My most treasured childhood memories are of our camping trips. I grew up in a time when TV was a thing, we had no computers, social media, or the internet. Looking back this was a true gift. The outdoors and nature were my playgrounds and closest allies. Whether I was playing with animals outside or we were camping in the forest somewhere, I always felt at home and connected to something bigger. There were few restrictions that I can remember. I was barefoot a lot, and it didn’t matter what I wore, or even if I had a shirt on (until I got older), or if I got dirty. The freedom and joy that those experiences brought me have had a significant impact on my life as an adult.
In 2016 I went on an epic backpacking trip through the Grand Canyon with 4 beautiful friends. We spent 10 days traversing Havasu Falls, Bright Angel Trail, and the South Kaibab Trail. Our cell phone service was spotty at best. We carried our food, water, and shelter on our backs. Each day was not only physically brutal and taxing, but it was also exhilarating, peaceful, and healing.
Nothing gives you perspective like the expanse and mystery of nature. Like, hiking a mile deep into the earth, through millions of year old sandstone. Stepping out of your comfort zone and into nature reminds you how small you really are.
Backpacking has a way of thinning out the things you don’t really need. It provides you with perspective, solace, untapped strength, and a deep appreciation of nature.
I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees. Henry David Thoreau
Part of the allure of doing this trip was the solace and peace I’d hoped to find. Also, I desperately wanted to run away and escape the devastating loss of my husband in 2014. For two years I’d been on this quicksand footing. Always unstable and most of the time drowning in it. Grief, loss, and trauma are like that. You swallow the quicksand and can’t breathe, it’s all-consuming. Consequently, it’s a little ironic that I found some of my footing and the beginning of real healing while hiking 6-9 miles a day and changing elevation by 6,000 feet. For me, the challenge, the adventure, the extreme conditions, the quiet, and the love and support from my friends, was a way to discharge, purge, and heal.
“Nature has a way that strips us down, and gets rid of the facade we carry with us in our normal lives.”
Dixie @Homemade Wanderlust
In our isolation from other people, technology, and the busyness of life, we came together as a team and a family. One night while we were sleeping under the stars (this particular night, we were too exhausted to pitch our tents), we took turns chatting, laughing, and telling stories. We were a crazy band of renegade adventuring slumber party goers. My friend Macy, told us about how she was involved in a yoga program that taught yoga to veterans who were suffering from trauma and post-traumatic stress syndrome. She said it was amazing to see a difference in them and to make such an impact in their lives.
There under the clearest and brightest starlight night I’d ever seen, I took a giant leap of faith, into the next phase of my journey. That night Spark Yoga was born in my heart and head. The next year, in 2017, I began my Yoga Teacher Training program. Once again, I had a sense of hope and wonder in my life. Teaching yoga was always something I had thought of, but I have to wonder if that trip through the Grand Canyon had not happened, would I be where I am at today.
You don’t have to go to the Grand Canyon or climb the highest mountain to connect and nurture your soul. Make it a point to get outside, whether it’s in your local park or a walk near a stream. Take a drive somewhere, get out and just be. Be with nature and the solace and quite it can bring.