The darkest hour is just before dawn
'Observe the difference between
being "nice" & being "real" -
From who or what do you seek approval?'
I was asked to reflect
& so I pondered...
Two sides of the same coin...
as a child I was told
'if you don't have anything nice to say
don't say nothing at all.'
The masks abound.
I spent much of my time lost in imagination
to avoid burdening those around me
with some of the emotions and opinions I had.
Then I found myself in the shoes of a young,
After years of suppression the fire was fueled -
I impulsively felt the need to rebel against
every aspect of system and society
spewing my 'truthful' defense.
The result was disconnected or short-lived relationships
& a hole of loneliness
I wasn't all that nice
& though my attempts were valiant,
I wasn't all that real.
This sense of blind certainty carried into my early 20's
and is only just beginning to dissipate.
The past few years have been a constant balance
of voicing my opinion when necessary
& learning when it's best to listen and nod.
I find that sometimes the realist response is to not react-
to sit silently and let others ramble into their own cognitive understanding.
Most of my life I was looking for approval
from countless outside sources.
What this led to was a very depleted sense of Self
with iron walls keeping others out.
I couldn't open up because I didn't want my quirks rejected.
I was trying to find safety in comfort,
but in seeking found a sense of uneasiness.
Only in the last few years
have I begun to understand the beauty,
in vulnerability -
in opening up.
Finding now that
the deeper I dig,
the more I share,
the freer I become.
Duluth, Mn & North
The weekend was spent revisiting memories past. Duluth was were I first began to truly discover myself, a young, innocent know-it-all freshman soaked up in the independence and freedom of college life. Returning to Lady Superior is always a coming home of sorts, a taste of timelessness. No matter how familiar the feeling, I seem to always get lost in the comfort of the serene and wild Great Lake. Exploring the raging rivers that hurl over boulders, creating waterfalls that flood downstream. October is one of the North Land's greatest gifts.
I pulled off halfway through Seven Bridges Road. Sitting atop the mossy basalt rocks - tapping into the subtle quiver of the aspen leaves. Perfect timing to soak in the peak of Autumn and all the symbolic lessons this season has to offer. Throwing twigs, watching as they plunge into the current. The movement of water; constant, unconditioned, untiring. No agenda. No rhyme or reason. Simply flowing where it will.
Nature, that’s all it is, movement. Nature does not resist. Nature does not control. It simply follows the cue of time and progresses, changes, evolves.
Oh- the beauty in sweet childhood innocence.
Youth doesn't last forever,
but the truth in play is a life long lesson.
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This picture was only taken a few weeks ago-
a Maple fully dressed in colors of the rainbow.
Full, yet dying-
branches bare as they await the frosty evening chill.
It makes me wonder,
at what point does the tree shed it's weight?
or is it the leaf that lets go?
A moment in time and a piece of the process.
Change. Transition. Cycles.
A gentle dance between give and take-
all depending on how the wind decides to shake.
Autumn seems to always point me North.
The days get shorter and the nights get colder.
Highway 61 continues to grab my hand, pulling me off the highway and through the small quaint Minnesota towns.
Somewhere there is an imaginary line where the prairie magically turns to pine.
I left the deciduous forest of home to soak up peak season of the Arrowhead region of the Northeast.
On the way I had some dirty laundry staring at me from the backseat, so of course I stopped to clean it.
Moose Lake. A small laundromat sat in the midst of the downtown construction. Population just scratching the surface of a few thousand. The owner sat quietly behind the dimly lit front desk, dodging eye contact and any surface level conversation that might proceed.
I ignored his avoidance and asked him for ten dollars worth of quarters.
His manner was calm, his choice of music was spot on.
The Rolling Stones singing from the tiled ceiling....
Why do you hide your love, they asked.
I had a few choices of chairs.
I picked the dark olive one with a square yellow cushioned back.
The washer shook as each cycle passed.
Lost and found socks pegged to the community board along with missing dog posters and help wanted ads.
What does any of this matter you might wonder?????
I've been feeling a little 'distracted' lately, as if I were racing for some unannounced destination. A common theme that continues to resurface as often as the seasons change.
Duluth was where I was heading, though a pit stop was completely necessary. Your parents always tell you that the older you get the faster it flies, this life never slows down. And though that adage holds a hint of truth, how much do we affect the pace?
A few years back I vouched to strictly stick to the back roads and though I find myself on the dirt trail, I'm still flying at 65 or 70..... WHY DO I FEEL SO RUSHED?? Where in heavens am I trying to get to and why on earth do I feel the need to do it as quickly as possible?
It's as if everything is pushing me onward
& all I want is to slow down.
Thus, the laundromat is where I found myself. I was engulfed in the setting.
People coming and going and with each ding of the door I was pulled back to my seat.
So often I find myself high in the clouds, my mind racing and pacing, oscillating back and forth. back. and. forth. The same stories and ideas and beliefs and judgements and worries consuming my energy until I am completely depleted and unaware of the world around me.
DING. Here I am. Back in my seat.
