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Adventure, Hiking, Leadership, Presence of Mind

Why We Are All Meant to Be Climbers

March 3, 2017


After sitting most of the work week and being inside for so long, I knew I needed some time outdoors. I can sense it when my energy gets pretty low, and my surroundings start to feel too confined.

 

That Sunday morning, I drove down to Crowder’s Mountain. The moment that I stepped out of the car and I smelled the pine and saw the trailhead, I felt myself begin to relax. Oftentimes at this point, I feel the urge to snag a picture or adjust my music. But, this time, I left my phone in the car.

 

I set out on a run. I set out on a climb.

 

As I ran deeper onto the trail, I started to see some rocks and boulders. Running on rocks is almost meditative – as much as they make me pay closer attention as I climb the trail, navigating their natural puzzle, they always seem to relax me.

 

I looked over my left shoulder. The morning sun was beginning to come out over the mountaintop.  It was a beautiful view through the trees and I started to lose track of time.

 

I was about halfway up the mountain when I felt my body and mind settle into the pace of the run. That felt about right; it usually takes me just about 20 minutes to settle into it and then see what’s around me – the greenery, the path, my dog running ahead looking back with that “this-is-so-awesome-Dad-let’s-keep-going” face.

 

I approached the top. The trail got steeper. And my run turned into a slower hike.

 

As I hit the last few steps to the summit, I could feel the air on my face. It was much colder. Almost out of breath, I started to see the view from the top.  The sky was so open and so clear and so blue.  There was nothing but open space in my view. And, in that moment, an overwhelming sense of wonder hits me.

 

That sense of wonder turns into a sense of possibility and excitement.  I wonder what else is out there; I wonder what else could be?

 

This wasn’t simply a Sunday morning run. This was a climb – a purposeful move into and out of a confined space; a shift from the thick of a forest to the open view of a mountain’s summit.

 

I think we are all meant to be climbers; not social climbers or actual rock climbers. Climbers as in seekers of open space.

 

There’s clearly great power in the climb but as much as we think our work is the actual climb, there’s a step before that. In order to climb, we must identify the confined space in which we find ourselves.

 

For me, I am inside a lot during the day. So when I have been sitting for a long time and I feel the natural urge to move I know immediately what my confined space is – the office – and I know what I need to do – get outside, run, explore, climb, wander.

 

During the week, I find being outside on a run, bike ride or hike keeps me centered. But what seems to feel really impactful is a weekend climb up the mountain and a view of a wide open vista.

 

I climb for a few reasons. To feel that sense of freedom, curiosity and wonder. To feel more alive and in the moment. To see new possibilities and open up my thinking. But, also to feel more connected to what’s important; what’s simple. Those are all the things that will get me out of any confined space.

 

As I make my way down that mountain many times I find myself laughing out loud like a little kid.  I think I laugh at how something so simple can also be so profound.

Adventure, Hiking, Leadership

Why it is important to have great people on your climb

February 2, 2017

I think one of the most important things in life is to have great friends and mentors who challenge us and push us.  One of my good friends Peter Lowry does that for me.  Whether it was climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro or getting across this snow wall below, he has also been there to keep me going.

 

However, when I first came up to this snow wall I wanted nothing to do with it.  I really wanted to turn around and below were some thoughts on how I got through it.

 

What I got to see instead of turning back…

Thanks Petey!

 

 

Adventure, Biking, Exercise, Gym, Hiking

A workout that keeps me coming back

April 26, 2016

Below is a post I wrote recently for the Madabolic blog.

I have been going to Madabolic for almost three years now.  This is unusual for me as I tend to move from gym to gym and have tried almost every workout in the city. What I love about Madabolic is from the very first time I walked in, their team asked me about what I like to do and my fitness goals. I told them I wanted a good workout but also love to run, bike, do Flywheel, the occasional yoga, hike, ski and just about anything else outside. They said “greatyou should keep doing all of that and let’s figure out how to integrate our workouts into your lifestyle.” 

