Colors (or, really, voices) of the Wind

Well this is a bit awkward. Writing a blog post about an ending before I have a chance to write about the beginning. But, so is the fickleness of WiFi. And of inspiration.

What a two weeks! It was incredible just how much I was able to be out and about in the African Bushveld. So incredible, in fact, that I’ve been fantasizing about moving to Hoedspruit and working as a wildlife veterinarian. Oh, the ideas we’re flying! I started googling veterinary clinics in Hoedspruit. I started searching our wildlife programs offered by the University of Pretoria Veterinary Faculty. I even excitedly told my driver as I was picked up from OR Tambo airport on the way to my stop-over in Pretoria before continuing home about my plans. And they had such strength and conviction, and he even gave me his blessing, saying “I believe you can do it! Welcome to South Africa!”

But, as I sit here in quiet contemplation aware from the allure of The Bush, something doesn’t exactly feel right. The last 9 months of my life ha e been about listening to that little voice in the back of my head. Following my gut. And, so far, I’d say it’s don’t a pretty damn good job of leading me places to where I feel happy and satisfied.

This isn’t that feeling, though.

So, I listen to my gut. Well, in all fairness, the thought process went more something like this:

Ok. My heart is an amazing machine, which is also capable of mind-blowing achievements. One of which is generating an electromagnetic field. This field can interact with the world around me in ways my brain can’t fathom. And, that’s what I need to listen to now. Tell me Mother (Nature), what do you want of me? What am I’m supposed to do? What are you trying to tell me?

And, just like that, the wind picked up. And I sat it quiet stillness for a moment. Just a moment. And it seemed the wind had something to say.

Not yet.

Not a hard and fast “No. This is wrong. This is not the path you’re meant for.” But rather, a message of “be patient and things will happen in a way that generates more peace and prosperity for all.”

So, it’s been wild South Africa. Literally and figuratively speaking. And I’m not finished yet. But, I’m ready to go home and continue on my journey forward. And, when the time is right, I’ll be back.

Restoration

I made it! It’s been a full 24 hours since I landed in South Africa and I’m well rested and showered and ready to get this volunteer gig going!

The place I stayed upon arriving in Hoedspruit was/is really fantastic. The eKhaya Bush Villa has a really nice set up, pretty much all the amenities you need, and is pretty dang affordable!

When I arrived, I found myself wanting to just sit and listen. There really is something magical about the bush out here. It truly is wild and if you sit still and pay attention, you can feel that wild energy permeate your body, mind, and soul.

And there’s something incredibly restorative about letting that wild energy envelope you. I think too often, humans get so caught up in trying to CONTROL everything. (I am the first to raise my hand here. Control freak. Through and through). We create air conditioners to change the temperature around us. We develop bug sprays to keep the “creepy crawlies” from getting too close. And we vastly manipulate the landscape to make it easier for us to traverse. Now, I’m not saying we should do away with all of these inventions. But, I think there’s something so…peaceful…about just letting nature be what it is. And letting nature tell you where you belong in its sphere, rather than forcing your way into where you THINK you should fit. Sitting here, listening to the wind rattle through the leaves, the calls of various birds carried on the wind (and the odd man-made noise in there too), and also the stillness in between provides a sense of restoration that can’t be touched anyway else.

Wandering through London streets

Phew! 25,000 steps later, I got to check a few more sights off my list.

A lovely walk along the River Thames…

Perusing the facades of some classic British architecture…

And even stopping by for a royal jaunt past the palace and Kensington Gardens…

It’s fascinating, too, how seeing new sights gives you a different vision of the world. I always love the feeling I get when I travel to knew places of yearning to be enveloped among a people different from my own. To really observe the culture around you and make the best parts of it a part of you. I hope YOU get a chance to experience something like that. Get out there. Explore. Meet new people. Try new foods. Gain new experiences. I guarantee it will make you a better person, inside and out!

The first leg

Hi there lovelies!

Coming to you live from the Colorado Springs airport, where checking in my bag took a grand total of about 7 minutes and getting through security took about 4. Granted, paying a little extra for TSA Precheck did help; but the fact that I’ve seen less than 100 people total since arriving may also have something to do with it.

Hopefully I’ll be able to keep up with the numerous adventures that are bound to happen between here and South Africa, my final destination. If any of you know me, you know my international travels are rarely boring. And that’s just the getting from point A to point B part. So, Wi-Fi pending, you’ll see some amazing pictures and likely hear of some breathtaking experiences while also learning of the headaches that come with traveling to the middle of nowhere. If not, then be prepared for an onslaught of posts when I get back!

Keep your eyes peeled!

Bird songs

Good morning, afternoon, evening, night…whenever you find yourself in the span of time it takes for this rapidly spinning globe to make its orbit.

I was struck today by listening to birds happily chirping outside my window and it got me thinking…

Appreciating the little things in life is something that is often talked about, but not often practiced. I am absolutely guilty of this. To give some background on the day, I woke up promptly at approximately 6:00am. Now, this would be all well and good if I had somewhere I had to be at, say, 8:00am. Alas, I did not, and I had only managed to fall asleep at about 2:00am earlier that morning. (Oh, the joys of working emergency hours…). Try as I might to fall asleep again and gain a little bit more REM time, my brain was a-going with all sorts of thoughts and I decided to not fight it.

