Category : Travel
If I’m honest, I’ve had a tough few weeks. I’ve been feeling a bit down, a bit untethered. A few set-backs have appeared on my path. My groundedness has escaped me of late, and the swirling has taken over. My one word for the year, secure, seems to have left the building. I’ve been trying to dig deep, to press on, to rely on my one word from 2013. But it’s felt difficult. Not good, friends, not good.
So last week, I could no longer ignore that the swirling and the ever-growing to-do list — especially after having been out of town for a full week at training — had left me feeling depleted. My mat was beckoning me (screaming to me!) to get to the studio, to breathe deeply, and to reconnect to my core. After an intensely full day at work, I made the conscious decision to let the rest of the seemingly-urgent responsibilities await another day, and I headed to yoga. As I found a spot in the very crowded class, took a seated position, and closed my eyes, I immediately felt an internal shift. Then, a few deep breaths, some rolls of my beyond-tight neck, and a settling into the present moment. For the next 75 minutes, I would be here, now. Nothing else to do. Just. Be. Here.
At the end of class, right before savasana (total relaxation!), the teacher guided us through bridge pose and invited those who could to go in to full wheel (or upward bow). Wheel is a full on back-bend — lie on your back, place your palms face-down up by your ears, then push up and into your hands and feet, extending your arms and legs. Viola, full on back-bend. Wheel. Upward bow. Uh-huh. Right. I’ve never done wheel. Actually…I’ve never even tried. But in this class, the woman next to me did it. And in witnessing this, her courage and ability to go for it, made me want to try.
As I placed my hands up by my ears, my yoga teacher happened to walk by and notice me. She came over and gently said, “do you want to try it?” Before I had a chance for my brain to even consider it, my mouth said “yes.” She then stood directly behind my head and told me to put my hands around her ankles for support. Once I had a firm hold of her ankles, she then said to push into my hands and feet with all my strength and raise my hips. I took a breath, and I pushed, holding on to her for dear life. I couldn’t quite come all the way up, as I had too much weight in my head and not enough into my hands and feet. So I came back down to my mat and took a breath. She gently asked, “do you want to try again?” A resounding “yes” came out of me. I took another deep breath, held onto my yoga teacher, and I pushed. And then, I was in wheel. Full on back-bend. With support. And it was amazing.
I felt so exhilarated. So strong. So secure. And in those incredible moments on my mat, I realization dawned on me. I don’t have to do it alone. Yes, there are times when my own sense of groundedness is firm all by itself. Times when I feel and know “I’ve got this.” Times when I am deeply connected to my core and am rooted in secure. But other times, MANY times, I’m not there at all. It’s as if I have amnesia and I never knew secure existed within me. I flounder and flap about, grasping for some reminder that I’m okay, searching for something or someone to hold on to. But my yoga teacher, helping me come in to wheel, literally giving herself to me to hold on to, showed me that being secure with support is okay. Even necessary at times. She showed me, “we’ve got this.”
This post is for all of you who support me, who buoy me, who show me time and time again, “we’ve got this.” It doesn’t get more secure than that. xoxo
As much as I try to live in the present moment and “be here now,” I often find myself living in the past or living in the future. Not very yogic of me, I know. When I’m dreaming of the future or reminiscing about the past, travel is usually the star in these plays in my brain. Today, the lead performer is Paris.
As I sit here alone on this mid-January morning, listening to the mighty wind rip through the Midwest and seeing that it’s -4 degrees outside, I’m not very present. I’m already dreaming of this coming summer, planning a trip to Barcelona and Paris. I’m also reminiscing about warmer days with dear friends, surrounded by sisterhood and inspiration. The bitter wind that blows across this prairie feels so harsh, even as I make the short walk from work to my car, bundled up in goose-down with hat and mittens. I wonder how the Pioneers made it. My escape is looking back and planning ahead. To get out of this moment. Clearly, I’m not practicing off the mat very well. So be it. For today, anyway.
Come escape with me over to Mortal Muses where I’m sharing some more reminiscing photos today.
