Hope you have been enjoying traveling alongside with us on our cross country road trip. Today marks our 10th day on the open roads. I have to admit, it does not feel that long and I am even comfortable driving and pulling Mr. "burrito" (my 5x8 trailer). I feel we have done and seen a lot, covered a lot of miles, but even among the open roads their is this vastness I continue to see that keeps reminding me their is still so much to see, to explore, to discover. Being out on these roads with endless fields, meadows, mountains, rock formations, old historical towns or acres and acres of untouched land, is a reminder that their is a land, within us to be discovered. Nature is one of the best teachers I have ever had and continues to teach me, not only about our history, but the depth that lies within us. Yesterday while on the road I was talking to my boyfriend about the teachers I remember from as early as my elementary, middle and high school who made an impact on the lessons they taught. Perhaps, I did not acknowledge such lessons, here I was sitting in my car driving remembering my favorite classes and teachers. Geography in middle school, my French teacher in High school, my Journalism broadcast class. It was not the reading from a book that I remember, but rather the story, the experience, the classroom that I remember. As I sit here looking around at yet one of the biggest classrooms I have ever sat in, I am enthusiastic to learn from hands on and personal experiences.
After leaving my sister and her fiancee in Boulder, CO, we drove down south and came across Manitou Springs, a small historical, artisan mountain community. "Manitou" a native American word meaning "great spirit" is nestled between The Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak and has 8 natural carbonated mineral springs in town. There is a famous hike up called Manitou Incline. It is a 1 mile trip incline with a 2,000 feet elevation gain and 68% grade at the steepest point.
As written in 2016 Running Competitor:
"there’s no mincing words. It’s relentlessly steep and a ferocious challenge"
We decided to take the challenge. It took me an hour to reach the last step, but it was not so much the physical challenge I faced, but rather the mental challenge. Step by step, breathe by breathe, I tuned into MY own step, not being distracted by those who passed or I passed on. Observing my inhale and exhales, with every step my lungs seemed to restrict my inhales. I kept looking forward and upward, at no point did I look back behind me. I remained focused and patient with the self. The chatter began to soften with my deep exhales. I shortened my steps as to not expend more energy then needed.
On my last step I was greeted with cold raindrops on my skin, as though a celebration from the skies above. My boyfriend met me a few steps below and hiked up to the summit with me.
Because it began to rain I did not get a chance to enjoy the summit and had to make my way down. On my way down my mind began to release these intense stories from deep within. I realized that I have a hard time celebrating my accomplishments. We have been traveling on the road for 10 days, listening to TED talks about travel and inspiration and many times I come across memories of where I have been, where I have hiked, what I have learned and I do not give myself credit for my accomplishments. I downplay them as it is no big deal and what something bigger, better and higher. I do not know where the lack of self love comes from.
I am sitting at the coffee shop and looking at this picture of the stairs and I soften my self talk. I am proud of myself. I am proud of how far I have come and who I am becoming. These are the lessons that I am learning with Mother Earth.
Today, I am telling YOU! I am proud of MYSELF.
Today I am telling YOU! I am proud of YOU!
As I walked the stairs an old poem I remember learning in middle school came to mind and resonated with me so much. I want to share it with you guys.
Mother To Son
Well, son, I'll tell you:
Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
It's had tacks in it,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor --
But all the time
I'se been a-climbin' on,
And reachin' landin's,
And turnin' corners,
And sometimes goin' in the dark
Where there ain't been no light.
So boy, don't you turn back.
Don't you set down on the steps
'Cause you finds it's kinder hard.
Don't you fall now --
For I'se still goin', honey,
I'se still climbin',
And life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
Take a minute today to reflect on how far you have come and who you have become.
I am PROUD OF YOU!