Navigating the Journey
Author: A Peaceful Hippy Girl Living a Peaceful Hippy Life
Cabin fever n.
Boredom, restlessness, or irritability that
results from a lack of environmental
stimulation, as from a prolonged stay in a remote, sparsely populated region or a
confined indoor area.
Nothing to do.
Sleeping in until 8:30 am and staying under the warm blankets.
Morning meditation practice on the wood deck with sunshine streaming through the trees.
Slow and gentle hatha yoga practice.
Leisurely making hot tea and a bagel.
Sitting on the couch reading under a cozy blanket.
Staring at the window for as long as I want.
Bundling up and taking a stroll down a dirt mountain road in a sparsely populated mountain neighborhood.
Watching the birds fly through the bare trees.
Going back inside and warming up.
If this is "Cabin Fever" I'll take a month or more!
As I said in my last blog post, I am writing as a personal self-care practice and if you would enjoy stopping by and taking a read, you are always welcome. I will be closing out the last two months of 2018 with some much needed and well-deserved self-care practices and sharing them as a way of releasing some of the challenges I've encountered this year. 2018 has been a challenging year for the entire Spencer household and we are all trying to manifest a more calm and peaceful year in 2019. I won't go into the details in this blog but what I will quickly mention is the fact that the Spencer crew has been deeply blessed with the most amazing love and support from family and framily (friends that are family). Another blog on that as well down the road. Onward to the cozy cabin adventure...
As many of you know, hunting season is upon us once again here in Colorado. I'll spare you the gory details and make a long story short; After many years of putting his name in for a lottery, Dave was chosen to do the Ranching for Wildlife program. Ranching for Wildlife provides a guided hunt on private ranch land. Being the ever-loving animal person, I was opposed instantly, without even wanting to hear about this "awful and brutal sport!" Shortened to...after a few months of learning about this program, I softened to the fact that, although I don't promote hunting, this program provides resources for the animals who reside on the ranching property. The deer and elk and other wildlife have plenty of food and places to take shelter that they may not have access to beyond the ranch. Although some are hunted, many more live and thrive through the winter, where they would otherwise may have slowly starved to death because of lack of food during the colder months. Hard call for me to be pro or against. For now, I am just going to sit with what it is and that's where this blog is trying to lead to. I am leaving it up to the Universe for choosing Dave's name out of thousands of individuals who put their name in the lottery. If anyone deserve an opportunity like this it's Dave. Dave isn't a sport hunter and he doesn't want to keep antlers and hang them. He just enjoys getting out in nature and conquering the elements of the mountain terrain. This year Dave became a semi-vegetarian (he and I still eat some seafood) and has decided that if he chooses to eat red meat, he will have to catch the animal and process the meat himself. This is no small task and I honor his dedication to the treatment of animals by not supporting feed lots and caged animals who are forced to lay too many eggs and animals that live in filthy conditions, Why would anyone feed their own body with the unhappy energy of a caged and penned up animal who led a horrific life of fear?
Moving on...in the past 10 or more years since Dave's been hunting, I've put a "secret family curse" on him that my Gram, Mom and Aunts always joked about. I would say the special "curse" in hopes of keeping Dave from catching any animals. After many years of coming back empty handed, I think Dave finally believed that this old family curse worked (even if he won't admit that it does). After sitting with this for a couple of weeks I made a decision this season to just be with what naturally happened. Dave was randomly chosen out of many other people. I felt like this is something I needed to loosen my grip on. With that being said, I agreed to accompany Dave on this year's trip. Not to join on the hunt, but to sit in a quiet and secluded cabin and take refuge in the peace and stillness while Dave went on his hunting excursion. Oh, and I lifted the "curse."
Our friend has a nice little log cabin up in Clark, which is past the town of Steamboat Springs. As we wove our way through the winding dirt roads, we kept a watchful eye out for our destination. Tucked behind large pines and bare aspens we spotted the little log cabin. Sitting alone, just waiting to be warmed up by the latest visitors, the little cabin beckoned us to come and stay. We settled in, and by settling in I mean we found the thermostat, kicked on the heat, unloaded the cooler of food and immediately found the couch. Big sigh! You know, that incredible moment when your mind and body remember the Soul. Nothing like it. Release and relax.
The Spencers don't sit for long and after only an hour of rest and a meal Dave and I decided to explore the empty roads and vacant wooded lots. Homes were scattered here and there, each one unique in its structure and architecture. Large crows and magpies danced across the sunsetting sky and the call of some camp robber birds could be heard in the distance. The crows look ominous as they sat, perched on the tippity top of the pine trees, staring down at us. I've heard that crows have the intelligence of a seven year old child, AND they remember faces and people's actions and have even been shown to have revenge on humans and dogs who haven't been kind to them. They watch us and I send them good energy.... Dave says, "They're coming to take us to Valhalla!" I said the same words five seconds before he did in my mind. I love the predictability of our inside jokes. 28 years married and 30 knowing someone is a feeling of pure comfort for me. I love the dependability of Dave, his "dad jokes" as the girls affectionately call them and his generosity to his friends and family. We walk, hand in hand down the dirt road, pondering what it would be like to live in the mountains full time. Dave decides the ocean is where he wants to reside part time as we grow older together.
As night approaches the temperatures drop. The cabin is even more cozy when we re-enter after our outdoor exploration, with soft lights giving off a warm glow. We plop back down on the couch and the plaid-wool blanket has my name on it. I claim it for the entire weekend. Snuggled in, the soft glow of the lamp falls gently over my book and I settle in for the evening. Dave is busy preparing for his 5:00 am early rise and shine, freezing cold morning. I think to myself, "Have fun with that" and smile as I know I will be tucked in tight and warm under the heavy warm blankets come morning.
