Author: k8grace

The Office Phone Rang

The office phone rang yesterday. Once. Twice. Glance at the caller ID.

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Photo by Davidson Luna

I picked up the black office phone, untangled the snaggled cord, and tucked the receiver (oh dear, that is what it’s called right) between my raised shoulder and my left ear.

“American Family Insurance, this is Katie how can I help you?”

How many times have I repeated that phrase? I started when I was sixteen, working in my Dad’s office. And now, after his death, have spent over 365 days living out his legacy, still with the company, working for a different agent.

“Hi, this is …… and I’m calling to let you know that my husband died this past weekend.”

I paused. Death sucks your breath out of your bones, even when you don’t know the person who has passed.

“Oh no, ” I am sure I said “I am so sorry.”

I didn’t know this customer and I didn’t know her husband. I do know just how jolting death can be for the living. The ones left behind.

We continued the conversation.

I began to notice, in this customer call, there lived signs of personal progress.

My stomach didn’t drop. Huh. That’s different.

For the last year anytime someone told me another person left this planet my stomach would crumple. My body would sweat, my heart would drop deep into my already aching gut. Empathetic wavelengths would extend like squid, squeezing remnants of emotional energy I didn’t have to spare out to other people.

This didn’t happen yesterday.

We proceeded to talk logistics and I was shocked by this woman’s resolve. Her ability to speak coherently, to share her concern. “He used to handle these things,” she said, “how am I supposed to now know what’s best?”

I hmm’d along empathetically, flashing back to many conversations with my own mom who instantly acquired the title ‘widow’. We spent a better part of a year rebuilding, coaching, working together on learning again to know what’s best. You certainly can’t know in the first few days. Sure you can take action, make decisions, pick a song for a funeral. But what’s best? Baby, that takes a really long time.

I clicked through our computer system and managed to rework this woman’s policies. New options saved her money on her monthly premium. Changing coverage, that’s easy.

I gracefully offered to remove her husband’s name from her policies. Erasing a person from a policy, that’s harder.

Robotically, I clicked an “x” into the Deceased box next to her husbands name, and changed her marital status to widowed.

How quickly our society allows you to mark a box, change a status, erase a name on a billing account. The process of grief is no where near this simple. I still hate this word – deceased. I hate knowing that my dad falls into that category. One simply does not erase a loved one from your own being.

I never once mentioned my own loss in that conversation. I learned quickly that saying, ‘Oh yes, I lost someone too’ doesn’t bring comfort. Instead it brings awkwardness and an urgency to change the subject. I listened and asked if she had someone nearby to help her with these decisions. Support remains vital.

As I hung up that black office phone I felt strong and empowered. For the first time, I noticed how Dad’s death had purpose in changing ME. I was empathetic, calm, and collected when absorbing other people’s stories. I could offer support, problem solve, listen and see, just for ten minutes, her situation and perspective. Her pain was separate from my pain.

This is new. This is healing.

We keep saying in our household just how true it is that people die. People die. This doesn’t remove emotion, downplay trauma, or remove loving connection. These words just make it easier for me to live with the truth of death.

This phone call brought beautiful awareness. A gift from my job that can bring comfort and pain at the same time. A deeper understanding of how Dad once worked with customers. The realization that my approach to the world has forever changed with this pulsing absence of Dad. An American Family insurance agent for almost twenty years.

 

ps. Do you know hard it is to find stock photos of office phones? Ha! No one takes pictures of these anymore. Maybe the use of an old office phone is also a beautiful thing.

 

 

One Little Piece of the Pie

Patriotism.

A buzz word these days. The concept is sure to spark a conversation, or perhaps simply a stirring in your stomach because the challenges now facing America have a lot of ‘not quite rights’. Maybe this post will piss you off, start an argument, make you throw your expensive mobile phone to the floor. Or maybe you’ll scratch your head, nod along, and think hmm. I’m hoping for the later.

I’m not one to consider myself overly patriotic. The red, white, and blue is something I respect, certainly, yet I haven’t given much thought to what it means to be an American. I’ve taken freedom for granted. I’ve been angry with our government, our culture and the unspoken rules in which we operate. I have a degree in Sociology and I’ve been trained to look for the gaps in equality. I see the ways systems benefit some while leaving others out. I know I have immense privilege, but I’m not exempt from feeling that our culture counts my skills and potential as less than because of my gender. We live in the grey where ‘isms’ overlap causing pain and confusion.

