100 Ways of EarthFit- Day 48: Leaving Oregon

I was going to try to be all poignant and significant with my post, and relate my packing and moving to fitness and conservation, but to tell the truth, my brain is a little fried from the whirlwind of news and last chances and the actual packing and moving.  We are leaving Oregon and if I’m being brutally honest here, it couldn’t come soon enough. Continue reading 100 Ways of EarthFit- Day 48: Leaving Oregon

100 Ways of EarthFit- Day 40: Haiku

I have some homework I need to do for my Naturalist training that I am avoiding because of all the rain we’ve been having.  I need to do a sit spot, but sitting still for even just 20 minutes is similar to yoga, and we all know how I feel about that.  I also have to finish my Trail Head Talk, which I’m not completely worried about because I already know what I want to say, I just need to write it all down so I don’t forget the little details.  But one thing I was asked to do that I got inspired to complete was a haiku.  It didn’t have to be about the refuge, or being a naturalist.  But of course, when inspired to do a haiku for a Naturalist training course, it’s bound to be nature related. Continue reading 100 Ways of EarthFit- Day 40: Haiku

100 Ways of EarthFit- Day 28: Positive Communication

A discussion with my husband reminded me of this topic, and I figured this is as good as any day to talk about Positive Communication.  I am starting to become more and more frustrated with society due to our negative tendencies.  And I realized something significant about Animal Training and Human Communication.   Continue reading 100 Ways of EarthFit- Day 28: Positive Communication

100 Ways of EarthFit- Day 25: Giving with the Heart

If you are a devout and dedicated EarthFitter, than you may be aware that a main component to EarthFit is what I call “Experiencing Nature”.  Getting outdoors and connecting to the earth in healthy ways is the core of EarthFit, and there are dozens of ways to foster a better appreciation for nature and the environment Continue reading 100 Ways of EarthFit- Day 25: Giving with the Heart

100 Ways of EarthFit- Day 18: Networking and Self-Promotion

I am probably the world’s worst salesperson.  I swear.  My sister?  She could have sold ice to an Inuit.  My dad is a world class businessman who networks like nobody’s business, to the point where we can be on vacation and he will make a potential professional acquaintance.  My mom is great at customer service.  She is so genuinely helpful and considerate.  Not that I don’t think I possess any of these traits to some small degree, but I definitely was not cut out to be a salesperson. Continue reading 100 Ways of EarthFit- Day 18: Networking and Self-Promotion

100 Ways of EarthFit- Day 14: Happy Heart Day

Most couples celebrate February 14 as Valentine’s Day and surprise each other with chocolates, flowers, and expensive dinners.  While I understand this particular “holiday” is to celebrate love, I tend to call it Happy Heart Day, and do things that feel good for the heart, mind, and soul. Continue reading 100 Ways of EarthFit- Day 14: Happy Heart Day

Special Dedication- 1000 Days of Art

In 2013, my husband embarked on a challenge for himself and his passion.  He decided that he would challenge himself to do some kind of art, whether that be painting or drawing for at least 30 minutes each day.  Every day.

Chris has always been inspired by the masters, and knowing those masters have dedicated their lives to their craft, and knowing they did their art every freaking day is what MADE them masters, Chris wanted to emulate some of their principles. Continue reading Special Dedication- 1000 Days of Art

Workout at the Park

When Chris and I first moved to Oregon, we found a little park not too far from our apartment that has benches, a playground with monkey bars, and seemed secluded enough to allow some “privacy” while working out.  Then we joined VillaSport for the summer and when we left Villla, our workout park seemed…different.


It seemed to have grown crowded by annoying types of people. People smoking (weed), people who didn’t pick up after their dogs (ewww), broken glass on the ground (c’mon, people, KIDS play here), and folks who just let their kids walk up to random strangers and talk to them while said strangers were trying to get their workout on.   Last weekend we hit our limit on how much we could take when we tried to do a circuit workout but with traffic on the road, and then stepping in dog poo during the workout, we were finished with the park once and for all.

