My Memory of Health

My memory of health returned to me in the summer of 2015. It was a slow build that began when I listened to my heart and ended my marriage. It wasn’t about my marriage though, it’s just that at that time, it marked a huge turning point for me, because instead of ignoring my intuition, I began following it about everything in my life.

My work with an amazing Homeopath that began in January of 2015, put me on a collision course with my well-being, body, mind, and spirit. I had initially not believed that my Homeopath could in fact get me off of many of my medications as she claimed she could, several of which were antibiotics that I had been taking for Lyme Disease and co-infections since July 2012. I believed (and my doctors had told me) with everything in me that I needed the antibiotics to rid me of the Lyme bacteria that had invaded my heart and brain. After all, every time I had stopped taking the antibiotics, I would have recurrences of chest pain reminiscent of my initial bout of pericarditis in the Fall of 2009. By the end of July 2015, after over 3 years on oral antibiotics, the yeast was gaining strong footing in my body, and I had to temporarily stop the antibiotics so I could start a stronger anti-fungal medication that was incompatible with the other medications. I knew that I didn’t have a choice, but I was very nervous about stopping the antibiotics. I had become so conditioned to need medication to prevent chest pain.

I had begun meditating in July of 2015 as a coping mechanism during a difficult time in my life. I used it to deal with overwhelming sadness and anxiety. Every time my mind began to spiral into stressful thoughts, I’d set a timer on my phone for varying lengths of time depending on what I had going on, 2 minutes, 10 minutes, 5 minutes, 15 minutes, and meditate. I’d clear my mind and focus on my breathing. What I noticed after doing this for a week or two was that I began to see the bigger picture of my life situation. I began to be very aware that my soul was working on bigger things than I could be aware of at that time. I gained an amazing sense of peace that all was right in the world and in my life, and that even as the stressful situation continued, it did not shake me out of that bigger sense of knowing. I was blanketed in a peace unlike anything I had ever experienced before. I sometimes forget about that week of peace. Essentially, it gave me the knowing that that level of peace was all I needed to be seeking in life. I became committed to not stopping until I attained it again. I began to live with a conviction to not put up with situations or people in my life that disrupted my inner peace.

As I was off the antibiotics for days, then a week, then 2 weeks, I kept thinking that I would restart them, but I kept NOT starting them. At that point, I was over taking handfuls of pills every day, multiple times a day. There were pills I had to take when I woke up, before breakfast. There were pills, I needed to take with breakfast. There were probiotics I had to take 2 hours after the pills with breakfast. There were pills I then had to take again at lunch, and yet again with dinner. There were pills I had to take before bed. From the beginning, I was taking medications to ward off the side effects of other medications. My medication regimen felt like a full-time job in and of itself. The yeast issues were the last straw. I was done. My body confirmed this and began making me gag every time I took a pill.

More importantly, my symptoms weren’t returning!! I didn’t have any chest pain! I was shocked, and happily surprised! So I then began to pose some questions to myself. What exactly made me “sick”? Was I sick because I had been diagnosed with Lyme Disease and a host of other tick-born infections, or was it based on how I felt? In that moment, I decided that from then on, it was going to be based on how I felt, and I felt great!

I continued my daily homeopathy remedy, but I stopped every other medication and supplement I had been taking. I realize that it was extreme to stop the supplements and my antidepressant, but after starting the pill routine almost 6 years earlier in the winter of 2009 following my emergent heart surgery (pericardial window), I began to gag at the mere thought of taking pills. My body was rejecting that lifestyle, and I finally started to listen to my body.

I started thinking of myself as healthy, and cured. It was a way of thinking that went against what my doctor and specialist were telling me, because they say that Lyme Disease can never be cured. But here I was feeling fine, after years of a dis-ease that had been severely constricting my ability to live my life with freedom to do the things I so loved to do like hike, working full-time 12+ hours as a Registered Nurse, and taking care of my son on my days off. It felt like a miracle. I had never thought that I’d ever be free from my symptoms, let alone my medications. As I changed my thoughts about my dis-ease, the shift in my health was AMAZING!!

