Archives for category: solo hiking

It’s an interesting morning, so far. Calm. Content. “Quiet” (for some values of quiet; Kendrick Lamar reminding me to be “Humble” on headphones here). I feel very much… myself. ย Gently, authentically, comfortably this one particular human being that I am. Nice. I should probably just stop right here and get on with that – it’s a feeling worth savoring. ๐Ÿ™‚

You know I haven’t “always” been “here”, right? You can also extrapolate from the first paragraph that I am not “always” “here”, generally, right? (Otherwise, this moment is not noteworthy in any way, merely a state of being.) I begin the journey somewhere very different. ๐Ÿ™‚ I say “begin” rather than “began” because I have grown to accept the idea that I am fairly persistently and regularly beginning again – even to stand still. To move forward, to grow, to get from a beginning to a planned end point that includes willful forward progress requires quite a bit more than simple practices and beginning again; it requires practice, beginnings, endings, letting go, reaching out, opening up, acceptance, change, choices… and so many iterations of self along the way that ancient anxiety regularly reaches out to attempt to stall me with fearful whispers that I may “lose myself” or perhaps my way, or maybe love itself will be lost as a consequence of change. It’s an illusion; the journey is always in progress, and I amย always taking steps in some direction – even standing still requires effort.

I still have bad days. I still face challenges. I still cry. I still have nightmares. I still hurt sometimes. I still face fears. I still have doubts. I still feel the sting of insecurity. I still deal with loneliness. Still. That’s actually an important word here. I’m here. Still. That’s no small thing. By itself, the fact that I live is a measure of progress. ๐Ÿ™‚ For a long while I didn’t really ‘get’ that there was something beyondย ‘living’… I had to embrace just being alive before I could see over that wall at a more distant horizon – thriving. The journey continues.

Storms pass.

This morning feels different. Feels good. I’m feeling comfortably poised between emotion and reason, equally aware of internal, and external. Open to love. This is a good place to exist in this moment. I feel content, and open to changed perspective and new ideas. Is this thriving? Is it time for this journey to step beyond the familiar to new territory? I wonder…

What does a beginning look like?

…And I begin again. ๐Ÿ™‚

Yesterday quickly descended into further emotional distance, and definite anhedonia. I found myself asking “the” question, too: “Am I depressed?” It had crept over me fairly slowly, then finished with a slam – the house I was going to go see, out in the countryside, went pending right about when I got in to the office. I was bummed.

There are sunny mornings.

This particular source of frustration comes up pretty regularly, and house-hunting is becoming a big downer, mostly because frustration is my kryptonite, and also because the process itself brings me into regular contact with an industry built on corruption, with little in the way of healthy pro-consumer regulation. (Seriously, I’d be pretty appalled to walk into, say, Ross and pick out a pair of jeans, carry those to the register, and have some other customer take them out of my hand, step in front of me in line, and firmly tell the cashier “I’m willing to pay more than you are charging for these, so they’re mine.” That’s hard to deal with over and over again.) I just want to go home. No, I mean, seriously, for me the entire process of house-hunting is 100% only intended to let me “go home” – to a home that is mine, that I can count on, that I can make my own and improve or change, and make more secure and comfy and safe. Having to throw regular exposure to frustration into my day-to-day experience by choice (particularly over something so heartfelt) is … yeah. Hard. Icky. Discouraging.

There are mornings that seem strangely gray.

I reached out to my Traveling Partner and let him know my weekend was upended and as a result quite unplanned. I was mostly venting, and not reaching out to change his plans. He understood – and we miss each other regardless of our plans. He suggested coming to hang out, if that sounded good to me. I was still struggling with anhedonia; nothing sounded good at all. ย He helpfully prompted me to consider my experience through another perspective; my physical health. Recognizing my pain management challenges, my poor quality sleep, and the basic frustration of ย house-hunting and how that affects my mood, generally, put me in a better place for the day, and I even found my to making new plans that really suited where my heart is, combining some hang out time with scouting other areas for livability, that might be good choices for future house-hunting.

Each moment, however similar seeming in some detail or another is entirely its own experience.