Patriotism is not simple – it can be a loaded word. I wave a yellow flag of friendship (is that symbolism wrong?) and say hang with me here. This America stuff can be tough but let’s dialogue together. As with all things – God, faith, country – I just have a lot of questions.

The New York Times released an article last week called “A Patriotic Fourth: What Does That Mean Now?” and these shared perspectives got me thinking. Journalists stationed themselves across the country and asked travelers what the holiday means for them. Many ages, many backgrounds, many perspectives of the real America presented by those journalists – not just the ones we glamorize or relate to.

What is it I feel about our nation, our land, our challenges? Big, beautiful, important questions that are hard to answer in one blog post. 

Cataloguing my swirling thoughts I’ve made a list of the reasons I’m thankful and proud to be an American. For every bullet point listed below, there could be thousands of ‘buts’ that follow. Take a moment to let each statement to sink in before we go contesting and looking for the negative. Yes, my friends, there are paradoxes. The ‘buts’ exist, yet so does the beginning of these thoughts.

  • I can share my heart freely on the internet for the whole world wide web to see. Freedom of speech is a powerful thing.
  • Our land is immensely beautiful. The Grand Canyon, the Rocky Mountains, coastlines, prairies, and fields of sunflowers. Giant forests and desert cactuses. We have something to enjoy in creation.
  • People can wear our colors proudly. Classy they may not be, but we have flag pants, and bro-tanks, and shorty shorts, and swimsuits and jackets and hats that boast our colors. We are allowed to indulge in the wearing of the red, white, and blue. We can share our pride on our shoulders – literally.
  • I have access to clean water, healthy food, and supportive community. I haven’t seen war on my doorstep.
  • I have been given the opportunity to work and to write.
  • Green chili. Sushi. Naan. Spring Rolls. Exposure to different cultures through the reality of the ‘melting pot’ has brought me delightful experiences with food. Sorry folks, but I’m not sure the hot dog is something to be proud of on a culinary scale.
  • Creativity and innovation. Mix those with access to resources and we have technology that holds so much power. Channel music, painting, writing, and poetry with passion and make humanity weep happy tears. Variety in creative expression remains of utmost importance.

We aren’t perfect, but there is good here in the United States. Coming up with a list that doesn’t cause anger or leave people out is immensely challenging.

My family spent the 4th of July hiking in open space just a half-hour away from our house. The sun beat down on our necks, and sweat dripped underneath t-shirts. Wild flowers grazed my ankles and dirt came home with me on my calves. We ate lunch at a small business in a smaller town outside my bigger city. Locals slinging pie and sandwiches out of an old gas station. I sipped on an iced vanilla latte (of course) out of a disposable plastic cup.

We went to a bigger outdoor store, still local, and searched for flip flops to wear – hundreds of choices that symbolize abundance at our fingertips. We went to a bigger box outdoor store and joked that we don’t actually spend time outside on days off, but instead wander around gear stores and buy a bunch of outdoor gear that sits in our garage (another, more embarrassing American trait). We came home and showered in clean water and fell asleep on the couch. Rest is revolutionary.

We ate a dinner of avocado toast with salmon – hot dogs be damned – and when it came time to decide about fireworks, this year we passed. Riding bikes to the park and fighting crowds felt too hard. Freedom in opting out.

Dylan got out our ladder and we climbed up on our roof. Well he climbed, I slowly crawled as my heart pounded in my chest. I decided I hate going on the roof. We tried to watch the city’s fireworks from our own home (a beautiful gift – homeownership) and saw bursts of color through our neighbors trees.

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Photo by Kimson Doan on Unsplash

Since the big fireworks display was hard to see, I directed my attention to the young family across the street. A dad and his son, probably five or six, were lighting little fireworks off in the driveway. Whirring light mixed with cracking, sizzling flames lasted thirty seconds at most. The boy was delighted with each repetition – light, boom, repeat. Down the street another set of children lazily grasped sparklers in their sweaty palms. Circling the sticks of fire into the dark, the wands produced smiles on these kids faces, and a tickle of joy in my stomach. Time moved slowly up on the roof.

I climbed down the ladder with an ache in my heart, missing my dad and the summers he was with us. Standing with shaking feet on our deck, I sent a wish his way.

One story of an American holiday. One little piece of the pie.

Being American can mean so many things. It is messy, painful, zealous and enticing at the same time. Sitting of the roof helped me remember to be thankful for the freedoms we are given. To bless with a kiss the multitudes of beauty we can choose to embrace.