By the summer of 2016, I was testing my body and getting back into hiking! I remember my first long, solo hike to Corbett Lake like it was yesterday. It was a 6.3 mile hike that began at 7,400 feet elevation and went mostly uphill to 9,070 feet. I’ve read online that the hike involves a total of 19 switchbacks up on the way in, and down on the way out. I was feeling great and had done smaller hikes leading up to this one, but when I hit that trail, I didn’t really know for sure that I’d be able to do it. It was such a gorgeous hike! Hiking solo meant that I could stop to catch my breath on the switchbacks without feeling bad about it. I stopped to eat when I felt hungry. I hiked my own way, in my own time and it felt so empowering! At one point, I got to a vista that overlooked the a lake below and the surrounding mountains. I stood there beaming, laughing, and then crying with joy at what my body was able to do, and at the beauty of nature all around me. I was back! My health was back! I was completely overwhelmed by the bliss of it all. I stood there with such gratitude for the experience, the strength of my body, and of my resilience. I wondered if others ever cry when they are out hiking and are met with such a beautiful view.

I continued my way up to the lake. I was amazed to have such a amazing spot all to myself. I think I hung out there for 3 or 4 hours that day. I had a dance party on a downed tree and later again on a giant boulder. I swam and snorkeled across the lake. I read a book. I meditated. I took a lakeside nap. I laid in the sun and in the shade. I listened to the wind blow across the water as it caused the clear, alpine lake water to lap at the shore. I marveled at the beauty that was that moment, in its entirety: the lake, my body, my returned/renewed/realized state of wellness.

The last paragraph of Deepak Chopra’s book, “Quantum Healing” could be written about me. “I have no fear for her now, even if she had to begin her battle again. Eleanor is beyond battles — she radiates the peacefulness that she writes about, and spending time with her makes me feel happy and secure, all the more because I understand how rare her peace is. From the despair of disease, she has discovered joy. At the moment when the memory of health returned, it brought her enough peace to last a lifetime.”

From the despair of dis-ease, I discovered my joy, and as my memory of health returned it gave me a power that has been with me ever since and will last my entire lifetime. Before I knew anything about Quantum healing and Ayurveda, I was utilizing some of the techniques without realizing it. I continue to use the power of my mind to change my life, and to help the clients I work with to use the same techniques to heal themselves and change their own lives. It is my passion, my joy, and my soul’s purpose to use my past experiences to empower and inspire others on their own journeys. The time has come for us all to realize the power of our own minds, and the potential that we all hold to live our best, most healthy lives!

If you are currently in a place where you find yourself challenged by dis-ease, then I highly encourage you to sign up for my email newsletter and gain access to a video I made that outlines 5 simple, yet POWERFUL techniques I’ve used on my own healing journey HERE.

Please follow me on FB and IG for more inspirational content and impromptu FB Live videos in which I share the perspective that I’ve gained on my own journey. I also have a Peaceful Jellyfish YouTube channel that can be found HERE.

Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this post, please like and share it! As always, if my words resonate with you and you feel so inclined, reach out to me at peacefuljellyfish@gmail.com. I would love to connect with you! Sending you so much love!

Here’s a link to one of my favorite songs to dance to these days, Matisyahu “Thunder” HERE. Enjoy!

Right Place, Right Time

Recently, I have had some very powerful reminders that I am (we are) ALWAYS right where I need to be doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing.  I had been doubting my journey, and in true Universe fashion, I was shown that I need not doubt where I am in my life, the decisions I’ve made, and the decisions that I continue to make.  

The most powerful of these examples happened on Sunday, 11/11/18.  Now, as a background for this particular Sunday, my son and I had decided on Friday that we’d skip drum circle on Sunday night.  This detail is important because had our plans been to go, then I would have ignored my desire to get outside for a walk in one of my favorite nature spots earlier in the day.  When I arrived at said spot, the parking lot was completely full, which has caused me to abandon the plan entirely in the past and go home.  I usually go into nature for the quiet solitude.  But on this day I decided to stay anyway, and I found a spot on the side of the road to park.  My original plan for this day was to find my way to my favorite downed tree to meditate.  In wanting to make full use of the powerful energy of 11/11/11 (2018=11), I planned to meditate for a full hour.  Well, by the time I made it to the tree, the air had become California chilly and everything was lit up by the golden hour of sun that comes shortly before sundown.  So, I climbed up the tree’s large patchy-barked trunk and made my way to a spot to sit and opted to have a snack instead. I sat there happily basking in the glowing light of the moment.  