However, this unexpected early morning wake up left me feeling a bit perturbed with my body. Negative thoughts of getting the rest of my sleeping schedule thrown off by likely becoming sleepy mid-afternoon and succumbing to the temptation of a “quick” nap (really meaning that I would fall asleep for 2 to 3 hours) and missing out on the errands and goals I had set for myself on one of my few days off had me in a bit of a sour mood.

Then, as I was sitting quietly at that early hour, I heard it. A lovely tune chortling in through my window. And it struck me…how lucky am I to hear this song? To have the time to sit and appreciate all the notes and cadences. To have the capability of actually HEARING the dips and trills. To have the time to simply sit and listen. To be living in a place where I have access to birds and their songs and their surrounding nature.

I share this to send the message: be thankful for the little things. Take the time to be grateful for the small aspects of good in your life. If you can find joy in the everyday, Every Day becomes joyful.

PS – After doing a quick bit of research on common song birds found in Colorado Springs, I’m pretty sure it was a house finch that was serenading me. If you want to learn more, here’s a nifty website all about birds 🙂 https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/House_Finch/sounds

Sippin’ Pretty

Well hello there!

It’s been a little while. Oh, you know how it goes. We all get “busy”. Well, luckily, my busy consisted of sipping some delicious wine and dining on some delicious food at an up-and-coming wine bar in Castle Rock, CO.

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If you have the chance to visit Crush (https://www.crushwineandfood.com/) in Castle Rock, it is quite delectable. I was snacking on the Fig and Prosciutto flat bread. Oh. Let me tell you. It was embarrassing just how focused on eating this flat bread was. And, what I came to find out HOURS later, was a smudge of balsamic glaze resting on my cheek. Oh well. Totally worth it.

The wine was delicious too. And, just in case you’re the curious type…or drank one glass too many, they have handy reminders of what you’re drinking…

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And, the owners are awesome people too! (According to their website), Nancie and James are both Colorado natives, and through a love of food, wine, and a little bit of good fortune, they made crush happen. James happened to be our bartender that night, and he was so excited and passionate about sharing his favorite wines and food pairings. He even let us sample a special vintage of some of the sweetest and most complex wines I’ve tried. It was delicious!

Anyways, here’s to Sippin’ Pretty and enjoying a few of the perks that come with being an adult 😉

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Why do bad things happen to good people..

Nothing like a simple subject to get things started. But hey, I’m not one to do things simply or to back down from a challenge. So, let’s do this!

Why do bad things happen to good people?

It’s a thought that plagues a lot of us. I think of it plenty of times at work when a loving family comes in with their equally beloved pet, who has been well cared for and thought of throughout its life; and I have to tell them some tragic news and ultimately a life is lost that day.

It’s also happened, personally, to the best of us. Something tragic has happened in our lives. The examples that come to my mind all seem to relate to losing something–or someone–we love. A bad thing happening to a good person in my life sent me into a tearful spiral that still drags me down to this day.

The question so many people–myself included–ask is WHY? WHY does this bad thing have to happen to a good person. A person who cares for others; who puts the needs of others before their own; who strives for harmony and love in the world. WHY do they get handed this pain and suffering?

Some might say it’s The Will of a deity. A smiting force that has been building up for generations of bad behavior to be taken out on this singular individual. Some say it’s karma. The force of all of your negative energy coming back around to kick you down. And, some say it just is. There is no fancy explanation. No rhyme or reason. It just is what it is.

For me, I don’t what feels worse: to think that bad things that come my way are the result of an external force that may (or may not) have something to do with my own actions. Or, to think that there is no reason why. Bad things just happen to good people. I suppose it’s the control freak in me that wants to believe that I have SOMETHING to do with what happens to me, even if it’s a bad thing. But, what if it is just the energies of the universe working themselves out?

It may seem like a really metaphysical thing to think about “energies” impacting the ebb and flow of our lives…but that’s kind of what The Laws of Thermodynamics tell us. The universe is FULL of energy and that energy can never be destroyed or created; it can only change its form. And, ultimately, all energy moves toward entropy. That perfect moment where everything is in equilibrium but is also totally, tragically, beautifully disordered. What if bad things happening to good people is the universe getting a little bit closer to entropy? You’ve worked so hard to create a good and ordered environment where everyone and everything around you is cared for. Then, the flow and direction of energy changes and this tragic event comes along and blows everything apart. And it hurts. It hurts so much you can barely move; barely speak; barely breathe. All of the energy and order you had just dissipated into this nether-sphere of unattainable and non-useful energy. Entropy.

But, what if you could redirect that energy? Claim it and channel it in a way that suits you and your system? If grief and loss and sadness threaten to consume you, let it…in a way. See them. Acknowledged them. Embrace them. Hold those feelings tight to yourself and make them a part of who you are. Because those feeling carry power. And energy. And, rather than fighting against those feelings–where not only do they already drain what strength you have, but also fighting forces you to give up your last bits of remaining energy trying to keep them at bay–channel their energy into your system. And maybe, hopefully, you can convert energy that was tragic at its start to something messy and imperfect but nonetheless beautiful.