Favorite Things – July

Little Rascals Quote

 – Hint Hint –

Bonus points if you remember which charming movie character swooned with the words above.

We made it! To July! To real, live, summer. Here are my favorite things this month. Fresh cooking and little life savers that keep the bugs away and make the evenings sparkle. Enjoy!

  1. Marcus Off Duty: The Recipes I Cook at Home

I picked up this delightful cookbook at the library and could not stop flipping through the pages. Famous Chef Marcus Samuelsson shares his favorite recipes, and even includes a playlist for each type of food that inspires him! May I suggest his recipe for Crab Fried Rice on page 44. Um. Yum.

2. Popsicle Molds Set – 6 Ice Pop Makers + Ice Cream Recipes E-book

Remember what Darla says. Popsicles melt quickly on the 4th of July! And I’m really into making my own this summer. Thanks to my mother-in-law who let me borrow her molds. May I suggest this recipe?

3. Citronella Tub Candles

The bugs! They are out to get me! I have to invest in a citronella candle to keep the little stinkers away. While the candle smells bad, it can still be pretty.

4. Globe String Lights with Clear Bulbs

True confession – we’ve had a set of globe lights in a box on our kitchen table for a few months. They eagerly await getting stapled to our deck so the nights can be twinkly and charming. I love the way these look at night. I promise, we will get ours up soon.

5. Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence

I’m working on committing to a devotional and after coming across this one at my good friend’s house (see here) I was thrilled to receive a copy. Each morning I have the reminder to look for Jesus. This is a good and beautiful thing.

“Groceries…”

Groceries. What a nickname. I don’t really remember why Richard’s character in Eat Pray Love calls Elizabeth that name. Quippy sure, but powerful all the same. What we call each other out of affection matters.

This week I have been drawn to this video clip from the movie, and I imagine myself sitting in Elizabeth’s spot. What would it feel like to have someone rush their hands into your face like that? More importantly, why is it so challenging to remember the truth that the universe wants, aches, and desires to fill our lives with abundance and love.

No, I’m not recovering from a failed marriage and I’m not stuck dwelling in shards of love for a person that I shouldn’t be. I do see myself in that red headed character, though. The way she has her chin in her hands, twirling her hair around her fingers, weaving her hurt through the strands. Arms crossed across her body in protection.

Like Elizabeth, I walked into unanticipated loss and beat myself miserably over my inability to prevent such horror from happening. My life changed drastically fifteen months ago. That change felt bad. Really, horribly, achingly bad. Losing a pillar of a person in your life rocks you to the core.

I lost my job. A dream job on paper and that shook me too. Confidence went out the window. Panic and pressure filled my brain – I constantly scoured my writing for extra commas, and squeezed my hands red each time I made a mistake. I had never doubted myself so much, retreating inside for fear of errors, or interacting with a person who could hurt me again.

“Your life’s changing and that’s not a bad thing. And you’re in a perfect place for it. Surrounded by grace.”

‘Not a bad thing?’, I ask, ‘Whatever could you mean.’ I have always been a critic of change.

I now realize I’ve been living in this space of fear and regret for too long. I’m trying to change my perspective. Grant permission to sink into a warm pool of self-forgiveness, of compassion, and of promise. I want to change to embrace my next phase of life with expansion and hope and love. The universe forced, squeezed, smashed me, but I survived. Grace and mercy oozed in clumps in the process, like Play-Dough going through angry fingers in fists.

“So miss him. Send him some light and love every time you think of him, then drop it.”

If someone told me this about my dad I think I’d bite my lip, and mentally punch them in the face.  But when Richard says it, I slowly smile. I’ve spent many months in pain when thinking of Dad’s memory. Tears flowed freely and I’ve gotten stuck not knowing what to do with loss. This line though, this is wisdom. A perfect prescription for living with grief on a daily basis. A formula for healthy adapting. I want to send Dad light and love and smile his way, then drop it. I’ve got living to do.

“You know if you could, uggh, clear out all that space in your mind that you’re using to obsess over this guy and your failed marriage, you’d have a vacuum with a doorway and you know what the universe would do with that doorway? Whoom! Rush in. Rush in and fill you with more love than you’d ever dreamed of. Man.”

Whoa Richard. Calm down.

This is the line that keeps rolling through my brain. Well when I’m not filling it with fear and disappointment and sadness. What happens when I let go, and let love in? I’m not sure, but I’m giving it a try.

