Archives for posts with tag: into the trees

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. 🙂 Convenient for so many reasons! Heading into the trees and reaching distant trailheads, are 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. 🙂

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 year (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. 🙂

 

It can be pretty daunting to work day after day after day after day attempting to reach a goal – harder still if I have adopted that goal from a suggestion, or had it dictated to me. When I miss the mark somewhere, or fall short of expectations – whether they are my own, or the expectations of another – it frustrates me, challenges my thinking, sets me at odds with myself (and sometimes with others) – all in service to an unavoidable prerequisite for achieving a goal; I’m not there yet.

There is plenty of encouraging literature in the self-help aisle, and more than a few apropos aphorisms reminding me that ‘to err is human’ and that ‘practice makes perfect’ (reminder: it doesn’t, at all), and book after book coaching on the  matter of progress over time, learning curves, and playing to ones strengths. When I make a mistake, I often find I am not open to encouragement, not willing to accept information intended to support self-compassion, patience, and growth – incremental change over time feels amazing, but is often received by others less well – with impatience and negative reinforcement. That generally sucks, and feels quite alienating. Human primates want they want, and living in this ‘right now’ moment the way we do, and suffering from such limited perspective (our own), it can be so easy to lose sight of how different we can each be in some moment, how varied our challenges are, and our own individual frustration with that other person takes on a life of its own – weapons of mass distraction are launched, sometimes with regret after the fact. Our impatience to have our own needs met overrides our recognition that this other human being does not live for our benefit.

I find myself struggling to ‘get it right’ – losing sight of how vast the options to do so actually are, and that I, myself, define my success or failure. Sometimes, things that are just fine, and acceptably adequate in all regards don’t feel like enough. I set the bar pretty high for myself – sometimes at the expense of my contentment, and well-being, and sometimes without realizing I have done so. I continue to work on practicing the practices that best support my needs over time. If I find I have discontinued something of great value, I begin again. I continue to support and nurture my best impulses, my most positive values, and to care greatly for this fragile vessel, and the being of light within it… sometimes I fail myself. It hurts, like any failure. I make the effort, every time, at some point, to simply give myself a break and begin again.

The thing is…there are goals, of course, but if they become expectations over time, the tendency to berate myself or treat myself poorly in the face of ‘not getting it right’ can be pretty significant – and I so don’t need that from me! The solution sometimes seems to be ‘then I just won’t bother’…like a child, fighting the process, because the process isn’t easy. Silliness, I know.  Growth takes time, and there are verbs involved. Practice may not make perfect, but it certainly crafts change – for me the fine line is what the change is about, and is it something I actually want for myself, or is it being imposed on me from an external source? That matters – I am on a journey to become the woman I most want to be, and I’m sharing my journey with my very best bestie, the woman in the mirror. Changes or goals imposed on me by my own will and intent, with mindful purpose, and good-natured recognition of what I want from myself in life aren’t ‘easy’ to achieve – sometimes they are damned difficult – but getting there is rewarding, and the journey itself is valued, however difficult. Giving up is generally not something I am seeking, or allowing myself. When change is imposed on me by external sources, or a goal is set by another person’s needs and agenda, getting there lacks any sense of reward, the journey is often a continuous source of stress and frustration, and my resentment is… a lot to drag around with me.

This probably seems pretty obvious – I’m talking it through this morning because I find that I am sometimes challenged by the intensity of my frustration when I fail at some task, goal, or have difficulty implementing some change that I neither desire, nor care about. What’s up with that? If it’s not my own, and I am not invested in it, why would I be the slightest bit troubled if or when I don’t succeed at it? How would that be any measure of my own success? How would it affect me in any negative way? That’s some baggage right there – and I’d do well to drop it off at the carousel and let it go.

We've all got some baggage.

We’ve all got some baggage.