I had heard kids playing nearby, and as I ate my snack, I listened as their laughter turned to screams for help.  I looked over and saw a boy lying on the ground.  They were close.  I left my stuff and quickly ran over to them.  My heart sank as I heard what turned out to be a young boy of 11 yelling for help and screaming “Why am I bleeding?” and “I want my Mom!”.  He had apparently fallen from a concrete bridge about 7 to 8 feet high onto the firm ground of the dry wash below.  He was wearing a dark hoodie and had blood on his hands and head.  I immediately introduced myself and told him that I was a nurse and asked if I could check him out to see where he was bleeding from.  He was OK with it, so I begin asking him questions to see if he’s alert and oriented, and right away, I found a gash on the back of his head about an inch long.  I began holding pressure on it with the boy’s hood, while I told him that the blood was coming from a cut on his head and that cuts on our heads bleed a lot and make it look worse than it actually is.  My words calmed him down. There was another boy present, and I asked him where their parents were and told the other boy to go get them.  He told me that someone else had already ran to the house nearby to get them.  I kept holding pressure and calming the young boy down while I also tried to assess him physically and verbally to see if he had any other injuries.  

Luckily, the parents came shortly after, and one at a time, so I was able to calm each of them down separately.  I took his pulse and respirations while I had his Dad time them, never letting up on putting pressure on his wound.  The bleeding appeared to stop.  His pulse was fine, but his respirations were a bit high and beads of sweat began to form on the bridge of his nose and across his cheeks.  His Mom asked me what they should do.  I told them I didn’t think he should walk any distance just to play it safe, and had them call an ambulance.  With the gash on his head and knowing he fell 7 to 8 feet and likely hit his head on the way down, I didn’t want to risk him losing consciousness in his parents car on the way to the hospital.   I couldn’t tell how much blood he had lost in the dark hoodie he wore, and all he wanted to do was lie down.  I had him sort of sitting up and resting his weight on me, so that I could hold pressure to his head, keep his head elevated above his heart, and prevent his wound from lying in the dirt.  More adults appeared.  His Dad and another man carried him out of the wash, up the steep, sandy bank, and to their house not far away.  I grabbed my stuff and stayed close. When we got to the house, the ambulance was just pulling into their driveway. I told the boy he was going to be just fine and that he was going to get to go for a really cool ride in an ambulance.  He asked me if I could stay with him, but I told him that his parents would be going with him, and his Mom jumped into the front seat of the ambulance.  The boy’s Dad got my phone number and his Mom texted me later that night to tell me that he had ended up with 6 staples to his head and a sling for his arm.  I checked on him again the next day and his Mom said he was doing ok and was home resting. 

What a relief.  My Mom and nurse heart could finally relax.  Without thinking about it consciously, I am sure that I gave that boy Reiki that day, which helped him remain so calm.  I think it’s part of why he felt like he wanted me to stay with him on the way to the hospital.  Reiki tends to get activated when people or situations are calling for help. 

As I walked away from their house that evening, the adrenaline from the situation started to dissipate, and I began to cry.  I have never had to use my nursing knowledge out in public like that before.  I have a background in field biology which means that I’ve taken several wilderness first aid classes in the past.  I have experience in the hospital working with kids on a pediatric unit and have had training on how to respond to a code white (the pediatric equivalent of a code blue).  But, I did not have prior experience putting my skills to use in an acute trauma situation.  I realize now that nothing could have prepared me for that moment, yet everything in my whole life had prepared me for that moment.  I can’t tell you how much that whole scenario was lined up for me to be there, at the exact right time.  If I had still been working in the hospital, I would have likely been working that Sunday, because I used to work every weekend.  If I had a schedule full of Reiki and Joy Coaching clients that day, I would have been working and not there!  It ALL lined up for me to be there!!!  Right down to the things that filled the first part of my day, and placed me there a bit later than I would have preferred.  

As humans, we can say that we believe in the divine timing of the Universe.  We can say that everything happens for a reason.  But it is another thing entirely to truly internalize those truths and just KNOW them to be true.  Sometimes I question things.  Sometimes when I can’t see the full picture, I begin to have doubts.  It’s a normal part of being human.  But as I stood in the shower that night, the beauty and truth of the divine timing of EVERYTHING in life hit me and I just felt a renewed sense of awe of this amazing Universe we live in.  A rush of comfort poured over me for that message from the Universe that I am always right where I need to be.  Everything I have experienced and am experiencing is being divinely guided for my highest good and for the highest good of those who cross my path. Always.

I felt so incredibly grateful for the message of reassurance that came through this experience.  I hope that in reading this, you’re able to trust your own journey and the divine timing of things in your own life more.  We are always being taken care of and we are always in the right place at the right time, it’s just that some instances don’t always make it as obvious as others.   Sometimes, being taken care of means that we’re placed in very challenging situations that are meant to grow us through pain, which doesn’t always feel very divine as it is happening.  Trust your journey.  The world needs you. We all need each other.  