I committed to sleeping in today, and I did – I woke at 6:30 am feeling fairly rested. A leisurely shower felt delightful. My coffee is hot, and I feel fairly chill and merry this morning. Sleep is a very big deal.

Yesterday’s sunshine has given way to today’s steady drizzle. Fuck I hate driving in the rain. LOL Still… lovely day to enjoy a drive in the countryside, in no hurry to get to the end of the day.

A different morning, a different place, another moment to begin again.

…I guess I’ll begin again. There are verbs involved. ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s that time of year; my Traveling Partner is gearing up for a season of journeys, adventures, trips, visits, away time, festivals, events, shows… he will be going (a lot) and doing (a lot) and it is not my lifestyle choice to be so… busy. ๐Ÿ™‚ Inconveniently enough, our wedding anniversary and my birthday both fall in this same rather busy, utterly over-booked, time period. It could be awkward if I were someone different than I am. lol

Most years we don’t do much about our anniversary. Last year, we spent a remarkable weekend away together on the coast, and it was magical, romantic, and delightful. Attempting to repeat that experience by merely repeating the experience manages to be not at all how that works, and I know better than to force it (experience is a great teacher). Other relationships, other needs, perhaps; I know that in this one, I don’t need an annual moment of recognition to feel loved, valued, or to celebrate the delights in this shared experience… and I cherish those moments most when they occur without being scheduled. Maybe next year? The year after? Some year when we both earnestly need a getaway and time alone with each other, and nothing more will do? This year, we’re both busy with other things, and that’s okay, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

My birthday is weird like that, and different, too. It’s “my day”, by choice. For many years, after I turned 18, I insisted that everyone else also honor my day with me. I like presents, but it wasn’t about that – it was about agency, free will, and being the one to get to call all the damned shots for a change. I fought the powerlessness I felt in life, generally, by being a petty dictator once a ย year. The fact that there would likely be cake, or dessert of some sort, and a great deal of (my idea of) fun doesn’t really change the fact that I was also pretty demanding about things going my way. Once I understood that being a mini-monster once a year doesn’t really “balance the scales” in a life of learned helplessness and frustration, I let all that go. It wasn’t that hard; my birthday is still “my day”… but that’s just me being me, on my own terms, on my day, doing my thing my way and enjoying myself in a life filled with many other such days. It not only doesn’t require a party, it doesn’t require any outside participation. lol ย I enjoy spending time with my Traveling Partner, but it doesn’t have to be on any particular day – including the one I was born on. No idea what I’ll do with my birthday this year… maybe go camping. ๐Ÿ˜€

…I do like presents, though, and find myself hoping my Traveling Partner doesn’t actually forget my birthday, and perhaps brings me something back from somewhere interesting… ๐Ÿ˜€ (Still very human!)

Looking at it another way…

I am taking a moment this morning to appreciate being loved – this person I am, as I actually am, quirks and weirdness and mad moments and all. I’m taking a moment to appreciate this strong partnership that allows me to be me – the me I actually am, without demands that I be otherwise. It’s a nice feeling to wake up with. It’s not a passive thing, there are verbs involved here too, and practices; my own affection for the woman in the mirror is a large part of what gets me here. It’s got to be okay with me to be who I am, before it is at all relevant whether it is okay with anyone else. ๐Ÿ™‚

You may be in a different place in life, or with yourself… that’s okay too; if you want to be somewhere different than you are, you can make that journey. There are verbs involved. You’ll be having your own experience. Your results may vary. It’s okay, though; you can begin again. ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s been awhile since I’ve gone camping. I can’t recall now why that is. I remember what sweet relief being camped out under the stars can be… So… Why has it been, seriously? More than a year? My gear stands packed and ready, and my Traveling Partner will be off on his summer travels soon, and this year leaving the car with me looks like a thing. ๐Ÿ™‚ Convenient for so many reasons! Heading into the trees and reaching distant trailheads, areย surely among those reasons.

It’s been nagging at me since yesterday; June is near at hand. The weather will be lovely for camping, most likely, and summer just beginning. This morning I sit down purposefully and make reservations, securing a favorite tent site. When I get into the office, I’ll request the time off. ๐Ÿ™‚

A favorite spot waits for me.

