I snapped this photo early the other morning, after a cold night's sleep at the edge of Lake Stuart, in the Enchantments zone of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
My intent is not to vacation brag, nor to evoke a peaceful zen, but rather because I hope it may be helpful to understand my approach to health care.
Follow me here. My husband and I have a long time love of spending time in nature, but in the rush of raising wee ones, not to mention deployments, somewhere that all fell away. Aboutseven years ago - I know this because I remember being very pregnant with our youngest - we spent a night next to another lake, now far away, and recommitted to not skipping what we loved just because we had small children. We committed to the vision of becoming a backpacking family.
Our trip this weekend didn't "just happen."
It took years of me holding the hands of middle sized kids and carrying an infant, then a toddler, on my back. Countless day hikes, some of which ended with someone simply refusing to go past a few hundred yards, and many, many weekends spent camping out of the back of our truck.
It's taken imperfect backpacks and tents picked up at scratch and dent sales, water sterilization equipment passed on to us by supportive friends, an extra freeze dried meal or two picked up when we actually went in for something else, not to mention that holiday when all the kids got were the 10 essentials, even though they asked for Legos.
In other words, years of incremental, sometimes tiny, sometimes more significant, steps, all taken in a chosen direction.
Change takes time. Habits rarely form overnight. Commitment isn't necessarily easy. Sometimes it involves teenagers throwing down their packs, refusing to budge, and swearing they will never go on another backpacking trip. Ever.
My point: know where you want to go. Pick a step. Any step. If it's too big, make it smaller.
Then - and this is the crucial part - take the step.
Your goal may not be bugs, dirt, silence, and simplicity. Your goal may be more energy, lower blood pressure, or half your current medication levels. No worries. The process works the exact same way.
Figure out where you want to go and make a small step in that direction. You may not be able to see the end goal, but it will likely take you less time than you think.
The potential for that stunning moment when it all comes together is always there.
Today marks the start of another school year in our home and you will undoubtedly have felt a chill in the air this morning. If you face this time of year with any dread, know that much beauty can come out of stillness and darkness. Join me next month, October 15, 2:30-4:30pm at my favorite Three Trees Yoga in Federal Way for a workshop on Yoga for Seasonal Affective Disorder. (Hint - I'll likely tell you to find some good rain gear and get outside!)
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