things I learned from climbing up rocks

So, I fell. Slipped, slid, scraped. Fell. A little skin from the elbow. A little more from my leg. And a lot more from my back.

And then I leapt to my feet, said “oh well,” and ran down (really down) the trail to catch up with my family. So, I learned:

Me & My Dad

  1. There’s not too much that I’m scared to try. The list of what I think I can’t do is even shorter.
  2. Even if I fall and get injured, I’ll do it again. I fell on the first climb and totally would have missed out on something incredible if I didn’t make the fourth climb.
  3. That side-step thing I do to get up rocks quickly without thinking about it? I learned it from my father.
  4. My father has a better grasp of limitations than I do. “Now, don’t get crazy” is what he said to me. Someday, I’ll learn that.
  5. I finally understood how biblical prophets felt listening to the wind blow through a canyon. Quite possibly one of the most amazing sounds I’ve ever heard.
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RunKeeper!

I’ve wanted to write about how much I love this website for a few weeks now, but I figured I should wait until the end of the month to ensure that I had met my personal challenge in one way or another.

On January 1, I joined Runkeeper.com. I didn’t have any specific goal in mind as to the number of miles run. I had in the back of my mind the idea of running a 5k, but I also just possess a lot of curiosity when it comes to my personal endurance and will power. In other words, I like to see how hard I can push myself. I’ve never really applied this endurance idea to physical activities. I pretty much hate exercise, and I hate healthy food even more.

So, I put this to a test. I tracked runs (on a treadmill), hiking (outdoors), and cycling (on a stationary bike) for the month.

And I’m happy to see that my grand total was: 41.56 miles.

Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

You can tell how good my summer is by how dark my skin is…

I’m happy to report that upon visiting my mom this weekend, my skin has matched her gorgeous brown perfectly. I attribute it to awesome hikes, a fabulous train trip, a drive down the coast and five weeks of watching kids play in the sun (okay, I joined in some of the time).

On Saturday, we headed up into the Hollywood Hills to watch the sunset. We made it to the top, overlooking the Griffith Observatory just as the sun was setting. It was a very hazy day so the sunset wasn’t as brilliant as it could have been, but this was by far my favorite picture:

Hollyridge-7

Bluff Cove

We’re finally right in the middle of summer, and it’s been absolutely wonderful. I’ve enjoyed soaking up every bit of sun that’s possible. As a result, I’ve turned a pretty nice shade of brown, and I’ve seen some pretty incredible things.

We headed down toward Palos Verdes last weekend to Bluff Cove for what was described as a 7-mile hike. It was more a trek across rocks and boulders, and I enjoyed every single minute of it. There’s something about jumping across rocks that’s just a whole lot of fun. And there was certainly a lot of that. We trudged across the beach for what seemed like bend after bend, taking in the ocean and the absolute peace. Once past the surfing area, we only saw a couple of other people and were able to enjoy most of the hike in relative silence.

On the way, we ran into a couple who asked if we had seen Shipwreck Cove. I had no idea what they were talking about so I answered that I didn’t think so but there were still miles to walk. When I returned home, I searched online, intrigued by the idea of a shipwreck and discovered that the metal scraps we had seen along the way were probably remnants of a 1962 shipwreck. Very cool!

It was a pretty wonderful way to spend a day. The sun, the calm, the ocean. It was all so very beautiful.

Incredible, incredible view of the ocean.

Incredible, incredible view of the ocean.

Part of the shipwreck, I'm guessing.

Part of the shipwreck, I'm guessing.

I had to stop and stare frequently.

I had to stop and stare frequently.

PV-30

We actually walked the entire length of that cove.

We actually walked the entire length of that cove.

"The Joy of Less"

… I did begin to guess that happiness lies less in our circumstances than in what we make of them, in every sense. “There is nothing either good or bad,” I had heard in high school, from Hamlet, “but thinking makes it so.”

The Joy of Less – Happy Days Blog – NYTimes.com.

I came across this blog during my morning perusal of the New York Times. It made me think a lot about things that have been going on in my life lately. Specifically, it made me think of the past two days as I have been tired of the routine that has become my life.

It’s strange when you’re working 40, 50, even 60 hours a week. Everything has this pretty little structure. You are supposed to be somewhere at a certain time and perform certain tasks at certain times. There is a part of our humanness that enjoys that. It’s like a ridiculous security net that saps the very soul out of you.

I don’t believe that our souls enjoy that routine in any fashion. At least, I have realized in the last few weeks that my soul definitely does not. It’s almost as though I have become alive in many ways. And, it’s almost as though I didn’t realize how un-alive I was before. It’s not even about  being able to walk down the street at 2 p.m. if I so desire. It really isn’t. It’s about this deep peace in doing things that I truly love to do.

I realize that my frustration with this in the past few days has nothing to do with me. It has to do with my listening to opinions and seeking advice. For some reason, this is really not the time for that. Instead, it’s more the time for vigorous workouts, cups of coffee, hours of writing, hiking into the hills, and ridiculous games on the computer.

As I walked yesterday and sat near a fountain, listening to Van Morrison, drinking my coffee, there was not a thought in my mind. It was the perfect break to an afternoon of cover letter writing.

I have been having those moments very frequently lately. Moments where I feel as though nothing else in the world exists, and there is a deep peace inside of me. The strangest part of all is that in this same time period, the most ridiculous (read: awful) things have happened. It’s been like setback after setback. And, much in the way the author of this blog describes, I told my mom on Sunday, this stuff can keeping coming, and I’m going to maintain every ounce of positivity that I can because at the end of the day it doesn’t matter.

It really doesn’t. Much of what consumes us in this life is very fleeting. It does nothing to enrich our spirits or engage our souls. Instead, it saps the life out of us, creating fictitious pain and stress.

My goal right now is not to fall into a cycle that would be less life-giving. I can see where the opportunity would be. But like always, I believe that everything happens as it should. Coming across “The Joy of Less” would definitely fall into that category.