I hopped in my car and before leaving town found an all-day diner to enjoy a short stack heaping with butter and maple syrup.
I could have turned my back, but instead I decided to face the booth housing an older man sipping on his milk shake.
'Dessert before dinner'
he snickered. Not another word was spoken.
Feeling fluffy as the pancakes that heavily filled my belly, I paid my tab and moseyed on.
A shore shell sitting in the center council along with a driftwood dream catcher hanging from the rearview. Back to the back roads I go, this time inching my way north. Stopping for anything that caught my eye; county parks, a forest of pruned pines and the lake surrounded with tamaracks....
Life doesn't have to merely pass.
ENJOY, LOVE BIRDS.
“Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. Colors seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.”
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Down near the South Eastern tip of Minnesota lies a beautiful river town called Winona. I found myself situated in the heart of bluff country, surrounded by the mighty Mississippi and deciduous forests as far as the eye can see. Boats & Bluegrass was the occasion, a weekend getaway was the reason and autumn the season. I had been invited to the festival before, but finally carved out the time to dance in the dirt.
I headed south early Wednesday to enjoy a long drive following the windy Historic Highway 61. With a cooler full of fresh food, guitar lying atop my camping mattress and great company in the passenger seat, I began to lose interest in the ticking clock. As my responsibilities shed their weight, expectations naturally ceased. We spent the day wandering throughout town, followed by a short hike overlooking a birds-eye-view of the backwaters we'd soon be playing in. Before dusk settled we made our way to the grounds of Prairie Island and set camp beneath a small grove of trees with the river quietly running yards away. The sun was hot with the forecast in the 90's.
This year the festival celebrated it's 13th birthday and the energy was high. Originally started in 2005, Boats began as a way to promote Red Tail Outfitters, a local canoe and kayak rental company. Over a decade later the music lives on and ticket sales continue to be capped at 1500 in order to keep the festival small and full of character.
On the surface, people come for the music. Strings, banjos, and electric washboards hum from Thursday to Saturday. Songs about time, death & dying, whisky, falling in love, living life and letting go. The music doesn't lend itself well to categories or boundaries, but for imaginative imagery we'll paint a picture blended with bluegrass and modern folk. Some of my favorites included Shook Twins, Mandolin Orange, Them Coulee Boys, Rachel Hanson Band, The Lowest Pair, Charlie Parr, Dead Horses, and The Last Revel - [full lineup online]. The lyrics are relatable; stories about transitions and troubles, connections to the past, hopes for the future and gratitude for the opportunity to let your hair down and dance in the gravel. It's Mid-September and as the leaves gracefully fall, the songs don't only sing to you, but through you. Autumn being the beginning of some undefinable end.
Beyond the music lies a community of free-wheeling, happy campers. Mostly mid-western folks with hearts of gold and eyes that sparkle that all familiar welcoming twinkle. I came in good company, my friend Mike had lived in Winona for some time and was a seasoned veteran. He told me I'd fit right in, though I couldn't have imagined how right he was. I spent much of my weekend slinking in and out of the festival grounds, poking into different friend groups and experiencing the diversity of minds and personalities that flocked to the festival. The openness and blind hospitatlity always amazes me, strangers who quickly let down their guard, conversations that outline personal struggles and dreams and hopes and aspirations. Freedom, you can feel it, always and everywhere, if you just bust down the walls.
The environment sets the tone. Boats and Bluegrass is a fun, family-friendly festival with a laid-back, hang-out, kick up your feet kind of attitude. Winona State University organizes backwater trips in which you can either follow a group through the marshy Mississippi or freely borrow canoes, kayaks and standup paddle boards to independently explore. There is live river concerts throughout the weekend with a houseboat as the stage and the water as the dance floor. The harmonica bouncing off the banks as bald eagles fish for lunch only feet away from where you float. There is no agenda, no hassle and absolutely no worries pulling you around.
College kids, townies, travelers, the outdoorsy type, business folk, gypsies, deadheads, musicians and artists all jumbled together. Campfire songs and hammocks swinging from tree to tree. An early sunrise haze to welcome each day. Lawn chairs on the beach and kids swimming like fish. The best apple pie you can find and local beer on tap. You get what you need when you need it most.
It was the last night of music and as the stars multiplied with the dark skies, I lay flat upon a childhood memory. The merry-go-round spins with my head in the center. Innocent, once again. I reflect on the weekend and recollect the endless conversations and connections that were made. The amount of free hugs and genuine smiles - all these people who told me what a treat the weekend was. I believed them, but now I understood. The festival was spent barefoot and braless. I had no image to uphold, and with an empty slate I was clear to be whoever I wanted. And for the first time, in a long time, I felt like myself. Sitting in a calm space with the stars still swirling above. Another reminder to not take life so damn seriously, to slowdown and enjoy the spins, to open up and let love in, to shake my hips, get dirt under my nails and to love the life you get.
It's easy to get caught up. It's easy to follow the distractions and to fill the schedule. It's easy to lose yourself in this modern-day bustle. And though at times it seems hard to find yourself, to reconnect, to appreciate who and what and where you're from, it is the meaning we give that makes this life worth living.
