Friday, July 31, 2015

7 Quick Takes Friday



1) I was thinking that today seemed like a Quick Takes sort of a day, and I thought, "too bad it's not Friday". Only then I realized that it was Friday, and I should go ahead with a post, even if it is late on a Friday.

2) My head is all screwy on days of the week right now because my sisters and I just got back from a ridiculous road trip. We started out with a plan, and then right before we left, all of our plans fell apart. Plan B was to start driving and see what happens. It was pretty amazing, but it was a LOT of time in the car. Re-entry is a little rough on me. I don't know quite what to do with myself at home. There's a lot to do, but I'm doing very little of it, though I have already started to sort pictures. Part of my problem is it was nice to have my sisters around, and now the house is awfully quiet. But then again, we were getting on each other's nerves enough by the end of all that quality time that it's not bad that it's over!  We still like each other (I think) but it might have been borderline if the trip had lasted much longer.

3) My plan was to do laundry today. That didn't happen. Neither did the trip to the bank. Tomorrow's another day, I guess. I did spend some time watching the feed here. Bears on a live webcam at a river in Alaska. We watched a mama with cubs go fishing while the cubs were feeding and playing on the bank. Then there were the bears that were hanging out fishing. Sometimes they don't move a whole lot, but then one will go after a fish or they'll have a little spat about fishing spots. We've seen as many as seven bears at a time. Sometimes you can see the salmon jumping, and once I saw a bear eating its fish, and then the seagulls moving in for the leftovers. It's addicting, so you've been warned. I know we've all seen it on much better edited nature shows before, but there's something different about watching the real thing happening without the editing. Though I have wondered a couple of times why I can't stop staring at a bunch of bears that are hanging out and scanning the water and not doing much else. (But then they do! And it's exciting!)

4) I'm kind of freaked out right now. I've been seeing some suspicious looking spider webs outside my house, and was thinking that was too close. Then I saw one go running across my floor today, all shiny and black. I don't know for sure, but it seems like black widows. My landlords and I will be having a chat about the exterminator's visit tomorrow. I don't like have poison sprayed around, but I'm pretty sure it's better than getting bit by something poisonous!

5) What's going on with you all? I'm starting to work through getting caught up with everyone, but it will take me a bit and I probably won't be able to comment as much as usual. But seriously, tell me what I missed! Are you doing anything fun this weekend (besides watching the bears, because I know you want to.)

6) One thing I did manage to do today was to go to the gym. That was a rude awakening. After a week in the car, it was hard to push it like that again!

7) Okay, I think it's pretty obvious that I'm out. Have a wonderful weekend and head over to Kelly's for more Quick Takes!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Backpacking?!

I don't know what happened. I really, really don't. I have started to like camping. I used to hate it, but would agree to it as a necessary evil. If you like to be on a trail early in the morning, sometimes you have to camp. Although, I have to admit that I prefer to camp away from a campground. You have to be aware of where you are so that you are not on private property or property where that is not allowed, but it's nicer than all of the noise, in my opinion.

I am quickly coming to see the best kind of camping as being backpacking. It hurts in a way, because those packs can get heavy. I'm not an ultralight packer, and I'm not likely to become one soon, but the weight is work going up a hill in high elevation.

The thing about backpacking, though, is that it allows a person to experience nature in a whole different way than we typically do. So much of our lives are spend running from one thing to the next with constant electronic distraction. Even on a trail, I often feel the pressure a bit. You have to drive to the trail, try to get to your destination before the storms come, then drive home, often in heavy traffic. Backpacking is different. Even just an overnighter. Once you are on the trail, that's where you are. If the rain comes, you don't race back to your car because you're usually too far in. In fact, you don't see a car for at least 24 hours and you certainly don't have to fight traffic. It's enough work to do that even the foot traffic is typically lighter.

This last trip was interesting. We weren't able to make our destination because the storms rolled in. You can't go sit in your tent in a storm, because it isn't safe. You pull out the rain gear and stand outside in the rain. But not close enough for easy conversation, because if lightning strikes, you don't want it to take out the whole group. (It wasn't that close, but we'll take any safety measure we can get!) Then we had a short break, then another storm. Then we didn't have quite enough time to hike anywhere, so we sat in a high meadow surrounded by waterfalls.

I had a love/hate relationship with standing in the rain. I wanted to go to some mountain lakes. Or I was tired, and would have been happy to take a nap. Really, just about anything sounded like a good idea. Instead there was nothing to do and nowhere for me to go. I just had to be there in that moment. There was no escaping the discomfort, only going through it (and it wasn't that uncomfortable; it's amazing what good gear will do for you). I stood in the rain and watched the way the water made the leaves dance. I had to start to learn to be okay with being still and not turning to the next distraction.

What was really nice, though, is that by the evening, when my friend had gone to bed early, I sat in a high mountain meadow. It was a little daunting to have over an hour before sunset and absolutely nothing to do. I'm not used to that at all. In the quiet, surrounded by the sound of waterfalls and birds and amazing mountain air, I started thinking about the way that we were moving away from the sun. Though everything seemed perfectly still, we were barreling away from the sun. I don't know why I think what I do out there, but it was something that I was very aware of in the stillness of that moment.

