The Wind

“Over the course of a day’s hike or in a sudden wonderstruck moment, many of us have felt the edges of our selves dissolve into the wild that surrounds us. We become unconsciously “of” our environments. Shedding the insular, constraining cages of our everyday hyperrationality—the mental chatter, the rigid expectations, and inevitable tension and failures that accompany them—identities and desires evaporate into the senses. For a time, we become raw awareness.” Source

Last weekend: Stumbled on a new place to hike, and a new summer kayaking destination.

This weekend: Challenging walk on iced trails. Hint - went off trail a lot!
Over the course of the past few weeks, I have been making a conscious effort to take more walks outside. One day, I came home from work and didn’t even change clothes. I just put warmer outerwear over my work clothes, changed my shoes and went. Our neighborhood isn’t a metropolitan city, it is a neighborhood with plenty of opportunities to connect with nature. Ya…

Escape the Anthill

A few years ago, my husband and I were sitting by the front window before leaving for work. As we watched neighborhood cars leave their garages and drive down the street, he commented that it was like ants heading towards an anthill. Wouldn’t it be nice to escape the anthill he said?

Since that time, we have kept a journal of ways to escape that anthill. The anthill for us is a metaphor of people blindly following each other and marching to the beat of the hill instead of themselves. The anthill could be your job, but can also be capitalism, social media, not being true to yourself, trends, advertisements, keeping up with the Jones’s, etc.

Ironically this summer, I was reading an Agatha Christie mystery book titled The Third Girl. I couldn’t believe it when I read the following:

This was written in 1966, long before any simple life movement. However, it was the era of Hippies here in the US. People eschewing suburban life and living in communes. So maybe the idea of simple living is…

New Isn't Always Better

All the appliances in our house are older. Our dishwasher is original to the house - 32 years (knock on wood it keeps going!) Our stove, bought used is about 20 years old. While we definitely talk about replacing them, we also talk about the times we replaced other things with something new and were unhappy we did so.

The washer and dryer - a good sale. We had done some research, but apparently not enough. They do not perform the way we want - smaller items like washcloths don’t dry all the way in the dryer even though the rest of the towels do. The front loader washer hits the cabinet and therefore doesn’t open all the way. It is hard to get clothes in and out. Also, the plastic housing has cracked just from general use.

The refrigerator seems to work ok, but the seal around the door cracked after only a few years. Fortunately, it still seals the door. The material used to make the handles has turned yellow and doesn’t clean back to white. That 20 year old stove has an oven that does…

Time Challenged

It’s Saturday morning, and the only things on my list for the weekend are two loads of laundry and grocery shopping. Yet I lay in bed looking at the clock calculating what time I should get up.

I am time challenged. I pay way too much attention to time, which causes stress. No matter what I am doing, I am focused on time, tensing up. I count time all the time. Time is never an expansive vastness in front of me to enjoy.

It’s the ready, set, go mentality of getting as much done as possible. Watch the clock in the car, how long did that stoplight take. Ok, it’s 7am, open email. Glance at the clock, good that only took me 15 minutes. Next, walk out of my office and talk to my co-worker, come back in. Oh, that took 20 minutes. Start a project, look up the clock, glance at the time on my computer, calculate how many minutes until my meeting.

This isn’t only regulated to work either. Watch the clock in the car as I drive home, mentally figure out my commute time. Walk in the door, ok, I …

A Stress Free Life

I recently read a FB post my sister in law shared that said we have to stop thinking there is a stress-free life out there waiting for us. 
My thoughts about this went in a few different directions.

Should we just accept that life is stressful? Should we stop wishing for the impossible? Should we stop pining for something different? Should we manage our stress better? Should we look at stress as something good?

This spring, I spent time evaluating my day to day stress and how I could reduce it, or deal with it better. It turned out, that almost all my stress was self-induced. I was either multitasking, rushing, or trying to do too much. Granted, there were many pressures on me, but there were also ways I could change my response.

How I dealt with and approached the many things I needed to do was causing me stress. As I learned to work on only one task at a time, I was less stressed and able to do more. As I quit rushing, or mentally counting down the minutes, I was less stressed. As …

The Gift of Time

In September, I had a week where I was on call for work (a new phenomenon for me) and had to stick close to home so that I would be able to make phone calls if needed. At first I felt this was a huge infringement on my time. Seriously, I had to always be within 15 minutes of home or work. Granted, I could make a phone call or two from my cell phone, but the amount of information I needed to record and disseminate was difficult to do if I was out and about. At first this felt like dark clouds hanging over my head.

My husband went to the store with me in case I had to leave mid-trip. (I never like leaving a cart of groceries abandoned in the store!) I limited how many trips I took to the store. My bike rides were 15 minutes out and back. We didn’t go hiking or do any other activities on the weekend. 
As the week progressed, I found an unexpected and surprising benefit to this situation - the gift of time. 
When I wasn’t running around doing errands, I had time. When I wasn’t thinking a…

Choose Not to Choose

Many of the pictures I take are of “paths”. You know, those trails through the woods. Often times, the path involves a decision - do I go this way or that? Sometimes I already know which way to go, and other times I don’t. Either way, I’m not too concerned and rarely worry about getting lost. I can always backtrack and take the other way.

Life isn’t as easy. We are faced with many choices on our journey, and these choices aren’t always easy. Also, we humans seem to make them more difficult.

Our town now has three grocery stores. When we moved here, there was only one. Then two. Now three. The first has only a few kinds of yogurt. The second has all the ones I like. The third has all the ones I like plus a whole lot more of many other types of products like a huge health and beauty department, clothing, sporting goods etc.

Except in an emergency, I drive right past the first one. I really like the second one. The third one stresses me out because it is too big. However, I digress.

If w…