I slept badly last night. I struggled to fall asleep, and it was well past midnight before I did. My sleep was interrupted a number of times; my apartment seemed unusually noisy, with an assortment of rather random bangs, bumps, creaks, thuds, and crackles that got me out of bed, flipping on lights, checking things out – at no time was there anything unusual to see. Sleep did not find me easily. I woke long before the alarm, with no particular hope of returning to sleep; I woke feeling frustrated, and vaguely as if I was failing to get something right. (In this case, probably sleep – I definitely wasn’t getting that right!) Once I was up, it was a rather anti-climactic ‘nothing to see here…’ sort of moment. I am awake, and woke easily, without any of the obvious grogginess that has plagued me for some days, now. I am finding new appreciation for a few moments (hours) of grogginess after a night of deep restful sleep… I probably won’t be bitching ungratefully about that any more; I value the sleep.

I am not tired so much as excited, perhaps; I have a long weekend, and I’m headed into the trees. My traveling partner is traveling, too, and taking the wanderer, and another partner, along with him for a weekend of forested fun elsewhere; they are headed to vast crowds, loud music, and communal fun. I am seeking a solo experience, and stillness, where it will be easier to listen deeply to myself; the world has nothing to say to me about what I want from my life.  I already miss my traveling partner…but I recognize that as with any other intimate connected relationship, I benefit from distance now and then; without it, I am prone to accepting the goals, needs, and desired changes of that other as my own – to my detriment. I’m not always super clear-headed about these things, and alone out in the trees, walking in stillness, listening to my own heart, I am more easily able to get my bearings, and set my own course on this journey. It’s a necessary sort of re-calibration, for me, that I am not so easily able to do at home, even now.

Did I mention I’ll be headed into the trees? You’ll likely be without me a day or two. I’ll come back with pictures. 🙂

This morning is as if it is an entirely different day… oh. Wait…it is. 🙂 It tends to work that way, generally speaking.

Yesterday was challenging, but the evening was lovely and my traveling partner and I hung out, played a favorite game (Carcassone), and conversed. It was connected and fun and gentle on our hearts. I found it a lovely way to prepare for my departure into the trees today. I woke with a smile – way ahead of the alarm, and excited like a little kid. This morning it’s espresso over ice, with a splash of lemonade, as I find myself catching odd ‘nice to have’ items that I had overlooked (pony tail bands…quarters in case I need to contact someone at home…oh hell, phone numbers!…), although I could walk out now with the gear as packed and be ready to go, and have a great time.

My partner observed that I had not either patched my old tent from last time (a young owl landed on it while I sipped my coffee, very early, and when he took flight, he left behind a small tear in the top of the rain fly) nor had I replaced it. I laughed about this tent being 30 years old and only costing $30 (I sure never expected it to last this long!)…which is nearly true. I bought it in 1996 to attend my first Renaissance Fair, so only 18 years old. Still – damned old for a $30 tent. It was 8:30 pm when my partner suggested I just go ahead and replace the tent. By nine I was back from our neighborhood gear shop with an excellent replacement – and instead of heading to the trees in an 18-year-old, worn, torn, one-season tent, I’ll be heading out with a brand new, good quality, 3-season tent that will be far more comfortable. Call me excited, I can barely make myself go to work! lol

So, I sip my iced coffee, go over my gear – before I head out after work, I’ll check the tent carefully to ensure I have all I need, and that I understand the set up. Being compassionate with myself about my TBI means I take extra steps to ensure I understand how gear works in advance. Relying on smarts and experience to push me through new set ups is a poor choice; I can do it, but my stress level regarding the emotion of frustration, specifically, isn’t something I want to put myself through if I can make better choices.

Being compassionate with myself – and my  partners – also means I give myself time, and room, and permission, to let go of what hurts, trust that I am loved and able to love in return, and accepting that the limitations I do have can be enormously frustrating for people who love me, and that’s entirely understandable. We’re all doing our best around here, and although sometimes it doesn’t feel ‘good enough’, it really always is.

So. Here I go. A more pleasant launch point for a weekend of stillness in the forest. See you in a few days!

The storm clouds of the moment are so quickly swept away in some moment that follows. I am still learning to make room for change, and to trust love.

The storm clouds of the moment are so quickly swept away in some moment that follows. I am still learning to make room for change, and to trust love.

Today is a good day for adventure. Today is a good day to trust my heart. Today is a good day to enjoy smiles, laughter, and hugs good-bye. Today is a good day to take a step back from the troubles of the world, and from the chaos and damage within. Today is a good day to change.