I can also tell you that I was able to chat with God in a way that I haven't been able to for a long time. I think I have too many distractions, and I'm not quite sure what I'm going to have to be doing about that, but in that moment, I didn't worry about fixing anything. I just took that moment to breathe in and breathe out, to reach out to God and let Him reach back to me through the stillness.

I can tell you that every storm in the last couple of weeks has made me extremely grateful to be indoors, but as crazy as it sounds, being outside having to deal with the realities that we often run from (like rain is wet) was pretty amazing as well.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Reading

I have always been a reader. Okay, not always. There was that first few years of my life, but my parents swear I taught myself to read when I was 4 (I don't remember it, and they've been known to exaggerate.) Since then, I've read.

I'm not going to claim that I've always put my reading time to good use. There are many things that are not exactly helpful in expanding one's horizons. I'm pretty sure those Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys years didn't help tons, but I enjoyed them at the time!  I have read a few more classics than most non-English majors, and a LOT of light fiction. People told me that once I got to college and grad school, I wouldn't want to read for fun anymore because I'd be doing too much studying. People were wrong.

I will say this, though. I had a couple of years since I moved out west that I have read less than most of my previous life. This is a combination of a lot more time active, and the fact that for a while, I was feeling that I had absolutely no more space to dedicate toward books. Not only that, but I didn't want to keep moving all these books.

One thing that I didn't dedicate tons of reading time to was professional related things. Some, of course, but not anything on a consistent basis. Over a year ago, I read a graphic that someone posted on fb about reading and how someone who consistently read something like 15-30 min a day in their area of expertise could become a leading expert in their field within 7 years. It was an interesting thought. Not that I'm trying to become a leading expert in my field, but I do want to be good at what I do. I did start reading a little more, but maybe not a ton.  It's amazing how that stuck with me, though.

In the last 8 months or so, things have been slower at work than I would like. It's been a concern. When I tried to figure out what to do, I asked myself what I could do with my time to be getting the most benefit from it as I possibly could. I also prayed about what to do with the time. The answer became studying, and it's been a ride. Now I have lots of new info and ideas, and I keep trying to figure out how to do a better job of presenting them. I've even started reading a book about sales to help give me some idea. I also have a book waiting about reading body language. I want to better be able to figure out when people are with me and when I need to change my tactics. Part of the art of PT is getting people to buy in to what you are teaching them. Whenever I can get that buy in, I get excellent results, because people are excited to do whatever I have given them at home. If they're making those changes, there is generally progress happening.

What I love about this whole reading thing is the way the world of ideas keeps expanding. Things that seem unrelated sometimes start to connect in ways that have the potential to be really exciting. I suppose some of that has been related to less blogging, but such is life. I currently have some seeds of ideas related to where I might possibly want to go with my work. I don't know if they are remotely possible, but I'm going to keep reading, keep expanding and testing. I love the growth that comes from all of that, even if the end goals shift a little due to all those horizons expanding and new possibilities opening up. I certainly hope we can shift to things being busier than what they were, but I can't even tell you how excited I am that this year has happened the way that it has and has started to make sense of the last 9 years of PT practice in a whole new way. The next decade could be freaking amazing!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Love Wins

Well, I'm probably fired as a blogger if I don't share a tiny bit of my opinion about the recent SCOTUS decision.

I'm not surprised. Not one little bit. I'm not surprised that we've made this decision. I'm not surprised that there are already polygamous couples applying for marriage licenses. I'm not surprised that everyone is polarized and everyone feels on both sides feels attacked. (You know why we all feel that way? Because people on either side ARE attacking people on the other side.) 

I would just like to say, whatever "side" you think you're on, we are all in this together, and we are not going to heal as a society by bashing each other with the same tired arguments.  The rallying cry right now is "Love Wins!" (sorry, but I object to hashtags on principle). Whatever "side" you are on, that's not wrong. Every time that we take a moment to actually listen to a person whose views are different than ours, every time we give them the respect of thinking that they have something worth saying that is worth our listening to, every time that we assume for a moment that they are not choosing to believe what they believe in order to be contrary and hateful, but because they really do care about other people, love wins. You don't have to agree with them to appreciate their sincerity and to hear what they are thinking.

Every time that we value any person that is in front of us and see them as someone who matters- even if they are on the other "side", love wins. Every time that we look out for another person and try to be there for them in their time of need, to hear the cry of their heart, love wins. You think these things don't have anything to do with the current conversation? They have EVERYTHING to do with it. In my opinion, for love to win, there has to be a lot less talking, a LOT less bashing, a lot less defensiveness and a lot more actual love happening, even if it costs us. If we can actually learn to love each other (not in a special feelings for a special person way, but in a everyone matters way), then conversations can happen and healing can happen, even if total agreement doesn't happen for quite some time.