What a hike I had on Tuesday morning! The snow gently dumped for 2 days and just like that, my little town was transformed into a winter wonderland. The oh-so-recently-bare trees were laden with white fluff from head to toe. On my way up and down the hill, each pause I took to catch my breath or look around, allowed the view of a perfect icy snapshot. A few days inside of this sweet and quiet snow globe were rather blissful. Snowmen and snowballs, board games and cozy fires, sledding at preschool and romping with the dog in her very first snow. (She loved it!) A wonderful way to welcome the colder months to come, and a wonderful way to greet the holiday season.
I have to admit, I’ve been stalling on posting a blog entry these past few weeks. Everything I write seems to be wrong. One of my biggest challenges is that I’m always trying to make everyone happy. At this moment in history when we all seem to be at odds with each other, I find it hard to put words to paper (umm, computer screen) without my inner critic halting me, afraid I might not say it the right way, or offend someone. Hey, don’t judge! We all have our hang ups! So with a little discomfort, I push onward, doing my best and learning as I go.
Waking up on November 9th was indeed, shocking to us all. Like many of us, I went to bed thinking one thing was going to happen, and just like that, woke up to the complete opposite. Its quite a roller coaster ride, taking in the daily events in the news and sifting through the often toxic social media. Yet we carry on, taking our kids to school, going to work, eating, walking, driving, and processing all the while. Pain and fear can seem paralyzing, overwhelming, so very very frustrating, and yet the earth turns, the sun sets, opinions shift, we are called to action, we are called to reflect, perhaps more deeply as a nation than ever before.
On this day of gratitude, Thanksgiving Day, I feel more grateful than ever to be following my heart, my calling, my dreams. I decide every day to focus on what makes me feel good, to seek it out as though my life depends on it, because it does! With passion, I commit myself to serving myself through serving others. I commit to compassion, empathy, love, peace, forgiveness, living my truth, speaking my truth. In my line of work, which is often (or will soon be) working with the sick and the dying, one of the most important things I can do is to listen. To listen without judgement, but simply to be an open and willing witness to a person’s pain, struggle, fear, story. I needn’t take it in or absorb it or feel pity for it. I can simply be present in its presence, with an open heart, and hold space for love. And just like that, healing can happen. Shit can shift. Shadows will always exist as long as there is light. And sometimes we have to deeply investigate the shadows in order to move back into the light. So today, I chose to feel grateful for the darkness. I lean in with curiosity. And with tenacity, I will investigate what makes me and this nation feel uncomfortable, understanding that this too is knowledge and necessary for growth.
Blessings to you! Enjoy the holiday weekend, and I hope we all can find ways to allow our hearts to feel full of Thanksgiving. :)
No, friends, I promise “The Final Countdown” does not refer to election day this coming Tuesday. Although it could, and heaven knows I’m certainly excited for that to be finished. Fear not, that’s all I’m gonna say about everyone’s least favorite subject these days. There is a much cooler countdown going on in my life… the countdown to the end of my 52 weeks of the ledges! I started this journey of documenting my hikes and career transition musings the first week of January, 2016. Last week was week 42 (11...) this week was week 43 (10…) and you see where this is going. Only 9 more weeks to go and I’ll have officially completed my mission. Woohoo!
Crisp gray days like today are some of my favorites for hiking. From the warm, comfy indoors, it seems a little dreary through the windows, but from the trail in the great outdoors, working up a sweat on the uphill of a hike is a welcome warmth and uptick of the heartbeat. The haze of a lazy November weekend dissipates for a bit as the cool air and rawness of the wilderness sharpen my senses to help me hustle up and down the hill.
Last week I got to enjoy the company of my dad, the original hiker of my memory, on the trail. I was so glad to have both my folks in town for the week, and it was a treat to share this hike with my dad. Hiking with him is a bit like hiking with myself. There are no pretenses or expectations. We can walk in silence or we can chat it up. When there is conversation it can get deep and meaningful if that’s how we’re feeling, or it can be light and topical. Its just easy, clean, relaxing. Which isn’t to say that we don’t have our moments of contrast or conflict… but that just doesn’t seem to happen on a hike. There seems to be an unspoken reverence for the woods and fresh air, and I’m honored that I got to kick off my countdown with him.
There seemed to be a marked difference in the trees between this week and the last. Namely, they’re dropping, falling and being blown or rained upon to their next destination: the ground. My little mountain is edging closer to the look (and feel!) of winter, with bare branches and various shades of simple browns, grays and white. But as for today, the trees held on to a good handful of their leaves, and had a lacey-ness about them, as they just barely started to allow new sights to come into view for the winter, sights previously kept secret by the lush greens of summer and reds, oranges and yellows of peek fall.
As we make our way towards the holidays, towards the end of 2016, and I make my way towards week 52 of my journey, here’s my intention and hope for us all. May we take the time to soak it up and love every last minute as much as we can. May we stay grounded and grateful through this busy time of year, and keep our eyes, hearts, and minds on what matters most. May we let go of what needs to go, and seek out what makes us happy and tuned in to love and each other. May we take the time we need to pause here and there, and get out to enjoy the outdoors in whatever ways we can. May we have the courage to stay focused on what makes us FEEL good, so we can continue to bring about more good to those around us. Its cyclical my friends! Light yourself up, so you an light up the world! That’s my plan, and I’m stickin’ to it. ;)
Hi, my name is Ali Dawson Gibson. I'm a healer, a singer and a teacher. This Blog, 52 Weeks of the Ledges, is from 2016 when I hiked this awesome Bristol Ledges trail once and week and shared my experiences. Enjoy!