I appreciated that the team at Madabolic was more focused on how I could improve my lifestyle versus how many times I came to the gym. Most weeks I go to 2-3 classes with some running and other outdoor activities mixed in.

Recently, I told the trainers I was going to join some friends to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro which is the highest peak in Africa. The trip was only three weeks away when I made the final decision to go. I believe my training at Madabolic was a big reason I could say yes to an opportunity like this. Will Smith once said, “you don’t have to get ready if you stay ready.” The trainers even gave me a few things I could do outside of class to prepare for the climb.

I had an amazing experience on Mt. Kilimanjaro. We made it to the Summit (19,341ft.) after a 6.5 day journey. The view was incredible at the top.

mad trucker hat at summit

Leading up to the trip, I was a little worried if I would make it to the Summit. I used to do this with my workouts too…always wondering if I was doing the best one and so focused on the end result. However, the best part of Kilimanjaro was not at the top. What I really enjoyed was going on a journey with great people. I learned to appreciate the simple things. I loved doing something active everyday, taking in the surroundings and not knowing what the next day would bring.  “How you climb a mountain is more important than reaching the top.” – Yvon Chouinard (Patagonia Founder)

After getting back from Kilimanjaro, I have started to put these lessons into practice. My typical Saturday is a good example of this and is also my favorite day for Madabolic classes. The day starts with a 1 mile jog to Mad with my dog Brooks. He sits patiently outside while I workout.

brooks at mad

The workout keeps my mind stimulated, and I never know what to expect since the intervals change everyday. The trainers (Brandon, Kirk, Cristina, Sarah, Carl, Rae and Finley) are very intentional to watch my form and make sure I am getting the most out each repetition. The music is awesome and I am energized by the atmosphere.

mad workout

 

I usually leave tired, breathless but also with the satisfaction of feeling like an athlete again. After I catch up with a few friends, I grab Brooks and we jog over to Atherton Mill Market. The smell from Not Just Coffee is amazing so I grab a coffee and a Bruks Bar. I talk to my favorite farmers and sometimes buy things I have never heard of like Chinese Kale :).

The afternoon may call for some bike cruising around Southend with music playing on my speakers.

bike crusing

I usually have some Lord Huron, Kygo, Chvrches, Frightened Rabbit or “Beat It” by Michael Jackson going. I may have even poached a few songs from what I have heard during my workouts at Mad :). Another favorite activity is heading to the Whitewater Center for some Mt. Biking or kayaking with Brooks.

Dinner could be one of my favorite food trucks like Tin Kitchen, something healthy or making some homemade pizzas :). It just depends on what I want to enjoy most!

I usually hit the pillow at night pretty hard appreciating days like this. I am thankful for the team at Madabolic. I have a greater quality of life since starting there a few years ago.

I still get energized thinking about the next Kilimanjaro but until then…I am keeping the focus on how I climb.

Hiking

Pictures with a Story

April 16, 2016

I thought I would share a few of my favorite pictures from a trip to Africa this past January.

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Boy meets chewing gum…

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Above the clouds

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I wouldn’t come any closer

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What is that???!!

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I see you

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If you must…get my good side

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In line to the sun

Exercise, Hiking, Leadership

What made climbing Kilimanjaro so memorable

February 29, 2016

Summit day. 3am wake-up. We were a mixture of nervous and excited as we talked quietly over some warm oatmeal. It was very cold and pitch black dark. We had 4,000 ft left and 7 hours to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Step by step we were making progress up the mountain. It was very hard to see except for a few feet in front of you. I was breathing pretty heavy and intently focused on my steps. All the while wondering would I make to the top? Would my body adjust to the steady altitude increase? With my attention on the ground and in my thoughts, I almost forgot to look up. When I finally did I saw the sunrise to my left.

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I was so focused on getting to the top that I almost missed it. The beauty of the mountain had slowed me down, and I began reflecting on why I was on this climb. I was surprised a few moments later when I started experiencing some pretty strong emotions. I remembered all the people who had been part of “the climb” to get here – but also in my life.

