Distance makes the heart grow fonder

Let’s be blunt.  Distance between you and the person you love most sucks.  But, it is undeniable that distance makes the heart grow fonder if there is a true connection.

Shortly after meeting the man I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, we had to go our separate ways.  I headed off to fulfill my commitment to college basketball in Lamar, CO and he headed to the west coast in search of freedom.  The first good-bye was the morning I left for school.  We sat by the river, drank coffee, and I laid my head on his chest as soft tears fell.  Weeks were long as I waited to spend the weekends meeting up with him, or sneaking home to see him.  The real good-bye, as he headed off to California, was in the parking lot of a Mexican restaurant.  Endless tears rolled down my face as I pressed my face into his chest.  As I drove east, back to school, and he drove west, the tears didn’t stop.  I began the countdown until I was back in his arms.

The days between were filled with phone calls, video calls, a ridiculous amount of pictures, and still, plenty of tears.  Every night was spent on the phone, just to be there if one of us woke up.  Days seemed to drag on, until finally it was December.  I flew out to San Francisco and our adventures to the farm, Burney Falls, and Tahoe began.  That was the happiest I had been in months, even though those months were spent doing something I had dreamed about my whole life, nothing compared to being in the arms of the man I love.  We rushed to the airport, convinced I was going to miss my flight.  To our surprise, the flight was delayed.  We spent hours sitting in a corner, crying, holding each other, expressing our love to each other in hopes it would fill the emptiness we knew was coming.

I flew back, spent Christmas with my family, but I felt so empty.  I had left the man I love most.  I began the new countdown to spring break.  The days were even harder this time.  I am not the type of person who feels hopeless without a phone, but that’s exactly how I felt.  We talked constantly.  The day to pick Cody up from the airport finally came.  As soon as I spotted that big beard with his big sack on his back, I sprinted through the crowd to be in his arms.  We spent a month in Colorado, seeing each other on the weekends.  When my spring break came, we spent time with our families.  The week after my spring break, we flew out to California together.  One week in California turned into two due to a nasty kidney infection.  As sick as I was, I was happy to spend another week with him.  After over a month together I didn’t think I could leave him.  The day finally came and we headed to the airport, eating sushi in a beautiful little town.  As I got on the bus, it just didn’t feel right.  I got off the bus and ran back to him, hysterically crying.  I heard, “The bus is leaving!” gave Cody one last kiss and ran back to the bus.  I couldn’t control my tears all the way to the airport.  I felt so empty.  There was only 1 month left until I was free from all commitment and we would be off to California together.  But this month has been the hardest of them all.  This last week we had our first full day without talking to each other because he has been kayaking.

Finally, he is on his way, as I type this.  On his way here to Colorado to pick me up from school and we will road trip out to California and begin this life unbound together.  I felt like this time would never come, but here it is.  And I couldn’t be happier.  I look back on the past several months and think about all I have learned by loving from a distance.

It was never easy.  The bad days I wished we were together for comfort.  The good days I wished we were together to share them.  I appreciate technology like I never had before.  Without the technology to keep in contact with Cody through these months is unimaginable.  I also learned about myself.  I spent a lot of time alone because I just couldn’t connect with anyone here like I could Cody.  It felt almost a dis-service to myself to fake relationships after knowing a true, genuine friendship.  Talking to Cody through the phone was more fulfilling than exhausting my energy with people who I could not connect with.  I understand the importance of communication.  I also have seen vulnerability at it’s finest.  Trusting and loving from a 1,000 miles away is the most trust I had ever put into someone.  Cody put that trust into me as well.  The trust and communication paid off.  I fell in love with him more everyday, and I look forward to falling in love with him even more everyday while I spend everyday with him.  Most importantly, I know, after spending this time loving Cody from a distance that he is the man I want to love for all my days.

Distance relationships are tough, but well worth it when the your partner is well worth it.  Sharing our experience I hope will encourage couples faced with this challenge to work if they believe your relationship is worth it.  Some things that may help that we found have helped us are to never underestimate the little things.  Random heart-felt messages brought light into my life.  Tell each other everything.  We sent pictures of our meals, what we were wearing, the weather, anything.  We talked about anything and everything.  If you are going to make this work, your partner is your number one priority, even over the phone.  I would leave events if Cody called.  Distance between two people in a relationship does not change how a relationship works.  On the other side of that, you must understand if your partner is busy.  There were days I would get so upset because Cody had so much work to do.  This was hard on me until I realized that he has work to do, and if he could talk to me while doing it, he would.  Busy does not mean they love you any less.  Always remember some days are harder than others.  And those days may have no particular reason for being harder, they just are.  In those days, remember the love you have for one another, and remember you love each other more than you miss each other.  Cody and I also have bracelets on our left wrists that remind us of each other.  The colors represent something important in our relationship.  The bracelets are tied on to where they cannot come off without cutting them off.  On good days and bad days, a glance of my bracelet always puts a smile on my face.  It is not easy, but with trust, communication, appreciation, and pure love, it is possible, and it feels so amazing when the ultimate countdown is finally over.