How often do we question our step? Always looking over our shoulder to see who is watching, silencing our song, reserved and afraid to dance to our own beat.
A personal reminder:
LET LOOSE. Stomp and twirl, make some noise - you aren't dead yet. Don't doubt your rhythm, especially in such a pretty dress.
Boats & Bluegrass is one of those unexplainable experiences in which you have to be there to take it all in. The quality of music is untouchable, the kindness of the people is undefinable, the beauty of the setting is magical. Truly, and without doubt, this festival is a homecoming of strangers, friends and family for years to come.
Until next year, keep dancing.
It's when things don't make sense
I find myself in the woods.
I've got a thinking mind, bless my heart, that never wants to take a break.
Rewind, replay and fast forward.
It seems harder now,
more than ever,
to simply pause.
Somewhere between the deep rows of pines
& bushes of wild berries
my thoughts cease
-even if only momentarily.
It's a fleeting feeling that brings you back down to earth.
A reminder that I am small
& there is so much more to this life than the thinking mind.
Let it be;
the constant analysis,
interpretation and understanding.
Things are the way they are,
and that is the way.
I find myself humbly grateful for the silent places,
the secrets hid in the most familiar spaces.
Man is meant to live, not prepare to live.
& so it is....
I quickly retorted, 'I don't know, one day I just showed up and now I'm back.' Some of the most profound, life changing moments, are those in which you had no intentions of being apart of, they just happen. The longer I live the more I realize you get what you need when you least expect it an need it most. Breathe is an experience, it isn't something you can quantify or qualify with reflective words and passionate emotions.
Breathe is something that is felt deep within your soul, it's a sense of going Home.
Breathe is an opportunity to change or remain the same. There is no agenda. No hidden objectives. It is a crossroads of wanting to grow up and staying innocent to the times. It's the acceptance you've always been looking for. A place to let go of the worlds troubles in order to hear your own voice. It's a morning cup of tea and the sounds of singing echoes from the trees. It's a space to dance in the gravel and sing and play and move and shake your hips. A community kitchen with pots and pans and pistachios, people sharing their food, their thoughts, and their love. When the wind kicks up and you might lose it all, watch the hands eager to help.
Some are seeking, some are found. There are wanderers and gypsys and vanbums, tiny home dwellers, yogis and jugglers, and fire-spinners, slackliners, musicians playing clarinet and guitar and ukulele and guitalele, banjo, drums, and the shake of the tambourine. There are live concerts at night [thank you Wax Works and The Three Beards] and conversations around the fire ring.
Breathe is more than a superficial get-drunk-and-tell-your-friends-about-it-festival, the INFLUENCE this gathering has goes much deeper than a weekend spent in the corn field forest of Indiana.
Everyone has something to share, and they share it freely. From the film crew [JV Studios, you are amazing], to the teachers whom donate their time and expertise [Cass, Rachel Matrejek] , and the artists who create, to the collectives [ISHA, Balancing Earth Slacklines, Rocky Mountain Slackline] and the caregivers. Breathe is based on the value's and vision of giftism, it is a priceless lesson in giving with no expectation of return. This environment breeds positivity and leaves each person with optimistic eyes. There is infinite love and support oozing out of every individual that giddily jaunts the field. Families, and freewheelers, and forever friends come together in that connection.
As I sit on the bridge overlooking the forest crick, I watch the water dribble and drop off the rocky edge. This weekend has been a taste of simple living. No clock screaming the time, no forecast to keep you inside, no plans to attend and no worries to fret. Everything is impermenant and as the Somber Sunday Blues near I know this feeling won't last forever, yet I hold on tight. Alone, somewhere I can't be seen. My eyes swell heavy as the tears follow the rivers cue. A quiet bank to catch my thoughts as I drift aimlessly toward the pool, watching each drip ripple it's way out - patterns without order, silence without boredom.
I begin to notice...
My feet are stained with dirt and my hair is piled high with humidity.
My mind is calm, a completely different space than when I first arrived.
My reflection has changed, it's lighter.
My shoulders slide down my back, the knots unwind in my neck.
The tightness in my tongue simmers
and the tension in my pierced lips has been released.
It's not what you come for, it's what you leave with. The magic of Breathe isn't held in three days of forgotten distractions, the true change is returning home. You leave with a sense of hope.
Breathe reminds you that you can experience life fully, even when the world around you pokes and prods.
The people you meet tell you you're special, they tell you they love you and they tell you why. They look into your eyes, they wrap their love around your most-often locked up heart and they remind you who you really are. Everything you see is just a mirrored reflection, and the beauty out 'there', in 'them', is everything you hold yourself. Breathe triggers your strengths and allows you to shine as bright as the full moon in July. Home is not a place, home is not an idea. Home is a feeling, it is a community, it is a family. Breathe is home. It's a way of life. It is opening to the love that swarms around you even when the thunder rolls and the rain pours down.
When the end is near a lump forms deep in your throat, you've got words in your mind but no sound comes out.
