Strong Silence

Lumsden Campground

[just inside Yosemite Nat’l Forest]


I bathed in the river this morning, the cold, rushing water my baptism. Skin, soles, and spirit refreshed, I feel energized and washed clean of all they held from yesterday’s sleep.

Now as I drink my morning brew, I listen to the roar of this river's mighty flow. It is far from silence, which I crave after being in the city for weeks on end. This sound bath is a different kind…vibrating continuously and stirring up every single cell in my body.

We’ve become weekend warriors, my beloved and I. He battles diligently in the office all week until that god sent golden Friday finally arrives, when we already have one foot out the door. Our truck stays mostly packed with overnight essentials (clean underwear, Mexican ponchos, toilet paper, sunflower seeds, a jug of fresh water, jackets, good maps, and headlamps), and we transform from urban foot soldiers carrying the dreams and burdens of corporate America into wild warriors of the frontier, searching for solitude, adventure, and solace.

The coffee is strong, the sun is brilliant, and my soul is never as happy as it is on these silent mountain mornings.


5 Suggestions for Healthful Holidays

The holidays don't "stress me out" anymore. Do they stress you out? I've created a certain amount of stability in my life by integrating yoga, movement, and compassion into my daily practices, which helps me reduce my reactivity and maintain a sense of groundedness. I don't freak out about hosting extravagant dinners, setting busy social agendas, overindulging in decadent treats or binge-purchasing gifts for everyone in my network. I actually don't do most of those things anymore, but if I do, I certainly try to enjoy my experience!

What DOES stress me out is seeing other people get super stressed out by the holidays—a time when really, we should all try to slow down and enjoy all these beautiful facets. I've compiled five simple suggestions for you to consider as you approach this holiday season. May these ideas keep you happy, healthful and less stressed this year.

1) Plan your work, work your plan—set an intention for your fitness/wellness that seems reasonable through the holidays, and do your best to stick to it. Plan out a few fitness classes in advance. Instead of taking on new goals like marathon training or new studio memberships, keep things simple and make time to move your body every day.

2) Have compassion WHEN things change—being active means that its a part of your life. Life changes ALL the time, so workouts and schedules are likely to change too! Don't be too attached (or hard on yourself) if you miss a training day or plans change. It's all good, and you might need the rest anyway!

3) Curiosity feeds consistency—take advantage of holiday travels, and time off to get curious! Visiting family in a new city? Explore the neighborhood by taking a long walk together. Open your eyes and notice more things. Have a full agenda of evening parties? Try planning early morning workouts or practices if you normally fit them in after work. 

4) Leave a little space— this applies to your plate of food, your social agenda, the bags you pack for travel and especially the 24 hours you have of each day. Leave a little space empty, unfilled, unplanned, clear and open. You can always fill it up with (insert _____ food, clothes, parties, coffee dates, glasses of wine, every hour of every day) but this leaves room for spontaneity, for clearing your head, and for actually slowing down enough to be p-r-e-s-e-n-t. 

5) Get outside! Run, hike, bike, walk, play frisbee, skip down the street, go window shopping even if its a blizzard, shovel snow, climb rocks, lay beneath trees, practice yoga on your patio. Try to spend 30 minutes outside everyday—your body AND your holiday spirit will thank you.