“Start Today” journal update and Life Coaching!

“Start Today” journal update and Life Coaching!

It’s been roughly a month and a half since I began using my “Start Today” journal. I can easily say it’s been an overall positive experience! At first trying to remember which 10 goals I had chosen was tough. But a month and a half later I finally have them totally memorized.

In itself remembering what the 10 goals are is a big deal, think about it! My own brain couldn’t easily recall the top 10 things I wanted to do in life. Each one of these items is super important to me, but I had never put them in front of my face enough to actually remember them. They’d come in and out of my consciousness like flashes, here and there I’d think, “Wouldn’t that be awesome if…” but that was it, after it’d be forgotten. Not anymore!

Listing 5 things I am grateful for is also really wonderful. It becomes challenging when you are pissed off or in a bad mood. I sit their brooding over whatever upset me and then I force my brain to think positively. But after I finish I tend to be every slightly less grumpy.

I do have to admit one thing though, I haven’t been perfect about doing it every single day. There are some days when I have missed it either when I was sick, I kept putting it off and forgot…or I was just in a terrible mood and was laying in bed lamenting. I always start back up though. Why? Because Rachel teaches that imperfection is ok! What matters most is that you RESTART. Don’t let go of it just cause you messed up once. This is what I always have to remind myself, because I am a perfectionist. I hope I don’t miss another day from this point forward, but if I do, I know I can start again.

Life Coaching with Rachel Hollis

A few days ago I learned from Rachel’s instagram that she was going to start a Life Coaching program. It is not one-on-one. She made it clear in her video that she literally has no time to do that, and even if she did I know darn well I couldn’t afford it!

Even still I was thinking, “Oh god, it’s going to be like $100 a month or something”. Because if you follow this space, like I do, you know that these teachers charge A LOT for their info. Courses can easily be in the hundreds or thousands of dollars. So I braced myself and looked at the price. The personal life coaching, which is basically 2 hours a month, is $39 bucks.

That felt do-able. That felt like a realistic thing. I pay $9.99 for Apple Music and $14.95 for Audible every month. How about paying monthly for something that might actually help me move the needle forward in my life?! So what, that works out to $20 an hour? To get guidance from someone I feel really resonates with me? That feels like a bargain.  I pay more an hour to the person that does my hair.

So I bit the bullet, I signed up. Still skeptical mind you…still wondering if this money could be better spent. I have to say, yesterdays session felt COMPLETELY worth every cent. Rachel is just so genuine and raw and imperfect. I freakin’ love imperfection because I struggle with perfection so much. I love anyone who goes out into the world and says, “I’m doing this, I don’t know exactly what I’m doing..but I’m doing it anyway!”

I’m not going to break down what we learned or what our homework was. I’m going to wait until next month and let you know how/if what I learned helped me, what I implemented and what I possibly didn’t get rolling on. To be continued…

2019 is already a better year

2019 is already a better year

No, I’m not being overly optimistic, even though it is January 1st. This is already a fact, because I went through so much tumultuous terrain in 2018 that I have laid the groundwork for a much smoother 2019.

In 2018 I moved away from home for the first time in my life. I’ve mentioned before my issues with change but this had a lot of emotional aspects attached to it. Both in why I moved out and where I moved into. To rehash it all would be moot, but I’ll just say things did not feel “settled” until the very end of 2018. I’m starting this year very much “settled in” and comfortable with most of my living situation. Also, my relationship with my dad has improved drastically from last year at this time. There are still a few question marks lingering in the air, but won’t there always be? I flipped my life UPSIDE down when I moved and it took me a LONG time to stand back up again.

The fact that I pretty much won’t have to deal with any of the same problems that made 2018 so difficult already puts a put of plus signs on 2019. I wanted to create and start things, like this blog or instagram but I was always so emotionally distracted by other crap. It’s HARD to be creative when you don’t feel good about things, or when you’re in a bad place mentally. I fully understand that creativity is an antidote to those things..but I just couldn’t bridge that gap often enough to make it a true remedy for my sadness/worries.