Thank you so much for reading!  If you enjoyed this post, please like and share it.  If you have a story about a time when you knew you were in the right place at the right time, please feel free to comment down below.  I’d love to hear about it!  

Spread Your Wings and Fly!

 

On Friday, I finally listened to my soul’s urging, and went on a nice, long hike. There are two things that light me up most in this life: connecting with people and being out in nature, the further into the wilderness, the better! The other day, I got to do both and it made me so happy!  Life is all about perspective as I have stated many times before in my posts. The other day, I would have liked to leave much earlier for my hike so that I’d have more time to hike to the farthest lake and to stop and enjoy the other beautiful spots along the way. But, I ended up being up late the night before doing some work and deciding where I wanted to hike, so I when my alarm went off at 4:30 am, I snoozed it and shut it off and got a few more hours of sleep. It worked out perfectly, because this meant that businesses were open as I drove into the park and I stopped and got a delicious green smoothie and hung posters in three businesses for Glennon Doyle’s appearance here on October 27th. I also hung my business card in the coffee shop, so it was a win-win kind of “late”. Since taking my leap of faith in May, I am really able to see how even the most simple of things happen just as they are supposed to and it’s awesome! We’re never really “late”, because we are always right where we’re supposed to be. All the time.

 

So, I continued to make my way up into the mountains, but got stopped by some road work. Likely, I sat there for a half hour or more. Many of us shut off our cars and got out to take in the view. I ended up talking with a woman visiting from London for most of the time. We talked about so many things including travel, how the mountains here were reminding her of some mountains in Italy, how friendly people in Australia are, how fearful people in the US tend to be and the fact that I see that it’s by design to keep us living small, prevent us from traveling, and to keep an “us-them” mentality, we talked about hiking solo and why I am so comfortable with it, my wildlife/fisheries career, guns in the US, people in the US thinking they need to take guns hiking with them to be “safe”, the video game Fortnite and the ridiculousness of having instances of kids going to school and shooting other kids while we have one of the most popular games teaching them about every gun in existence and that their goal should be to be the last man standing, but with no blood. Desensitized much?! We touched on a few other things too, but you get it. We connected about real things. I cherish times when I get to connect with people in a real way on so many levels.

 

When I hike, I get so thrilled to be out on the trail that I experience an overwhelming sense of mental, physical, and spiritual wellness. Do you know what I’m talking about? When you’re out doing something that makes you feel so alive that you gain a new level of clarity and perspective on life? So, as I was hiking, I was also thinking about life. As I walked and thought about how free hiking makes me feel, I kept seeing little things on the trail that looked like wings to me. A blot painting class the night before had my mind focused on the messages that can reach us through a multitude of ways. I connected the freedom I was feeling with these wings. Then I started digging deeper. The wings weren’t wings of course, but instead were the little scales from pine cones. As I dug deeper, I started thinking about the journey a pine cone takes to complete the life cycle of the trees, and how it relates to the journey we’ve all been asked to take this year.

 

Pine cones started their lives high up in the trees, safe and secure and nourished. But in order to disperse their seeds, they have to fall to ground, break open, and be uncomfortable on the ground so that they can achieve freedom from the tree. Animals like squirrels break them apart into what looks like little wings dotting the trail. Some of the seeds inside are eaten, but many are spread so that they can take root to create new life in the form of a tree.  I started thinking about this year and how similar our lives have been to that of the pine cone. We’ve been asked to leap or forced to leap into the unknown as we’ve set intentions that we want more from this life than the daily grind that we had grown accustomed to. We’ve asked for more peace and joy. We’ve asked for deeper connections and situations that leave us feeling most alive. Getting to those things requires that the things no longer serving us be removed to make room for the new life we’re dreaming of to enter. We can’t keep all of the old furniture and expect more to come in when there’s no room for it. So we’ve been asked to clear our lives of the toxic relationships, the job that was bringing us down and/or making us sick, things that we’ve developed an addiction to, and the living environment that’s not conducive to our growth and expansion. 2018 has been a difficult one for many, yet exciting at the same time. We are being asked to live more in the present moment and stop trying to predict the future or control the outcome of every area of our lives. We have been asked to dig deep and find what it is that makes us tick, what makes us feel most alive, and we’re being asked to do that more!

