Archives for category: Oregon Trails

What moves you? I mean, literally; what gets you off the couch, puts you in motion, and sees you down the path from what you imagine or dream, to what you get done? Worth thinking about, isn’t it? What’s holding you back from your individual idea of success? Are you feeling stuck? What are you sticking to? If your life is a single narrative, a story, what’s the ending you’d like? How do you get there? Are you even the protagonist of your own tale? All good questions to consider. I sit here with my coffee, quietly considering them.

I watch this video, again. My Traveling Partner had shared it with me. I shared it with my work team.

I watch this video, too. It may not be immediately obvious what connects them, but it is, for me, an important thread.

I watch this video, simple because it’s too fucking obvious – and somehow still needs an occasional reminder.

It’s a lovely start to the day, to be reminded of all the potential life holds – and how much of my personal success is within my hands, if not within my control. My decision-making doesn’t just “matter”; it is the framework on which I build my life. 🙂

…So… choose wisely, eh? 😀 For sure…but also remember that everything you want in life is probably “harder than it looks” and what motivates you may be entirely out of reach without a lot of work – and may even be completely unfathomable to someone else, entirely. A lot of what is appealing in life only looks easy to reach. Ideally, those harsh-seeming realities don’t stop us, as individuals, they serve to refine our craft, and create the strengths for which we will later stand out among others on the path we’ve chosen. 🙂

…Or something like that. I’m just saying; there are verbs involved.

…And hey… don’t let the internet, or the vast quantities of excess information, or brain candy, become the diet on which your mind subsists. As with the food we consume, it matters that the content we consume be “nutritious”, and that we “limit our intake” in a healthy way. I mean… otherwise, it’s just a huge time-consuming monster that reduces our human endeavors to a series of mouse clicks, and shares. 😉 Just saying… get out there and really live.

Seems like a good time to begin again. This coffee is finished. A new day is beginning. The time is mine, as is the dream. Where will this path take me?

The path isn’t always paved…

Are you having a rough time of things, right now? Is life feeling more complicated than you’d like? Do you feel attacked on all sides? Trapped? Frustrated? Hung up on some detail that is not even a thing that has actually happened yet? Hung up on some detail already in the past? I’ve been there. I’m not there right now. I may, however, be there sometime again in the future, and I have thoughts on dealing with that. 🙂

Be present in this moment. Breathe. 

Yep. Take some deep breathes. Let go of the past; it’s behind you already, and you can move on from it. Let go of the future; it hasn’t happened yet, and it’s not predetermined. Consider new choices, and take the actions that allow you to continue to grow in the direction of becoming the person you most want to be. Who is that?

Read a book. Chill for awhile and let your mind be empty. Watch the clouds, the rustling leaves, the pigeons in a park, the rain falling on the other side of a window. Breathe, exhale, relax. Let go of clinging and attachment. Let go of assumptions and expectations. Be. Be present. Be aware. Be your own friend. Take steps. Take a step back, for perspective. Take a step forward, for growth. Live your journey with your eyes wide open. 🙂

Maybe a walk in the sunshine, considering the many options?

Sometimes the way ahead is difficult. Sometimes the difficulties are ones we’ve created for ourselves. Why that is, is probably less important than what we do about it. It’s your path to walk – you get to choose the route. 🙂

I sit here sipping my morning coffee; my Traveling Partner noted that it seems that the burr grinder needs to be given some care and maintenance. My coffee agrees with him. The next step would seem to be to do something about that. Sometimes the challenges are fairly simple. Sometimes the complications in life come from within us. I smile and listen to the traffic on the roadway.

My shoulder aches. A lurching bus in rush hour traffic yesterday evening provided notable additional pain, and set back my recovery time a bit. I remind myself to spend more time with that arm in a sling – and less time trying to use it. Still… it’s a new day. I have choices ahead of me that will determine what I make of it, and where my path will lead.

Time to take that next step, and begin again. 🙂

I enjoyed my recent days of camping quite a lot. I went alone into the forest, and I spent my hours and days in solitude. It was lovely. I went out figuring that the primary activity would be, with fair certainty, a lot of hiking. I was so wrong about what I needed (and possibly, also about “who I am” in some sense). I spent by far the majority of my time simply sitting in quiet meditation – no real “activity”, at all – gazing into the leaves, and into the sky, and through the forest, into the trees.

The perspective I had been seeking turned out to be, generally, very near where I had pitched my tent.

I mean, sure, I put some miles on these boots, no question, more than 5 miles a day, on lovely trails, some shaded, some sunny, and enjoyed each step, and each new observation.

Each step along this path has been worthy in it’s own distinct way, although I don’t always see it at the time I take the step, and the way ahead is not always obvious.

