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Posts Tagged ‘Reflection’

When’s the last time you woke up in the morning, packed an overnight bag, and just…went somewhere?

So often, we let days pass us by. We get pulled left and pulled right and all around meeting deadlines, getting things done, and perpetually rotating between what “has to get done” and “things I have to do.”

Look at the calendar and count back the days and find how many it has been since an entire day consisted of only things you WANTED to do.

How many days has it been?

This personal time is critical for growth. Personal time to pursue activities that you enjoy and that excite you makes you feel more complete, more capable.

Combine that with creating a sense of adventure – and now you have a real, life changing, eye-opening experience that will stay with you forever.

What if you had an entire day to work on you?

A self-sustaining adventure means to give yourself a day of adventure – a full day,

all to yourself. 

Self-Sustaining means self-sufficient. It means that you have with you and within you all that you need for an entire day of adventure on your own. Whether you pack a bag and head to a new coffee shop, go to the local climbing wall, or find a remote part of a park to spend your day, this day is for you to experience something new, reflect on what you’ve learned, and enjoy an entire day on your own.

What would your adventure be? 

Adventure consists of doing something you’ve never done before and providing moments of learning and new experiences for you to take with you and keep with you forever. Adventure is excitement, seeing things from a new angle, and trying new things.

What would you plan? 

Adventure doesn’t have to be hair-raising or terrifying. In fact, it doesn’t have to be out of this world at all. It just needs to be something new  and something that gets your heart rate going. 

For me, it was a trip to Burlington, VT.

I started planning my self-sustaining day. It took three weeks to find a day on the calendar that I could block out, cordone off, and refuse to schedule anything. I then grabbed my favorite pack and started throwing things I thought I might need into it. It looked something like this:

Packing the bag and getting out of town

An entire day by myself?? Not doing anything for anyone else?? What would I need for that? How would I entertain myself? I packed every electronic I could think of plus a journal, a pen, and the Kindle. What if it rained or what if I got cold? I packed sweaters and gloves and hats and scarves…

It’s important to keep this part simple. A self-sustaining day doesn’t mean you can’t reach out and engage with others or buy a new pair a gloves (which I did in Burlington, by the way). Self-sustaining means mentally prepare to be aware of your environment, actively engage in learning new things, and seek out new places you have never been.

I have been living two hours away from Burlington for six months and have been longing to visit. Burlington has a great music scene, is an organic-hippie kind of town with a central market and natural stores, and is pleasantly walkable. Great restaurants and quirky stores line the main promenade. Off the beaten path you’ll find colorful art installments, tattoo shops, community centers, and cozy little coffee shops. I was excited to be in this new and vibrant place.

But where was my adventure??

I had no clue. I hadn’t gotten that far in the planning and the day snuck up on me before I figured the adventure part of the whole self-sustaining day out. I started brainstorming…Get a new tattoo? No. Rummage sales racks at the thrift store? Eh. That’s no adventure. Walk around aimlessly? Too cold. I decided to just play the day by ear and roll with it.

I ended up at Speeder & Earl’s Coffee House to start my day in a caffeinated way. I asked the woman for the strongest coffee they had and sat down with my coffee and some Words with Friends to try and get my head about me on this self-sustaining adventure.

The coffee roaster @ Speeder & Earl's

I sat staring at that machine wondering where to go now. I took a walk along the Church Street Marketplace and found all sorts of great shops.

Church Street Marketplace

My stomach growled when I passed The Three Tomatoes so I decided for an early lunch and some Kindle reading time. I was finally starting to relax and enjoy some time with my thoughts and being by myself. No adventure yet, or was there? I realized that just being in the moment, being by myself, wandering by myself and meeting new people and seeing new things on my own was an adventure in itself. I had coffee with the sunshine and was about to eat lunch with a fictional character from a story I was reading. I met new people and was able to spend extra time chatting with the barista and learning about Burlington from the eyes of my waitress at The Three Tomatoes.

Three Tomatoes, Church Street Marketplace

My adventure became an experience through other peoples’ eyes.

