The Hike

Last weekend I was lucky enough to spend two days doing one thing and one thing only– taking time for me. I spent my 27th birthday weekend at a yoga/health & wellness facility in Lenox, MA where I did a lot of different activities but one that I did over and over again was write in my journal. I took it just about everywhere and wrote down whatever popped into my head. A lot of good stuff came out– stuff that means something to me and stuff that I want to share here on my blog. So tonight I’m starting where I ended. This is my story of my hike in the Berkshires. 

mountains

The Ascent 

After a gentle yoga/Qi Quong class followed by an aromatherapy massage, I packed my car and got ready for my last little adventure — a guided hike. As I waited for the group to arrive and assemble, I began to feel like this wasn’t right for me. This is my trip— a time to be with my own thoughts and feelings and memories. I didn’t want to make small chat or slow down or speed up for anyone. I wanted this to be my last adventure at my own pace, with my music, my ability to stop and rest, take pictures, write and simply enjoy mother nature and all her goodness. So I grabbed a map of the trails surrounding Kripalu and chose to go to Monks Pond. I’ve been meditating like a modern day Monk all weekend and any option that puts me near water is a good one. So on my way I went. The trail has been really muddy as it’s 45 degrees in February. I feel so grateful as I only have yoga pants on, a long sleeve fleece and sunnies. I can breathe in crisp air but it’s not a stabbing that can come with deep winter colds. As I approach the pond, there looks to be an abandoned little shed and broken dock. But the water has frozen to a shimmery, star-dust blue— it’s breath taking. The sun is shining off and illuminating this frozen but alive body of water.

I look to my left and there’s a stunning stream that I can now see that runs all the way down the path I just marched up. Lucky for me, I’m all alone and no one is around so I’ve sat on a ledge next to the flowing water and am angled directly in the sunlight through the trees. The moving water is so calming and reinforces the fact that life goes on. It hits rocks, splashes up and down, freezes into sculptures at some places and runs wildly down others, crashes upon rocks and creates wade pools in others. But the water, this stream, it all continues to run together in a form that’s one. Each droplet of water essentially going to the same place— a bigger, greater, calmer body of water that is all one. I sit here on this rock and think about the stream I have gone down, all the water droplets that have given me the current I needed to keep flowing on. I feel as if I’m rounding the bend with this vast beautiful body of water that will await for me now in my current life but acts as just a foreshadow of the beautiful, completely blissful, full of love body of water that waits me, and all of us, one day.

For February 28, 2016, I can smell the new body of water coming… I can sense the sunshine beaming and I can feel the love all around me.

The Descent

Just as I sat there taking deep breaths and thinking calm and loving thoughts as the stream bubbled beside me, I slowly stood and decided it was time to head back. Almost instantaneously, I got excited— I got borderline panicky— like I needed to get back NOW. I knew that I had made it to where I wanted to go and now I was ready to come home. So I started picking up my pace— jogging, skipping, jumping over mud puddles but realized shortly that I wasn’t 100% sure where I was going. I was on a path— that was for sure— but I was alone, and I didn’t know which direction I was headed. All I knew was that I was walking and I was simply looking for the blue marks on the trees to tell me “it’s this way” “stay on the path.” Immediately, Dr. D and Dr. Mandy came into my head — the whole journey, I’ve been on a path, somewhat blindly putting my full trust into their guidance— sometimes no questions asked, simply looking toward the blue marker to say “go this way” or “turn down here.” Amidst this excitement, I began to skip again. More than anything I wanted to see the clearing. But I couldn’t. Not paying attention, I slipped and fell on ice and I could briefly hear my Dad say “slow it down Jess.” Then my favorite Florence & the Machine song came on — The Dog Days Are Over. That’s it! I thought. This is it— so I literally started dancing my way down the path with my gut knowing that I was coming to a clearing. I was right. But it was the same frozen Monks Pond I had started my “descent” on. 

Keep going— I could hear my mom say, “it’s just a little bit father.”

So I did just that and marched and marched, continuing on the path looking for all signs that pointed me “home” With two very muddy pink sneakers and a damp bum from falling, I made it to the Kripalu camp. Rested right above the hill overlooking the beautiful Berkshire mountains, the sun was just beginning to set. There were cars and people and buildings. Life is just like it was when I went into those woods, but I have a completely different perspective on the same view. 

I’m glad I didn’t go with the hiking guide and group. I needed to do this on my own. I needed to walk the path, stumble, get excited, get let down, and come to the beautiful clearing that I had hoped for, knowing that every ray of sunshine that beat down on my face was a family member reminding me they were here for me— every trail marker, a nurse or doctor letting me know I was doing okay — every breeze that tickled my face and made me laugh, a friend showing their support —  and the horizon at the end, my Michael, my love, I look at those mountains and see so many adventures to be had and memories to be made.

Today is February 28, 2016.

I am here.

I am now.

I am grateful.

I am proud.

