Signpost on mailbox says, Go slow or you'll smash the cat.

A Time & A Place

There’s something special about morning hikes, isn’t there? Maybe it’s the smell in the air. The moisture is heavy and the ground, plants, rocks and surroundings have a chill to it.

Or maybe it’s the soft light that comes through. Not bold and in your face like a mid-day hike – I actually keep my face turned upwards to feel it’s warmth.

Maybe my mind is not as filled and is still open to new ideas, talking with people (real, imagined and dead) and angels, animals, birds and to myself (oview of dirt path and white clouds on morning walk in Coloradof course!)

It’s a different canvas and it just takes a bit of planning to get up and get out as a way to enjoy it.

Last week I was returning from a scenic hike and a woman was coming towards me talking … on her phone.  I heard her say, ” Just be sure to make the beds anMule deer grazing during morning walk in Coloradod I’ll stop at the store for groceries…”

Really? This couldn’t wait? What was worse, (in my humble opinion) was the volume of her conversation. Isn’t hiking something sacred and equal to being in a church? Or a library? Yes. Of course It Is! Talk if you must, but lower your voice and respect Mother Nature.

As this rude woman talked, the mule deer munched their breakfast, inching away from her and further up the hillside. I wonder if she even saw them.

As I am doing the spiritual thing – expressing gratitude and awe of the sky, colors, smells and nature – others are busy in their own world too. I try not to judge but this really is my place of worship and I want others to behave as if it is theirs as well. (No judgement, HA!)

Come with me and we can practice proper hiking etiquette together!

Seeking Sweet Silence

Sometimes the best place to find sanity is in silence.

Seeking silence is different from meditation. This is more about silencing the world around you – avoiding conversation, turning off the radio, tv, phones, and turning away from people. Silence allows the mind to run and play without having to be accountable.

My friend worked as an office manager and was out in front of people all day. Answering phones, welcoming clients, facilitating meetings and when she got home from work she was done. She was in a dead zone and shut down. It was her way to cope and recharge for the next day.

There’s something about silence that allows you to power-down for a while. The brain is allowed to see the world as it is … no judgment, just allowing.

Growing up, I had an early bedtime. In my opinion it was TOO early. However, my parents lived for this time of day. As a parent myself, my children went to bed early on a regular basis. An early bedtime allowed me respite from the questions, lessons, parenting and allowed me to just BE. It was the silence I craved.

I find when I work with my plants I enjoy the silence. Expect for the words I share with them about their beauty, progress and delightful growth – it’s usually done in silence. Ok, sometimes I sing to them  but only when they need it.

I suppose silence is the reason I enjoy walking so much. It’s my time away from the distractions. When I walk, I am the one to choose when to break the silence. Do I want to start a conversation with that adorable young toddler, shall I visit with my neighbor, maybe I’ll say hello to the new people moving in – or maybe I won’t.

Silence is clearly something we can achieve – and usually it’s something that we need to plan. On the way to work – silence or a phone call? Silence or the radio? Silence or a book on tape? Silence or visit with the person sharing the ride?

Have you noticed that silencing the world around you for just a little bit can make a big difference in the way you feel?  After I enjoy some silence, I welcome music or conversation or interaction with more relish than before.

Nature’s Playpen

Taking a walk in silence can be one of the most educational things you can do to enhance your growth.

rushing water in springUnplugging music, books, podcasts and most of all …the train of endless thoughts … allows you time to let in new ideas.

Walking, looking at the scenery, smelling the air, taking a shower, watching clouds … all mindless activities that give your mind a much needed break.

To grow — you have to have downtime.  If you hike with a friend, take a break from the conversation and walk in silence for awhile. If you hike alone, focus on the path, the trees, flowers blooming, clouds forming or your breathing. Stop the chatter and be in the moment.

So simple, so easy – it takes focus though. Focus on the moment at hand.  Your brain will thank you for this brief respite. Trust me.