How were people viewing me? Alone and chatty and curious? Where I was to go next depended solely on the conversation I was having with a stranger now. My heart rate had definitely gone up. Going on advice from my young and friendly waitress, I headed over to the City Market. City Market is an organic grocery store that blows Whole Foods out of the water. This place is legit. First, they were serving gluten free mini-cupcakes at the front door followed up with organic milk to wash it down. I almost blew a gasket when I saw that you could grab some peanuts from the bulk bin and make your own peanut butter. Hello, peanut butter adventure! Passing by the boxed stuff isles, I stopped in my tracks when I saw this:

HIPPIE COOLER?!?

These people obviously know their market. I wanted to buy one of each item just to support hippies being included in their marketing strategy. Arms full of organic soap, gluten free pretzels, and some hippie friendly items, I checked out and threw my things into a re-usable bag and headed out the door. I felt success! I felt excited! I felt that I had found a place that said, “Hey, Christine! This place is for people like YOU!”

I needed that.

Yea, I know. It’s not crazy out of this world adventure. I didn’t try anything crazy scary. But I did do something new. And I learned something new about myself – I like being around people like me. And apparently, Burlington has a whole community of people like me. Enough to open up a grocery store full of opportunity to think and feel and purchase in a healthy, eco-conscious way. Why hadn’t I been doing this kind of exciting connection-making at home?!?

 Because I needed to try something new before I understood.

After that, I had the confidence to get off the beaten path. I walked down some side streets, got out of town…and just…wandered while munching on some yogurt covered pretzels. And that’s when my adventure happened.

There was a man in a tattered jacket all bundled up riding a bicycle shopping cart. Somehow, he had taken a shopping cart and attached it to a bicycle. Thus, making a “bicycle shopping cart.” He wouldn’t tell me his name and wouldn’t let me take a picture of the bike but it was a piece of work. Fully functioning with pink streamers and hubcap lined cart art, This piece of machinery was colorful, creative, and practical. He loads it up with recyclables, instruments, clothing, anything that needs to be moved from one place to another. He told me that it took a long time to collect all of the “artwork” that he had decorated the bike with. Our conversation was short and I felt awkward having stopped him to ask about his bike but he said that most people just stare so he was happy to tell me about the bike. He took the shopping cart from the grocery store and got the bike from a friend and said it made sense to put them together. A shopping cart bicycle. I told him the trend would more than likely catch on. Just look at what they are doing in Copenhagen!

Cargo bike for all types of hauling

I said goodbye to my new friend and the new adventure and started heading home as the sun started dipping behind the buildings on Church Street.

Goodbye, Burlington

Self-Sustaining Adventure Day…Complete.

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Creating Your Own Self-Sustaining Day

I often read blogs about adventure and travel to remind myself that life itself is an adventure. We so easily get lost in our daily lives, our daily routines, and our daily obligations that adventure seems so far away and excitement seems like something we’ll just have to get to on the weekend.

One of the blogs I follow often is from a couple that sold all of their belongings, quit their jobs, and began traveling the country in an RV. They tell great stories, have met some pretty amazing people, and have practical advice on how to follow through on living your dreams. One post, 7 Lessons from a Year on the Road, reminds us of something incredibly important:

Lesson #1: How easy it is to not follow your dreams “Inertia is an incredibly powerful force. It’s far easier to follow a routine, even a hated one, than it is to do something risky, unfamiliar, and meaningfully different.”

Challenge: Give yourself a day of adventure – a full day, all to yourself to find that experience that is meaningfully different. 

Self-Sustaining means self-sufficient. It means that you have with you and within you all that you need for an entire day of adventure on your own. This adventure is yours to own. What is it that you’ve been wanting to try? Where is it that you would want to go? How would you like to spend your day? Whether you pack a bag and head to a new coffee shop, go to the local climbing wall, or find a remote part of a park to spend your day, this day is for you to experience something new, reflect on what you’ve learned, and enjoy an entire day on your own.