Here’s what I found this week:

We traded our neighbors a plant for their used outdoor dining patio set. They simply weren’t using the table and chairs, and they said we could have it, just have it, if they could have the little plant growing in our rocks. You mean the only ‘wildflower’ growing in our rocks? Sure! Done. Trade. Abundance.

I went to a fundraiser for a little boy who has cancer. One hundred and fifty people gave their time, talents, and resources to support a child who is sick. Who has been through fire. Watching community come together made my heart beat fast. Gratitude that I am well. Thankfulness for being raised to give. You can donate to Sam here. Abundance.

An old colleague of mine sent me an email full of beautiful things. She shared of her journey from divorce to living the travelers life. She encouraged me in my writing, shared her inspiration for her stories, and reminded me to listen to the words in my own heart. Across the country, through the waves of wifi, she sent love saying, ” Don’t expect that you have to know now what kind of a writer you want to be. Don’t pigeon hole yourself or expect too much. Do give yourself permission to try and try and try and try again and to change and ebb and flow. Not even try and fail. There is no fail if you are writing. You only fail when you don’t write.”

The words I want to believe, but have trouble accepting because of all the other ick rolling around in my brain. The stuff I should clear out. She wrote them out and sent them to me, without evening know where I stood.

Whoom! Love. Abundance. Gifts.

“Groceries….. I think you have the capacity some day, to love the whole world.”

Boy I hope so. Love is my goal. For myself, and for others, and for the journey.

What can you clear out that will lead to more love, abundance, confidence and gifts in your own life? What examples of bountiful provision and beauty have you encountered? How do you choose to turn off your brain?

 

On Doubts

Oh yes, I have them too. Big, fat, ugly, warty doubts that sit on my heart and squash my finger’s desire to type. Little wispy doubts that wear tutus and dance among my strands of hair, swinging along and whispering as they pass by my ears. “You shouldn’t write” they say. “Your stories, your truths – they are going to keep you from getting a job, or make your friends run the other direction. Give it up, no one tends to give a damn.”

I wonder, almost daily, if it is worth being vulnerable on the internet. I doubt the sharing of my tears, my heart, my hopes and my grief on this space. I filter my failures and minimize my successes.

And then, beautiful people like Anne Lamott give a Ted Talk and post on Facebook and I remember, once again, that I’ve got to. I’ve got to write.

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So today, my beautiful thing is Anne Lamott’s reminder that she shared. Take that world, I’m going to continue telling my story.  I don’t want to feel like hell.

I personally like #6 on her list. Take heed world, take heed.

Happiness Depends on a Good Breakfast

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The author William Martin wrote a book on parenting, The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents, and in it he shares the poem above.  I’m not a parent, not yet, but I do suppose I’ve been parented (that’s a word right?).

Well I’ve seen the poem before and I’m sure I nodded along saying ‘yes, yes, those words make sense.’ This week I saw the words again, and they oozed into my being. I accept the lie that I am NOT extraordinary much too easily. My thoughts bounce and roll upon gritty terrain in my head as I beat myself up for not having the right career, not being travelled enough, not yet earning those expensive letters behind my name. I get stuck staring at choices and wonder if MBA, or LPN, or LCSW, or MFA would fit me best. Sure, sure, I can appreciate a great peach, but I haven’t published a novel and I haven’t been listed on the ‘thirty under thirty’ list of young, successful business leaders in my community.

Stop!

When I come to the surface again, and can calm that pounding drum of a thing called my heart, I remember to reevaluate. Like Martin says, ‘striving seems admirable, but it is a way of foolishness’. Silly me, how foolish. No one wants the letters F-O-O-L-I-S-H on a resume.

The letters that suite me right now are as follows.

W-R-I-T-E-R

I’m growing into these letters and embracing the truth that these letters are a gift. Being able to eloquently communicate thoughts, observations, human emotions. What a beautiful thing.

W-I-F-E

I used to roll my eyes at the women who used those letters to define themselves. Psh – MBA is much better. Nope. Nope. Wrong again. This journey called wife is immensely extraordinary.

E-M-P-A-T-H

I am one sensitive stinker and sometimes this hurts. As I’ve written over and over, the world is a hurting place. Being empathetic, sensitive, and observant means you can’t ignore the world’s suffering. It like walking through sandpaper, always living with some level of texture in the air. The ever present grains of sand rub away at the calloused layers of pain that try to make your heart hard. I can’t do it. I refuse to turn off my sensors that allow me the ability to view other’s pain.

