Going To The Grand Canyon Is Going Home

What makes a place a home? A habitat is the natural environment of an animal, plant or other organism. Ok, but what makes a place a home?

Most of us live in cities now.  Other than brick, wood and a cozy kitchen or bedroom, what is home for you? 

Roosevelt&MuirYosemite
President Theodore Roosevelt visits Yosemite National Park with John Muir, 1903

The first time I visited the Grand Canyon, I was 10 years old.  I loved being there.  I remember hiking a short way down Bright Angel trail and seeing the trains of mules.  I told myself then I wanted to take a mule ride someday.

My family drove across the country in a sedan with no air conditioning pulling an Apache pop-up tent trailer.  We camped and hiked in national parks all across the western states.  But when we got to the Grand Canyon, I felt I was home.

I have yet to take that mule ride, but I have visited the Grand Canyon many times, have hiked Bright Angel Trail to the Colorado River and stayed at Phantom Ranch.

John Muir first walked across the San Joaquin Valley in 1868 through waist-high wildflowers and into the high country for the first time. Later he would write: “Then it seemed to me the Sierra should be called no the Nevada, or Snowy Range, but the Range of Light…the most divinely beautiful of all the mountain chains I have ever seen.”

Going to the mountains is going home. – John Muir

I was born in the midwest and live today in Minnesota.  Minnesota is well known for intense winters.  At the other end of the climate spectrum is the Grand Canyon, yet I find it exquisitely beautiful, vista after beautiful vista. The colors of the layers of stone are harmonious and the history is a sweet hum.  The canyon looks different by the moment of the day and the day of the year.  It comforts me knowing that the canyon has changed little in the years since my first visit — my life of however many years compared to the life span of this canyon. Research shows that the canyon may be as many as 17 million years old.

Why is that comforting? What is it about the Grand Canyon that draws me in?  The average person spends about 5 hours at the canyon, seventeen minutes of that time looking at the canyon itself.

17 minutes.

Brooks_Range-400pxBob Marshall reached Alaska and the Brooks Range in 1928 after a short career in the Forest Service.  He settled into a one room cabin in Wiseman, Alaska, furnished with books, records, a phonograph player and a writing desk. His desk looked out over the Koyukuk River and the central Brooks Range. His 15 month stay engendered a great love for these snow-covered mountains in the Alaskan wilderness.

Why is it that we travel to wild places and find that we belong there? Does it mean that we were there before?  Or is it that we resonate with the canyon or the mountains or the highland meadow?  John Muir resonated with the Sierra Nevada and from that connection created the Sierra Club. Bob Marshall climbed peaks of the central Brooks Range, and it became one of his favorite places.

The wilderness and the idea of wilderness is one of the permanent homes of the human spirit. – Joseph Wood Krutch

Have you ever arrived at a place for the first time and felt at home?  Have you found it to be familiar? That you belonged?  The Grand Canyon is special to me. In our summer family vacations, we visited many parks, yet the South Rim was vivid in my memory.

What places draw you in?  Where in the world do you feel a powerful connection?

Please share with us the places you love best.

Be well 🙂

Annette

 

Photo Credits: A.M. Beaulieu, National Park Service, Wikipedia

Sources: John Muir-Sierra Club Bob Marshall-Wikipedia LiveScience.com

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When You Resolve To Make A Resolution…

Why are resolutions so difficult to keep?  Why did we ever start making them in the first place? Did you know that as few as 8% of people who set New Year’s resolutions keep them?

Why?

I really liked the idea of making — and keeping — New Year’s resolutions. I love the idea of taking stock and looking toward what will be in the next year.  But New Year’s resolutions began to feel separate from who I really am and what I am wanting to accomplish.  There is a list of them floating around. You may be familiar with the classics — losing weight, getting fit, stopping a bad habit like smoking.

