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Still Alive

Sorry, blogosphere!!! I’m still alive. I’ve been way better about my Instagram than anything long-form.

My last post was about my teacher training in June, and in it I wrote that I was stoked to be heading back to the shala in October.

Well… it’s October. And I’m back at the shala gearing up to start the first intensive of our 500hr training. (I’m still stoked.)

In between then and now I spent two weeks living in a garden shed in the middle of a cow pasture in southern Colorado; a week with a bunch of rad young people and an even cooler farmer outside of Boulder; a few days trekking through the Wind Rivers in the most stunning country I’ve ever seen with my own eyes; a month on a bison ranch plopped down in an expanse of yellow prairie with town no closer than 30 minutes in either direction; and a week road-tripping through the PNW with stops for lakeside camping, catching up with old friends, and park exploring.

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I’ve felt a ridiculously wide range of emotions, some welcome and some that I was hoping I’d never have to see again. I’d heard it said that “no matter where you go, there you are.” I was kind of hoping to skirt around that… but life is life and I’m still me and fear and anxiety and sadness and loneliness aren’t going away. Maybe the best part of this trip hasn’t been the variety and the freedom but the grounding that comes with knowing that happiness isn’t necessarily the result of variety and freedom; it’s a place one arrives at internally, decisively, and independently.

It’s hard to believe how soon things will be winding down.

In one of those moment of fear I found myself wondering, “Will staying in one place and going back to work mean that I’m no longer this strong, adventurous, capable person?”

Bullshit.

If anything, this year has taught me better how to listen and how to act on what moves me. Circumstances won’t always be so ideal or so idyllic, and that’s OK—necessary, even. I’ve done a lot of growing this year, and it doesn’t stop here. Luckily, I’m not done traveling quite yet.

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Camper Life

When I was a kid, I’d always leave the kitchen cupboards open. It drove my stepdad insane. Now that my whole living space is about half the size of that kitchen, I understand why.

Lesson 1 of camper life: Always close the cupboard doors.
Lesson 2: Sweep. Two, three, four times a day. Work pants live on the porch.
3. Everything has a home. Always put a thing in its right home.
4. Basically, don’t make a mess.
5. Go outside.

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They match!

Between the farming and the paddling I’ve been sleeping like a dead person when I do retreat to my cozy little trailer. My body is feeling it, for sure. Of all the things I thought to pack for this trip, I’m very grateful I remembered a foam roller.

It occurred to me that if you don’t know how to be grateful for what you do have (and that can include a bright yellow piece of foam), you won’t notice when you finally get what you’re after. You’ll keep making the future responsible for your happiness when the honey’s been on your fingers all along.

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Cheesin’ on my first paddle of the season

So, WWOOFing. It’s awesome.

We start work most mornings at 7AM, and it’s pretty sweet that my commute is all of a step off my porch. I head into the house for some breakfast and then Stephanie, my host mom, and I go out together. Trish, who works on the farm full time, usually pulls up shortly after. Some mornings we harvest for restaurants; sometimes we seed or transplant or clear beds. The chickens get fed, eggs collected. The sun is up and hot in just a couple hours.

Stephanie is amazing and nothing less. From her I’ve been learning about soil health, gut health, medicinal herbs, essential oils, sourdough, kombucha making, DIY cleaning supplies, homeschooling, hard work, and patience. She’s a phenomenal farmer, cook, wife, mother, and mentor. Nothing gets her ruffled.

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Sometimes the best cell reception is on the tractor

I am Soaking. This. Up. I don’t yet have words for how grateful I am to spend my days this way. Even in a few moments of homesickness I am stuffed with Thank You.