This sensational quality of being an E-M-P-A-T-H gives fuel to my other letters. It makes it easier to be a W-R-I-T-E-R.

Take off the smudged glasses of striving, and the world begins to be a remarkable place. Andy Rooney captures this so well when he says,

“For most of life, nothing wonderful happens. If you don’t enjoy getting up and working and finishing your work and sitting down to a meal with family or friends, then the chances are that you’re not going to be very happy. If someone bases his happiness or unhappiness on major events like a great new job, huge amounts of money, a flawlessly happy marriage or a trip to Paris, that person isn’t going to be happy much of the time. If, on the other hand, happiness depends on a good breakfast, flowers in the yard, a drink or a nap, then we are more likely to live with quite a bit of happiness.”

Put on the hiking boots of extraordinary and you can travel well through all terrain.

This week I went to water aerobics for the first time. The youngest in the pool by twenty years, I walked the lanes, and did my lunges, and water rolls with a funny group of older people. Have you ever thought about the magic that is a swimming pool? Someone figured out how to get hundreds gallons of water inside, how to keep it clean (we hope) and a decent temperature, and some fitness instructor figured out that we can jog laps with low impact on our knees. I’m not sure if I’ll go back, but trying something new with people you’ve never met, while intimidating, can be a beautiful thing.

I also brought dinner to one of my friends from high school who just had her second baby. Meet Evelyn.

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What an extraordinary thing that the people God gave you to be your friends can create tiny humans! No really, they made TWO babies! As I was walking around Trader Joes, picking ingredients for their dinner, it stopped me in my tracks to realize how extraordinary it is that we have the potential to bring babies into the world. I put a small bouquet of flowers in the basket, and Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups too, because dessert. A beautiful thing. Tiny toes, and delicate fingernails, and baby snuggles, even more amazing. Let us walk together through all stages of life.

I go back to Martin’s poem and I reflect on the way I was parented. Sure, there was a large amount of encouragement to strive. I was an over-productive high school student with amazing amounts of ambition and extra-curricular activities. I remember sitting in a Harvard informational session at the age of 13. I blame Gilmore Girls for that experience.

Yet, as I continued to grow into adulthood, lessons of empathy and emotional intelligence and self-acceptance rose to the top. My parents were really good at getting me to calm down, to stay grounded, to keep my crazy striving in check.

Another set of letters that describes me is D-A-U-G-H-T-E-R. I have this horrible thought that because we lost my dad, I’m maybe half of that now. A daughter only to one parent, not two. Like maybe the letters should not be capitalized, or truncated to half of the word.

F-A-T-H-E-R-L-E-S-S

These letters sting a little. I became fatherless just over fifteen months ago.

Stop!  The grandest of magnificent lies.

Yes, it’s true that my dad left this world.

However, I will always always be Roy’s D-A-U-G-H-T-E-R.

The lessons he gave me will always be extraordinary.

I’ve thought a lot about how I wanted to honor him on this second Father’s Day without him. Last year I spent the day in tears – my sweet in-laws being amazingly supportive as I snuck away, not once, but twice to call my mom. I sat on the porch wiping my tears and snot on the grass (sorry Mike, the smears on your lawn probably washed away).

This year, I become green with envy every time I see an article that was published in a magazine about another W-R-I-T-E-R’s father, or loss, or grief, or missed chances with their paternal person. I’m not yet ready to submit my story to a formal publication (here I go striving again).  I plan to stay off of Facebook, and will spend time with the best father-in-law a D-A-U-G-H-T-E-R-I-N-L-A-W could ask for.

I can, however, leave you this list of the things I ache for as my dad made the ordinary come alive.

  • Waffles on Sunday mornings. He would shuffle into the kitchen in his nasty plaid pajamas and make beautiful, fluffy waffles for us. Chocolate chip for me, topped with strawberries and whipped cream. He was good at weekend breakfast.
  • Fishing on the river – he always made us be enthusiastic outdoor adventurers. He would smile at us as my brother and I grimaced, lugging our fishing gear to some remote spot to put a fly in the water. He wouldn’t get too mad when we splashed upstream, probably scaring away all of his fish friends. Splashing brought joy. Casting did not.
  • He taught me to follow through. When I was getting my driver’s license he made me drive up to Wyoming and back at night so I could get my night hours. “Most parents just sign off on these Dad,” I grumbled. “Well, I’m not most parents,” he replied, “let’s get in the car.”
  • He drove me to junior high every morning. I’d be sleepy and cranky in the front seat, yet he always tried to have conversation. Not the best timing for connecting with a thirteen year old, but the effort was there.
  • Screen Shot 2017-06-17 at 8.47.33 AMToaster hash browns. My favorite breakfast for years. Morning routines were Dad’s responsibility and he kinda sucked at weekday breakfast. Over-cooked eggs and toast with peanut butter smeared with mayonnaise because he always forgot to wash the knife between making our sandwiches and our morning meal. It was hard for him to screw up toaster hash browns. I’m going to go find a box. Dad loved breakfast. Like Andy Rooney, he knew, happiness depends on a good breakfast.

