Time Traveling in Texas

I drove across Texas today. I was on a small two lane freeway in the hill country noticing the beautiful Live Oaks and the creamy white Limestone buildings. Big huge American and Texas flags fly over businesses and homes. My windows were open to the warm sultry air and ….BAM….suddenly I was 19 years old again living in Austin Texas…and the slide show of memories began:

Stretching pizza dough at work, hanging out by the pool, being young and happy, driving down long country roads, hanging out on 6th street just for the free happy hour buffet, watching bats fly out from under the Congress Avenue Bridge, taking sign language classes at the Texas School for the Deaf, going to the Oasis to watch the sun set, working at the library at the University of Texas, going to Barton Springs when it got REALLY hot, that one time it snowed and we stood outside staring up in amazement, meeting a guy who really made me laugh.

So many really good memories. It’s funny though I know not all of it was good. There was bad relationship stuff in there and lots and lots of stupid choices. But those things seem to just fade in the light of all the good things that happened here. It’s kind of nice when you get to look back and you can give yourself grace.

I wasn’t here all that long but it was totally worth it. All of the memories made me smile and I was with that man who really made me laugh for a long time. We made two gorgeous babies who are now grown and making memories and stupid choices of their own…..and BAM…..I’m back in the present.

And the present is good too.

 

 

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Girls Weekend @ Harrison Hot Springs!

Sometimes you just need to run away. To get together with people who make you feel normal, understood and valued.  People who will listen to your issues, tell you theirs and laugh when you all realize how messed up you are! To get away from home, spouses, kids and everything familiar so that you can relax, renew and replenish each other’s spirits.

I drove a long way for this Girls Weekend! I drove about 2,500 miles from Franklin, Tennessee to Stanwood, WA to meet up with two of my best girlfriends. They had a weekend planned at Harrison Hot Springs in Canada and I was invited! I really wanted to go and had been looking forward to it for months! I even left my boyfriend behind in Tennessee to be able to make it in time!

Harrison Hot Springs is just a small hop over the border from Washington State. It is a small town right on the lake. There are a few hotels and restaurants. It’s small and quaint. Behind the hotel there are several hot spring pools at different temperatures that you can spend the whole day exploring and relaxing. There is even a spa where you can get a massage or body scrub.

We spent some time hiking and soaking, We practiced a little yoga and even visited the spa but mostly we talked…and talked and talked. We shared our worries, looked at each issue from several angles, took each other’s feedback and really listened.

I’m not sure what it is about a Girls weekend that is so special, so healing and comforting. It’s like we speak the same language. I am very lucky in that I have found a few women with whom I can be just who I am. We all agree that we trust, love, encourage and accept each other and we can relax because we don’t have to filter or edit ourselves.

The support we give each other gives us strength that we then carry out into the world and that makes us feel more confident in our interactions with others. Because we know that no matter what….there are people who really get us. We belong. There is immense comfort in that. It’s ok to be perfectly imperfect!

So go find your tribe. Find the people who love and accept you just as you are. It might take a while. But be true to yourself and it will happen. Then keep those people in your life. Be real with them. Be brave in your conversations with each other. Share the real shit. Don’t hide. Talk about the stuff that is REALLY bothering you and trust them to keep your secrets. It is the best, most healing thing you can do. I promise.

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(Photo Credit Julie Shepler)

 

Breitenbush Hot Springs, Canada

I sat in the steaming hot water up to my shoulders my back against the smooth rock wall, watching the rain drip down from the pine tree and huckleberry branches overhead, making slow circle art that expanded across the surface of the rock lined pool. I could hear the river rushing below the hill and feel my worries start to melt away as my skin turned pink and my gaze became more and more unfocused and relaxed.

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(The middle pool)

I had heard of Breitenbush before but I had never been here. I’ve been to nearby Bagby and Harrison hot springs up in Canada. I event stopped at some small hot springs in Wyoming. But Breitenbush hot springs is on a whole new level!