This moment may be over but the impact has just begun.
The days are long,
yet they pass so quick.
To be apart of this shift,
what an amazing gift.
[Thank you JV Studios for the family photo]
I awoke under a grove of pines while the morning light slivered through the trees, a cool breeze filled the air. A slow and easy morning followed by the last leg of traveling. I found myself on some county road in the middle of Southern Indiana. The scene much like the last few days. Family farmhouses, an abundance of wild flowers and that bright light of sunshine beating it's way through the windshield.
Breathe: A Slackline and Discovery Festival is something I stumbled upon last year [2016 Reflection] after a bit of online poking around. I had just moved back home and was looking for a slackline community to be apart of in the Midwest. I had gotten ahold of Mike, one of the co-creators of the festival, and knew immediately this was a celebration I wanted to be involved with. His words were simple and genuine,
“WELCOME TO THE BREATHE FAMILY, I THINK YOU HAVE JUST FOUND A NEW SECOND HOME AND COMMUNITY TO BE APART OF.”
Another year showing up solo. I drove into the drive, collected my map of the grounds and tied on my wrist band. I slowly sifted through the 18 pages of workshops and classes that were about to commence throughout the three-day weekend.
From yoga to slacklining, beginner to advanced, cooking classes to fire spinning, foraging to an open art studio, drum meditation to gong baths, writing workshops and talk tents. There literally is something for anyone, regardless of age, interest, or background.
I unloaded my car, set up camp and wandered around the space.
This years festival was nestled in the rolling hills of Owen County, Indiana. Stable Studios is the setting - a family owned, multipurpose venue home to weddings, festivals and a commitment to the local music scene. The environment set the tone. With 55 acres of fields, ponds and forest you immediately felt a calm rush throughout your over-stimulated, busy-boiling-blood, fueled by the bustle of city life. There had been a storm Wednesday leaving the ground soaked and soggy, a perfect playground for barefeet, grounding as the mud squished and squirmed through each individual toe. As I explored the space, I ran into handfuls of familiar faces. Instead of the nod-your-head-and-keep-walking-approach everyone seemed to welcome me with open arms and exuberant hugs. At this point it really began to sink in, I had arrived.
Thursday night was spent orienting myself and refreshing last years memories. An early night was called in order to welcome a long weekend of discovery. Evening came and went with a Friday morning rise & shine as the rooster sang his tune. A white haze hanging low on the green field, a slow awakening. I spent the day volunteering in the community kitchen, walking the line in the beautiful 'Yarnia' art installation and basking in an array of random talks with total strangers as we sifted and dug through some of life's simplest struggles and personal secrets.
People are drawn to this festival for so many reasons. On the most basic level, people come to slackline. There are hundreds of lines hung high and low throughout the entire space. Long lines, short lines, water lines, beginner lines, tricklines. The amount of time, energy and money that goes into rigging the setup is profound, a labor of love would be an understatement. Others show up for the yoga and mediation, a hippy festival, the music, the friends. But for most, a common theme threads through the core - people arrive unknowingly to reconnect and transform.
Life is busy, we all know this. The days are packed full and all too often we can't find the 'time'. There is never enough of it, yet it's always there ticking away in front of our face. As we run and race around we forget how important it is to slow down, to be with OUR thoughts, not the thoughts of the TV screen or the social media, or the lyrics or the movie lines..... The noise and distractions of modern day living stifles our creativity and beats our imagination into a submissive box. 9 to 5's and active weekends leave very little wiggle room for spontaneity and going with the flow. Always lost in our plans for what's next, analyzing what's been, until we are so disconnected and irritable we don't know where the source begins.
There is an intrinsic comfort - this environment, these people, this space - holds you and allows you to release the constricting limitations of systems and society. There is an energy here, one that is so over-powering that you let go of your subconscious baggage. The luggage you pick up and drag around in everyday life begins to dissipate, leaving your shoulders a little lighter. Breathe holds space for you to momentarily remove yourself from the noise and chatter, the stories you replay, the distractions, the habits and impulses and conditioning that has molded you. You realize you are not what happens to you, you don't have to play a role or match an identity here. Here you are free to Breathe, to truly take in life and love and laughter with each inhale and let go of the drama's and expectations with each exhale.
Sitting in traffic as I watch the exhaust fumes dance in the July heat. The cars all slowly creeping forward. Usually, this would be a scene of angst and impatience, though today things feel different. I mute the radio, sick of clicking around for the perfect sound. Instead I listen to the rubber inch it's way to the next intersection.
I've been on the road for two weeks now, weaving my way throughout the Midwest stopping from small town-to-town, taking in the pastel houses and white picket fences, and aweing at the American flags that hang proudly from the four season porches.
The trip started with a weekend celebration at the cabin, a fourth of July family tradition. Tubing, and tanning, and fishing and food.