So far, the Roam Your Soul workshop has had three themed adventures:
1) Seeing things from a new angle
2) Being an advocate
3) Taking Risks Makes a Woman Strong

A self-sustaining adventure: you create it, you plan it, you do it.

Basic Rules for a self-sustaining day:

1. You must pack everything you’ll need for the entire day. Nothing should be purchased along the way and all essentials are at your finger tips in your day pack or bag.

2. Make the adventure meaningful. Test your comfort zone. Get out of the routine.

3. Make time for reflection. Build quiet moments into your day. Write, draw, video blog. Find a way to express your thoughts on your experience. Engage in the process and the adventure.

4. Find an adventure that speaks to your own soul.

So, join us in the experience. Get your daypack out, pack it full of your essentials, and head out to enjoy your very own solo, self-sustaining adventure.

Want to share your self-sustaining adventure story? E-mail: christine@roamlife.com


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Learning to advocate is an important part of becoming a complete person. We advocate for ourselves, we advocate for others, and we advocate for organizations. A focus of this workshop is to help develop the inner-advocate. In my line of work, I have found so often that girls, women, children do not know how to self-advocate or advocate for a cause they are passionate about. Where do you begin? How do you gain the confidence? How do you really make a difference? How do you make that educated risk? Week 2 of the Roam Your Soul workshop is all about that.

There are three steps in advocating:

First, we learn how to Self-Advocate: Being a self-advocate is how we get ourselves through and beyond life’s challenges. As a self-advocate we build self-efficacy, confidence and the ability to win/overcome challenges and barriers.

Then, we learn to Advocate for Another: Once we learn how to better our own situations and stand up for what we believe in, we move to advocating for those that are unable or unknowledgeable of how to do so. We find the friend who is in an abusive relationship and reach out a hand, we bring food to our church to hand out at Thanksgiving, and we begin to notice those around us that may need inspiration and we seek to provide it.

Then, we Advocate for an Organization/Group: We begin to realize that there are many more people in the world that have come from similar situations or haven’t had it as great as we have and we now want to make a bigger difference in a bigger population. We no longer can sit in our bubbles and do nothing while knowing that something can be done and is being done through wonderful organizations around the world. We become a pro-active advocate.

There are many ways to actively advocate:

Think outside the box. You can participate in a marathon, a march, a protest, a sit in, a walk or you can shout from the top of a building. Decide how you would like to advocate. Make contact with whom you would like to advocate. If it is yourself, do some journal reflecting and talk to your advocacy friend. If it is another person, reach out and discuss ways advocacy can occur. If it is an organization, make some phone calls and find out more about how you can be involved.

 

Being active is key to advocacy:

Follow through on your plan for advocacy. Climb that hill and shout from the rooftop. Make your signs and sit on the corner. Visit the community center and volunteer. Make advocacy an active part of your day.

Advocacy comes in many forms:

Each person expresses him or herself differently. We all have different skill sets and different experiences. Find what is meaningful to you and incorporate that with what you are good at. Students from MIT created a video game to discuss being gay, It Only Takes a Girl made a powerful video based on international statistics for women, She’s the First coordinated a rock concert to benefit girls’ education, and so many many more people have taken an idea and created a message.

What’s your message?

MIT: A Closed World, Video Game (Click the picture)

It Only Takes a Girl, A Short Film

She’s the First, a Short Film

She’s the First from She’s the First on Vimeo.

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In the average American’s work day, we have two 15-minute breaks and one 30 minute lunch. This means we get one full hour to ourselves during normal daylight hours. Depressing? Yes. Could be worse? Totally.

It is so easy to sit at our desks all day or run around doing our jobs all day being stressed OUT. I’ve come home on numerous days and taken one look at my partner, Josh, and we see it in each others’ faces: I don’t even want to TALK anymore…I just want to sit and check out for a few hours. The day was too long and stressful and we spent the whole of it INSIDE. Two situations that are worst nightmares for us.

What would motivate me to actually take a break and try to do an adventure during my work day? I started this online workshop with the intention of helping women to take time out of their daily lives and seek adventure. The problem is, I haven’t really been doing this on a consistent basis. I’ve been a weekend warrior at best. Where’s the motivation? Where is the priority?

