Archives for category: solo hiking

I don’t honestly feel at all like sleeping on the ground, or dealing with overnight chill, or having to use vault toilets or a hole in the ground… or… any of the things that go along with camping, really. Not this weekend. I do, however, very much feel like hiking a few miles alone with my thoughts. 🙂 It’s nice having the car. It’s nicer that it is my own, and of the sort far more appropriate to trail heads and rougher roads than the luxury sedan I’d been driving. (None of that diminishes my gratitude for having the use of my partner’s car for a year; I needed it, he was right.) The weekend is my own, and I’ll go where I please, travel the roads I like, and find the miles that suit me most to wander.

I sip my coffee and consider my rather lengthy list of hikes I’d like to take. I decide I’d rather not drive more than an hour this morning, having slept a bit later than I expected to, and also wanting to go to the Farmer’s Market this morning. My smile becomes a grin contemplating the luxury of being able, if I chose, to also just get in the car and drive down to my Traveling Partner’s location, and visit him there. Any time. There is nothing to stop me doing so, and no one to whom I must answer. That feels amazing. I sit with the feeling and the awareness awhile longer; I haven’t always truly had the freedom to be accountable primarily to myself, only, and it’s an intoxicating level of adult freedom.

This is a weekend of choices. One of those is that I chose to invest in my longer-term emotional and physical wellness by making this particular weekend mostly about self-care, also. Yesterday was spent advocating for important social issues as a citizen, and getting ample rest as a human being. Today? Today I want to get out into the trees, put some miles behind me, take some pictures, find some solitude and relief from the din and background noise of the world. Tomorrow, too. Even Monday (after my first Qigong class, fairly early in the morning). Something about the car I’d been driving was keeping me from hiking in some subtle way. (I think perhaps my reluctance to leave a largish luxury car parked at a trailhead and at risk of break-ins, when it wasn’t even my own car, was a bit of baggage I didn’t manage well.) The Mazda fairly begs to be left-along-the-side-of-the-road-back-soon-I-promise at every trail head I spot on every drive I take. lol I literally want to just park it, however abruptly, hop out and walk down each unexpected mystery trail just to see where they lead. 😀 This bodes well for future fitness, and I’m not inclined to fight it – I just want to get out there, and explore the world on foot, with a significant lack of human companionship.

New beginnings aren’t just an assortment of lovely sunrises, or yet another work shift, or one more morning waking from one more night of sleep; there are opportunities here for growth, change, and transcendence. These are chances to work through past pain, to set down more baggage and walk on – both metaphorically, and for real. What was yesterday about? Can I do better today? What choices does that take? How does this particular morning hold the potential to see me become more the person I most want to be at the end of this particular day? It’s a process filled with verbs, and my results vary. Still, I get as many chances to begin again as there are sunrises – or moments. There are choices involved.

I’m ready. It’s time to grab a map. 🙂

We all deal with occasional emotional “stormy weather”. I wish I could really help. I’d hand you an umbrella, or some wet weather gear, if it were, you know, properly weather. Instead, all I can really do is take time to listen. Give you a hug. Hand you a tissue. Frustratedly attempt to assure you it will pass.

…You won’t be letting it go until you’re ready.

Your perspective on the situation is your own, and you may not be ready to own any piece of your circumstances, or recognize any amount of personal accountability – and right now you’re hurting. I see it. My frustration sources with your choices, and your unreadiness to look yourself in the face and understand which of your choices may have contributed (or be contributing) to the situation quite directly. It’s hard to watch. I could tell you that some of this is made up nonsense in your own head, or that some of it actually just doesn’t “matter”, in fact, at all.

…You won’t be believing or accepting anything you aren’t ready for – how could you?

Your suffering is quite real. I wish I could help in a real way. I lack the tools. I’d offer you perspective, a quite moment over a cup of tea, perhaps some words over coffee and a moment to gather your thoughts… but the verbs are all yours, in the moment you choose to bring action to your experience and really do something about… whatever is going on.

I’ve found far too often that my own assumptions, expectations, and attachments, were precisely the thing causing me so much suffering, rather than the circumstances themselves. My very human insistence on attributing a “because” to some action taken by another, or words I’ve read or heard, and making it all exceedingly personal (whether it had any legitimate potential to be so, or not), often causes me much more pain than anything anyone actually did, regardless of their intention. Seriously. We make so much shit up in our heads. Yes, you too.

Then, “the hormone thing”. Yeah. Fucking hell. I get it. It’s hard. Hardest still is seeing how much choice there still is. We get used to “can’t help it” and we get so used to making excuses, apologies, and accepting sympathy, that we entirely overlook our opportunities to behave differently in the face of our hormonal challenges – and most of us could realistically do a lot better. No, I’m not going to take a step back from that, and I’ll point out the choice to do better is available both to those with the hormone challenges, and those who love those who have them. Then, how hard is it, sometimes, to even acknowledge “the hormone thing” at all, in some moment when we feel so righteous about our pain or anger? Everyone can win when we all simply treat each other well. No kidding. It’s about behavior, not emotions. Verbs. Choices.

