What’s next…

After hitting rock bottom, what’s next?!? 

First of all I want to thank everyone who sent me words of encouragement to keep on going.  I have felt your love surround me and lift me up.  I appreciate all of you more than you know.  

I am taking each day one at a time.  And even within the day, I’m taking it moment by moment.  Sometimes that’s all you can do!

Looking too far into the future and being stuck in the past are what causes my mind to spin out of control.  So I am literally working on being in this moment.  


Spending time in nature just being is a great start!  

I have lots to look forward to…but even it is overwhelming to me right now.  So this breath, right now, is dedicated to this moment.  I am here…and that is enough.  

Keep doing your thing and enjoy this adventure called life!

Love and hugs, Adventure Mel

Suicide Hotline 800-273-8255

Even happy people can find themselves in a spiraling mind fuck.  

There are a million reasons why we may feel death is a better option than where we are right now.  And I’m not here to tell you which option is better.  I am here to tell you that there are people who are willing to listen without judgement to your story.  Because sometimes all it takes is having someone listen to give you a new perspective, some hope, to feel loved. 

If you are contemplating suicide, please reach out to someone.  The National Suicide Prevention Line is: 1-800-273-8255

Most people see me as a happy-go-lucky girl.  Floating through life on a spiritual journey, saving the world one hug at a time.  And on most days, I see myself that way too.  

On Monday night however, I found myself in the middle of a parking lot, hugging a tree, balling my eyes out, begging the universe to show me a sign to keep moving forward. My mind had given up on me.  My mind had spun out of control telling me all the reasons to give up.  I frantically went through my list of contacts contemplating who to call, who could rescue me, who could tell me to not give up.  My mind convinced me it was better to not worry anyone.  So I didn’t call you.  I didn’t text you.  I didn’t reach out.  

Instead, I found myself in a pool of tears, wrapped around a tree praying to the universe for a sign.  

What’s interesting is how not one person that passed me, stopped.  Not even the cop that drove by.  Maybe they thought I was just meditating or a crazy tree hugger.  Regardless, my mind viewed each passer-byer as another sign to give up.  

The only thing I had going for me was my refusal to carry a gun on this trip..and a couple of really good friends who happened to reach out to me at that very moment.   

And in that moment, I told each of them I was struggling.  They both told me they loved me.  One told me she was breathing with me and it was okay to cry and let it all out.  

So I did.  I held onto that tree and weeped until all that was left was exhaustion.  Then I crawled into my car and went to sleep. 

I’m doing much better.  Thank you.

I contemplated whether or not to write this.  I know this will cause some of you to worry about me.  Please don’t spend your thoughts and energy on worry.  Instead, please think positive thoughts.  I survived.  I am moving forward. My mind and I are working things out.  

It is important to me to post this because I realized how important it is to reach out to others.  

I did not call the suicide hotline because the number wasn’t in my phone.  It’s in there now.  I advise you to do the same.  You never know when you may be browsing your contacts looking for someone to help.  

Thanks for listening and feel free to repost.  

Love and hugs, Adventure Mel

Acadia 

One of my bucket list items was to be in Maine in Autumn. So when I found out there was a National Park there, I knew exactly where I was headed. I just didn’t know what or who I would find.

When I arrived, I headed straight to the visitor center. There, I climbed the 52 stairs (which btw is not handicap accessible…not sure who designed that), made my way past the crowded lines and grabbed a map. The peopley-ness, my hunger, and my exhaustion from the long drive made a perfect combination for my anxiety to kick in. I scurried to my car and focused on my breath. After consulting the park map, I decided my best and safest option would be to find a campground. So I did. 

Once I found my camp spot in the Backwoods Campground, I made some food and studied the shuttle route map. Acadia National Park offers free shuttles (busses) around the island. Which is great except there are 7 different routes and limited times for all of them. Limited because apparently Fall is their slow season. In fact they don’t run at all mid October till sometime in Spring. So as I’m studying this map, I realize if I’m going to attempt to make the large loop around the campground, I’m going to have to catch the bus in 15 min. Then I’m going to have to change busses mid way. And if I get off to explore, I may get stuck walking back to camp. My anxiety was still present and I contemplated just crawling in my car and going to sleep and trying again the next day. As I debated with myself, I packed a bag with my camera, water, snacks, a warm hat and my headlamp. Then I grabbed my maps and headed to the bus stop. With a deep breath and anxiety still lurking, I climbed onto the number 3 bus. 