I returned home aware that in any practical regard, what I was seeking turned out to be something I took into the forest with me. It’s built on my every day meditation practice. It was much more obvious, after a few days of any-time-at-all-no-timer-no-clock meditation practice that what I was feeling in the weeks leading up to my camping trip was, perhaps more than anything else, simply that my practice had become inconsistent day-to-day, and I had begun choosing to use my time quite differently, while allowing myself to feel I was “still practicing” (well, sure, in a hit or miss, “only most days, sort of, but not always” sort of way) – and the practical reality was, in fact, that I wasn’t practicing with the consistency that is very much a feature of practice, itself. Well, damn.

…I’d love to enthusiastically chime in, right about here, with something wholly encouraging about “beginning again”, and while, yes, sure, that’s a thing I have going for me, any time, the truth is also that I rather annoyingly allowed myself to be bamboozled by my monkey-mind, always so eager to embrace the next distraction. A “simple” course-correction on this path still requires a healthy dose of verbs, something beyond intention, real decision-making, commitment, and oh, right, following that? Action. Repetition. Practice. (You know, the doing kind of practice!) I smile with some patience and familiarity; I’ve been here before. I’m entirely made of human. 🙂

I sip my coffee contentedly, this morning. Meditation wasn’t “easy”, this morning; getting up from the cushion was difficult with my right arm still partially impaired by my recent injury. It was a weird and irritating counterpoint to the pleasantness of meditation, itself, and a reminder of the value of self-awareness for practical purposes. Life lesson? Succinctly? “Slow down. Take the time you need. Approach each task mindfully, committed to, and present in, this moment.” Yep. This is me; learning as I go, repeating each lesson as needed. LOL

I take a moment for gratitude, and thoughts of blue skies, green forests, and summer sunrises – because the value in such moments goes beyond what I can capture in a photograph. 🙂

I take a last swallow of my coffee, as I consider how best to make room for 10 minutes of meditation during my work day, too. I’m certain of the value in it, although I’ve been less than skilled about making the time materialize in my day. I return to the office with a measure of commitment to it that I’ve previously lacked, and thoughts of opening the idea up to my team; we’d likely all benefit from a moment to collect our thoughts, each day, if nothing else.

…And…oh, hey… already time to begin again. 😀

I arrived home from my camping trip filled with a sense of ease, and a sense of purpose. Recharged. Restored. Ready. I got what I needed from my time away, and felt fulfilled and satisfied.

I spent rather a lot of time gazing at the many shades of green displayed in the forest on a sunny day.

I felt fit, and accomplished. I walked miles of trails I greatly enjoy. I sat so quietly, for sufficiently long, to coach chipmunks and squirrels to come quite near. I saw deer, and snakes. I even saw a “mountain beaver” – a small mammal I’d never seen before, and didn’t know even existed until I saw it, and asked a passing forest ranger about (and then later, looked it up online for more information). Pretty splendid, generally, and very satisfying time away; I returned home content and, yes, happy.

While I was putting away my gear, I lost my balance and fell, crashing to the concrete floor of the garage with a painful cry, a loud clatter, and a thud. I’d have burst into tears, but struggled to draw a breath; the fall knocked me breathless. I further struggled to get up, surrounded by miscellaneous crap stored in that corner of the garage, some of which toppled onto me. It wasn’t helping that I could not use my right arm… at all. Weird. Painful. Frustrating to go from such a profound high to such a painful low, and so unexpectedly (and quickly). I felt stalled, diminished, and frankly rather strangely terrified (perhaps due to the painful reminder how fragile life actually is?).

My Traveling Partner helped me out with some skillful basic first aid. A weird dizzy trip to the local drugstore followed – yes, I actually thought I was “fine” to drive… one handed (and missing the use of the arm that takes care of things like the gear shift. (What the fuck, seriously? What was I thinking??) I needed a sling for my arm, and more ice packs. I don’t specifically remember striking my head when I fell, but by the time I got home from the store, it was clear that I may have; I needed help at the store, because I couldn’t “navigate” the product aisles to find the slings and ice packs. Things weren’t making sense as they commonly do. Damn it.

…I was super happy to make it safely home. My partner has been helpful, kind, and loving, with minimal affectionate teasing about roughing it for days without difficulty and then getting hurt putting my gear away. I’m laughing about it, too, honestly. It’s … very “me”.