I thought about my grandfather who passed away six years ago. He was the one who inspired me to be more active and live a healthier lifestyle. I thought about my family, close friends and colleagues who encouraged me to go on this trip when I struggled to make a decision. I thought about the clients and the work I care so much for. They were part of this journey with me. I was climbing for them.

I felt connected to my most important values…living with purpose, connecting with people, stretching my limits and feeling energized by possibility. I was able to do this with an awesome group of people that included some of my best friends from school. In just six days, we had also formed some special friendships with our amazing Tanzanian guides and the porters (the guys who helped carry our stuff up the mountain).

When we reached our last stop before the Summit at Gilman’s Point (18,562 ft), the taste of salty Pringles was amazing. I ate some more sour patch kids, and we all fueled up for the coldest part of the climb and our first snow.

For the first time the skies became very cloudy, and I was worried that we may not have a view at the Summit. Then as we made the ascent up the last few hundred feet, the clouds cleared and the sun came out. The air was cold, I was out of breath and my heart was pounding – I was feeling more alive that I had been in awhile.

As we walked up the last few feet to Uhuru Peak, I marveled at the sight of something I had never seen or felt before. 19,341 ft and the highest peak in Africa. For the first time in my life I could see across an entire continent. It was a special moment, and I smiled once again thinking about all the people who made the climb so memorable for me.

Below are some of my favorite highlights from the trip.

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The view

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Getting some air at the top!

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Our friend Jeff proposing at the summit to Angela…she said yes!

Our crew

Our crew on the first day

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Some kids I wanted to steal on the way up 🙂

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With our lead guide Joshua…this guy was amazing!

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Giving my boots to Felix after the trip…after seeing his ripped up shoes I figured he needed them much more than me

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Our whole crew (7 of us, 26 porters and 3 guides)

“If you want to fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.” – African Proverb

Dancing with our porters on the first morning…it seems everyone speaks Michael Jackson 🙂

How you climb a mountain is more important than reaching the top.” Yvon Chouinard (Patagonia founder)

 

 

 

 

Exercise, Hiking, Leadership

The mindset it takes to make it up the toughest climb in the world

February 10, 2015

19 days on a vertical rock wall. Sleeping in a tent hanging on the side of a mountain. Pulling yourself up on ledges that are two credit cards thin. It was a climb that many said was completely impossible.

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And having failed to make it to the top of this climb five times previously, what kind of mindset would it take to accomplish something like this?

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Meet Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson who were the first two climbers to “free climb” the Dawn Wall on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. Their story has captured the hearts of a nation and even had President Barack Obama tweeting about it. Read more details of their incredible accomplishment here.

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I started to follow their journey for several reasons but mainly because of an INC interview I read in October of 2013. It was about Caldwell teaching a course with Jim Collins (Author of Good to Great) to a group of cadets at West Point.

At that time Caldwell had already made three unsuccessful attempts at climbing the Dawn Wall. Collins and Caldwell discussed the challenge that this climb offered when Collins asked, “Why do you keep throwing yourself at this? All it does is give you failure upon failure. Why go back?”

“Because success is not the primary point,” Caldwell said. “I go back because the climb is making me better. It is making me stronger. I am not failing; I am growing.”

As stated in the article, “Caldwell viewed failure as an essential part of his search for the outer reaches of his capabilities as a climber.” “To find your limit and experience the most growth, you have to go on a journey of cumulative failure,” Caldwell said.

“Even if I never succeed in free climbing the Dawn Wall, it will make me so much stronger, and so much better, that most other climbs will seem easy by comparison.”

I thought Caldwell’s response was incredibly inspiring, and it definitely re-shaped my thoughts around ‘failure.’  The word ‘failure’ itself carries a negative stigma for many people in our society and can also stifle the best innovation within our organizations. When we start thinking about new ideas or our goals the potential for failure can sometimes overwhelm us and might hold back from pursuing our biggest aspirations as a result.