Maybe it just wasn’t my season to create, it was my time to deal with other things in my life. Never feel bad if you don’t have the emotional clarity or strength to create. Because I surely couldn’t bring myself to do it often enough.

I didn’t wait until January 1st to start working on 2019. I actually started around October of 2018. I didn’t exactly successfully participate in Rachel Hollis’ “Last 90 days” challenge BUT I did start actively working and thinking about my goals. I knew I wanted to get healthy in 2019 so I asked for a Nutri-bullet, things like that. But writing my goals has really been great. Reminding myself EVERY SINGLE DAY what I really want to accomplish in life is SO helpful. I’m so glad I didn’t wait until Jan 1st to start. Not that there is anything wrong with that, that’s my usual M.O. too. But I just feel more solid in my direction this Jan 1st then I have in others.

I’m going to really work hard on my self confidence this year. Harder then I’ve ever worked before. I’m going to work on building relationships outside of my current ones (i.e. get more FRIENDS). Like I am just so TIRED of feeling bad about myself or deficient in some way. Like I am truly SICK of it! I’ve never felt that way before.

I always said, “I want to feel better about myself/more confident” but I just kept hoping it would magically come to me. Or that by completing certain goals or by getting X or Y it would happen. Nope. And late last year I figured it out, I really just need to change my perception. I need to remove, destroy and rebuild the entire way I ingest the world and I need to just be MYSELF in it. With no care on how I will be viewed or what others will think. I need to stand in the truth that is myself and just know that that IS enough. So that is my journey and ultimate goal for 2019 and beyond.

The first goal I write in my Start Today journal every single day is “I am unapologetically confident”. And beyond any other goal that is my biggest. Because I know that is the KEY to all my other goals. Every. Single. One. It beings with the self.

“Happiness is an inside job” – ??

I really want to share my journey with people. Because I know it’s not going to be easy and I think that is so important to say. People make it LOOK so easy. Then you feel like shit because you feel like you  SHOULD be ____ (happy/confident/etc) and you AREN’T…therefore, “something is wrong with me”. That is where my mind tends to go anyway. 

I miss journaling. I miss having a record of the things I’ve done. I miss posting the fun stuff too. I just miss writing. I remember with my ancient blog someone called me materialistic because I used to love fashion and shopping. I have always been afraid of that. Granted the world is TOTALLY different now and everyone on the internet could be called “materialistic” at this point. So even in starting this blog, I was always fearful of being seen as shallow or materialistic. 

You know what, I’m not. No matter what I post and anyone that REALLY knows me. Not some rando internet person knows that fact. As you can see like 15 years later and that statement still angers me. (lol) Because it’s just so far from the truth. So I want to share more of the light stuff in my life too.

Instagram, facebook a blog..it’s all curated. Just remember that as you browse the internet. I will never write about certain subjects here…because I don’t want to. But it should be obvious after skimming a few posts that my life can be beautiful and sad and everything else. I just hope you remember that, for EVERY person you scroll by. Stop comparing your life to others, I’m going to work on stopping too…ok?

I just have so much HOPE in my heart for this year. I really do. And that is NOT the case normally. Normally I  stand teetering on the edge of the year praying it won’t be terrible. Ever since 2014, I have been afraid of life…I’ve been afraid of the “unknown” disaster waiting to knock me down. But going on my 5th year of having lost my sister and mom I’m finally starting to have some faith that things don’t always have to take a turn for the terrible. Even if they do, I know I have people that love me to hold me back up. I know that somehow I will come out the other end of it. 

One thing I will say about 2018, with all it’s uncertainty…Adam was my rock. At the beginning of last year I was SO afraid of what moving in would do to our relationship. I was so afraid it was going to kick up the dust and show all these hidden fault lines. But it was nothing like that. 