 

Sequoia trees need fire for their seed dispersal.  This year has been like a fire to come and burn away everything that has been holding us back, making us feel separate and making us live small lives.  The fire is taking away all that doesn’t serve us and it is giving us wings with which we can fly through the rest of this year and into next year with more power, more courage, and a bigger footprint than we have ever allowed ourselves to have before.  It’s quite beautiful really.  Realize that the fire is not meant to destroy YOU it’s meant to break you out of your shell, to get you to put down your mask so that you can do all that you came to this world to do.  It’s been an uncomfortable process and it’s going to continue to be uncomfortable until we realize that we are the light that we see in others.  We are meant to break down all of our limiting beliefs and barriers so that we can live our best, limitless lives like we were always intended to.  We’ve broken open, we’ve planted our seeds, and now it’s time to grow into the person we are being asked to be so that we can fulfill our life’s purpose and impact this world like only each of us can. We’ve got to become the people needed for the next level of our lives. It’s a requirement for all of us, so the less you fight the process and go with the flow and do what is being asked of you, the easier time you will have with it.

 

It’s time to spread our wings and fly while we trust that the seeds we have planted with our intentions and our inspired actions are going to sprout into the life that we’ve been dreaming about! Trust, my friends. Trust. The seeds are growing in my life and I am blown away at what the work I have done to align with my higher self has created in my life! We’ve all planted our seeds at different times, so we’re all going to see them start to grow at different times. It does NOT mean that some people’s seeds will grow while other people’s won’t. Seeds don’t work that way and neither do our lives. Rather than getting caught up in comparisons with your journey and other people’s journeys, choose to get inspired by the sprouts appearing in their lives. See that as proof that it’s just a matter of time before your own seeds sprout! As you are grateful for the beauty appearing in the lives of those you love, you will raise your frequency to help speed up the manifestations in your own life. If you want something, rather than getting caught up on your intense desire for it, be extra grateful to all that you have now, in this moment, and all that others have that match what you want and before you know it, all that you desire will be yours. Life is not a competition like we’ve been made to believe, and the more love and happiness we show others, the faster we will all proceed to living our best lives.

 

The energy from this fire is going to give us all that we need to propel us through the rest of this year and into the start of next year.

 

I made a video about this when I was out hiking that I’ve posted to my YouTube Channel.

 

Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this post, please like and share it. Sending you all so much love!

 

Following my Joy All the Way to Australia!

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Ever since I was a teenager, I have been drawn to Australia!  I have been dreaming of traveling there for my entire adult life.  For many years, I dreamt of traveling to Cairns to see the Great Barrier Reef.  In college, I remember watching documentaries about Australia and the Aboriginal People there in the library some evenings.  I even tried to scheme ways to study abroad and take marine biology classes at James Cook University.  Unfortunately, the college that I attended was not open to creating a study abroad program with James Cook, so I graduated college having never studied abroad.  Life happened, I graduated college and jumped into a really cool internship with the US Fish and Wildlife Service where I lived in a remote spot in the Alaskan backcountry for a summer studying seabirds amongst the brown bears.  After that, I jumped into piecing together my life and work along the way.  You know how that goes.  I had an amazing time traveling the United States as a nomad living from my car and camping, hiking, and backpacking for my various Wildlife and Fisheries field biologist jobs, so I am definitely not complaining in the slightest with how I have chosen to live my life.  But, there has always been a part of me longing to see Australia.  And this June, I am making my dream come true and will be traveling to Western Australia (from Perth to Broome) to experience the wild places there for myself!

Maybe you have read along during this blogging journey of mine and have come to know a bit about my health journey.  But in case you’re new to my blog (Welcome!), I’ll sum it up by saying that shortly after having my son, my life was completely disrupted when I abruptly lost my health (read Lost: Part 1 HERE and Looking for the Map: Part 2 HERE) to an unknown cause.  For a number of years, my life was turned upside down as I sought answers and healing from many different practitioners and specialists with no success.  I could still taste the freedom of the very active lifestyle that I had been so graciously blessed to live, yet I had a hard time doing the basic tasks of living in my day-to-day life.  It seemed surreal, and I felt beaten and broken many times as I was going through it.

What I have learned along my journey is that our health is our number one asset.  And we need to be grateful when we have good health, and appreciate all that our bodies afford us to do.  Because not having our health usually means that we don’t have the ability to use our bodies to do the things that we enjoy the most, or we don’t have the energy we need to do the things we love.  We need to do our best to treat our bodies well, so that they’re better able to function and serve us on our journeys.  But, our souls know that sometimes the best things in life come to us, and from us, when we have experienced a complete loss of health and/or a near death experience.  It is from this place that I have gained a sense of gratitude for all that I have and experience in this life.  I see the world through a completely different lens now.  And for this perspective, I will be forever grateful.