I remember this exact feeling when I wanted to start my own ‘climb’ which meant shifting from a career in commercial real estate to leadership development. It definitely delayed my decision for awhile as I was afraid it wouldn’t work out or I would fail.

But what if we saw ‘failing’ on the pathway toward a compelling personal or professional vision as a growth opportunity? What if it was just a necessary step in the process. It might shift our thinking from why it won’t work out to the thought of what might be possible?

“For me, I love to dream big, and I love to find ways to be a bit of an explorer,” Caldwell said in a recent NY Times article. “These days it seems like everything is padded and comes with warning labels. This just lights a fire under me, and that’s a really exciting way to live.”

On December 27, 2014, Caldwell would start his sixth attempt at the Dawn Wall with Jorgeson. Many continued to believe this route was not possible. But I believe for Caldwell, success was not always about making it the top. It was more about following his passion and stretching the limits of his potential along the way. He accepted that failed Dawn Wall attempts were a natural part of the process and had been planning for this climb since 2007.

After 19 grueling days and 7 years of work, they made it to the top. What a moment.

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It was certainly time to celebrate with a toast. It had been more than just a ‘climb’ for Caldwell as he shared with National Geographic. “For me the Dawn Wall is the perfect venue for some of the most important values I want to show [my son] Fitz,” said Caldwell… “Optimism, perseverance, dedication and the importance of dreaming big.”

Tommy/Kevin, thanks for inspiring us with your dream. You remind us that when we stretch the perceived limits of our potential, it might just be true that anything is possible.

I think this is why so many people around the world could relate to their story. As Jorgeson explained for the NY Times, “I hope it inspires people to find their own Dawn Wall, if you will. We’ve been working on this thing a long time, slowly and surely. I think everyone has their own secret Dawn Wall to complete one day, and maybe they can put this project in their own context.”

As you reflect today, what is something compelling that you want to go after? What is your Dawn Wall?

 

Hiking, Presence of Mind, Productivity, Time Management

The 25th Hour

December 30, 2012

Time flies when you are having fun right? I happen to disagree. I think time just flies when we are busy and have a million things going on. It sure flew this last month when I didn’t get a blog post out! Some days I look at the clock only to see 5pm and wonder where the time went. So what if there was a away to have an extra hour in our day?

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Would multitasking give us that extra hour? Just fit more in, right? I have definitely been that person in the picture below.

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Well, my effectiveness at multitasking can also be summed up in a story about a girl I was once dating. We were in an argument and late for dinner with friends. While doing several things at once, I texted my friend that “I would be 15 minutes late because my girlfriend was being ridiculous.” The problem was the text didn’t go to my friend but instead to my girlfriend. She was not happy to say the least, and I spent days in the doghouse. I have countless other stories about trying to multitask but they usually end up with the same result. My attempt to fit more in results in more issues for myself, and it takes more time away from me.

And just to be clear it is not that we can’t multitask but it is more about how effective we are when we do it. My own experience seems to be backed up by brain science. In the book “Brain at Work” David Rock reviewed a study that shows when people do two cognitive tasks at once, their cognitive capacity can drop from that of a Harvard MBA to that of an eight-year-old. Another study in David’s book showed that constant emailing and texting reduces mental capacity by an average of ten points on an IQ test. This effect is similar to losing a night of sleep. It is interesting to me that in an attempt to find more time we actually do things that takes time away from us. And  then we wonder where the time goes…

So it is not surprising that time continues to fly by, and I think we are pretty set with 24 hours in a day. However, after a recent hike I discovered something amazing. I found a way that time could feel more abundant and had my first 25 hour day. It started with one of my internet holidays and a hike up in the NC Mountains. I wasn’t checking email, had no cell service and was not on the internet. I was a little nervous at first to be out of communication for so long.

I hiked with a few friends and of course Brooks.