Tuesday rolled around and I was to be heading South East for Breathe: A Slackline and Discovery Festival. On a whim, I showed up in the corn fields of Illinois last July and without hesitation decided to make the trek for year two. [Read last years reflection]
On the way I camped on the cliffs of Bluff Country in Winona, Minnesota - soaking up the lush pockets of land and water, redefining the color green. The wild overgrown path tugged and tattered what was left of my layers as I hauled myself up the rivers edge.
The next day I followed the Mississippi Road and Historic Highway 61, denying any reference to the main drag. Backroads. That is where life happens. It's in the slow down - 60, 50, 40, all the way to a crawling 25 mph. As I decelerate, the finer details surface - painted fire hydrants, pugs and poodles, winding country roads, red barns with chipped paint, half collapsed silos, lawn gnomes and figurine cows, childhood lemonade stands and small town halls with a post office box in front.
Life is slower here, you can feel it.
Simple? You better believe it.
Homemade food at the local kitchen, walls plastered with newspaper articles lining its history and celebrating its specialties. Rhubarb jam and raspberry pie. Crossing through one-church-towns while running into welcome signs with slogans of 'a good place to call home'. Tiny villages and unincorporated shanties. Long ago, forgotten houses with shingles sliding off the North side. The memory of good days past and boarded up dreams, progress and proof of urban sprawl.
The desolate dirt roads shine a light on the beauty that surrounds me, The beauty that is always there, even when my mind is not.
Here is a compilation of 2017 Breathe photo's.
I have done my best to put credit to each picture.
Thank you Tyler Muir Photography,
You are amazing.
THANK YOU JV STUDIOS FOR THE FAMILY PHOTO!!
If you have pictures, videos or reflections you'd like to add to the collection PLEASE e-mail Alyssa@BlindSpotCreatives.com so we can get them up and shared!
On Tuesday I turned 25.... words won't suffice. So here is a picture to put it into perspective. Life is free & easy if you let it. Love the ones you meet, learn from the ones you love and let that damn smile shine. Thanks for all the birthday wishes y'all.
Photo Credit: Eugene Young
Unless it's mad, passionate, extraordinary love - it's a waste of time.
There are too many mediocre things in life.
Love shouldn't be one of them.
-DREAMS OF AN INSOMNIAC
We often think a soul mate is the perfect fit. Someone who compliments you in ways you've never experienced.
Often it's an image of perfection, at least that's what mainstream media and entertainment wants us to believe. But, how boring would it be if all you ever did was agree?
You don't want someone who is going to tell you what you want to hear, You need someone who is going to shake you up and challenge every belief you thought was true.
You don't want predictability,
you want someone who is going to cause chaos in your life.
She won't be graceful,
rather she is going to come in kicking and screaming.
She is going to eradicate any ideas you had for normality.
She is going to expose you to your fears, doubts and any insecurities that have held you back.
She is going to tear down the very walls
you thought were protecting you.
She is going to make you look deep into who you are,
What you believe and for the first time in life
she is going to make you stare yourself straight in the face.
She will be a mirror into all the beauty
and the pain you've held and hid.
She will mark a
beginning & an end.
She will inspire you to be better.
She will motivate you to chase the dreams
you thought lay dorment in the depths of your mind.
She is going to show you all of your barriers,
addictions, and negative thought patterns.
She is going to break you wide open
and strip you of any superficial layers.
She is going to make you feel naked, completely unsheltered, and then she is going to hold you and tell you it's alright.
She is the home you've been patiently waiting for
and she will provide you with warmth, acceptance,
and understanding every step of the way.
She isn't going to come when the time is 'right'.
No, that's not her style -
She is going to come when it is least convenient
and she is most needed.
She is going to love you from a distance,
watch you grow and struggle,
and then when you've finally loved yourself enough -
she will quietly be waiting with open arms,
ready to pull you in and start anew.
She doesn't expect you to understand her, all she asks is that you
She is going to be intense, serious-
and at times abrasive-
though none of that matters.
Deep down you are going to see how gentle and kind she is.
She is going to prove her love in the simplest ways.
You will crave her tender touch
and experience withdrawal with it's absence.
This woman is going to dance around in your dreams.
She is going to shine a light when skies are grey.
She will listen to your thoughts even when you don't want to talk.
She will see through all the masks you wear.
She is going to confuse you and question you-
but her patience will keep you around.
If it's slow, it's worth it.
She will be a mystery,
one you will be curious to explore.
Her mind is wild and her heart full of passion.
She knows what she deserves and that is a life time of love.
She wants you, but doesn't need you.
She will forgive you with sincerity-
And she will apologize when she is wrong.
Humility is what she does best and she asks that you laugh along.
Life will no longer be black & white. She is going to color your world with imagination and fantasy.
Her mind is often in the clouds
and she looks to you to bring her back down to earth.
This woman is special.
She is going to be full of life and beauty,
often it'll bring a tear to your eye.
This woman is rare and she is imperfect,
but she will be herself
-nothing less, nothing more.
She is unapologetically authentic
and for much of her life she resented it-
But the woman who can love herself,
and can see through the veil,
knows what she deserves.
And if you can see it, you become it.