Breitenbush is located an hour east of Salem, Oregon just out of Detroit. The spring sits back off the main road about 10 miles. There is no cell service, no wifi and nothing better to do than eat some glorious food, sleep and relax and rejuvenate in the natural hot springs that flow out of the ground.

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What blew me away was that the price of your stay at Breitenbush covers everything! 3 delicious vegetarian meals, as much soaking in the springs as you can handle, use of the wet sauna and also various wellness classes – FREE.! That’s right. Free. One price for everything.

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(The cabin I shared for the night)

I attended a fantastic yoga class while I was at Breitenbush. Rob looked to be about 24 years old. (Young enough to be my son!) He had long wavy blonde hair pulled back into a pony tail, a very quiet and relaxed attitude and a gorgeous, muscled, slim body. He looked like he practiced a lot! He led us through a slow Ashtanga practice that incorporated long-held poses. It was slow and gentle but it was challenging! It was the kind of practice that made me want to work harder, be more focussed and be a better yogi!  It was exactly what I needed after 5 days of driving across the country!

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(The sanctuary where we practiced yoga)

I had left Franklin, Tennessee five days before. I was averaging 9 hours per day behind the wheel. I wanted to make it across to the west coast as quickly as possible. I had driven through snow, over mountain passes and through long flat stretches where it was just me and the truckers. And driving a mini cooper amongst 18-wheelers affords a brand new kind of stress and awareness – let me tell you!

I really needed Breitenbush. I needed the yoga to stretch out my stiff hips and back. I needed the hot springs that made my muscles melt and my brain relax. I needed the healthy food after days of fast food. And I needed the connection with people. I had been alone for the whole trip and visiting with the other hippies made me feel right at home!

So if you’re ever driving through the middle of Oregon on the back roads take a little detour and check it out. I promise you’ll be glad you did. I’m already planning when I can go back again! Namaste Peeps!

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Mantra Power – You Got This!

I have a new mantra. It came to me during Chistmas time this year as I struggled with my fear of heights while climbing up to Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park. It is “You got this!” And I’ve been using it ever since!

My Christmas present was a road trip to the Grand Canyon. Being curious and not in a hurry meant that we could take our time and see some other great places along the way. We stopped in Moab, Utah to see Arches and Canyon Lands, We also went to Zion and found a really cool slot canyon and of course saw the grandaddy of them all – The Grand Canyon.

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For people who do not have a fear of heights let me try to explain. We’re not really afraid of heights, we are afraid of falling! We have a constant horror movie playing in our head that shows us in exacting detail how we will trip over our shoelace, arms flailing and tip over the guard rail into oblivion. I’ve even imagined that the whole hillside might turn into a transformer and grab me by one leg hurling me into the deep abyss below.

I know, I know none of that is based in reality and seems rather ridiculous but I assure you my fear of falling kept me a good 10 feet away from any and all steep places and kept me shaking in my boots when traversing high places was a necessity. The funny thing is, I even get that feeling if I see someone else go near the edge! I want to grab them by the scruff of their shirt and haul their butts back away from the edge to safety!

This fear can be so great that some people never overcome it. They don’t go up in tall buildings, they don’t fly and they certainly don’t walk across the bowl to Delicate Arch!

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In Yoga we face that same fear.  Especially when we work on inversions. Falling during a pose can be very scary.  So scary in fact that some people never even try. And if we do fall, it can take months to build up enough courage to try again.

I’ve been working on inversions for the last year and every time I tried to get upside down I would feel that same “flippy tummy” feeling and my brain would automatically think, “I’m probably going to fall.” After a year of failed attempts I tried telling myself “You got this!” and I finally had success! I found that I could move through the fear and actually achieve the pose.

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It’s amazing really how much control our mind has over what our body is capable of. Simply repeating this mantra makes every scary pose easier! I wonder what we could accomplish in life if we used a positive mantra for other things like job interviews, fund raisers, confrontations of any kid. If we could only stop the negative chatter inside our heads and remind ourselves “You GOT this!”