Yoga

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.

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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. 

To the Women Speaking French

Watch this.

No really, watch it. What do you take away from these silly clay creatures and their love for one another? When I watched the video at first, I was upset. What do those little monsters have to do with the world going at tornado pace when all I wanted to do was sit and let the lyrics woo me into a comfortable trance. I believe I’ve discussed The Weepies before, and I’m sure I’ll reference them again. Maybe a year or so ago I even referenced this very song. If so, I apologize for my redundancy. The truth that this band communicates is too poignant not share.

As I sat and wondered what was beautiful about this week, I could not help but think “holey moley” did June go fast. [OK – side note, it is beautiful that holey and moley are not real words, and perhaps I am spelling this phrase wrong. Amusement comes in the finest of places.]

As I walk through my weeks and follow my routine, I feel something tugging on me to stop and look up, for yes, The Weepies are right, the world spins madly on. Quickly and with gail winds and blushing breezes we jump from to-do list tasks to the hop scotch of frantic completion of the next best thing. I stopped myself this weekend, and said, No, I refuse to live this way. There is always going to be another problem to solve, solution to master, load of laundry to do. So, instead, I slept in and I took a nap – both in the same day! Oh the sloth, the laziness of rest. Raise your hand if you feel guilty for taking a rest! I know, I know. I do this to myself.

My yoga teacher started class tonight by praising us for carving time out of our days to take care of ourselves. When you hear the word carve, what do you think? I think of stone, and wood, and sharp tools, and precise effort that lends towards something beautiful. However, the word carve and the words ease, or flow or grace do not seem to go together for me. Why should it be so difficult to give ourselves the grace to enjoy a yoga class, to take a moment to consciously stretch our limbs and breathe. True confession – I caught myself looking at the clock at 6:15 and hoping the class would hurry along. I have things to do, blogs to write, meetings to be held. Tsk, tsk to me. I was not the first to roll up my mat and put away my props at the end of class. Other people had things to move onto as well. That’s why they call it yoga practice, right?

This whirlwind of a week brought pleasant, beautiful surprises as I was rushing from work to home to life. I am thankful for a three day weekend, for fireworks, for freedom, for rest. I am thankful for watermelon. Oh watermelon, why can’t you be this deliciously juicy all year long? As I bought dinner tonight at the local grocery store, I stopped to eat by myself in the brief pause before meetings. I looked up from my phone and noticed two women sitting and practicing French. One woman was my age, the other older than my mom, and they were both practicing their language skills. I caught myself listening, despite not knowing more than three words of French myself, and was drawn in to their beautiful practice in working on a new skill in relationship with another. The artwork hanging on the wall above their heads was so intriguing. Two tables down, a father was feeding his little toddler mac and cheese, and two boys fighting over a banana argued their way to the trash can hoping to be the one to throw the peel in the bucket. Parents were barely hanging on as their days were coming to an end. I got to share that space with all of these individuals as they rushed madly to the next anticipated moment of rest. Mindfulness and raising my head from my silly iPhone screen can be beautiful. I miss a lot if I stay wrapped up in the whirlwind.

To the women sharing a conversation in French at Whole Foods, thank you for reminding me to stop and look for the little things. I wish I had been brave enough to ask for your names.

Biscotti – none – 4th of July does not scream biscotti

Essie Nail Polish – Forever Yummy with Gold Luxe Effects – my hands looked like firecrackers

Restore

Life is a lot to juggle – and I do not even have children. I read amazing stories about women and men who are working three jobs, and raising five children, and making ends meet. The thought of that reality is exhausting. I know my opportunities have given me the privilege to not have to be working so hard. Nevertheless, I still struggle to find time to make it to the grocery store, or do all of my laundry, stock the freezer with breakfast burritos, vaccuum, or read all of the books that I want, or work my two other part time jobs (while not full time, I guess I do have some other endeavors on the side of my 9-5). Who needs a clean floor anyway? That’s what a dog is for. Psh, I don’t have time for a dog right now, much to my husband’s chagrin. My mom has this quote hanging in her house, and I think I’ve adopted the philosophy (thank you Joan Rivers and Real Simple). Sometimes, the necessities of daily life just need to be postponed!

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This week, however, I was tickled with the concept of restoration. Throw hazard to the wind and make it a priority to do everything that I thought I wanted to do, rather than needed to do. Oh shit, no, that’s not true. I’ve still got piles of laundry to put away. I’ve got the washing part down. In starting my new job it has been unnerving to not have a to-do list that is 47 items long. I struggle showing up in the morning not quite sure how my day will be filled, and to be honest it makes me a little bit anxious. I had a great friend remind me, “Katie, it’s not going to be this way forever. Enjoy it while it lasts.” I like weekends that are jammed full of friends, and family, and errands, and then Sunday night rolls around, and wham, I’m tired again. So, in an effort to be conscious of how much I try to make myself busier than heck, I tried to embrace the pause.

Here was my weekend:

A baby shower for a dear friend from high school. Nothing is more bizarre and emotionally beautiful than watching your friends get ready to be parents. It is exciting and shocking and brave to watch someone you love anticipate the loving of something (someONE really) so intensely. Restoration comes from reconnection with old friends, and connections with people who have known you longer than the days of being intensely over-scheduled.

A hair cut. My mom and I get our hair done at the same salon. She and my hairdresser (again a dear friend who used to do my hair for prom) joke about how I only get my hair cut every seven months. I told her gossiping about other clients while their MOTHER in the chair is inappropriate. My hairdresser laughed, and said, ‘simple solution – come see me more.’ I laughed and said, “ain’t no body got time for that.” It is nice to self groom, and my do, if I don’t mind saying, is beautiful.

Bike yoga. Ok – this wasn’t an officially organized activity, but I think it needs to be! Who is with me? On our Sunday morning bike stroll I was messing around on my cruiser, and trying to stretch my hips, and laughing way too much at myself while improvising some sort of “tree pose” on Ruby, my cruiser bike. I need to play more. If you want this to be a thing, I will most certainly attend.

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Dinner with my parents. I know I’m over 25 and supposed to be all independent and such, but I LOVE MY PARENTS. I love that they remain a part of my life, and that Sunday dinner swapping houses between my two sets of parents may be a new tradition. I love that they came to my house and I cooked them food that I bought, not even with their credit card! I love that I am in the beautiful place of being able to give back to them, and nourish them with the same recipes in which they nurtured me.

Here was my take away. I think, for me sometimes my definition of success means that my every minute is scheduled. I like predicting, knowing, controlling. It is uncomfortable for me when I am unclear where I am going, or how my day will unfold during the week. Yet, once Friday at 5 pm rolls around I crave a little bit of time to be spontaneous, for the bike ride, or the trip to the coffee shop, or an hour where I say, “hmm I think I’ll bake something.” I want to work on the beautiful work of integrating that concept into my work week. Do you find beauty in planned out moments, or do you prefer going where the wind blows you? I’m realizing there is peace and quiet and restoration and space to learn in the unplanned moments – even when they make me nervous. What is success when I’m not micromanaging my life?

Restore. What does that mean to you?

Biscotti – Espresso Chocolate Chip  – turned out pretty darn good – Don’t use whole wheat flour ( I left out the hazelnuts – ain’t no body got time for that.)

Essie Polish- Handle with Flair