Inspiration, mental health, parenting

Family Road Trip Reflections (part 2)

We have been quite off the grid over the last week. As we come back toward civilization and regain cell-service, one word jumps out at me: gratitude.

I won’t lie, pit-toilets aren’t my favorite thing. Trying to stay upbeat and positive for my kids isn’t always easy when I am trying to convince them that pit toilets are “better for the earth”, “totally clean”, “a cool way to camp”, etc. We had two consecutive nights at a primitive site, then two consecutive nights at a less-than clean roadside campground, then two nights a site with great amenities but no electric…

…and I am now able to be so incredibly grateful for a charged phone, a flushing toilet, showers, and food options (pb&j for lunch everyday gets somewhat old ūüėÜ). I desperately hope that my girls are able to touch base with that same gratitude.

My eyes are also grateful for the rich vistas and amazing sights that I have been able to see (especially in contrast to the highway in front of me for the last 4 hours as we travel to our next stop).

My heart is grateful that the US has a National Parks system that protects land and educates the public on the needs for conservation.

I am grateful that my mom was able to come on this trip (yes, she is roughing it and tent-camping right alongside us)!

I am grateful that my husband and I share the same values…we prioritize experiences over items, hidden gems over tourist traps, and believe it is a crucial lesson to pass on to our daughters.

Please enjoy these amazing views from Theodore Roosevelt National Park (our favorite from this trip!) :

Wind Cave National Park:

The Badlands National Park:

Custer State Park/Black Hills, South Dakota

I realize that it may seem harder to be grateful when you aren’t on vacation…however, it is a skill that you can practice and get in touch with amid your daily life. You may find it easier to practice gratitude of big things, but I urge you to also practice gratitude of the little things!

Little things I am grateful for right now: it isn’t raining, I am listening to a great audiobook, I have downtime to write this blog, having fresh water, new stickers for my laptop (of the National Parks), and minivan DVD players to keep my kids entertained.

What are you grateful for?

DBT, Inspiration, mental health

Get out there…literally

I don’t think it’s a secret that I enjoy nature. There is something about being out in creation, alone or in company, that is truly awe inspiring and recharges my batteries.¬† What you may not know is that I am a generally fearful person…I am afraid of heights, speed, water, fish, large mammals in the wild…the list goes on…

In the spirit of trying new things and being out in nature today, I went kayaking for the first time! I have been boating, jet skiing and canoeing, but kayaking had always intimidated me because of the close proximity to the actual water and the increased (at least in my mind) risk of flipping! Today was the day though, I went…I paddled…I conquered!

Sitting so low to the water was incredibly peaceful. Being in the “rapids” (they were choppier, faster and deeper than I’d hoped for…) was exhilarating. Mindfulness was not a hard state of mind to achieve when paddling or floating down the river.¬† I spotted turtles, geese, ducks and numerous architectural oddities too!

DBT teaches us to accumulate positive events, which means to schedule fun stuff! As a mom of 3 that works full time, it’s hard. It takes effort. AND IT’S NECESSARY! If you want to have a relationship with yourself and others, you need to build into yourself and into your relationships.¬† I challenge myself to take off one day each month to just be.¬† It looks different every month; however, each month it’s crucial to reduce burnout and improve relationships. DBT teaches us to be mindful.¬† Mindfulness allows our brains to get a break from all of the STUFF that is ever-circling.¬† Mindfulness allows the dust to settle so that we can see clearly upon re-entry into our daily lives.

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Take time. 20190603_124220

Be present.

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Try new things. 20190603_134649

Accumulate positives in your life!

Inspiration, Journaling, mental health

The Sound of Silence

In 2005 I took a trip as a college credit across the United States in a 15 passenger van with 12 other students that I really didn’t know.¬† The purpose of the trip was to experience different cultures and create art in ways that I could not experience in my Midwestern campus life.¬† The most inspiring part of the trip for me, that has left a lasting imprint on my psyche was a hike down into Canyon de Chelly in Arizona.¬† Hiking down into the basin of the canyon was the only time I have every experienced true Oneness with the world.

I recall a specific moment during the descent in which I subsequently felt minuscule and gigantic…and immediately started crying! In this one moment, I remember seeing a small flower growing out of a rock.¬† I was so much more complex, large, and evolved than this plant AND at the same time I looked across this canyon and realized that I am a tiny speck on this planet.¬† The hike into the Canyon is 1 1/4 miles each way and I would estimate that I had this experience about 1/3 of the way down.¬† I hiked the rest of the way with complete awareness of the awe of nature.

This is the sound of silence.

 

View of Canyon de Chelly

 

How would you capture silence in a photograph? Is it a positive image like this one, showing a much-needed break? Or is it the opposite, revealing the lack of communication in a friendship or the dangers of not speaking out? Show us your interpretation in a new post.

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I have missed you!

I have not posted a blog in over 30 days! I feel so guilty about that…and yet it has¬†been for good reason. ¬†For the last month my schedule has been (over)booked with personal conquests. ¬†I share this as I believe it is important to be transparent and show what therapists do to stay mentally healthy! In the last month I have earned my motorcycle drivers license, made monumental progress on refinishing my basement, read TWO fiction/just because books, and gone on several hikes both solo and with friends to name a few. ¬†It is very important to me and for my mental health for me to¬†build mastery, continually challenge myself, and nurture a sense of adventure. These are things I try to teach clients of mine on a regular basis…

Consider Newton’s First Law of Movement: An object in motion stays in motion; an object at rest stays at rest. ¬†If you are depressed (ie: not in motion) you will stay there until something or someone helps you to start moving!

With that being said…what can you do? What WILL you do? Comment below and let me know your ideas for adventure and movement!Image