I’ll be honest: It didn’t really exist. There is already so much to do and it would take energy and I’d have to plan…and then go OUTSIDE and it’s COLD and then I’d have to hurry because I have to get back and punch in at that gawd-awful beeping punch machine and then I’d have to go back to WORK. Sad face.

Today, I finally did it. I built a mini-adventure into my day. Do you want to know what motivated me? This blog post. That’s right. I have had this as a draft post for three days now. It was just sitting there, waiting to be written. I had to write it. I had to “walk the walk” if I am sitting all up on the blogging horse “talking the talk” about how life adventures are important and we have to feel alive and we have to go out and DO stuff…so here it is. I did it. And it was AWESOME.

I took my two fifteen minute breaks and did a brisk walk around the property. It’s gorgeous. And I can smell snow.

Three things about myself that I reflected on:
1. I love where I live. I love the crisp air and the Adirondack mountains.
2. I am a total tree hugger. I was irritated that buildings and fences and walkways kept getting in the way of bushwhacking and picture taking. That’s right. I BUSHWHACKED in my work clothes. I felt like a renegade. I felt like I was breaking the rules and it felt GOOD.
3. I should totally take a walk outside every day. Scientifically, it helps your brain reset and gets your blood flowing. Personally, it helps me feel less bored and jittery sitting at the desk all day. I felt less trapped the rest of the afternoon.

Three places that helped me realize these things:
1. Bushwhacking down a hill on the backside of the property – in ballet flats and slacks.
2. Sitting in an Adirondack chair looking up at Mt. McKenzie.
3. Spotting a cairn on my walk back in to work. Whoosa.

Go on a daily adventure. Re-set your perspective and give yourself a few minutes to yourself.

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Roam Your Soul is all about amazing women doing amazing things that inspire other women around the globe. Let’s inspire and motivate each other. Support each other and learn from each other.

Recently, the Roam Your Soul staff teamed up with Against the Grind, a two-girl bicycling team that have endeavored to cross the country to create a documentary about amazing, every day women, doing amazing things.  They are currently parked in Savannah, Georgia before they had out on their next journey and have just finished their first video about girls and bikes (one of my personal passions).

Dirt Divas from Against the Grind on Vimeo.

Bicycling has a funny way of empowering women. I have been a part of several women’s mountain biking clinics as both participant and instructor and it’s amazing to see how empowered and successful women feel after finishing a women’s clinic. I spoke to two women this weekend from IdeRide and Kingdom Trails who have created women’s clinics for MTB and have had over 90 women sign up for the workshop. Women like to be challenged. We like to feel empowered. We like to be adventurous.

Kingdom Trails, VT

Check out M2M – an organization that utilizes bicycling to bring awareness to the lack of liberties to women in countries around the world. Shannon, the founder of M2M, is currently riding her bike through Afghanistan (which is a prohibited activity for women in that country) to bring awareness to the country and the rest of the world.

And finally, look at yourself. We are all amazingly capable and empowered women. We do amazing things every day. It’s time to take that to a global community level and start supporting and empowering each other across the world.

Against the Grind and Roam Your Soul will be working together to create a unique Adventure and Reflection Task for the Roam Your Soul workshop that starts in December, 2011. Get ready to feel empowered. Get ready to inspire others with your story.

Sign up now for our 4 week online workshop. For $15, it could change your whole perspective.

– Christine

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Traipsing through the woods with my pack on my back and my little dog by my side, red and yellow leaves started flickering down through the branches as the wind blew crisp against my cheeks. I felt tingly and alive and my feet felt like they were flying over the mud and rocks as my legs powered up and over, up and over. I was taking in every moment and every movement. It all began to melt together into one entire experience. I had discovered my “flow.”