Continue reading Workout at the Park

Winnie Memorial

I can’t remember exactly how old Winnie was when I picked her up from my co-worker’s place.  She was just a scroungy little kitten though. Gorgeous tortoise shell coloration, long hair, and piercing gold eyes. I wasn’t allowed to have cats at the apartment I was then renting, but Winnie wasn’t my cat anyway.  I put her in a crate with a towel, placed her in the front seat of my car, and started the 8 hour car ride back to South Carolina.   Continue reading Winnie Memorial

Vision Quest Testimonial

While writing my original testimony, I had an epiphany.  I found it ironic that I would join a gym called Vision Quest and then partake in an experience remarkably comparable to the Native American’s version.

Native Americans’ vision quests are based on their medicine wheel, a circle with points in each direction, with a special attribute connected with each direction, and a spirit   animal that helps guide them.

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Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 8.37.09 PMThe first place one starts on a vision quest is the south, the place of the mouse.  They say that a mouse can’t see past it’s whiskers, so it must rely on others in order to survive.  The south is a place of trust.  This is an incredibly difficult attribute for me to grasp, as I’m truly the last person who would let a group of random strangers into her life.  But historically, being alone has often been my downfall.  That voice that sabotages every good thing in my life always creeps in and tells me I don’t deserve this, I’m not good enough, that no one likes me.  But this time around, I had a  support group of “random strangers” that had invited me into their lives, encouraged me, worked out with me (some of you got up at the buttcrack of dawn to do so), and accepted me.Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 8.37.20 PM  Without you, that voice would have taken over, and I would not be where I am tonight.  So I Thank you for teaching me that friendship and trust are risks worth taking.

The next stop is the West, the place of the Bear.  The bear is a strong animal, but not just physically.  The bear displays inner strength as well.

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The trainers here have been my bear guides. Whether that was playing the role of my awkward and suggestive nemesis, or positively encouraging me to push through mental blocks during your grueling bootcamps, you taught me that I can do anything I put my mind to.  I mean, you got me to RUN!  Without a dangerous animal chasing me!

The confidence you taught me helped in more than just my fitness goals.  About midway through this challenge, I went on a little sojourn across the pond to Ireland and England in pursuit of a dream. If it hadn’t been for you believing in me, I wouldn’t have to tell you how much I’ll miss you all at this time next year, as I’ll be participating in a program that will very likely lead to a permanent position at the Dublin Zoo.  And you all played an  important role in my achievement, giving me the inner strength to succeed.

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 8.37.38 PMAfter finding inner strength, a person ventures on to the East, the place of the Eagle.  Here, the eagle flies high, and can see the whole picture.  It sees the truth and how everything fits together.  And I have one hell of an eagle guide, folks.

Gareth, you wanted to be my nemesis, but after all you’ve done for me and all we’ve accomplished, I could never view you as a nemesis.

When I came here, I was lost.  I mean, literally lost, I had no idea what I was doing, or where  anything was.  I was lost, and you gave me direction.

One of our first sessions together, you called me OLD!  And, looking back, maybe I was old. But I don’t feel old anymore: you have provided me with a fountain of youth.Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 8.37.48 PM

I was down, and you lift me up.  Sometimes you simply lower the weight so I can lift myself up, but you are there giving me that boost.

But the most profound change you have given me is my perception of myself.  For the first time, I see myself for who I am, and I can say it because I believe it- that I am a beautiful woman.

For most people on a vision quest, the east is as far as they go.

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But there are a rare few that find themselves venturing to the north, the place of the buffalo.  The native Americans have a term for buffalo in their culture.  It’s “Tatonka”, but it doesn’t mean buffalo.  It actually has two meanings.  The first is “teacher”, and it’s a respectful term for an animal they so heavily depended upon. 

The other meaning is for those that have gone to north, and have had such an experience that they are not the same person as before.  They are Tatonka, the Wounded Healer.  And it is their responsibility to share their experience, strength, and hope with others.   I am standing here tonight to share with you my journey. I have come through the other side and discovered that this experience has changed every fiber of my being.  I AM a Wounded Healer, and I invite you to join me in your own quest.  You will make new friends, find inner strength, and discover the beauty that resides in all of us.  And I can’t wait to greet you with open arms on the other side.

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