Do better. You can. No kidding. However stressed and freaked out you are right now, you can choose so much of your experience – including how you deal with it. I need reminders too, sometimes. I’ll finish this, and drop the link in an email to myself with some alarming subject line like “I JUST CAN’T DO THIS ANYMORE!” all in caps, and tag it and archive it without thinking twice about it, and some future day when maybe I find myself lost in the deep end of emotional bullshit, I’ll go searching for emotional wounds to pick at from my email archives… and instead, find the link to this reminder that I have choices – and that I can do better. 🙂

A lot of the shit we allow to upset us most is of little real consequence. Let it go. Take a breath. Take another one. A proper deep breath. Let it out slowly. Have a cup of tea and just stop for a minute. Maybe take 10 minutes to meditate, or have a calming shower. Go for a walk and sift through your thoughts without judgment. Give yourself quiet time to process things. Get some perspective. Deal with your emotions without taking them personally. Take care of yourself – if you haven’t eaten, have some calories. Drink some water. It will pass.

Feasting on our anger or heartache by ceaselessly venting, again and again, about the same shit, tends to grow it larger in the garden of our hearts. Seriously. We become what we practice. Practice anger, you get good at being angry. Practice tears and tantrums, you get really good at crying and raging. Practice losing your shit and becoming hysterical and wrapped up in yourself, and, no kidding, you get good at that.  Maybe practice letting go of your attachment to your own bullshit, instead? Or practice building calm and emotional resilience? How about practicing contentment? You could even practice communicating your emotions without screaming them at people… I’m just saying, behavior is something we can change through choices and practices. It’s not about emotions, at all. Go right ahead and feel all of the things you are feeling. How are you behaving? It matters. 😉

You’ll most likely be okay, you know? How about right now? Are you okay right now? Start there. Begin again. ❤

It feels good to be getting more miles on my feet, as I get used to commuting on public transit again. Well… I mean to say is that I feel the benefit of it, as the miles creep past ever so slowly, on feet that hurt, an ankle that chronically and fiercely aches, cane in hand, taking my time with it, making sure to breathe, and regularly reminding myself to correct my posture to a more fully upright gait. lol It’s complicated. I hurt. I do love walking though… I’ve missed it. The slow moment to collect my thoughts. The occasional lovely flower tucked here or there along the way. The scents of flowers and trees and the feeling of the breezes on my skin. All lovely. Hell, I don’t even mind when the rain comes, and I find myself walking in it. I’m okay with that. I’ve got a rain poncho tucked in my day pack. I’m ready.

Ready feels good.

Each day another journey.

Each day the walk to the bus stop feels easier. I am encouraged by that. I’m a tad irked with myself for letting my fitness, generally, fall behind a bit. Having a car made that way too easy, and living a life largely free of day-to-day OPD (Other People’s Drama), I failed to discover soon enough that often what pushed me out into the world to “walk it off” was indeed the need to escape drama or bullshit (my own or someone else’s turned out to be irrelevant). No drama or bullshit? No need to escape. A busy life, and the joy of so easily being able to hop in the car and “go farther” with such ease quickly resulted in driving more than walking, and walking turns out to be very much a “use it or lose it” sort of skill. Well… I’m back on my feet. lol

My feet hurt. I feel very mortal. lol

There are certain to be shitty mornings when I just can’t even. I haven’t sorted out what that looks like from this address, yet. The closest bus stop is about 200 ft away, but on a line that doesn’t begin running buses until much later in the morning that I generally leave for work. So, okay, maybe that means on a rough morning I start my work day later? That seems do-able. I smile and move on from that. It’s not a question that needs an answer this morning.

I sip my coffee and pull myself more fully upright again, noticing that the pain in my back (that I’ve had since yesterday) most definitely does not respond well to bad posture. It’s still fairly intense, sometimes taking my breath away if I forget about it in one moment, only to be reminded of it in the next when I move, or breathe, or… anything. Fucking hell. Aging sucks. What on earth did I do to get this result?? Rather oddly, I noticed on the bus ride last night, it seems to be associated with which direction my head is turned, and I found myself wondering if maybe I sat looking out the window to the right on the bus ride Saturday for too many hours…? I commit to trying to get a seat on the left side of the bus today to encourage left-side-looking… maybe I’ll find some relief.

I glance at the clock. New beginnings come a bit earlier on the bus. lol It’s already time to lace up these boots and begin again. Doesn’t much matter what’s aggravating me in this brief passing moment – I can walk it off. 😉

I woke during the night with an unsteady tummy. I took steps to be prepared for being sick if things were to turn for the worse; I left the light on in the hall bathroom and a hair tie on the counter. It’s not the closest bathroom of the two in this place, but it is bigger, and more suited somehow to being ill. It’s near enough. Easy to get to, too. So. I was prepared, and I went to back sleep.