Fast forward. Dave left at 5:00 am and I didn't even hear him leave. The silence of the empty cabin is deafening and I slowly begin to wake up my body and mind. The Soul is right here again. Funny how that awareness kicks in so naturally of the silent observer that is always there but often neglected. I don't have to even search for three things I'm grateful for this morning (another morning ritual). They come easy in this little cabin in the middle of a forest on a mountain. I bring each thing I'm grateful for to mind, and bring my hands to touch in front of my heart and bow my head in gratitude. My soul and I rise together after doing some deep breathing and gently stretches in bed. I sing/say my morning chat of ahimsa. A practice that promises to not harm myself or any other living beings this day. My feet touch the warm carpeted floor and I repeat the word ahimsa three more times and promise again to not harm anyone or anything with my thoughts, words or actions. This includes myself as I glance at my bed-tousled hair. I honor the disheveled look and gently run my fingers through the tangled mess and retie my hair into a loose bun and begin my day.
As often as possible, I try and keep my self-care routine. This morning is a self-indulgent morning, with no agenda, so I begin to do all the self-care practices my mind, body and soul have needed me to do this year. I take a luxuriously long time to do anything. The back deck is shaded but the sun is pouring over the roof and sliding down towards the ground and the weathered planks of the porch. The crows and the magpies are back and they watch me and I watch them back for what seems to be a long time. Time is all I have today so why not use it? The crows and magpies are joined by three camp robbers this morning. We all settle in to our personal spaces and I begin my morning meditation practice and they seem to understand and let their guard down. Thirty minutes later, I gently begin my stretching and gentle asana practice, moving my spine and limbs in all directions and allowing the breath to move deeply into all the nooks and crannies of my body. The birds shuffle on their selected branches and also move and flap their wings. The sound of feathers echos in the silence of the forest. I love that I have feathered friends doing yoga with me this morning.
Before I know it, I hear Dave's truck coming up the road. I almost disregard that it's Dave because it's still early afternoon. He backs into the driveway, an elk in the bed of the truck. The curse has been lifted! A happy and smiling Dave emerges from the truck. Proud yet exhausted and he begins to share the details of his excursion. The young guides name is John and he realized Dave is in great shape and took him on quite a rigorous journey through the ranch and up the steep inclines. The rest of the story is Dave's to tell.
I love when Dave shares stories of his adventures. Dave is one of those people that enjoys the minutes of his life and can most often be found in the present moment. His joy for life is contagious as he shares more about the challenging climbs up and down the mountainside after cleaning the elk and donating back it's organs and other parts back to the earth for the other wild life to enjoy. There are going to be some happy fox and birds out on the ranch later this afternoon when they come across this treasure of food.
Dave finishes the hard work of prepping the elk and then we hop in his truck take a drive over to Pearl Lake where we camp each summer over the fourth of July week. Pearl Lake is my favorite place to camp for so many reasons. The energy is just so peaceful, even when the campground is full and dogs are barking and children are playing and shouting. We drive by the empty campsites and slow down and check out the sites we've stayed on before. We've there with the girls and their boyfriends, all the dogs made at least one trip up to Pearl Lake and Morrison is a regular. We've been with friends and their dogs. The memories flood my mind as we drive past the bare lots. I've only ever been there in the summer and the area looks so different but there is still that same energy I always feel.
We loop around the bend and head back down the road we came in on and noticed a moving object on the campsite we usually stay on. A large, black mama cow and three younger cows are resting in the tall dry grasses, barely visible from the road. I stop and get out to take a picture and get fairly close, causing the mama cow to get up and move away. She wasn't in any rush, but she also wasn't up for human company. Fair enough, I'm up here for the same reason...to get some peace and quiet. I say goodbye to the cluster of cows and we head back to the cabin after making a few pit stops along the way at some other spots we like to see when we are in that neck of the woods.
The warm cabin greets us again as we arrive. Once again we settle back onto the coach and watch the Red Soxs who are about to win the World Series. The internet is intermittent and Dave's frustration with lack of service makes me laugh. We are fortunate enough to see most of the games and the Red Sox win. Dave has been a Sox fan for as long as I can remember, so it's always nice when his team wins. I read and watch the game over my reading glasses, trying to focus more on my book than the score. I care about the game but am more interested in my new Yoga Nidra book that my best friend Lisa gave to me. I have to admit I'm a bit obsessed with reading it.
Another early evening to bed for Dave. He's physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. I'm too relaxed and settled into my spot on the couch and under the blanket to move yet, plus I'm deep into my book now. Next thing I know it's after 1:00 am so I head to be so we can get up and take another hike before we need to pack up and head back to Westminster. I'm happy Dave got his elk, but wishing we had another two or three days in the little log cabin in the mountains.
As far as Cabin Fever goes, I'll take it! Any old day! Give me time and space and a place to stay warm in the midst of nowhere and I'm set. Oh, and a good book.. I have to have a good book.
The moral of this entry is:
So dear reader, feel free to stop on by from time to time and see what's up in my life if you'd like. Leave a comment below if something I write connects our hearts. Ask me a question or maybe even begin a blog too. I'll be here writing about my life for me and for future me to reflect on. Journaling and writing is a very cathartic practice of self-care and if you know me at all, you know I am passionate about how to provide self-care on a daily basis in multiple ways. My philosophy is that you have to love yourself before you can truly hand out love to others. Love comes from the inside before love can be moved to the external world.
I hope that if your eyes do happen to skim across this blog, that reading these words brought up some positive thought for you. Even if that thought or memory was brief. The point of reflecting with words is to share an experience outwardly about what's going on internally.
In the meantime, enjoy navigating your own journey and know we are all traveling on the same path home.
Peaceful thoughts, peaceful words and peaceful actions that come from my heart.