Her freedom is what brought you together,
and often it will make you nervous,
though it is this same freedom that keeps you coming back for more.
Love her. Listen to her.
Don't make her guess.
She does't expect much,
but she also doesn't wait around.
If you find a woman like this, make her yours.
Grab her hand and never let go.
She will fill your life with love and nothing will ever be the same.
She will take away your breathe just to fill you up again.
She is the essence of beauty
and she is the strength you'll need to
mend the depths of your deepest cracks.
She can not be tamed, nor would you want to.
Instead - run away with her thoughts,
be apart of the vision,
and embrace the wholeness.
A woman of this kind is going to be complicated and messy,
but she is going to be worth it.
She is going to feed your soul
and hold your heart in the palm of her hand.
As long as you love her, she won't leave you.
She will be the first thing you think of each morning,
And the final thought before you rest your head at night.
This woman is the half that will make you feel whole,
The missing key you've been waiting for.
You're not the first person to love her,
And you most likely won't be the last.
So give her your everything and let her know how real she is.
Don't tell her she is beautiful, tell her why.
Don't be shy and don't hold back-
This woman is going to be your weakness
though she will always provide.
Let your spirits tangle together as
cohesively as your bodies laying atop the green grass.
Explore and discover the World together.
She isn't looking for a savior, she's looking for a sidekick.
A woman like this is your door to infinity.
She will be limitless and unbound.
If you can stay present and grateful
She will gift you the deepest rooted affection.
When you find a woman like this, hold her tight.
October 15, 2016
I have been running wild since I was popped out of my mama’s womb. Always filling my schedule, racing to the next milestone. Never finding time to sit down and JUST BREATHE. Thankfully, that is all starting to change….
For a while I lived the routine life of biweekly paychecks and studying for exams. Then I graduated and bounced around from city to city – camping, hiking, traveling, living life. Though it was all beautiful, all apart of the process, it was tiring.
i am tired.
i am tired.
i am tired.
Our society prides it’s self on personal exhaustion.
10 hour work days, blocked out calendars, never finding time for the basics – sleep, proper nutrition, exercise.
Hell, what is relaxation??
No wonder why life is flying past, the days that never seem to last….
It is time to SLOW DOWN.
For the first time in my life I have no plans.
No expectations. No idea what comes next.
The weather in Minnesota is beautiful and is only going to improve. Summer nights have that perfect kind of chill reminding me that autumn is just around the corner and with it comes a time of transition, inspiration, and change.
I listen to the birds sing.
The misty, fog air creates beads of dew collecting on my summer kissed arms. The sun sneaks between the branches illuminating the green, fresh leaves. How had I never noticed this beautiful hardwood jungle I call a backyard? This dusty old hometown I apprehensively moved back to is slowly evolving into my happy oasis filling me with love and a DEEP sense of gratitude.
Oh, how much had I taken for granted.
Home. The trees, the green, the lakes, the love. All of these things I forgot about… There is no where else I rather be and it took me years to see. I’ve always wanted to get away, to go somewhere new, escape, flea, constantly chasing a feeling. The idea that the grass is always greener…..
All I have to do is pick up my feet.
Underneath, right where I'm standing, is beautiful.
When you’re racing around you get so lost in the momentum that the fine details that make this life worth living often hide behind the monotony of daily routine. The alarm clock shakes you quicker than you had hoped and the traffic begins to boil your blood. The distractions and noise keep us from hearing ourselves, listening to what we need, pushing us further and further from what we feel.
That’s where I’ve been at and it took me this long to realize it. Even though my schedule wasn’t filled with business meetings or client lunches, it was constantly moving. Sitting in one place was nearly impossible. For so long I was gasping for breath. My inhales were a few seconds shy from full and my exhales were deep sighs of exhaustion. I thought I was so different from ‘society’ but I was right there in the rat race.
Slowing down seems to be the hardest challenge, but really the answer to any modern day ailments. The stress we, as a society, put on ourselves is overwhelming – physically, mentally, and spiritually. We wonder why we’re overweight, sick, and unhappy. Our bodies, our minds, and our souls aren’t made for the constant go-go-go. There has to be a balance. We have to allow ourselves time to relax, reflect, and rejuvenate.
I know it isn’t feasible to quit your day job, drop out of school, or move to the woods… But there is a lot that can be done amidst the hectic life we live.
But where do we start?
It’s the only place to begin. It’s the only quality that breads fulfillment. It is what our hearts scream for.
So often I am lost in the plans and expectations of where I 'should' be, what I desire and crave, that I spoil what is already in front of me. I can't see it. I become blind to the obvious. Too close to touch.
And then I remember,
I woke up this morning, this is my life, what am I going to do with it? True happiness is to enjoy the present. Realize that what you have is sufficient and in most cases much more than you could ever need. Be here, in this moment, with this breathe and take a second to smile for all the gifts you’ve been granted. This life is a blessing, you’ve just got to wipe away the cloudy haze.
So, how can I get there?
By slowing down.
