This time of year, it can feel like torture to stay inside all day while the sun is shining and the birds are chirping. (Right now I’m fantasizing about the trip up to Tuolomne Meadows that will commence the moment I leave work today!) While I try to spend at least a little bit of time outside during the work day, sometimes it doesn’t feel like enough, leaving me with a disjointed feeling and finding it hard to fall asleep at night.
With weather as beautiful as it’s been the last couple of months, I spend as much weekend time as possible outside to make up for what I miss during the week, either working in the garden, hiking with the dog, or climbing rocks in the wilderness.
We tried to make the last two of those things happen over the 4th of July weekend, but it was so incredibly hot, we traded rock climbing for swimming in the Cosumnes River in El Dorado National Forest and could only take the dog for a brief late afternoon hike in South Lake Tahoe.
Reconnecting with Nature
Ordinarily, I’d be disappointed to reach the base of a rock and not actually climb it, but I have to say that last weekend’s forced relaxation by the river was a really wonderful reminder that relaxing, still, easy adventures are just as important for my psyche as dangling from a rope 100 feet in the air.
I LOVE being near and swimming in natural bodies of water. Jumping off the rocks into Lake Travis in Pace Bend Park outside of Austin, TX is my absolute favorite memory from my college years, and it’s been hard to replicate that special feeling of being all alone in the water since moving to California. I’ve spent time swimming in lakes and rivers and going to the beach, don’t get me wrong, but none of it has been as private as it was back at Pace Bend. Until last weekend.
Thanks to a long-time Californian friend, we had the perfect camping spot right on the river, secluded, breezy, beautiful, quiet, relaxing. I will not be telling you where it is (partially because it’s too hard to explain but mostly because I don’t want to advertise it), but you can find your own spot just like it all along the complex river systems in the El Dorado Forest. It was breath-takingly pristine.
I know I talk a lot about food on this blog, and that’s because food is one of my favorite things ever, but my mission has always been to intersect food, fulfillment, and creativity to manifest wellbeing. Yes, I love food, and you’ll be getting LOTS more food posts because exploring food DOES fulfill me, but today I’m talking about that second feature: FULFILLMENT.
What is fulfillment for you?
I suppose that’s the million dollar question. If there were a universal answer, no one would need therapy (or this blog for that matter).
Maybe you don’t care at all about the story I just shared because you hate swimming and you hate bugs, and that picture of the river does nothing for you. That’s fine. (I don’t get it, but that’s fine!) But do you have an analog that makes you feel like an actual human on an actual planet experiencing genuine connection, joy and fulfillment?
Is that a question of spirituality? Maybe. For me, being outside and reconnecting with nature is about as spiritual of an experience as there can be.
I won’t pretend to know what fulfills each of you, but do yourself a favor and consider reconnecting with nature. There’s evidence out there that sleeping on the ground under the stars, rising and setting with the sun, and putting your bare feet on the ground can help regulate your circadian rhythm, ground and center you, boost your immune system, and improve your mood. It’s worth a shot.
Now get out there and enjoy your weekend!