I promised you a few weeks ago that I’d share some more film photos from our trip to Chicago, and I’m here to deliver! This was the first trip in years in which I did NOT bring along my digital SLR, but instead relied only on my Polaroid cameras, my 35mm film camera, and my iPhone. Since it was such a quick trip, it gave me a good opportunity to test how I would feel to only have film cameras with me. For the most part, it felt great — especially for my back! I had to trust that I would get some photos I liked, while knowing there would be others I didn’t like so much with no opportunity for a do-over. And, those sentiments proved true. Although there are some photos that didn’t meet my expectations, and I couldn’t check them on an LCD screen the moment I took them to make sure “I had the shot,” I’m okay with that. I embraced an analog weekend, and I’m content with the resulting photographs.
Having already shared my favorite Polaroid shots from the trip, here are my favorite 35mm photos from our 36 hours in the Windy City!
These last two trips with my Canon AE-1 camera — this Chicago adventure and the British Columbia retreat — are making me fall in love all over again with 35mm film. What are you in love with these days?
I’ve written before about my longing for connection, for kindred spirits, for sisterhood. I’ve shared with you my loneliness of living in an unfamiliar place, of having a small circle of local friends. These longings and loneliness have propelled me to go outside of my comfort zone and outside of my own town. These feelings have given me the push I needed to create communities of connection, to seek out kindreds and sisters. This began by attending retreats and gatherings, and doing so helped me begin to meet “my people.” From there, smaller groups of sisterhood were born.
One of these groups evolved from attending two photography retreats hosted by Shutter Sisters. While attending the second retreat with about 80 women last October, a small circle of us found ourselves at dinner enjoying margaritas, raucous laughter, and each other. As we ate and drank and carried on together, we birthed the idea of splintering off and creating a smaller creative community for ourselves. Within the evening, the Canadians in the bunch decided we would descend on British Columbia for our inaugural gathering. Over the past year, we stayed connected, made plans, rented a house, and bought plane tickets. And a few weeks ago, our idea manifested itself.
Many dreams and projects were shared during our time with one another. One of those ideas was that the group of us would dive into the 10 on 10 project, sharing 10 images shot on one day or in one experience on the 10th of the month. As our first post for 10 on 10, we decided we would each share photos from our time together in BC. Without further ado, here are my 10 on 10 from British Columbia and this magical retreat that was born of kindred spirits coming together for sisterhood, photography, and self-care. (BTW, you can click on each photo to view them larger!)
It didn’t take long for this group of photographers to whip out our cameras and start shooting. I think we looked like a group of paparazzi the entire time we were together. After taking the ferry from Vancouver to make our way to Tofino, we stopped at Cathedral Grove, an old growth forest with trees older than 800 years. The massive trees were amazing and the light among these old beauties was nothing short of magical.
On our second day, we ventured to some natural hot springs, a journey requiring another boat ride to get there. Being out on the open ocean, we were surrounded with beauty in every direction. The mountains, the ocean, the fog…breathtaking.
The small cove that houses the hot springs gave us more opportunities to capture the natural beauty that is British Columbia. I had considered not bringing any cameras with me that day as rain was in the forecast, but fortunately I brought one. I would have been so saddened to have missed this reflection shot.
Although we had an epic storm come through, and I do mean EPIC, we were blessed with many moments of sun and gorgeous weather. And this crew of women did not disappoint with the COLOR that they packed to wear.
Amidst the shooting, the relaxing in the hot springs, and the indulging in yummy food and deep rest, we deepened our friendships with one another. We shared our work, told each other our secret (and not-so-secret) creative dreams, and opened up about our struggles. Indeed, a new sisterhood was born in British Columbia.
Although we’ve been home for only a few short weeks, I’m already missing these sisters. I’m grateful for our ongoing connection and I’m so excited about the new adventures we have in the works. Thank you Cherish, Corinna, Debra, Lindsey, Tamar, and Tara — stay loose. xoxo
All of my photos in this post were shot on 35mm film with my Canon AE-1 using either Fuji 160 or Portra 400 film. The film was processed and scanned by Indie Film Lab. I have Polaroid photos to share with you from the trip and a few more 35mm pics, too. In the meantime, head on over to Lindsey’s blog to see her 10 (or maybe more) on 10 of our BC adventures!