I have also come to realize that the whole purpose of life is to experience JOY!  It’s not about all of the material things. It’s not about achieving some status or ranking.  We are meant to follow our bliss.  In THIS moment.  We are not supposed to wait to live our joy.  We are not supposed to put it off for another day, or save it for retirement.  We have to fill our lives with joy now while we’re able, because tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us.  If you are doing what you love, you are living your purpose.

But, going to Australia isn’t the only way we can experience joy.  Each one of us has different things that bring us joy.  For me, I have learned that my joy comes from simple pleasures like spending quality time with my son, hot baths with coconut oil and bath salts, a morning routine of yoga, affirmations, and positive videos, hiking in beautiful places, and reading on a boulder next to the river.  My joy also comes from getting to know new people, sleeping under the stars, jumping off rocks into lakes and rivers, traveling to new places, and boogie boarding in the ocean to name a few.  It is important that if you want to live life with more joy, that you start consistently doing things that bring you joy.  What can you do today to live more joyfully?

It could seem sad that it’s taken me 20 years to make my way to Australia and fulfill a long-time dream.  But, just like everything else in my life, I see how this experience is showing up for me in divine timing.  I am going to appreciate every minute of the experience in a way that I would not have when I was 18.  I am choosing to leave my nursing job that has been causing so much stress that it has led to health problems, and I am taking a leap into the unknown while I put my health and my joy FIRST.  It is empowering and liberating!!  It feels amazing to put my health first, especially since I have usually been one to put everyone else’s needs before my own.  Can you relate?  I feel like I am finally making the most important stand for myself in this life.  Not to mention how exhilarating it is to know that I will be in Australia in less than 20 days where I will be on an adventure tour hiking, sleeping under the stars every night, getting to know new people, jumping into swimming holes, snorkeling with whale sharks, abseiling into red rock canyons, seeing and exploring new places, and seeing all kinds of new plants and animals!!!!  Excitement doesn’t even touch what I am feeling!  What brings you joy?  How often do you do things that bring you joy?

If you’d like guidance on how to follow your intuition to more joy in your own life, contact me at peacefuljellyfish@gmail.com!

If you enjoyed this post, please like and share it!  Thank you!

Watch Xavier Rudd’s video for “Follow the Sun” HERE.  Xavier Rudd is an AMAZING musician!  If you ever have the chance to see him live, take it!  Xavier is aptly from Australia and doesn’t make it to the US very often.

Time Travel

A few weeks ago, I was talking with a good friend of mine and I told her that I wish that I could go back in time and relive my life, but with my current mentality.  I wanted to go back and have the experiences of the traveling and hiking for work with the level of gratitude and mindfulness that I currently experience.  I just had this idea that I would appreciate every experience, every hike I was able to do, every connection that I made with other people back then so much more with my current perspective on life.  In those days, I traveled, hiked, and LIVED in some of the most amazing and beautiful places that you can visit in the United States!  And I enjoyed it all at the time, but my life sort of splits at the time that I lost my health.  There’s the ‘before I lost my health’ time, and the ‘after I lost my health’ time.  Can you relate?  Did something change your life so dramatically that you also have a before (fill in the blank) time, and an after (fill in the blank) time?

Before I lost my health, I did what my body could do and didn’t even really think about it.  My body did whatever I wanted it to do.  If I needed to hike 17 miles in a day for work, I did it.  If I needed to carry a heavy backpack for 10 miles for work, I did it.  If I needed to lift a recliner into the back of a truck by myself, I did it.  After I lost my health, I experienced times when I couldn’t get off the couch because my chest pain was so bad.  I couldn’t walk to my mailbox that was maybe 30 feet from our house.  Actually come to think of it, maybe I am living in the after I lost my health AND after I got my health back time.  I am the same person, except now, I have all of the collective memories from all the time periods of my life.  And with the memories of the stark differences in what my body was able to do, I live with an immense gratitude so enormous that when I hike (or do something else that I thought I would never get to do again), I am usually brought to laughter and tears of joy.  And I am not exaggerating in the slightest.  I’ve asked friends of mine if the hikes they do ever bring them to tears, because it happens so often to me now.

As my friend and I discussed my time travel idea, we came to the conclusion that if I could go back with my current perspective that my life would likely be completely different now.  And really, I wouldn’t want that, because I would always choose to have my son.  But what I have realized since talking to my friend is that while we cannot currently (I never say never about anything) travel back in time physically as who we were then and experience things over again all “Back to the Future” style, we do have the ability to travel back to places that we once visited, experiencing it as our current selves.  And over the last few weeks, I have found that it’s pretty damn close.