My “last” camping trip was cut short by my lack of preparedness and the fairly irksome discovery that I had forgotten both my bee sting kit, and any coffee at all, proved to be too much for me. (I’m very human!) I went home feeling vaguely, somewhat playfully, “disgraced”. I can do better, and knowing that I can, and didn’t, continued to bite at my consciousness like a stinging insect for some time after that. I did actually go camping last yearย (that other wasn’t really the most recent trip, at all) though it doesn’t linger in my memory with so much clarity, it too is a recollection tinged with “failure”. I went to a distant trailhead, camped under the stars during a meteor shower, but struggled to enjoy it because it was one of those super popular locations that everyone thinks is their own secret find, and it was over-crowded, swarming with hikers, picnickers, rowdy party folks hollering from camp to camp through the night, and headlights sweeping through the trees all night long, as weary travelers arrived, discovered there was no room, and turned around to drive on. Not really a pleasant trip as much as checking a trail off a list, and doing so rather half-heartedly, once it proved to be – for now – beyond my abilities to get to the summit. I could go there, and try that again, except that the crowds were just not my thing at all. I head to the trees to be alone without all that. lol

I have everything I need to just go camping on a moment’s notice. It came in handy during the recent power outage; I simply lit candles, started a fire in the fire-place, and invited friends over to chill. No panic. Camping generally feels easy like that, too, these days. I quickly get set up, and then quickly shift gears to slow things down, stretch time, and soak in the sounds, scents, and sights of the forest. I spend most of my time hiking, reading, writing, and meditating. I take pictures. I sit quietly. I sit quietly a lot. I could do all these things at home. I do all these things at home. Camping takes them to another level of inner stillness, and turns my attention more fully inward; there are no escapes from self out among the trees.

I’m eager to go. Eager to begin again. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

A new week, a new day, a new moment… this “now” thing, with some practice, becomes firm and reliable. Here it is Monday. The weekend is quite clearly behind me. I woke ahead of the alarm, feeling sufficiently rested, and definitely awake. The morning is leisurely, and gentle on my consciousness. Facebook is a playground of birthdays, kittens, and throwback pictures. I don’t yet bother with the news; reading the news would be a poor way to treat myself on a pleasant morning.

I sip my coffee. Yep. I did make it up the hill yesterday, returning home with coffee. ๐Ÿ™‚ I spent the morning on laundry, tidying up, and looking forward to the planned visit with my Traveling Partner (that was later cancelled, when it was obvious he wasn’t up to the trip over). The rest of the day was restful, calm, and quiet. I meditated. I read. I watched Rick and Morty. I drank coffee. I gardened and planned the week ahead. By Sunday evening, the weekend was firmly fixed as a very pleasant memory – even the power outage of Friday lingers in my memory as a good time (having to replace most of the perishable groceries was a mild inconvenience on Saturday, spent pleasantly in the good company of a similarly inconvenienced friend). The weekend was sufficiently social and connected to meet those needs… and sufficiently solitary to meet those needs… Indeed, the weekend was in all regards quite sufficient, generally.

It was a lovely day for meditation, and chilly enough to light a fire. ๐Ÿ™‚

So… here it is Monday morning. Somewhere out in the community, a future new colleague will get an offer to join my team. Somewhere else, someone will make a choice that changes their life in some important way. Unrelated, elsewhere, someone will give up in frustration, and discover that letting go makes a difference, and that everything will be okay. There are so many human experiences to be had, and we are each having our own. That’s pretty awe-inspiring (for me)… the vastness of our available choices is so broad and varied that we generally reduce it to just two or three things, walled off by “can’t” (really, “won’t”) or “have to” (really, “choose too” or “insist on”). Like going to a diner with a huge accordion-folded menu, and having to order quickly, we narrow things down to simplify our problems, decision-making, and choices… for convenience? For cognitive ease? Because it’s faster? I don’t know. I’ve been trying not to short-change myself in that way, for a while now. I like to “read the whole menu”, and maybe try something new now and then. ๐Ÿ™‚

Today is a good day to live. Today is a good day to take my time with life’s menu, and consider it with great care, and eyes wide with wonder. Today is a good day to walk my own mile with a smile, even though there is no map on this journey… and if there were? The map is not the world. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s time to begin again.