Our relationship only got 100x better and stronger. And for that I am so grateful. I am so glad I was completely wrong and every fear I had about us was unfounded. 2018 allowed me to see just how amazing he was and how beautiful what we have is. 

So yeah, 2019, lets do this! 

Starting my “Start Today” Journal

Starting my “Start Today” Journal

Write down your dreams. Write down your goals. Visualize where you want to be in life. Doesn’t like EVERY SINGLE self help guru say this in one form or another? But do you do it? As a self confused self help lover, my answer was a (sheepish) no.

Oh, that’s not to say I have never written down my goals. Quite the contrary, I’ve done journal entries visualizing my fabulous soon-to-be life, I have made several vision boards, listened to countless meditations and as aforementioned…read LOTS and LOTS of books. But to no avail a gratitude or goal practice never emerged or stuck.

I recently came to the conclusion that accomplishing “things” was not helping any of my larger goals. Climbing that small hill (i.e. running a race, taking voice lessons, etc) did not create any momentum in my life. I started to ponder this really deeply for a few days. I came to the conclusion that the problem stemmed directly from the way I process the world. My thinking. 

I’m not going to go into that right now, because we want to get to the journal before the spring equinox, but just know there is A LOT to unpack there. (Isn’t it that way for most people?) So I decided for this year, as in the 12 month period after my birthday, not the calendar year, I was going to heavily focus on my thoughts, perceptions and emotions. 

That’s kind of tricky. You can quantify pounds lost or money saved, but how to do quantify your negativity? I guess you just have to go by your baseline happiness and how many crappy days you have vs bad days…I still really don’t know.

I found Rachel Hollis on a COMPLETE Audible whim. I had no clue she had a book on the best sellers list, or this huge following. Audible suggested the book for me, I read the description and though, “Ok, I’ll give this a shot.” What I love about Audible is that if a book sucks you can return it and get your credit back…which I have done for MANY a book. lol

That book is, “Girl wash your face” and it skyrocketed to one of my favorite non-fiction books EVER. Right next to The Alchemist, Big Magic and Eat Pray Love. READ IT if you’re into self help books or just need a good kick in the pants about living your best life. But yeah, I still wasn’t writing down goals or anything after I read it.

So I followed Rachel Hollis on her socials and bought a few more of her non-fiction books on audible. She’s really fun on instagram. Anyway, recently she started selling her “Start Today” journals. She is apparently going to sell them every quarter with limited designs. 

But I, Malinda, am HIGHLY skeptical about buying self help peoples products. They all promise to jump start this or change your life with that, um, I can’t even remember to fill out a simple daily calendar?? I was like $24 bucks for a journal? Nope, nope, nope. 

And I didn’t buy it, the came out, sold out and them came out again and I still didn’t buy it. But then Rachel did something I found to be REALLY cool and different from ALL the other self helpers out there. 

She has a podcast, which is also awesome btw, called The Rise podcast. In one of the episodes recently she read the ENTIRE prompt that is in the journal before you start the daily writings. She gave away the entire thing and said, “You don’t have to buy the journal, just use a blank piece of paper if that’s all you have…” So she basically gave away the content in the journal, free. I don’t know, for me that gave it a little credibility. She was truly championing the action of writing your goals and gratitude everyday and not just her journal.

If that was a marketing ploy, let me tell you it freakin’ WORKED. That gave this ole skeptic a little more faith in it. I was like, “Ok, $24 bucks plus shipping…I can swing that” 

So, everyone, I sat down yesterday and went through the initial writing exercise to find my 10 goals, it took about an hour and then I filled out my first page. You start with 6 things you are grateful for today then you write down your 10 dreams then you narrow it down to 1 goal. YAY FIRST DAY DOWN..now to keep it up.

I had even set my alarm last night 10 min earlier then normal so I could get up and write my stuff in my journal. BUT then, I was rudely awakened at 3am and had a hard time falling asleep, not going into that one. *eye roll* I knew in that moment there was no way I was going to be in the mood to wake up any earlier and do this. I set my alarm back to its regular time and (eventually) fell back to sleep.