I went to Southwest Utah last weekend on a whim.  I have been called (ie my heart/gut/ intuition/soul keep bringing it up over and over) to revisit the beautiful red rock of Zion National Park now for a long time, especially for the majority of this year.  Because I do not usually have a three-day weekend off all to myself, I was not about to waste it by sitting at home doing things that I could do on any other day.  I worked in SW Utah back in 2003, initially hiking through the desert looking for desert tortoises, and later using seining and electroshocking in rivers and streams to collect data on various fish species.  I even did some work in the Virgin River in Zion National Park.  I fell in love with the contrasting colors of the red rock against the bright blue sky and earthy green sage and cacti.  It’s art for the eyes unlike any other place I have ever seen.  When I realized that I had a 3-day weekend coming up, I began thinking of things that I could do during that time, specifically where I could go hiking.  I immediately thought of Zion National Park.  But as quickly as I thought of it, my mind started to work against me.  It’s an 8-hour drive and I haven’t done a long road trip like that by myself in a long time.  Can I stay awake, driving for that long?  How much is this going to cost me?  Can I afford it?  I can do it if I find a free place to stay, but not if I have to pay.  How much gas am I going to end up using and paying for?  Is 3 days really long enough to go all the way to Zion?!  I mean I’m basically going to drive there, hike, and drive back.  But, luckily, there are bigger forces at work than my mind that obviously wanted me to go to Zion.

I began to get messages in the form of Instagram and Facebook posts.  For instance, upon sitting on my couch and contemplating the trip while looking up places to camp and stay, I checked my Instagram to find two posts from two separate accounts featuring pictures taken in Zion National Park.  You can believe whatever you want, but I have seen enough in my own life to know without a doubt that there are no coincidences in this life.  If you feel like you’re getting messages, you are.  One of the pictures was taken from the top of Angel’s Landing, one of my favorite hikes in Zion that I planned on doing if I made the trip.  I also began to have other quotes, and articles pop up on my Facebook feed dealing with blocks that we sometimes create between ourselves and money, and also about the importance of following your intuition and doing the things that you are feeling urged to do.  So between message after message essentially yelling at me to go to Utah, and a sweet guy in Utah who runs a camping airbnb who hooked me up with coordinates for free camp sites on BLM land with a fall back option of his backyard if they were all full, I decided to go to Utah!  And man, am I happy that I did!!

Zion was always a magical place to me, but I think it was even more so during this visit!  I was able to experience the entire trip with the perspective of getting my health back after losing it, and during every shuttle, and hike, and conversation, I was saying to myself, I cannot believe I am lucky enough to be here right now!  I looked around with awe and a huge smile on my face the whole time.  I noticed some of the other hikers walking with almost grimaces on their faces, and I wanted to shake them and say “Can you believe that we are here in this magical place?!  This place is AMAZING!  Aren’t we so lucky that our bodies allow us to hike like this??!!”

I got there on Friday, set up my camp, and then went straight to the park to hop the shuttle and ended up hiking the Emerald Pools trail.  As I hiked, I smiled BIG!  It felt so right to be back there!  I looked around amazed as if I was seeing the Park for the first time!  On the shuttle to Emerald Pools, I struck up a conversation with a woman beside me, and asked her what hike she was going to do.  We started talking about where we were from and how long we were going to be there.  And we talked about hikes that we were going to do and that she had done.  She told me that she had hiked The Narrows the day before and that it was so beautiful and that I should do it if I had the time.  I had thought about it before my trip, but was not sure that I wanted to rent the gear for $40.  This conversation sealed the deal for me, and she told me where she rented the gear and what time they opened in the morning.  So again, flying by the seat of my pants, on Saturday, I hiked The Narrows, one of the most iconic hikes in Zion National Park.  I have hiked a lot in my life, but The Narrows is now my absolute FAVORITE hike!  My soul was overwhelmed with joy to be hiking through a river surrounded by a red rock canyon!  If your body is able, and hiking in a place like that makes your soul happy too, you MUST get yourself there and experience it for yourself.  No picture, no matter how beautifully taken, can ever capture the feeling of being there yourself.  In my opinion, Zion National Park is a must-see and The Narrows hike is a must-do!

