I am always looking for ways to find similarities between life and nature whenever I am out hiking, taking nature photos or just out and about walking my dog.
One thing that I, and other outdoor enthusiasts, can probably agree on is that nature has this glorious way of teaching us about ourselves and life.
The only difference will likely be in perspective and opinion as everyone tends to see different things — and in different places — sometimes where others may not see anything at all…. such is the remarkableness of storytelling! Such is the splendor of our natural world.
When hiking a trail every landscape, for me, seems to have a plethora of lessons. Lessons that may or may not always be immediately noticeable. Sometimes a lesson will catch you off guard right after you just turned a corner or reached a phenomenal trail peak; and at other times it is found in a sunrise or sunset, a wild creature that has just crossed your path, or something as simple as the shape, texture or color of a plant, tree or rock.
The amount of inspiration is, in my opinion, limitless and I would like to share a few of the lessons that I have learned from the natural landscape of the Joshua Tree National Park desert with you on this Wellness Wednesday.
- Life is hard, but regardless of the conditions and situations you may be faced to live with, you can survive them. [It is possible to survive just about anything]
- Even though the conditions and situations may seem desolate, every now and then, (usually when you least expect it), a little bit of hope and possibility will rain down on you and give you just the break that you may need to make it to the end of your trail. [With or without hope… with a little patience good things will happen]
- The rain is necessary! That is…if you want to be able to truly enjoy the full range of the beauty of the desert. [Balance is the key to joy and well-being]
- Sometimes it will be the trail that you least expected to inspire you that you end up gaining the most from – so try not to pre-judge or worry about the trail that you are on. [Life is always full of surprises – if you’re open to receiving them]
- Although the flora and fauna residing within the desert may seem strong, (because they have had to endure so much harsh weather), they are actually some of the most delicate, beautiful and treasured items and should be respected and handled with great care. [Strength can be found in many places and expressed in a variety of ways – not in just the most obvious things]
- Every trip through the desert should be carefully thought out. [Acknowledge what you must face and face it best by preparing for the unexpected – because there is a good chance of something happening that will be unexpected- safety first…always and in all things.]
- Stunning and amazing thing will spring up from the most unexpected spaces. [Life is full of surprises…Always be prepared for a plot twist]
- You may have to carry heavy loads through rocky terrain and challenging elevations until you reach the top of the mountain or complete that strenuous trail; but every step you take is one step closer to removing the weight from your back and delighting in pure refreshment. [Allow yourself to be transformed by things that you may find difficult to manage because there will be a reward of some kind waiting for you at the end.]
- You can journey through the desert trails alone and make it through, but that journey is often more interesting and special with a friend by your side to share it with. [Sometimes a little support can help ease your journey and make the time go by a lot faster.]
- Just when you thing that you have had enough of the desert, something special will happen to change your mind and you will realize that your pilgrimage through the vast unknown was a gift from above; that is when you will feel as though there is no place that you would rather be. [Accepting all facets of life allows you to remain open to continually finding gratitude and joy!]
Thank you for reading.
Until the next post…
Take care + be well.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
– Melody Beattie
As the month of November comes to an end I begin to sense the spirit of gratitude slowly fade away. The “month of gratitude” may be over, but I do not plan to stop practicing gratitude thereafter. My gratitude practice is a lifestyle. A lifestyle that makes every day of my life a magical and wonderful journey of discovery and appreciation. Even in the midst of grief and profound loss.
Until the next post.
Take care + be well,
“This year will be better than last year.
This month will be better than last month.
Today will be better than yesterday.
Look for the signs.
Keep the faith and just keep showing up.”
– Carol C.M.
Until the next post.
Take care + be well,
When I stepped outside and onto my front porch this morning a cool breeze brushed against my face. I also felt a bit of warmth from the fall sun; and both sensations were very soothing. I turned around to close my front door and while doing so I could hear a group of leaves bustling down the street behind me.
Naturally, I didn’t have to turn around to know that they were leaves that had recently fell from the neighborhood trees. In my mind I called upon past memories of the season and I thought to myself, “this only happens once a year.” This was fall in full effect and as I turned around to face the street, all of the leaves began to then scatter to different areas of the street and into yards like little colorful children laughing and playing a game of tag.
It’s always the little things that capture my attention, and where I find some of the most intriguing things to be grateful for. Practicing gratitude allows me to readjust my focus so that I am always able to find “something” good in everything. Even those things that I normally would not find pleasing – like cold weather months, for example.
When fall arrives I know that I will now have to try to plan my outdoor walks and hiking trips a bit more carefully for the next few months, if at all, and this alone contributes to my “blues” along with grieving and missing the sunshine. However, the cooler months also bring with them the opportunity to sit or lay by a fireplace fire, and if I keep looking on the bright side and maintain an open mind, I will also be able to appreciate the fact that I can still perform other exercises and activities indoors. Optimism is a beautiful thing. I guess that is why we as a society celebrate it.
A big part of conquering the “blues” involves maintaining a positive outlook once the weather changes. Yet, as I have discovered, this isn’t always easy to do especially if the shift to cooler weather and shorter daylight hours are affecting you while you are grieving. There are a few things that anyone can do to help make this time of year more pleasant and more manageable and I have listed fifteen tips below that I have personally tried and that seem to be helpful.
- Practice gratitude – Find something in every day, no matter how big or small, to be grateful for. Begin by noticing something good about the changes that come with both the fall and winter seasons.
- Get a pet. Pets can help keep you stay healthy by encouraging you to stay active. It may also help to care for something else other than yourself.
- Open your curtains or blinds as often as possible to allow the sun to shine in and keep your mood positive.
- Exercise or find another way to keep you body active for a few minutes a day.
- Take up a new hobby or start a fall or winter craft. This can be especially helpful in easing any grief. Try creating something in honor of the person who has passed away or create something that sparks your interest. Either way, creative expression is good for managing feelings and emotions.
- Find an exercise buddy to keep things exciting and for accountability.
- Eat healthy and don’t feel bad about treating yourself to a favorite treat once in a while…think balance.
- Volunteer or donate to a cause that you care about, or that your loved one cared about. When we help others it can give us insight and remind us that things aren’t as bad as they may seem.
- Join a club such as a grief group, book club or hiking club, or any club that sparks your interest. This is a great way to maintain social contacts and prevent feelings of isolation.
- Create fall or winter rituals such as decorating for the holidays, cooking holiday meals, baking desserts, (especially those that your lost loved one enjoyed), or burn candles and make a fire in the fireplace. These things can help you enjoy the “warmth” of the season.
- Avoid negativity – Surround yourself with positive people and positive environments. Negativity can be stressful and may trigger unfavorable emotions and memories.
- Look forward – Create something special to look forward to in the coming year such as a memorial event, or a solo or family trip or vacation.
- Stay social – Spend time with family and friends, share family memories and create new ones, or simply get together with friends to watch a movie or have brunch or dinner out at a restaurant.
- Play music – Listen to your favorite music regularly in your home or car to give your mind a break. You may also enjoy playing a little holiday music during the holidays to add a little cheeriness to the gloomier seasons.
- Create a morning and evening ritual – such as practicing meditation, yoga, prayer or journaling as these practices can help with maintaining a positive outlook.
Thankfully, seasons change, and “the blues” will too, but until the seasons actually do change and bring back the longer, brighter days with the trees and other foliage beginning to show hints of a less monochromatic world we have just a few months in which we can savor the beauty that fall and winter bestows us. Let’s enjoy it together. Shall we? Happy October!
Until the next post.
Take Care + Be Well,