But, when I woke up I was like, “I can’t throw in the towel! My goodness this is technically day two and I’m already going to not follow through. (I mean technically it was like day 1 because yesterday was day 0…which is even worse!) So I grabbed the jornal and threw it into my purse before I left.

Then, when I got to work I sat in my car for 8 extra minutes and filled it out. *breaks out into applause for self*

I am proud of that!!

Day 1, er 2, whatever: I am not a morning person. I am actually a terrible morning person, actually I’m pretty bitchy, esp when I don’t get proper freakin’ sleep! Making my mind focus on first gratitude and then goals was a really STRANGE feeling.

It made me realize that I basically NEVER actively think about either. I am just concerned with traffic, lack of sleep or work crap. But pushing my brain to this other realm that I hardly visit (gratitude and goals) was eye opening. I was thinking, “Wow, I really do NEVER think about this stuff” It was like an espresso shot of positivity for my super negative “morning brain”.

I’m determined to stick it out and see if doing this practice yields any fruit. The journals have 90 days worth of pages so my plan is to STICK WITH IT at least for the 90 days. Really commit to it and just see if anything happens, see if there is anything to this practice like all these self helpers say.

I will continue to write updates as the days go on. I will be very candid but even if I think it’s waste of time by day 20 I am STILL going to stick with it the full 90 days, to give it a fair shot. I must say I was pleasantly surprised with the mental wake up call it gave me this morning though, I wasn’t expecting that.

Here are some links if your curious about Rachel Hollis or the journal.

Her Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/msrachelhollis

The journals have their own instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/StartTodayJournal/

Here is the podcast episode where she gives you the journal prompt:
(It’s the episode on 11/26/18)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/rise-podcast/id1245763628?mt=2

Here are the journals themselves with a snazzy video from Rachel:
https://www.thehollisco.com/p/shop

(Pic is from the start today journal instagram)

Tee Tuesday: 2017 Disneyland 10k tee

Tee Tuesday: 2017 Disneyland 10k tee

To say that I love t-shirts is a major understatement, I’m obsessed with them! I literally have to ban myself from buying new shirts because I will just KEEP BUYING THEM. I currently have several hundred all folded in the Marie Kondo method in my closet.

A t-shirt can give you a glimpse into a persons life in an instant. Their favorite music group, show, an event they went to, a company they work for or even a funny saying. For me it’s a way to say, “This is a part of who I am” or “This is what I love”.

If someone is wearing a graphic tee I am literally craning my neck to see what’s on it. I remember I was at Disneyland and I kept staring at this girl (and low key stalking her..) until I could figure out what concert tee she had on!! (It was Shakira…)

So I decided to tell some stories about my tees/tanks. I dub thee Tee Tuesday from hither forth!


 

I am starting with my 2017 Disneyland 10k tee simply because I was wearing it today when I got this idea. 

The 2017 Disneyland 10k was not the first 10k I ever ran but it was the first time I ever ran two races back 2 back. It all sounded really good when I signed up 100 months earlier. Ok, it was like 7ish months but you have to register for the Disney races WAY in advance. I had already signed myself up for the Tinkerbell 10k (which I hadn’t ran at this point) and I was feeling sporting…so i said, “I’ll do the 5k and the 10k! This time I’m going to train for sure!” It was also the anniversary of the first race I had ever ran, the 2016 Disneyland 5k.

Guess who barely trained for their race? *Waves hand sheepishly* The depth of the commitment I had made really hit me the Thursday before the 5k when I picked up my racing packets. I think I went to Trader Sam’s and had a drink…hachi machi.

But I didn’t pay all that money to not follow through. This was my 3rd 5k, so I was feeling good about that. Btw both mornings of both races I almost missed the start because we couldn’t figure out where the bus stop was by the super seedy hotel I had booked. *facepalm*

I remember the first two miles of the 10k  I really thought I wasn’t going to make it. I was like, “The tram is going to come get me, I’m going to pass out right here..right now” They call it, “getting swept” when you aren’t at pace and a little tram goes and picks you up and takes you to the finish line.