My shoulder hurts. It’s already beginning to feel some better, slowly, although it’ll likely be weeks before I have full use of it (range of motion, and strength) back. My body hurts, and I’ve got some amazing bruises, but… I’m okay. There’s a lot to work with here, and a lot to learn from. Chances are, if I’d felt somehow less “restored” and “fulfilled”, and a tad less merry, while I was putting away my camping gear and unloading the car, I’d have been more cautious, more attentive, and less likely to “throw my weight around” – in a fairly literal sense – and possibly have avoided that fall. It’s not the first time I’ve “fallen hard” (literally or metaphorically) when I felt seriously deeply happy. “Happy” can sometimes be a risky distraction from practical matters immediately at hand. It’s an experience I could use more practice with. lol

I smirk at myself, and sip my coffee – left-handed. I notice that my cup is on the wrong side of my desk to do that easily, setting me up for future spilling of coffee. I correct the location of my coffee cup, and let that go.

I’m sore all over, some of it from camping and hiking, most of it from taking a bad fall after returning home. Over the days to come, I’ll hurt less, and hopefully gain wisdom (and experience points) through healing and reflection. Choosing my path is only a beginning; walking it is where the value lies, and there are verbs involved, and – clearly – my results vary. LOL

Once we choose our path, we’ve still got to walk it. The journey is the destination. 🙂

I look at the time, and finish my coffee. It’s a good opportunity to begin again. 🙂

These days I seem wholly contented more often than not. Days sometimes slip by, without noticing I have not written a word, and life feels generally very pleasant within the limited context of my own experience. (Admittedly, when I look beyond that limited lifetime, I see so much struggle, so much pain, and so much unpleasantness, it is hard not to avert my gaze.) Even this lovely life filled with balance and quiet joy holds opportunities to improve, to love more skillfully than I do, to take care of myself more skillfully that I yet know how, and to be of greater service to hearth, and home, and community. Growth gets more complicated, it seems, the more contented I am. 🙂

My gear is packed, with the exception of the clothes I’ll be wearing, and a handful of things that I put through the wash yesterday, and an Rx that I’ll drop in my bag after I take it before bed tonight. I’ll leave for the office tomorrow morning, and head to the camp site after work. I was more ready than I realized, and there were few purchases to make; even my stores of camping food were in good supply and had been kept reliably well-thought out to support a trip to the trees without major shopping (they double as “emergency supplies” between camping trips, creating an ongoing incentive to keep them well-stocked all year).

I’m excited to be out in the woods, camping among the trees, listening to birdsong and breezes. I’m looking forward to uncomfortable hours of self-reflection, meditation, and study. I’m looking forward to thoughtful sketches of small flowers, and reading books I haven’t started yet. I’m looking forward to shameless napping in the heat of the afternoon, lulled to sleep by the buzzing of various insects. I’m looking forward to moments of insecurity, fearfulness, and doubt, and feelings of uncertainty, and inadequacy, and the feelings that follow all of those, when I master them in those moments, and feel my sense of ease and assurance return. I’m eager to sit down “face to face” with the woman in the mirror, and have a chat (figuratively speaking); I find camping exceedingly useful for brushing away the distractions, and really getting focused on the things I need to face, and deal with. I could be a better human being than I am right now, this morning – this journey (and practice) is a way to get there. 🙂

I am also just… tired. Cognitively fatigued. Weekends, however chill and relaxing, aren’t quite enough at this point to get me the deep cognitive, emotional, and intellectual, rest that I need so badly. Nearly every moment, of most any day, is filled from start to end with interactions, and human voices, and this, that, or the other thing pinging on my consciousness. I need a break from all of that, long enough to get properly rested, in order to really grow and benefit from all that I am exposed to, and all that I have learned. 🙂 My ‘brain buffer” is full. Sleep isn’t enough to clear it. I’m sometimes cross with frustration that results from nothing more than feeling persistently distracted and overloaded. “Too much”.

So, tomorrow… well, from the perspective of write here, I guess today. Tomorrow I’ll be finishing loading the car (it’s mostly already loaded), and double-checking that I have coffee, my bee sting kit, and any medication I may need, and adequate cash for picking up a bundle of firewood from the camp hosts up the road. 4 nights out. 4 days. Long enough to really appreciate the luxuries life routinely makes available (through not having them) and long enough to have to push past personal demons queuing up for attention, and to have to kick aside any “baggage” in my way, on a path of self-reflection, re-calibration, and rest. 🙂

I expect to return with pictures of flowers, sunsets, blue skies, paths ahead of me, and moments. I expect to return with a clear heart and sense of purpose. Expectations can be huge buzzkills in real life, so I sip my coffee, smile, and let those go. 🙂 It’s enough to be here, ready to go there, and to let that be what it is, when the time comes. 🙂 For now? It’s just a Monday morning, over coffee, and it’s time to begin again. 🙂