At some point I decided I was going to just see what happens despite my anxiety…

Finding a seat was not a problem.  There was an older couple and the driver…and me.  Some panic resided.  As we sat waiting, the couple spoke with the driver while I consulted my maps.  Confused by the overlapping routes, I politely interrupted the conversation to get some clarification.  

“Excuse me? Am I interpreting this map correctly?” I brought the map to the front and explained what I wanted to do. “If I get off this bus at this spot,” pointing at Sieur de Monts “can I catch the number 4 bus?”

The driver glanced at her watch, “well usually, yes.” She shut the door, started the bus up and continued explaining as she departed the stop.  “See right now that location is under construction.  So neither bus actually stops there right now.  But I’m gonna call the other driver and let him know to expect you.”

I sat back not sure where my anxiety level was.  But I was thankful for the help of the driver.  

When we arrived at Sieur de Mont, the driver turned to me and said. “Oh, so see that parking lot?”

I glanced across the street and nodded. 

“There’s a trail over there.  You will need to follow it thru the woods to another parking lot.  Then find the main road.  That is where he’ll pick you up.  You’ll want to hurry as he should be there in 10 or 15 minutes.”

Oh great.  My anxiety skyrocketed. With sweaty palms and heartbeat racing, I somehow managed to thank her and find my way to the parking lot.  I even waived as she and the couple drove away.  

As I searched for the trail, my chest began to squeeze.  Being under a time crunch was taking hold of me and pumping anxiety thru my blood.  I wanted to just sit down and cry.  And then I saw a person emerge from the other side of the parking lot.   

I rushed over to the man. “Is there a trail here?”

“Yes. It’s on the other side of that tree.  It’s difficult to see until you’re right on it.  But it’s there.” He assured me.  I thanked him, wished him a good day and made my way.  

The trail starts off by a pond.  I stopped and took a couple pictures.  My camera seemed to calm me.  At least for a few minutes.  


After my brief calmness I turned to read the trail sign for some clue that I was indeed on the right path.  The trail split.  One way went to the woods around the pond and the other deep into the woods.  Crap.  Which way do I go? I took a deep breath and headed deep in the woods as if I had just flipped a coin.  Feeling like time was running out, I began running.  

Anyone who has ever gone trail running with me knows I love it.  And that I run like a child on a playground.  Flailing arms, hopping over stumps and rocks, and lots of giggling.  Very different from track or street running where I’m focused on technique.  Trail running in the woods is where I find easy and delightful grounding.  My anxiety began to float away.  

At the end of the trail, I happend upon a parking lot with a building and a bunch of construction equipment.  Phew! I think I choose correctly.  I followed the signs to the main road.  No bus.  Just me, the road, and a bunch of trees.  

As I waited, I looked around and began taking pictures.  I even crawled down in a ditch to get a better angle.  And that’s when I heard the bus.  As I climbed out of the ditch, I waived at the bus driver. He slowed down and I successfully stepped on to the number 4 bus.

The bus had the driver, an old hippie looking guy and a man with two young children…and now me. I took a seat on the right side as everyone else was on the left.  Not that this mattered but it made me feel a little more balanced.  

The hippie looking guy kept glancing back at me. I smiled at him and then buried my head in my map.  

“Did you just come from the woods?” He inquired.  

I smiled, glanced out the window and back at the man, “yup.”

He proceded to ask me several more questions.  It was obvious I wasn’t going to be able to concentrate on my map, so I gave into the conversation.   

“Hi, I’m Jerry!” He proceeded to tell me how he was newly retired, bought a van and is traveling the country. “Some days I might go as far as 50 miles.” He was practicing slowing down and enjoying each day.  He had met many other travelers and was delighted he met me. He told me how he had recently been in NH and decided to drive up Mount Washington.  It was there that he learned what virtigo was and that he had it.  So to ensure he could make the drive around Acadia, he decided it was in his best interest to take the shuttle tour.  And that’s how he ended up on the number 4 bus. “And then this woman emerged from the damn woods and here you are!”