A few weeks ago, Tony and I headed to Chicago for a little get-away to celebrate our anniversary. It was a whirlwind, 36-hour trip, but a fantastic weekend to enjoy some more “just us” time. We got a chance to eat some yummy food, visit the Art Institute and check out the new-to-us Modern Wing, wander the city, and just hang out together. The weather was beautiful with lots of sun and cool autumn breezes.
We grabbed coffee and some pastries our first morning, and headed to Millennium Park. It was fun checking out “The Bean” and playing with reflections.
After a celebratory dinner at The Publican, I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the Chicago sign at night.
How do the days keep slipping through my fingers? Where do 24 hours “go” in each revolution of this beautiful earth? As I sit here on this chilly, mid-October day, I’m thinking about summer and the third Tribe retreat. I’m trying to savor the time spent back in July with such kindred spirits on the coast of Oregon, my happy place.
I’m reminiscing about dinner together on the beach, chats on the turquoise couch, walks into town filled with laughter.
I’m reflecting on celebrating dreams fulfilled and mourning one of our sisters not being able to be with us this year. I’m holding on to the ease and security that was born within me that week, those core desired feelings that I struggle some days to maintain.
I’m missing my sisters, their friendship, our connection. I’m reminding myself of how they buoy me when life feels stormy and difficult.
I’m feeling grateful for the space this group has created with one another, and for all that these relationships bring to my life. I’m aware of the evolution of our friendships, as well as the changes that occur within each of us and in our respective lives. I’m excited to see what lies ahead for us all as individuals and as a group.
I’m already counting the days until we’re all — all — together again.
I’m so delighted to share that our group has a collective written piece and photographs in the Autumn issue of Mingle. I hope you check it out.
Remember when I told you about the Best. Hike. Ever.? You know, the one where you wake up around 2am, slurp down some coffee, get your hiking gear, and head to the trailhead to start your hike by 4am. The one where you hike through the forest and up the mountain in the pitch black of night, headlamps on your forehead illuminating the trail at your feet. The one where you keep looking over your shoulder, peeking behind you to check the sun’s progress to the horizon, urging your legs to move faster so that you can get to the top before that beautiful ball of fire emerges. The one where, this year, the wind was so intense and it was so cold, that we asked each other over and over if we should turn back. The one where the gift of seeing the alpenglow at sunrise on the face of Long’s Peak is so incredibly worth it that we pressed on. Yeah, that one. It’s such a beautiful and amazing experience, Tony and I couldn’t resist returning to this favorite hike during our “just us” trip to Colorado.
I’ve lugged my 35mm camera on this hike before (see the first two photos HERE), but I’ve never tried any photos with my Polaroid cameras. This year, I brought along my beloved SX-70 camera and attempted two shots. I was worried with the darkness (it was sunrise after all) and the almost-freezing temperature that both attempts would be futile. Fortunately, I was wrong. The first image is of the sun just beginning to alight over the peaks of Twin Sisters, and the second is of the alpenglow on the face of Long’s Peak.
Oh, friends. I know I’ve been a bit quiet here of late, but I’ve been engaging in some serious self-care and re-charging. Some of that has looked like this…
Tony and I took our annual trip to Colorado this summer to spend a week hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park. This year marked our sixth of this tradition, an upside to having moved to Nebraska and being a day’s drive away from the mountains. Unlike our previous five years, though, our dear friends who introduced us to RMNP and with whom we typically spend this sacred time couldn’t join us. The dates just wouldn’t gel to allow all four of us to be together. Bummer! But, not wanting to miss out on this important week of re-charging right before our respective school years commenced, Tony and I decided to head to Colorado, just us.
And this week in Colorado together…I have to say that it was one of the best weeks we’ve ever spent with one another. I know that the two of us live together, and that it’s “just us” all of the time. But not in this way. We rarely have a full week with one another that isn’t also filled with work tasks, responsibilities, and other commitments tugging at us. I travel and escapade quite a bit, yes, but WE hardly take a trip TOGETHER that doesn’t involve visiting family or friends. It’s actually very rarely “just us.” So this week together in the mountains felt…quite magical.
We hiked, made dinner, played Scrabble. We laughed, a TON. And we talked, like really talked about all kinds of things. I felt so connected, so relaxed, so grateful. After all these years together, I fell head-over-heels in love with Tony all over again. Pretty great, “just us.”