Around mile 3 I stopped panicking. I was telling myself, “You’re halfway there, you’re halfway there..” and the last 2 miles were actually easier then the first! No, I didn’t jog the entire thing, are you kidding me?! But, I did keep the required pace and I didn’t pass out or get swept. I was very proud indeed!

But what inspired me to write this?? Well, I was at the gym today (wearing my Little Mermaid workout top I wore during the race, btw) and I saw a lady working out with a trainer. I noticed she had the sponsors “a la” a race shirt and the top one was PANDORA. I was like, “That’s a Disney racing shirt!”

Then I sat there for a few moments trying to figure out which race it was because I could only see her back. Mental process:

“Pandora….Pandora sponsors Tinkerbell races!

Did she do the Tinkerbell race my year?

No… her shirt is purple mine is pink…

She must have done the 10k another year!”

I was dying to confirm this and I stared until she got off her machine and faced me. Unfortunately I am so blind I couldn’t see what year or race it was. But I did see Tinkerbell and the RunDisney logo on her sleeve that wasn’t facing me when I first saw her.

I got so excited, i just wanted to run up to her and say, “You ran it too?!” But she was working with a trainer and I am not the type of person that goes up to strangers. I was really hoping I’d run into her in the locker room though…

And that’s why I love t-shirts. I know absolutely nothing about this older lady, but instantly I had a connection with her. We had a commonality with this random person and I would have never known that if she was wearing a different shirt. I think these days finding commonalities with people that seem completely different from us is even more important. 

I had taken my Disneyland 10k shirt to change into after my workout. So I wasn’t wearing it when I was staring at her like a crazy person, but I did wear it out. I was still hoping I’d run into her so we could talk about running Disney races.

I lack creative follow-through, currently

I lack creative follow-through, currently

As a kid up until my early 20’s, I was able to freely be creative. What I mean by that is I wasn’t afraid to try to learn or do new things, creatively.

Examples:
– I crafted a stable for my barbie horses
– I created a map of of the Lion King “world” complete with pride rock and bad lands
– I took up making my own animation cells by painting with acrylic paints on plastic
– Making my parents friends kids do choreography I created
– Painting in general
– Learning how to do basic HTML code (This was the late 90’s people)
– Taking a web design class
– Learning photoshop
– Learning to do myspace layouts, doing them for friends
– Had a steady blog for over 8 years

I never thought twice about doing any of these things. I never worried about, “Not being able to do it” I just did them. But somewhere in my early 20’s this ability started to fade. I think the whole Myspace layout thing was the last thing I remember doing without worrying about how I would be perceived or feeling like I wasn’t doing something, “Good enough”.

Coinciding with my first full-time job, I feel I pretty much lost the ability all together. What came next was lots of half baked ideas that I didn’t fully follow through on. Some I did more then others, but I never pushed anything to the max. I also never shared what I created with a lot of people. Sometimes, but it was rare.

A few examples:
– Bought a guitar but never mastered it, I still want to master it!
– Bought FL Studio but never learned to use it
– Took voice lessons but was too afraid to practice in front of people
– Have tried to restart my blog COUNTLESS times
– Paid for this wordpress and barely use it

My creativity is like a car that is unreliable and starts only occasionally.

I have analyzed this to myself many times. I used to sit there for an hour just trying to pinpoint the moment I lost my ability to just CREATE. I found several, but even discovering those moments has not helped me jumpstart the damn car and keep it running. I’ve even written about it here a few times.

I did something that has been on my to-do list for over a year yesterday. I sat down and actually wrote down my reasons for wanting a blog (and IG). Like I forced myself to sit there and really say, “What do I want to say? What is my message? How can I do this?”

That was SO HARD.

It was also a little scary.