Happy Father’s Day papa. I miss you so very much.

The Beauty of Everyday Adventure – Guest Post by Joey Holmes

I love when other writers approach me with beautiful ideas to share. When Joey emailed from Europe and asked if she could write something on the adventures we create in our daily lives, I jumped at the chance to see what she had to say.

Read along and start adventuring. Bonus points if you guess which of her suggestions I am going to do in the next few weeks!

Author: Joey Holmes

Her Website: www.coolofthewild.com

“In every walk with nature, one receives much more than he seeks.” – John Muir


I often question why being outdoors is such an important thing to me. Maybe being born in December and being cooped up inside for the first 6 months of my life has something to do with it. Or perhaps it was that, when the weather permitted, my mum would be outside with me on every given opportunity. But whatever the reason, there is something about getting outside and embarking on adventures, no matter their size or ambition, that lights a spark in me.

Recently I have started to take note of the things I say when I’m outside adventuring, and the way I feel or react to my situation. And on reflection I’ve come to realize just how important it is for me to be surrounded by the beauty of nature: an ancient woodland, a colorful bug, a stunning view, the dying light at sunset. These small, seemingly insignificant things are what drive me to get outside as much as possible and to open my eyes to the beauty that is out there.

Last year I challenged myself to cycle 70 miles across Wales, sleep on the beach and cycle back again. I loved the physical and mental challenge and the feeling of independence and strength that it gave me. But I was on a schedule to get from A to B before the sun went down, and I found it really frustrating that I couldn’t take the time to stop and enjoy the waterfall, or to lie down for half an hour to listen to the silence and take in the sense of freedom that my adventure presented. So I promised myself that, moving forward, I would always try to allow for that time of reflection and appreciation of what amazing things nature offers me on my adventures.

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This got me thinking about how adventure is so different for everyone. Stepping out of ones comfort zone and embarking on something new, unusual and exciting can be all sorts of things, and doesn’t have to be grand or significantly life changing. Anything from cooking your dinner on a hill after work, to spending weeks at a time exploring far-flung corners of the earth. Regardless of the scale, seeking out adventure always uncovers beauty in one form or another: in your surroundings, in the actions of your fellow adventurers, or in the feeling, emotions and thoughts within you.

With modern life getting busier and more hectic every day, it’s easy not to make the effort to get out adventuring. And even easier to forget to appreciate all that beauty when adventures do happen. So for a little inspiration on how to get some adventure into everyday life, here are a few simple things to try each week:

Dining out

  • Cycle to work instead of your usual mode of transport
  • Cook your dinner on a campfire – even if it’s in the backyard!
  • Take a walk along a river at sunrise
  • Climb a tree in the park
  • Have a sunset picnic at a place with a stunning view
  • Take a night hike
  • Go for a swim before work at your nearest wild swimming spot
  • Take a run to your nearest park on your lunch break
  • Climb a hill and do some yoga at the top
  • Build a den and read your book in it – even if it’s inside
  • Take your camp stove to work and make your own coffee in the park at lunchtime
  • Hang your hammock in the park after work and enjoy listening to noise of the city

Planning and then embarking upon mini-adventures is a great first step to getting out more. But to truly reap the benefits of all that adventure has to offer, I believe that it’s essential to take the time to sit back and pause. To really breath in all the elements of the beauty that is uncovered through seeking out the unusual, daring and exciting.

So whatever adventure is to you, make sure you do it with open eyes, arms, ears, mind, heart and nostrils(!), to fully absorb all that beauty that’s yours for the taking.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Joey Holmes

Joey is based in Cornwall, UK, and runs Cool of the Wild. She can’t get enough of being outdoors – whether that’s lounging around the campfire cooking up a feast, or hitting the trail in her running shoes .

You can connect with her here:

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If you are interested in contributing to 52 Beautiful things, send an email to 52beautifulthings at gmail dot com.