Me on top of Angel’s Landing in the Fall of 2003:

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Me on top of Angel’s Landing on October 15, 2017:

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Our souls/higher selves really do know what is best for us.  I see it play out in my life all the time as opportunities and people are placed on my path.  After my trip to Utah, I knew that I could in fact travel in time by revisiting places I have lived and loved in the past.  But, I had no idea that another hike I did yesterday in Sequoia National Park would show me that again.

I had wrongly assumed that I was working all weekend this weekend, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, until I looked at my work schedule again last week.  It turns out that I had Sunday off.  So again, I began to think of hikes that I could do that day.  I have a friend that I have written about before who does all sorts of cool, epic hikes in this area, and he’s always happy to give me trail recommendations.  When he told me about the Lakes Trail in Sequoia National Park, it sounded perfect!  There are four lakes on the trail, all at various distances from the trail head, so you can decide on how short or long you want your hike to be, and the scenery at any of the lakes is gorgeous, so you win regardless of how far you go.  Before I left, he said to take the Watchtower trail vs. the Hump trail at one of the junctions on the way to the lakes, because of the scenery along the Watchtower trail.  Inspired by my friend, I set my alarm, and ended up being on the road to go hike by 4:45 am!!  I started the trail at 6:45 am, just before sunrise.  I was leaving my plan open-ended and decided that I would see how I felt at the various lakes before deciding on my ultimate destination.  The trail was so beautiful!  I had the trail all to myself until I hit the first lake, Heather Lake, when I started passing people who had camped at the lakes going in the opposite direction as me.  Aside from that, I felt like I had the entire trail to myself.  I stopped to take some pictures at the Watchtower.  The view up there is amazing!  All of the granite peaks and drop offs, the sun just making its way up into the sky.   Stunning!  I thought of how grateful I was to be able to hike that trail.  I felt so lit up from the inside.  I kept going.  At one point, there was a sign that said something like Emerald Lake 1 mile, Pear Lake 2 miles, and right then, I decided that I was feeling good enough to do the whole 12.4 mile round trip trail to Pear Lake.  There was no way that I was going to stop short just 1 mile from Pear Lake.  The hike was just what I needed!  It felt so good to get out there and do the whole 12.4 miles.  I went to bed feeling exhausted (in a good way) and full of love and gratitude for my life.  All of it.

When I checked Facebook this morning, I had memories to look back on.  Wow, did I!  As I scrolled down, I came to a group of photos that were part of an album labeled 6 to 11 months.  There was a picture in particular that I noticed where I was holding my son at an overlook on a hike that we did when he was 6 months old.  I wondered where the picture was taken, because I had no memory of the trail or its name.  So I clicked on the picture and under it was the caption “At the Watchtower.”  My son turned 6 months old on October 23, 2009.  We must have done that hike almost exactly 8 years ago.  And as I just wrote that sentence, I checked today’s date and got chills when I saw that today is October 23, 2017.  Wow.  There are seriously NO coincidences in this life!  I could have gone on any hike yesterday, but I was led to go on the same hike that I had gone on 8 years ago almost to the day!  Again, I got to relive my past with my current perspective and level of gratitude and mindfulness.  In 2009, the first picture was taken not even two weeks before I started having symptoms that ultimately led to my complete loss of health, so it falls just into the ‘before I lost my health’ time period.

My son and I at the Watchtower in October 2009:

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Me at the Watchtower on October 22, 2017:

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I know I have said it many times, but without the perspective of gratitude that I have gained from having my life split into two when I lost my health, I would not have hiked with as much joy as I did yesterday, last weekend, or during the last few years as I have been getting back on the trails.  I would not be as grateful for all that my body is able to do, because I would not know any other way.  The scenery and trails haven’t changed, but I have!  I am lucky, because life has given me the opportunity to go back and really soak in the experiences that I have had.  I have gotten a second chance at life, so I do not intend to waste it.  This perspective is why I do the things I do.  It’s why I live my life seeking the things that bring me the most joy.  It’s why I don’t wait around for other people to be available if I really want to do something.  I know that I woke up this morning and am alive TODAY.  I know that I am healthy enough to go on long hikes by myself TODAY.  Tomorrow is not guaranteed, friends.  What are you putting off for another day?  I would encourage you to do it!  Be here NOW.  I hope that you, too, are living this amazing and magical life to the fullest!

I sang Michael Franti’s song, “Gloria”, all weekend as I drove to and hiked around Zion NP.  I was really feeling the lyrics, because I am so glad to be alive!  I had no idea of the story behind the song until I just searched for a link to add here!  Watch an amazing video of Michael Franti talking about and singing his song, “Gloria” HERE

or the album version of “Gloria” HERE