“Absence diminishes small loves and increases great ones, as the wind blows out the candle and blows up a bonfire.” -Francois de la Rouchefoucauld

PC: Cody Connell        20151006951651181

Appreciate your body

Last night at yoga, the focus was to appreciate your body.  “Accept where your body is now” was repeated throughout the class by my teacher.

As I warmed up my body, I felt my feet grounded to my mat.  I felt appreciative of the sense of being grounded.  I then went into plank position and was appreciative of my strength that holds my body steady.  As we moved into side plank, I was discouraged when I would lose balance and was forced to catch myself with my arm.  I then remembered “Accept where your body is now.”  I would push myself back up, and do my best to finish the pose.  We then moved into side angle poses.  I took time to appreciate my strong legs that felt like tree trunks, grounded into the ground, supporting the weight of all the branches.  While appreciating my strength, I found balancing became easier.  I turned my head towards my fingers that were stretching to the ceiling and focused on my breathing.  From there, we folded our bodies down, inhaling and feeling our chests fill with air, followed by an exhale as we rolled back up.  I was grateful for my lungs, that can hold and control my deep breaths with ease.  We would then reward our bodies with a forward fold.  “Allow your breathing to dictate the pose.”  As I folded my body down, I would take a deep breath in, and on my exhalation relax my entire body, allowing gravity to do the work.  As I slowly sank deeper into my fold, I felt my body appreciate the pose.  We sat on our mats, bent our knee while extending our opposite leg.  The extended leg was flexed then lifted only one inch off the floor.  Sounds easy, right?  Well that’s what I thought but after only two breath cycles, I felt my leg tremble and shake.  As silly as I thought it was, I was appreciative that something that sounds so simple could make my strong, tree trunk legs, tremble and work so hard.

We then finished, sitting in prayer position on our mats.  “As you finish, think about taking this level of relaxation with you through the rest of the evening.”  That’s the cue to pick up your mat and scramble to your car, back to reality.  But I remained sitting on my mat in awe.  Awe of how incredible my body truly is and how appreciative I am to have a capable, strong body.  Awe that something so simple could work my body so hard.  Awe in how relaxed I felt.  Awe that as I took the time to appreciate my body, I felt my body appreciate my appreciation.

Though I am newer to yoga, I feel I will never stop learning.  Whether it’s learning to finally get that headstand or more importantly how to appreciate my your body, I will never fail to learn something through a yoga practice.  There is no such thing as a “Master Yogi.”  True Masters never stop learning.

 

Dancing Thoughts

My mind holds so many beautiful thoughts that dance through and carry on their way.  Clenching onto thoughts only pushes them to dance along faster.  Thoughts and memories become lost in the mess in my mind, but that is OK.  The mind is no place for structure, and neither is life.

I am free to dance and roam just as my thoughts are free to do the same.

Each day I am closer to a life of no structure. No boundaries. Unbound.
image

PC: Kaylan Miller Helen Hunt Falls, CO

Change is coming

Here I am, getting ready to head back to school for the week after a weekend of hiking, cooking, and time spent with good people.  I know this week will be no different than any week at school where I go to class and work, go for a run, and eat shitty food.

But change is coming.  In two short weeks I will be on my way to California.  On my way to living a truly unbound life.  I will leave Colorado, where I have called home for almost 19 years.  I will leave behind the majestic, snow-capped mountains, open plains, and rivers winding deep through the mounatins, for towering redwoods, rolling hills of lush green trees, dark forests, rivers and creeks that reach the ocean, and the cold coasts of Norther California.  I will be on the farm, the most magical place I have ever been.  I will be dancing with the buzzing bees, singing to the baby plants, and freeing my soul to roam as free as the birds roam the sky.  I will have the opportunity to learn to kayak with incredbile people on beautiful rivers.  I will be in a place to thrive and grow.  I will be surrounded by honest, true people.  I will be learning more everyday than I ever have in a classroom.  I will truly begin my life unbound.

With all change, comes chaos.  Chaos from finals, packing all my belongings, saying good-bye for now, to friends and family.  I’m not sure what lies ahead for me, but I will continue to embrace the change; therefore, the chaos.

PC: Cody Connell     Duo-kayaking the Royal Gorge of the Arkansas River,  COP1050961

PC: Kaylan Miller     Cañon City, CO20150812_195154

PC: Kaylan Miller       Pauley Creek, CA20151222_145903.jpg

PC: Cody Connell          Trinidad Beach, CA20151216_152725.jpg

PC: Kaylan Miller       Redwood Forest, Redway, CA20151216_114236.jpg

Stop Should-ing on People

“I should do yoga.”

“I should go for a run.”

“You should do this.”

“You should do that.”

Since the word ‘should’ and it’s negative implications have been brought to my attention, I realize how easy this word slips out of my mouth. The word just seems to always find a way to be used, from shoulding myself, to shoulding others. I have actively been working to eliminate ‘should’ from my everyday vocabulary and it has been harder than I thought, but I have seen significant improvement of productivity and positivity in my life.