I am hopeful.”

selfie with mountains

Lots of love and light,

Jessy 

Breathe Easy

take a deep breath

I don’t know if it’s the steriods I’m on that’s making me feel like this, but I can’t stop thinking about all I have to do. Life, in general right now, is busy. Work’s picking up, I have personal obligations that I need to complete, I’m trying to take my first online class on Coursera, there are trips I need to research and schedule (which is fun but takes a lot of time!), I want to read this, write that, schedule this, plan that, prepare for this or that. All of a sudden there seems like a pile of tasks to check off the list. So today, this motivational Monday is just as much as it is for me as it is for all of you. I need to remember to breathe. The tasks will slowly come off the list– and if some have to get postponed, that’s okay. Today, I need to remember to BREATHE. To inhale all the good that’s in my life, take a big beautiful breath of positive energy, close my eyes and see the light and exhale any negative thoughts or feelings that don’t serve me well.

There are so many benefits to deep breathing — beyond just helping to calm your mind, but physical benefits that can truly make a difference in your daily health.

Make sure you’re doing it correctly, however, to gain the best benefits. First inhale through your nose, expanding your belly and filling your chest. Count to 5. Hold and count to 3– feel all your cells filled with golden, healing, balancing Sun light & energy. Exhale fully from a slightly parted mouth and feel all your cells releasing waste and emptying old energy.

So trust in the fact that you’re where you need to be today, everything that is meant to happen is happening. Breath the certainty in and any worry out that you may have. Today is a good day.

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

For more information on the benefits of taking time to do some deep breathing, here’s a list of 18 physical benefits from the One Powerful Blog:

1. Breathing Detoxifies and Releases Toxins
Your body is designed to release 70% of its toxins through breathing. If you are not breathing effectively, you are not properly ridding your body of its toxins i.e. other systems in your body must work overtime which could eventually lead to illness. When you exhale air from your body you release carbon dioxide that has been passed through from your bloodstream into your lungs. Carbon dioxide is a natural waste of your body’s metabolism.

2. Breathing Releases Tension
Think how your body feels when you are tense, angry, scared or stressed. It constricts. Your muscles get tight and your breathing becomes shallow. When your breathing is shallow you are not getting the amount of oxygen that your body needs.

3. Breathing Relaxes the Mind/Body and Brings Clarity
Oxygenation of the brain reducing excessive anxiety levels. Paying attention to your breathing. Breathe slowly, deeply and purposefully into your body. Notice any places that are tight and breathe into them. As you relax your body, you may find that the breathing brings clarity and insights to you as well.

4. Breathing Relieves Emotional Problems
Breathing will help clear uneasy feelings out of your body.

5. Breathing Relieves Pain.
You may not realize its connection to how you think, feel and experience life. For example, what happens to your breathing when you anticipate pain? You probably hold your breath. Yet studies show that breathing into your pain helps to ease it.

6. Breathing Massages Your Organs
The movements of the diaphragm during the deep breathing exercise massages the stomach, small intestine, liver and pancreas. The upper movement of the diaphragm also massages the heart. When you inhale air your diaphragm descends and your abdomen will expand. By this action you, massage vital organs and improves circulation in them. Controlled breathing also strengthens and tones your abdominal muscles.

7. Breathing Increases Muscle
Breathing is the oxygenation process to all of the cells in your body. With the supply of oxygen to the brain this increases the muscles in your body.

8. Breathing Strengthens the Immune System
Oxygen travels through your bloodstream by attaching to haemoglobin in your red blood cells. This in turn then enriches your body to metabolise nutrients and vitamins.

9. Breathing Improves Posture
Good breathing techniques over a sustained period of time will encourage good posture. Bad body posture will result of incorrect breathing so this is such an important process by getting your posture right from early on you will see great benefits.

10. Breathing Improves Quality of the Blood
Deep breathing removes all the carbon-dioxide and increases oxygen in the blood and thus increases blood quality.

11. Breathing Increases Digestion and Assimilation of food
The digestive organs such as the stomach receive more oxygen, and hence operates more efficiently. The digestion is further enhanced by the fact that the food is oxygenated more.

12. Breathing Improves the Nervous System
The brain, spinal cord and nerves receive increased oxygenation and are more nourished. This improves the health of the whole body, since the nervous system communicates to all parts of the body.

13. Breathing Strengthen the Lungs
As you breathe deeply the lung become healthy and powerful, a good insurance against respiratory problems.

14. Proper Breathing makes the Heart Stronger.
Breathing exercises reduce the workload on the heart in two ways. Firstly, deep breathing leads to more efficient lungs, which means more oxygen, is brought into contact with blood sent to the lungs by the heart. So, the heart doesn’t have to work as hard to deliver oxygen to the tissues. Secondly, deep breathing leads to a greater pressure differential in the lungs, which leads to an increase in the circulation, thus resting the heart a little.

15. Proper Breathing assists in Weight Control.

If you are overweight, the extra oxygen burns up the excess fat more efficiently. If you are underweight, the extra oxygen feeds the starving tissues and glands.
16. Breathing Boosts Energy levels and Improves Stamina

17. Breathing Improves Cellular Regeneration

18. Breathing Elevates Moods
Breathing increase pleasure-inducing neurochemicals in the brain to elevate moods and combat physical pain – See more at: http://www.onepowerfulword.com/2010/10/18-benefits-of-deep-breathing-and-how.html#sthash.yKZxzcMv.dpuf