My moment of flow

The father of “flow” is Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Mee-hi Chicksen-mee-hi). That guy’s name is a mouthful. A Hungarian born later to be psychologist, M.C. (we’ll call him) discovered that flow can be experienced during anything you really encounter. Look him up. He started out in the 70’s defending artists and letting people know that weren’t as desperate and depressed as everyone made them sound. In the 80’s he explained that teachers have known about flow for years – how do you think they motivate kids to learn? And now, it’s been adopted by educators in the outdoors and adventure leaders around the world. We need flow to feel fulfilled. We need flow in our adventures.

Part of the Roam Your Soul experience is finding that flow in your daily life. Experiencing that out of body transcendence that comes from complete submergence into a moment. All five senses are being used. Your body is working and moving at it’s maximum competency and at your mastery rate.

Are you aware of the sense of flow in your actions, the sense of flow in adventure, the sense of flow in your day? When are you aware of flow? Roam Your Soul is about finding that flow. It’s about experiencing the moment. It’s about getting lost in what’s important in life. Find your adventure. Then Roam.

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GUIDELINES FOR ONLINE DISCUSSION

The Way you Communicate Influences the Whole Group of Roamers:
As a participant, you are a member of an online community. Your postings can help push the group to think in new directions and create a sense of community, or they can be divisive. Think about what you want out of this workshop and help create that experience for yourself and others. Any intelligent person loves a bit of sarcasm and dirty humor…be careful dishing it out online – some people might take it the wrong way. Be accountable for your actions and words. Respect other peoples’ stories and characteristics. Remember our purpose: to grow and learn together.

Speak up, lady!
Don’t be afraid to speak your thoughts. Your perspective, whether it is similar to that of others in the group or different is important. Be heard. “Listen” to others. The discussion can go as deep or as surface as you like. If you think something, write it! The stories and experiences that we all share is what makes this workshop unique. This is an amazing opportunity to learn and experience new adventures through one another. Share your story.

On the other hand…don’t be a loudmouth!
On the flip side of speaking up…speaking up too often takes away from the opportunity for others to share. Be aware that your story IS important…and so is everyone else’s’. “Listen” as much as you speak. Encourage others to share their stories too. It’s important to have leaders and positive instigators in this workshop. Please help move our experience forward! Just be aware of the space and make room for others to share and be part of the conversation too.

Be a cheerleader!
Your words are powerful. Sharing comments and participating in discussions can encourage others to do the same. The more you share, the more meaningful this workshop becomes. Be a little vulnerable. Encourage others to share their thoughts. Your words can open up the window to all of us sharing deeply, wholly and personally.

Hey, Chatty Cathy! Get to the point!
With up to 30 participants in the group, there is going to be a lot of reading going on! As you’re writing your reflections, telling us about your adventures and sharing your thoughts, remember that if you take too long, it’ll be overwhelming to try and finish and we may not hear all you had to say.

Just because no one says anything doesn’t mean it’s not meaningful.
If you post something…give it time for others to read. This workshop is a once a week check in and post workshop. If you post your story up and no one responds…give it some time. Also, if no one responds, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t important. It means we read it, processed it and internalized it without sharing our own thoughts. If you want feedback or have questions on how we might interpret something, just ask – or contact the facilitator. The facilitator can help start a discussion on topics that are important to you.

E-mail vs. Discussion Board – What to do?!?
As a general rule, use the Discussion Board for all workshop communication. It’s private just to us. If you connect to another Roamer, I encourage you to share e-mails! We are here to make friends and connections. If it’s a topic we can all benefit from, share it with the group. E-mail should also be used to communicate about issues unrelated to specific workshop content.

A final thought…
Adventure is a funny thing. It can bring you to new heights and make you think differently about yourself. It can scare the shit out of you and make you wish you never tried. There is a fine balance between crossing new frontiers and throwing yourself off of a cliff. Know your own limits. Be aware of others’ limits. What might work for you, may not work for someone else. What others can do, you might only wish you could do. This is a place of encouragement, support, and growth. Try new things. Help others move out of their comfort zones. But take some baby steps along the way. Reflect often. Be true to your own heart.

Sign up now!

Contact info: Christine@roamlife.com /+1 (914) 297-8446 or use our ‘contact us’ form to request more information.

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