In order for me to get out of my head [my thoughts, plans, expectations, worries, anxieties, ideas for the future, qualms of the past] I had to get into my heart. I replaced the stories of my mind with the feelings and emotions of what's going on RIGHT NOW, not yesterday and not tomorrow. Experience is in the body, not the mind. Slowing down allows you to enjoy the little moments, it lets you feel the subtleties within. It is the slow down that allows you to see things for what they really are. It opens you up to enjoy and appreciate the finer details.
It is so easy to be swept up by the distractions, the bills and responsibilities, the to-do list's and overarching demands of life in this consuming culture....
But sometimes you can find a slice of stillness.
Sit with it. Step back. Take a second to notice.
You woke up today.
You are living.
This is your life.
All the choices you have made have brought you to this point. You have everything you need, now the only thing you have to do is take a second to appreciate it.
I was looking through my journal-
found this short piece from June.
Learning & relearning everyday.
Practice patience by noticing impatience
11 p.m. trying to fall asleep
I want to...
teach before I learn.
run before I walk.
leave before I arrive.
love before I listen.
Not a bite, I NEED the whole damn cake.
I've spent the majority of my life wishing for more,
craving it all.
Expectations keep you from experiencing life fully.
My mind, somewhere far ahead.
My feet, could not catch up.
Restless and searching.
Engraved in this culture of go-go-go.
An indication of the times.
There needs no shame, no blame, no claim.
And with that comes change.
Reread, reflect, relearn
The only thing I know is that I know nothing at all.
Though I've had a tendency to come off as
abrasive and pushy with my beliefs,
I toggle somewhere between a cautious child
and a presumptuous idealist.
I am learning, like the rest of us.
I'm a restless soul,
this is apparent to anyone who knows me well
(or has just bumped into me).
I have a new idea everyday
and I bounce from one rainbow to the next.
For so long I wrote this off as impracticality,
now realizing it's dead-weighted impatience.
I preach patience as a virtue,
yet have many lessons left to learn.
The more I sit back, the more life unfolds.
We don't have control anyways,
so I gratefully wave the white flag.
Time will always tell.
Note to Self - 05.11.2017
All you've got to do is Notice.
You don't have to try and change it.
You don't have to feel bad about it.
You don't have to make excuses
or question why-
All you've got to do is notice.
Watch what happens when you simply observe
with no need to modify or control-
But, to welcome what is so real and in front of you.
The simple moments, the silver linings and the subtle transitions.
Truth finds a way to the ones who Notice.....
This path is not easy.
It is not your typical walk in the park...
'Relax into the moment'
J U S T
'Find your breath' they say.
A light, fluffy matter.
A task for any-
Though it takes some strength.
There are deep, deep struggles you must first overcome.
You've got to stare long and hard toward all your habits, your imperfections, impulses, judgements-
And then you have to detach from them.
Accept them. Understand them. Embrace them. Learn from them.
And then let them go.
It doesn't happen overnight --> it is a constant practice.
& it's lonely.
No one can support a battle that is rooted in internal attachment.
No one can relate on a visceral level,
Even if you could ever muster the right words.
Isolated on this lonely island until
find the strength to open to a new day.
A new way of living,
Grab your floaty
because you're going to need all the help you can get,
even with it, some moments will make you sink.
The broken pieces will cut to the bone,
but keep pushing, keep moving forward.
Cry in the shower, scream in the car-
Suffering is only the start.
It will pass,
As it ALWAYS does.
Some things with bitter rinds
hold the sweetest fruit.
Tabula rasa, blank slate, new beginning...
Whatever you want to call it, it's that moment in time when you finally decide
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
I've been in a rough place-
A space resembling an old dusty, damp basement filled with boxes and piles of anxious desires, unrealistic assumptions, unruly reactions and a consistent clinging to the past.
A room, deep under, with no windows to let in the light.
Four walls filled with limited perceptions and no direction.
Tunnel vision and obsessive contemplation.
Once I finally took some time to slow down,
truly slow down, and be with my thoughts, I lost my mind.
Part of me is being dramatic, the other part is relieved I said it.
After a few years of constant here-and-gone-again living I became a ruler in dodging my emotions, distracting myself from dealing with the baggage I unconsciously carried.
I could pick up, pack up, and leave behind whatever I didn't want to look at, deal with, accept.
Always departing, never truly arriving.
The signs were all there...
A few broken bones, a handful of surgeries, detached relationships,
constant destinations, unreasonable expectations.
Things never seemed to be going 'my way',
another victim in the big game.
Oh, how blind I was.
I became attached to the mask, my 'role' of always staying strong.
An image of a positive, bubbly girl who never let the dimple disappear...
I held it all in until I couldn't hold any more.
As the moon falls, so does the sun rise.
Impermanence can be a burden or a blessing,
depending on how you address it.
The dark feelings I felt just needed to be noticed,
they had no intentions of sticking around.
The more I open to the emotions, the quicker they dissipate.
Slowly learning to accept instead of judge,
To reflect instead of assume,
To respond instead of react.
I see light on the horizon, coming in right on time.
A brand new day.