Why? Because it was going past the, “I want to” point. Going past the, “Let me just invest a little money into this and maybe that’ll make me commit” point. Things become a lot more real when you sit down and say, “I want to do this, now how can I make this happen.”

And yeah, this is basic, chapter one self help book stuff. “Write down your goals and plans”. I know that, but doing  and knowing are very different animals. (BTW, I love self help books..so no shade there, just pointing out I don’t act on their advice enough.)

Another thing that has REALLY stifled me, and that I’ve also wrote about several times. Is being authentic online. If I share x do I have to share y? Do I have to be a complete open book? Do I have to post about fun stuff always to not feel like a bummer. But if I post fun stuff am I going to seem frivolous? I try not to worry about how I will be perceived but that’s hard, especially for someone that needs to do some heavy lifting in the confidence area. Writing everything down really gave me clarity and showed me how my IG and blog would work in symbiosis but showcase different facets of who I am.

So I am going to share with you what my plan is. Why? Not because I’m trying to make anyone care about what I’m going to do… but so I can have some accountability. Also, it’s my way of putting it out to the universe that, “Yes, I am ready to commit to my creativity again!”

My blog is going to be my overall sounding board. It will be more about my life with some interests possibly sprinkled in here or there. As I have mentioned here my biggest struggles are loss (losing my sister and mother) and confidence. Also I feel like a blog post is a better place to share a new experience, i.e. trying skincare for the first time. I mean, you can share anything on a blog but this is my plan for my own.  I want to update it at least every Sunday and Wednesday.

My instagram will be more fandom-centric. I collect various things like Funko Pops! and t-shirts also, as you figured by now, I love Disney like crazy. It will be a place to showcase my fun and fandoms. I want it to reflect all the various things I love.

Obviously both of these will cross pollinate. Also with time this plan may totally change, but this is the skeleton I am going to work with right now. This is my plan.

OMG I have a plan! Do you know how exciting even that is?! It’s a loose plan, but a plan nonetheless!

The original title of this blog was, “I lack creative follow-through” but I added the “currently” because I know I have it somewhere in me. From reading my many self help books I know that the language we use about ourselves can really set the course for how we act. Even though I have been trying to restart this car permanently for nearly 10 years…I still have faith I can get her up and running.

Grief doesn’t define me, but it does

Grief doesn’t define me, but it does

August is hard.

September is hard.

December is hard

March is hard.

Lets just say 12/12 months of the year are hard.

I hardly ever share my feelings about losing my sister or mother. Maybe about the situations that have arisen because of losing them, but hardly ever directly about not having them in my life anymore. I will say X is frustrating me long before I will tell you I’m feeling sad and missing one or both of them.

Because I don’t want to seem dramatic, or stuck in the past… what can you say anyway to make me feel better? Let me just not say anything, let me just sit in my sadness and cry by myself, or maybe to Adam, maybe.

There is a hole in my heart the size of my sister and a hole in my safety the size of my mother.  The loss of each was painful in different ways. And if I spoke enough about it, you might think I miss my sister MORE then my mother, but that’s not the case. The losses were just different. So, so different.

I have really been noticing how hard it is for me to be happy now. How impossible it is to sustain happiness for long periods of time. Happiness is always slipping through my fingers like sand. The more I reflect on this, the more I realize that there is just a massive part of me that is empty, that’s where my sister is in my heart.

But I never speak the words and if I do, I downplay the pain. I act like a trooper. “Look at me, getting through my life!” but on the inside, I’m just crying. I want to roll up in a little ball and wish my sister back here with me, and that actually happens more then anyone knows.

I lost my best friend on earth. The person that knew me best. The person that understood me best. The person that knew everything. Words cannot express that loss. Nothing I type or say could truly feel like it was equal to what I am feeling.

I try so hard to live despite this pain. To try to make my life as full and rich as magical as I can. I do my best to try because SHE can’t live her life anymore. And I have made so many moves I should be so proud of, I try to be proud I really do, but my heart is still incomplete.