I spent an entire day doing one thing at a time. I was just present in the outdoors and wasn’t attached to my iPhone all day. And I remember leaving the hike and thinking it has to be almost 8pm. And it was only 4pm. I was shocked. And that is when I started to think maybe time goes slow when we focus one thing at a time. And when we focus on one thing at a time especially an activity that raises our energy, we could feel more complete with our days.

So my 25 hour day experience inspired the idea of “The 25th Hour.” I even did a talk on this recently at Ignite Charlotte 5. I wanted a way to replicate that feeling I had at the end of that day hiking, but I knew I couldn’t spend each day doing a full day hike. So the 25th Hour is an activity you do for one hour that raises your energy or gives you that feeling of coming alive. It helps create the feeling where time feels abundant and stands still.

It is time with no email, phone or texting. Think about those things that make you feel more complete with your days. It could be time with your kids, spouse or family. Maybe it is playing music, art, reading, karaoke-ing (I think I made up a new word), cooking, exercising, yoga, building something, meditation…you name it. The root word of recreation is actually “re-create.” So what are things that re-create you after you do them. A good place to start for me is usually the things I forget about or push to the side when I get too “busy.” My activities could be writing, exercising, working on a speech, or just being outside with no agenda.

I have to step out of this…

And into something like this:

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This young boy is a good example:

 

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Our days will keep flying by unless we get back in control of our time. Try incorporating 25th Hour activities into your day and share them with me on twitter at #25thhr. It may just allow things to slow down for you. The more you and I slow down and create space for what is important, the better we are for the people around us. And we will begin to create a context where people have the space and time to be their best self. And it may even just start to feel like our days have 25 hours. Have a great week and Happy New Year!

Culture, Hiking, Running

Runnin Free with Devon Sibole

August 25, 2012

Below is a new interview with a good friend named Devon Sibole for my series on “Follow your Passion.” Devon has a powerful story that she told me one day on a trail run in California. She really epitomizes the message I want to share with this blog series. Enjoy!

Hey Devon, thanks so much for doing an interview on my new series called “Follow your Passion.”  So tell us all a little bit more about what you do at Outside PR & Sports Marketing.

I’m a public relations account manager, working on various outdoor and fitness brands, including DownTek, Pearl Izumi, GU Energy, Hydrapak, Road ID, Ambler, Injinji and AlterG Antigravity Treadmills.  Generally, I’m working with journalists, athletes and clients, helping to create and identify publicity opportunities.  I also spend a healthy chunk of my day writing press releases, pitches and other press materials and planning and prepping for events.

How did you identify this as a potential career path?  What were you doing before you started at this company and why did you make the change?

In 2008, I was working in media planning on a few very high profile clients.  It was a job with merciless hours and zero creativity.  I was unhealthy and uninspired.  But, it was a beautiful paycheck and we were staring down the barrel of a recession.  One particular morning, as I was walking to the office, I stopped to look at the people around me.  Gulping coffee and barking on cell phones, we were all marching ants rushing in droves to our desks or to meetings.  We all had matching suits and matching scowls.  I had a simple realization that made me stop in my tracks: This is MY life.  It wasn’t so much of an “ah-hah!” moment. It was more like a full-bellied SOS scream.  All I wanted to do that day was to go on a trail run and be with people who made me feel alive.  I wanted a job that made me feel unique, interested, challenged and that made a positive impact.  I wanted to be with people who were happy and knew that life was measured in more ways than in paychecks.  

When I reached the office, I felt genuinely relieved.  I trotted into my manager’s office, sat down across from her at her desk and gave my notice.

That same day, as I was signing up for a marathon, I clicked on a link to a company called OutsidePR.  I didn’t know much about public relations, but the company worked with brands I used and prided itself in creativity.  Additionally, the outdoor industry couldn’t have been a more perfect match for a person like me.  Even if I didn’t get this job, I knew there were hundreds of other like-minded companies to stalk until I got an interview.  I applied.

For a solid week, I reveled in unemployment.  I surfed my ass off, drank green tea by the boatload and ran all the trails I could find.  (I live in San Francisco, so that really is a ton of running.)  I squeezed in an interview with OutsidePR, too.  A few days after my interview, I got a call with an offer.