Our tradition of making resolutions comes from ancient Babylonia and Rome. In ancient Babylonia, people wanted to be sure to return borrowed objects and get out of financial debt.  If the Babylonians kept to their word, their gods would bestow favor on them for the coming year. If not, they would fall out of the gods’ favor. Romans celebrated the god Janus who looked forward to the coming year and back to the year just passed. For early Christians, the first day of the new year became the traditional occasion for thinking about one’s past mistakes and resolving to do and be better in the future.

LittleThingsHardy

If making a resolution starts from a place of lack, then every time I think of my resolution, or work on it, won’t I remind myself of a deficit in my character?  Won’t I remind myself of being less than, of being unworthy?

When you are wanting to master something, which helps you more — looking at what you have left to accomplish or seeing how far you have come?

There we are.

In any journey, it is pivotal to assess how far you have traveled.  On a road trip, you gauge your progress by the miles traveled. Seeing how far you have come, how many things you have mastered gives one energy for the rest of the journey.

Perhaps it is the religious connection with resolutions that sets people up for failure.  It is my belief that when one starts by defining oneself as lacking, it is really quite difficult to move to worth.  Much of our religious history has taught us that we are not enough.  Making resolutions in this context makes success that much harder. You are much less likely to work toward something, wouldn’t you agree, if every time you think about it, you remind yourself of how unworthy you are?

Growth usually happens incrementally.  Evolution happens in steps.  So wouldn’t the best way to approach intentionally making improvements in your life, or in yourself, be to make an adjustment?  And, wouldn’t it be more fun if there is a little whisper of the positive to encourage you?

Thank you to Darren Hardy for the kernel of this concept.  You will also find it familiar if you have ever been told the Fable of the Grain of Rice.  The longest journeys are made up of single steps.  The smallest pieces come together to make the biggest picture.  Our efforts do add up.

I have never sailed, but the visual that jumps into my mind is an exquisite ship of old, perhaps a pirate ship chasing another vessel at the great speed of 8 knots.  The sail is hoisted; it fills with wind and glides toward its target.

ProsperousNewYearV

What I love about this way of thinking is that it requires me to not only stay focused on my desired destination, but also requires that I assess how I am progressing toward it.  This process is a journey, not an exercise in success or failure. A black and white process lets me off the hook too easily.  Quitting is less of an option because the exercise is judging progress.  When you know it will be a journey of some length, marking progress becomes the next step, the next required activity — not arriving. Bigger projects or greater growth take longer than a day or a week. If you are correcting your course, the changes can be subtle yet achieve a great deal over time.

If I were sailing across an ocean, judging how far I have come would be right in front of me every moment.  Most of us are growing things or building skills that are less straight forward. Judging where you are on your journey is still vital.

My vision is building an online presence and community that offers people ways to live healthier that are also kinder to our planet.  It is my role to inspire people to the certainty that we have all that we need to heal ourselves and the planet.

Sure, building a successful online community is a large undertaking, but I can write a few thought-provoking paragraphs today, can’t I?  Of course I can.  I can grow my email list a bit every month?  Yes, I can do that too.

When you think of what you are wanting to create or master as a journey, motion becomes your partner.  Now my journey is fluid and allows me to respond to all of the factors involved. How can you know every step already?  And, how can you predict what wonderful support will show up for you on your way?

Do you assess your progress over time?  What is it about human nature that we only look forward to see where it is we need to go?  Perhaps it was just my nature.

So now I look back to see how far I have come. When I hiked Bright Angel Trail at Grand Canyon National Park, tracking my progress was built in to the hike.  There is a rest house at 1.5 miles & 3 miles, then Indian Gardens is a midway point.  The points of reference are different for every journey.

When I completed hiking the Grand Canyon, I felt incredible — unstoppable.  The canyon was epic. Awesome. Beautiful. Magnificent. What I gained is the absolute belief that I can plan and succeed at whatever project I choose. What if this were how we kept resolutions?

Cool.

What is your next journey? All you have to know is the next step.  Take it.

Be well 🙂

Annette

 

Post Blog Script: Read The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy to gain more on the concept of the power of making small, cumulative changes.

Photo Credits: Frances Brundage & A.M. Beaulieu

Sources: History.com,