And there is a part in me, that just wants my sister back. My heart want’s something I literally can never have, but the feeling is relentless.

Though I have embraced some of the things I lost in growing up (i.e. Disney) there are things that I still avoid because they are drenched in her memory. I pulled myself out of a scene I still love, I can’t listen to music I love so much because every time I go back to it, it feels like i am opening a wound and torturing my soul. Because the person that understood this stuff MOST is not here anymore.

You cannot sit in sadness because it will drown you. It will suck any color from your life and leave you with black and white memories and wishes that can never come true. But maybe I need to sit in it more. Maybe I need to say it more and stop acting like I am ok, stop worrying about making others uncomfortable with my grief.

The innocuous question, “How many siblings do you have?” is literally the question I hate most in life. HOW do I answer that?!

“I have 3 but one passed away”

“I have 2 alive but my sister closest to me passed away”

“One sister lives in O.C. the other lives up north…”

You can see the discomfort on someones face that second you mention death. The, “Oh shit I didn’t mean to bring that up” look. All in good spirit and not in a rude way. But I hate making people feel that way. I hate even dealing with any of this. But then if I just answer, “I have 3 sisters” that feels like a lie too. Like I’m PRETENDING everything is ok.

If people knew how often something made me sad because it reminded me of her, they’d probably think I was a depressed emo girl. They’d probably think I need to get over it. So I say nothing and shove it all down.

I am TRYING to rebuild that lost part of me. I don’t know how though But please believe I am trying SO hard. I’m not doing a good job tbh. Because I just want my sister back, even in this moment.

I don’t know if I will ever be whole again.

Unlocking the lost parts of myself

Unlocking the lost parts of myself

I was not fully looking forward to our family trip to Sequoia and I almost didn’t go. There were personal reasons and then more topical reasons.

It had been about 15 years since the last time I had went. Prior to that we went almost every year when I was growing up. But a lot has changed in 15 or so years and I just didn’t think I had it in me to “rough it” in nature.

I use the term “rough it” loosely because we stay in cabins that have electricity and beds, we only camped once or twice, that I can remember. You do have to walk to a central shower and bathroom but it’s far from sleeping on the ground in a tent. My niece’s friend Sam likened it to, “glamping”, it’s not quiet that plush…but somewhere in-between.

Over the few days I was there though, it was like this dormant part of me woke up. “OH, I used to love nature. I used to love running around and exploring!” I had completely forgot that that part of me even existed. It was like I forgot about that girl completely, but the big beautiful trees and endless vistas brought her back to me.

I felt SO insignificant out there in the vast world of nature. I was SO small, tiny, miniscule! I can’t even verbalize how unimportant I felt. And it was amazing…because it was a reminder of how big the world is. And, though my problems and issues sometimes feel insurmountable they are even tinier then I am against the backdrop of nature. That’s such a comforting feeling.

Sometimes it feels like life is crashing around me. One crazy happening after another but the forest kind of just side steps the chaos. You see broken or burned trees scattered about the floor but it doesn’t stop everything around it from being beautiful.

Sequoia trees cannot begin to grow without fire. If the ground becomes overcrowded they can’t thrive. So they require something so destructive to live, enter fire. In our lives we say, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” but maybe the hard things in life are pushing us to thrive too.

We walked through Crystal Cave which was formed, in simple terms, by running dripping water. Water finding weaknesses in marble and working at it for millions of years formed an amazing cave. Sometimes we feel like the small steps we take don’t mean anything yet these tiny drops of water formed a massive, beautiful cavern.

The place I didn’t really much want to go back to, became a place I wasn’t ready to leave. I wanted to go on more trails, more hikes, soak in more of the forest. After the first day I stopped caring that my phone had absolutely no service. I was happy about it. It really forced me to disconnect and connect with mother nature and my old self again.

I leave you with a Shakespeare quote our tour guide at Crystal Cavern told us:

“And this our life, exempt from public haunt, 
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, 
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.”