Once again, becoming my own best friend.
Oh, the dark clouds roll away as the sun begins to shine.
Spring is here and she came right on time...
Spring is all about new beginnings, new life-
Growth, moving forward-
Sometimes you’ve got to let go, release the old.
The last few years have been full of experience.
Learning, loving, leaving.
In the midst of the busyness I lost touch of who I was-
I became disconnected, dissatisfied, distressed.
I was caught in my impulses, desires, and reactions.
Restless I ran,
Point-A to point-B forgetting about everything in between.
Asking questions but closing out the answers.
I found myself at a crossroad:
One edge clinging to the past,
The other planning out the future.
Lost in my mind, in my stories, in my thoughts.
I could never truly accept where I was.
My hands tangled behind my back.
Shoulders heavy - weighed down by fear & insecurity.
My chest suffocated by expectations & role identity.
The clock kept ticking and I couldn't catch up...
And then I decided to simply stop.
I looked down at the ground-
The grass so green, right beneath my feet.
What connects us?
There is something in the universe that brings people together. Call it coincidence, if you must... I call it fate. Each of us is teaching a million tiny lessons in every simple conversation, whether we are aware of it or not.
I have given a small piece of myself to each stranger in which I stumble toward.
I have shown my darkest hour to transient gypsy's.
I have bonded with the simple folk, the godly intelligent and the silent wise.
I have been touched, influenced, conditioned and inspired
by the seemingly 'random' connections.
And as I count my blessing, I ask a favor-
Why did we meet?
What do you remember?
What have you learned?
What can you teach?
The answers themselves are not much important. Rather my interest lies in your willingness to reply, your attentiveness to curiously explore the questions and your intention to reflect.
We've all got a message to share. Stay anonymous if you'd like, but consider responding by filling out the form below. Share whatever comes to mind; a personal story, your favorite quote, a memory or lasting impression. Remember- you never know who you're going to impact and you never know why.
How funny this life is... The experiences and people you gain along the way.
You never know what is to come and you never know until it's over how it's going to affect you.
I made my way back to Winter Park to take in the New Year.
I left the valley over a year ago, yet have returned every few months for that simple reminder of simple living.
The constant come and go, here and there -
a gauge into the transitions of life.
How much has changed?
How much has stayed the same?
It was here I began to truly look at myself.
Those peaks, so high above,
forced me to acknowledge my flaws and fables.
With the New Year comes exploited personal observation-
These resolutions we feel the need to set.... How great can we become?
Perfection- the fallacy of being our personal best.
It's this very expectation that takes us away from truly being where we are.
I've been motivated by this constant desire to change myself, to transform, to grow.
To think, how much have I inflicted this desire on the ones who surround me?
Always becoming, always departing - though never truly arriving.
Wrapped up in altering my landscape that I forgot to appreciate the view.
When was the last time I was without plans?
Constantly battling myself, unable to simply value my life
as it is without the need to paint pictures of the future that may never rise.
Delusions of grandeur - purpose and prosperity coming from an inflated,
over-exaggerated need to change.
I've been racing around my entire life searching and seeking for something more,
now realizing it's where it's always been....
The week came to an end and it was time to make it back to the Midwest.
Through the night I drove in the silence along the moonlight mile.
Pointing East as I crossed the county lines.
One state after another.
Counting the somber truck stops as I emptied one tank after the next.
Home was where I was heading.
It's always the ride back where you question why you left.
Some people travel to go somewhere, to escape, to 'get-away'.
Throughout the years I have learned I travel to find myself,
even if only in vain.
It's the people I meet that reveal the greatest secrets, often in the most unlikely ways.
All of these 'trips' impact more than 10 days...
The emotion and experience over flows the empty cup.
You hate what you lose, but you love what you gain.
This year I decided to let go of the resolutions, leave them behind, maybe catch back up at a different time...
Instead I vouch to fill 2017 with acceptance of who I am, where I'm at, and why I'm here.
It's time to embrace my sensitivity instead of shame it.
Welcome experiences as they come instead of trying to create it.
This year is about being instead of becoming, what a breath of fresh air.....
I spent my whole life wanting to leave home.
There was always somewhere to be, some place to go....
I was caught in the future with a raft in the past.
Every where I went a shadow would follow
her intentions clear, though outlook clouded.
And then I returned to discover I was back where I started.
Here I stand, exploring the roots that raised me.
I'm finding new things, I'm becoming thankful.
Everything I have loved in my travels has been a reflection of the life I grew up on.
The aspens, the willows, the tendencies, the troubles.
I was experiencing life, yet North the compass would point.
Back to the dirt roads and farm fields that shaped me.
Time is this funny term we use.
Attempting to quantify and qualify our daily experiences into mere seconds, minutes and hours.
Though the only thing time is good for is lessons, she's our teacher.
We never have it figured out
and that is why this life is a blessing.
Every day is different and no matter how lost you are,
your heart is always pointing home.
All we've got to do is listen to the silence, settle in and have some patience.
Experience where you are while you're there.
Be there. Be in the moment.