wasn’t there when Pacer needed me the most and all the “what ifs” that go along with that. That she was hooked up to an IV, heart machines, and was so scared…and I, her mom, was absent. There’s sadness and anger at myself, my naivete for going into the wilderness without any contact to loved ones, and at my school’s policies for only having on outgoing phone.

But again, overriding that is my overwhelming gratitude to mine and Pacer’s heroes and angels: SandiJoshua, and Sage. She probably would not be alive without them, which means a part of me would have died too. Everyday, all three of them went to see Pacer at each of the 3 visiting times. That they decided to foot the bill up front, no questions asked. That they interrogated the nurses and doctors. That my dad told Sandi “do whatever it takes”. That Sandi broke down, shedding her tears and my own. That they called everyone possible at Naropa, all the rangers and visitor centers near Natural Bridges National Monument, and every other medium they could to try to contact me on Saturday night when they were worried she wasn’t going to make it. I could have asked nothing more of them…they did everything I would have done. Them telling me that they would “do anything for you and Pacer”. They kept my baby, my adventure partner, my best friend, the love of my life, my therapist, my resiliency, my unconditional love, alive.

I also have a HUGE amount of gratitude for Alpenglow Veterinary and everyone who has texted, called, and messaged me to see how Supergirl is doing. THANK YOU to everyone who has made a donation, prayed, and sent their loving energy. I apologize if it takes me a few days to reply back…my nerves are still a bit frayed.

Pacer, my brave, brave girl, is truly living up to her nickname Supergirl (even the nurses started calling her that!). She is eating a bit again, going for short walks, and even made an attempt to chase Joshua’s cat (which we ended when I thought the “meeting” was too much stress for Pacer and myself).

Sandi, Joshua, and Sage: Thank you x a million. I’ll never be able to repay you for this. I love you all to the moon and back.”

Supergirl’s GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/pacersmedicalbills 

 

 

 

 

 

Love Letters to Mother Nature: #2

7/26/2017, San Juan Mountains

Dear Mother Nature,

Love is the word popping into my mind right now.  Love for this valley, for Pacer, for the mountains, for the sky, for my body, for my whole self.  And love for the boy too (even if I won’t tell him so).  How is it than I can feel it so strongly, so freely now up here?

In my book, I just read about a study that revealed that viewing/being in nature generates a sense of “awe” that in turn gives a sense of contentedness and peace which can enhance productivity and creativity.

I’m guessing this sense of awe isn’t too far off from love.  With that, knowing deep down, even if I can’t always feel it, that I am part of this awe too.

Is it in the beauty of the awe that I find love?

It can’t be.

I think it has more to do with my connection.  But, in my present human state, I can’t completely reach the depths of it.  It’s like my roots are just brushing the core of the matter.  Yet, when I let myself be still, the upwards energy of the love still embraces me.

It’s getting cloudy.  I’m beginning to have goose bumps.  I wonder if I should continue walking or head back.  The next turn in the road captivates my attention.

Love,

Your Daughter

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Love Letters to Mother Nature: #1

Aspens Aglow

aspens
I’m just a short hike up from the Fourth of July trailhead in Indian Peaks Wilderness, sitting on a larg boulder with my best friend, Pacer (an Australian Shepard). Before us are several small, bright yellow leafed Aspens interspersed among the pines. The sky is playing with us. As times it has been dark with clouds and a light rain tickles my cheek. The woods feel sacred when it is like this. Minutes later the sky clears. The sun shines on us through the Aspen leaves, aglow. But at this very moment as I write, the sun slips behind the mountain to our southwest. I sit and close my eyes. All I can do is breathe in the crisp air, smelling the dying leaves. I notice my hiking partner is finally sitting still for once, with the same breeze that is blowing through the Aspens also gently playing with her fur.
I don’t feel young, like I do at times in the summer when I am running down on trail. Nor do I feel old. I just am. I wonder if this is how the trees feel. Not tired, but just ready for a slow down. Along with the trees, I am fully here for this change in season.
Driving back along the bumpy, Aspen and pine strewn trail towards the town of Eldora, I wonder: what if there was a nature attachment theory*? A theory that stated all living things are connected, from the dirt to the sky, from trees to humans. And if one was to let herself slow down, to remove the superficial thoughts and things and just be, that she would be able to re-connect with the wilderness, to be held by Mother Nature. In this re-connection, healing from the trauma of the “created” human world would be found.

The attachment to Mother Nature has all the love and safety one needs to be securely attached. In this oneness with nature, humans could become whole within themselves and with the world.

(In what will be a series of my Love Letter to Mother Nature, this first love letter was written in September of 2016 as a class assignment. )

*Learn more about attachment theory here:  https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/compassion-matters/201307/how-your-attachment-style-impacts-your-relationship

https://clintonpower.com.au/2012/07/wired-for-love/