‘Should’ implies a person is not good enough how they are and needs to change. This effects how we see ourselves and carry ourselves. And when you ‘should’ on someone else, you are implying they are not good enough as they are.

When a person says ‘should’ it is typically followed by a ‘but….’ Whether the ‘but’ that follows is an excuse or a negative view of one’s self, the ‘but’ opens the door to not doing whatever you ‘should’ be doing. In our mind, it justifies not doing whatever the task may be.

When a person ‘should’ do something, the motivation to do that something is pretty low. It automatically adds a negative stigma to the task. Doing something because you ‘should’ is not nearly as motivating as doing something because you want to.

To be honest, no person ‘SHOULD’ do anything. There are things people want to do, but not things people should do. Nobody likes being told they ‘should’ do something, so why are we telling ourselves that?

By replacing should with ‘want’ or ‘will’ based on the situation, the sentence automatically feels more positive and productive. Better than ‘want’ or ‘will’ is telling yourself or another person why doing the task is beneficial. This adds even more positivity and is even more effective.

Instead of telling myself, “I should go for a run in the morning” I tell myself, “My body feels best when I run in the morning so I want to run in the morning.” This immediately changes how I view the task of running and when the time comes to go for my run, I have a more positive attitude. I am not doing it because I ‘should’ but because I want to and my body benefits from the run.

It’s been hard to eliminate the word from my vocabulary but I find the more I focus on it, the easier it becomes and I have more enthusiasm to do tasks such as running and yoga. I’m not telling anyone they should work to rid their vocabulary of the word, but ridding vocabulary of the word could potentially improve your life.

Happy Earth Day

While I spent the day exploring the mountains of Colorado Springs, Cody spent his day kayaking the flooding rivers of Northern California.

Alyssa and I spent the day hiking switchbacks in search for Helen Hunt Falls.  While we got our dose of vitamin D, we talked endlessly from subject to subject.  We searched for butterflies, watched the birds as they flew freely and talked about how close we are to being free to roam like the birds.

PC: Kaylan Miller         bird  .

Ricky and Alyssa are friends of Cody who have extended their friendship to me.  They too have a dream of living life unbound, looking for an escape from the toxic city.

While we questioned everything we knew, shared our dreams of freedom, re-energized our minds, challenged our bodies; we filled our bottles with the spring water and hiked to the falls.

PC: Kaylan Miller         Natural spring water, Colorado Springs, CO spring wter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PC: Kaylan Miller         Helen Hunt Falls, Colorado Springs, CO        earthday2

Wandering the mountains for the majority of the day, we sent Cody our good vibes as he kayaked the Mattole River in Humboldt County.  The river was at flood stage, thanks to El Niño.  The river is joined by the Eubanks Creek, which is in the backyard of the farm.  Not far from home, he kayaked about six miles of old redwoods, tall green trees, muddy waters, big boulders, and absolutely beautiful scenery until taking out at the swimming hole on the property.

PC: Cody Connell        The Mattole River, flood stage 4/22/16river

cody

Even 1,500 miles away, we both spent Earth Day celebrating our earth.  Everyday is a new day to celebrate our earth, to spend time in nature, and appreciate the world around us.

 

Thank you Earth for all you provide and the opportunity to spend time today truly appreciating you.  Happy Earth Day from the Mattole River, CA and Helen Hunt Falls, CO!!

The Importance of Alone Time

For some, the idea of spending time alone sounds terrible.  I for one, do not mind the time I spend alone, in fact, I look forward to it.

I spend plenty of time alone but tonight, as I was walking to yoga, I realized the importance of spending time alone.  And let me clarify, I do not mean sitting alone texting, Facebooking, Tweeting, or any type of social media where you are still connected to others.  I mean connecting with yourself, alone with your own thoughts.

Alone time allows a person uninterrupted time to listen to their heart and mind.  This is important because minds can become busy and things get lost but when a person takes the time to listen, important things can be heard.  It’s also important to give your heart a chance to be heard.  Listening to your heart allows it to tell you what truly makes you happy, far beyond the superficial happiness.

This time gives a person time to reflect and recharge.  Those thoughts that are always pushed to the back of your mind, for whatever the reason may be, are brought forward and reflected upon.  The time alone gives you time to recharge from addressing those suppressed thoughts.  Today on my walk to yoga, I thought about my relationships and which I feel do not have a positive, equal energy flow.  This is a subject I have consciously suppressed but after taking the time to reflect and understand what I have been feeling, I now feel more capable of doing what is truly best for me.

I also feel more confident after spending time alone with my thoughts.  Alone time teaches you to love yourself and prevents you from being dependent on seeking approval; instead you become self approved.  Your mind, heart, and thoughts make up who you are.  If spending time alone creates an uneasy feeling, maybe it is time for a change.  Learn who you are, what makes you happy.  If you are unhappy, you are the one who has the power to make the change.

So next time you find yourself without any plans, don’t look at spending time alone as a negative.  Embrace the time you get to yourself.  Your mind, heart, and happiness will thank you for it.