I always hear people talking about the importance of not being afraid to fail.  The idea that sometimes when you follow your passion or make a big change, there is no way of knowing how it will turn out when you start.  How did you handle those thoughts?  Did you have to take some risks along the way and was it hard to make the change knowing you were leaving a secure job?

There is no formula for how to live life, nor any guarantees that if you play all your cards right, things will work out in the end.  I wasn’t afraid of failing, I was afraid of never trying.  I knew there had to be something better out there for me, and I was intent on finding it.

As it turned out, I wasn’t lying during my interview at OutsidePR – I was a quick study and was able to take on more and more in the following months.  I absorbed everything I could, took on as many projects as possible.  I fell head over heels in love with my company and really enjoyed the people with whom I worked.  The industry was exciting and growing by leaps and bounds. I found a mentor.  Then I found another one.  Before I knew it, I had my own mini board of advisors.

I was encouraged to take time every day to work out.  Instead of drinking coffee, I’d take afternoon hikes.  Although my life had taken such a major change, my head had never been more clear.

There’s a quote, stated by the Grand Old Man of Nature, “Leap and the net will appear.” I think you have to have that ambition and courage to take that leap.  The passion part is integral – you need to know the kind of net in which you’d like to land.  Blindly jumping into anything isn’t a smart idea. Preparation and honesty with yourself is integral to any major life change.

How have you felt both personally and professionally since you made the change to pursue work you love?  How did it all turn out for you now that you have been with them for almost 5 years?

Over the past few years, my position has grown and changed in ways I didn’t know were attainable when I first took the job.  Personally, I love what I do because it reflects who I am.  I am proud of the work I do and excited for my work week.  My professional relationships are in many ways personal.  I get to go to a job everyday and work with friends.   We are a strong (and competitive) team that produces some amazing work.  I really do feel like the best is yet to come.

Any advice to readers out there contemplating a career change?

1. Figure out what excites and inspires you.  Immerse yourself in the activities and outlets that get you stoked.  You’ll end up meeting some incredible people who might be able to open a doorway for you.

2. Get a board of advisors that will tell you the truth but won’t try to shield you from failure.  Failure isn’t always a bad thing.  All of my failures have made me be that much smarter about my next decision and much more resilient and resourceful.

3. Join professional organizations in the industries that you are interested in exploring.  I met recruiters, friends and coworkers through the Outdoor Industries Women’s  Organization (www.OIWC.org.)- these connections have played a pivital role in my life and continue to shape my career.

Devon sure has a powerful story. The reason I loved it so much is because she is an amazing person to be around and so authentic. She has such an infectious, fun loving personality and really lives life to the fullest. I really feel that when you have the courage to follow your passion like Devon, not only will you be happier but you can make such an incredible impact on other people. So thanks Devon, for being the person you are. Keep running, leaping and living the way you do. Because you continue to invite others to come alive with their authenticity. And that is a world I want to co-create with you! Have a great week everyone.

Dogs, Exercise, Hiking

Post from the Pup…Brooks

July 22, 2012

Well Brooks has been a busy man lately.  Tons of napping and trying out all sorts of new sleeping positions.  Sometimes I would like to be as well rested as my dog.  In between all this napping he did decide to write another post.  It takes him a bit with the paws as you can imagine.

 

Hey everyone! It’s me Brooks. It has been a little while since I last updated you on the life of your favorite Labrador. Jon and I recently went on an amazing hike and thought I would share my thoughts on our day.

We got up pretty early on a Sunday morning a few weeks ago. I will always get up as early as you want since I am so well rested during the day. Jon got me in the car and had a backpack, so I knew were up to something tremendous. I love car rides. Shotgun!

We rode in the car up to Stone Mountain. And I got to meet up with my girlfriend Lady. Mountains, dogs, rivers, smells, running and  swimming. I almost passed out in excitement.