I woke sometime shortly past day break. 6:30-ish. I slept in. 😀 Well… that’s my idea of sleeping in. I’m usually up by 4:30 am. I woke to a tidy home, a clean kitchen, and a smile on my face. Nice. There are a few things to do today, to face the short work week ready to travel: some tidying up, laundry, vacuuming, empty the dishwasher of clean dishes… basic household care. It’s a good day for it. I feel rested. The gray featureless sky doesn’t tempt me to the trail – or to the studio. I have brunch plans, and a partially read book. Brunch and housework sounds like a fine when to spend the day, and winding things down with a quiet evening reading sounds lovely, too.

As I sip my coffee, first one brunch friend, then another, lets me know they can’t make it today. I hear from my Traveling Partner as we cross paths in the digital world, as I wake up, and he winds down from a long night. By the time I finish my coffee, brunch “with…” has become “brunch solo?”. I barely register any disappointment – and perhaps this sets me apart from some sorts of people; I genuinely value and enjoy time spent with myself (particularly now that I’ve learned to treat myself well, generally).

I pause for a moment to consider, seemingly rather randomly, that “genuinely” and “generally” positioned so close to each other in a sentence seem a tad repetitive, even though they are totally different words. Then I find cause to be irked with the frequency of -ly endings. I notice my coffee is finished. I feel irked by that and slightly irritable. I take a deep breath, relax, and allow myself to recognize that I am, actually, a bit disappointed about brunch falling through. Acknowledging the feeling, however fleeting, prevents it from becoming festering discontent. The moment needed nothing more than awareness, respect, and acknowledgement, and the feeling dissipates. Emotions are funny that way. Fight them, they fight back. Embrace them, feed them, they deepen, and sometimes take over. Resist them completely, they flare up in the background, influencing our experience of other circumstances in sometimes subtle ways, and altering our understanding of other moments. Acknowledge them with awareness, respecting the experience without fueling the fire, and they become a sign post on a journey, a reminder, and a moment observed; that tends to be what I’m going for these days.

I find myself still a bit irritable, and not finding anything in my immediate environment or experience to explain that, I pause my writing and do a quick “self inventory”. I take a moment to simply breathe and feel my feelings, both those of my physical experience (sensations) and those of my cognitive experience (emotions). Emotionally, I feel pretty at ease, and content. Physically, I find myself having to take note of a substantial amount of fairly ordinary arthritis pain in my thoracic spine. Well shit. Okay. That’d be enough to feel sort of grumpy and out of sorts “for no reason” – only, there’s clearly quite an obvious reason to it, once I am aware of it. Awareness is such an amazing tool! I continue checking in with myself, and notice that in spite of the arthritis pain, no headache. Hey, that’s pretty nice. Uncommon these days. I enjoy that experience, and allow myself to sit with the awareness of “no headache” awhile, while I decide on the morning, and what to do about the pain.

I think over the day ahead. I’ve got what I need, generally speaking. Maybe a bite of brunch and a stop for art supplies somewhere? I head to a search tab to look up my options…

It’s a great day to begin again. 😀

It seems ages since the season last turned… Fall to Winter it was. An eternity it go, it seems now. I smile and sip my coffee, cold brew out of a can. My sleep was restless after foolishly sipping on a 3rd rather overly caffeinated coffee late into the afternoon yesterday. Mindlessness comes at a cost, every time. I woke with effort, groggily pulling myself from dreams that seemed more engaging than life.

For now, the day gets off to an early rather ordinary beginning for a Tuesday on a work day. Later I’ll come home, and there will be sufficient daylight for a bit of gardening, and maybe grilling something pleasant for dinner. It’s a short week, so either tonight or tomorrow will be mostly spent on housework, and getting shit together for the long weekend in the country. I smile, thinking ahead to the weekend.

A late autumn perspective. What will Spring reveal?

I open another can of coffee with a smile. Why does icy cold canned cold brew coffee taste like summertime?

Spring, already? I have plans. My intention is to camp a lot more this year. Hike a lot more. Disconnect a lot more. Having a place to go in the countryside, and the opportunity to enjoy the company of my Traveling Partner more along the way, just makes all of that seem so easy. 🙂

I’d been in the practice of hiking literally every weekend for quite a long while, then, moving into my own place sort of threw off my cadence a bit; there were other things to do, and all of them fell to me, daily. Adulting is busy work. No, I mean, seriously – it’s busywork. lol I ended up spending more time on other sorts of self-care entirely. Moving away from the park, last July, definitely changed the frequency of my hiking. First, the move itself, then… oh, right, my Traveling Partner moved down south, and I gained a car – and a commute that requires one. Then being sick, and the holidays, and more being sick, and then… What the hell? Why was that enough to stop me from hiking every weekend? Oh. Right. I spend of lot of those weekends driving down and back. LOL

Still – lots of great hikes down that way, and all of them are hikes I think I want to do. Time to research, plan, look over maps, and make it part of my experience when I’m down there. Spring is here. 🙂

Where will the journey take me?

Time to begin again.