We started on a path up to the top of the mountain. I saw lots of squirrels and marked as many trees as I could. I kept looking up at Jon to tell him, “this is awesome.” We made it to the top of the mountain! And I found some mud to roll in below. When you see mud puddles, aren’t you supposed to sit in them? That is what I do.

We made our way to some pretty amazing streams for lunch. I couldn’t contain myself with all the water. 

I cleared out all stick hazards from the swimming hole. Can’t have that. Or you could argue that I love sticks.

I got to spend some time sliding down these rocks with everyone. I was crushing it on all fours right into the water. I could be a pro rock skier.

It really was an amazing day out in the nature. I could tell Jon had a blast too. We had needed a little time to catch up in the outdoors. I still don’t understand why we don’t live on a river or in the mountains. It sure would be nicer for me with all the smells and water. Maybe one day. 

We had a nice ride home in the car. And boy was I tired when we got home. Wow. I went directly to bed even when it was still light out.

It was great catching up and updating you with a post from the pup. Ha! I know many of you were dying to get an update from me. Well, it has been about 30 minutes since my last nap, so I feel another one coming. I am going to have to sign off for now. Have a great week.

Dogs, Hiking, Uncategorized

My 24 Hour Internet Holiday

July 1, 2012

Ever feel like you can’t get away from all your devices and the rush of information on the internet?  I sure feel that way sometimes and have been working on setting some more boundaries.  One practice I am working on is a quarterly 24 hour internet holiday.  So how does it work?

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Well I decided that I wanted to give myself time away from the internet for one full day every quarter.  That means no email, no internet, no website surfing, no blogging, etc.  I still allowed myself to use the phone and text but that was it. And it was a little difficult to do at first.

So what did I do on my internet holiday?  Well it started around 9pm last Saturday night. I was able to relax at home and finally get into a great book without interruption. Two of my best friends (Nikki and North) were camping up at Stone Mountain that weekend, so I decided to meet them for a hike on Sunday morning. When I woke up I defaulted to grabbing my iPhone to check email and had to put it down. It made me realize how much email and the constant flood of information can manage me sometimes. I made some Peanut Butter sandwiches (with bananas and honey…my favorite) and got Brooks in the car. He was ecstatic about my internet holiday. He was like wow, we get to go hiking and Dad is not praying all the time (me looking down at my iPhone).

Here is me and Brooks at the top.

I just love seeing Brooks with that big smile. I think we will have to follow up this post with Brooks giving his own account of the day. He had his little girlfriend Lady to run around with all day. Another dog, waterfalls, smells, mountains, trees…it was doggy heaven on Sunday.

He especially loved the hour we spent going down this rock water slide. Pretty funny video below of him following me down.

About an hour into the hike I told my friends that it was so nice to only be worrying about whether I had enough water or food or where we were going next. I wasn’t worried about someone returning an email or the thousand tasks I thought I had to get done. I was just enjoying being present in nature.

Nikki is pretty excited for our first stream crossing!

North enjoying one of the best parts of a hike. Sandwich time!

And we even squeezed in a little yoga time.  haha.

Our day made me re-think whether I believe that “time flies when you are having fun.” On my way home, I couldn’t believe it was only 5pm.  It felt like I had experienced something that lasted for several days, and I felt so refreshed. So I think time actually slows down when you create space to just relax and be in the moment. When my head wasn’t caught up in so many thoughts or tied up in the future, I could actually be “here.” It was an amazing feeling.

The day was also just another example about how important it is for me to be out in nature. The restorative effects of the outdoors sure are amazing, and I will have to get out on a hike again soon.  A friend out in California told me about this book on the subject that sounds very interesting, and it is at the top of my reading list.

I ended up capping the day off with an awesome dinner with a good friend. When I finally checked email the next morning, I didn’t really miss much. A few issues had actually worked themselves out, and I didn’t even have to reply. The experience of an internet holiday coupled with a hike just made me feel more whole and rejuvenated. Have a tremendous week.