I was amused by this guy.  But I was still cautious and my anxiety wasn’t fully gone.  So I invited Jerry to continue our conversation at the next stop, Jordan Pond.  I figured if I needed to ditch him, I could do so there.  

Ditch him I did not.  In fact that old hippie kinda guy, who insisted he was not a hippie but rather a biker (with hippie values), and I enjoyed each other’s company so much, we spent the next 5 days exploring that island together.  And now we are friends for life!! 

I am so thankful I just kept going despite my anxiety.  Here are just some of the many things we discovered in Acadia:

I am love. I choose joy.

Most people when they meet me see a balanced human/spiritual being.  I am a lot of fun to be around and a great listener.  As I let people in near me, they see another side of me.  

I have been out of balance and not centered most of my life.  I have struggled with anxiety, depression and manic bouts of moodiness.  It has destroyed every relationship I have been in and strained many friendships.  Its that “thing” about me I’ve been trying to “fix” my whole life.

So the beginning of this year I took some time off to travel, clear my mind, meditate, be with nature and reconnect.  I have been on the road for 42 weeks.  I would love to tell you I have all my ducks in a row and that I fully understand my chakras and that my emotions are stable and that yati yati ya… I want to say “I fixed me”.  

But how do you fix something that is not actually broken?!? 

You see, I thought if I could just do this or just do that everything would magically fall into place and I would somehow…not be me.  And then all my relationships would be blissful and I would live happily ever after.

Ha! Hahahahahahaha.  Oh boy! Ha ha ha!! Snort. Ha ha ha!! Hold on while I laugh at myself!!!

Here is what I have learned about myself and those “things” I have struggled with:

  • I am a spiritual being having a human experience 
  • My human mind is a sponge for information 
  • The information my mind collects, if repeated enough, becomes my truth, my reality and my life.
  • I am an emotional human being 
  • My emotions are windows into my mind and the experience I am having as a human being
  • My emotions do not define me.  
  • I am completely whole just as I am
  • I am love.
  • I choose joy.

So what does that all mean and how does this apply to “fixing” the unbroken?!?

First off I don’t believe I’m broken.  I am just having a human experience.  Those manic emotions, including anxiety and depression, that seem to get in the way of everything…they are clues. Something is different.  Notice I didn’t say something is “wrong”.  This is huge! At least for me.  

So what’s different?  Well for me to really know, my human self needs to listen to my spiritual self.   And the only way I know how to do that, is to connect with my breath, to scan my body for pain and to identify which emotion(s) I am experiencing.  This means I have to observe my mind without judgement.  

Let me take a second to just say I have been observing my mind nearly non-stop since I began this journey.  I have been observing my mind to understand my triggers and to change past behaviors.  It is difficult when its spinning out of control and causing my emotions to explode, to not judge my thoughts and the emotions attached to them.  And let me also say it is possible!!  Especially if I can remember that although I am an emotional human being, my emotions do not define me.  

By connecting with my breath, I bring my awareness to the present moment.  This allows me to scan my body.  What I’m looking for are signs of pain.  This is a good indication that my chakras are out of balance.  Now I am relatively new to understanding my chakras and there was a time in my life where I didn’t believe in them.  But that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.  And with easy access to the interweb, I can simply type in “shoulder neck pain chakra” and easily find out it is connected to my throat chakra.  And I can do the same thing for my emotions.  

The second thing is my mind believes everything it hears.  It’s a sponge. It’s job is to gather information and use it to protect me. The problem is, it believes everything it hears.  Hense why the “news” is a great way to brainwash or mind control other humans.  Again, it’s difficult to not judge my mind and want to “fix” it. But in reality, my mind is doing its job.

So how do I “fix” something that’s not broken? The solution is in the problem…my mind believes everything thing it hears!  

Every chance I remember that I am a spiritual being having an emotional human experience, I repeat to myself “I am love. I choose joy.” So I am essentially re-programming my mind.  

Does it help? Yes. Do I always remember…eventually.

The third part of this “fixing” equation is pausing before reacting to give myself time to respond.  In doing so it gives me time.  Time to connect with my breath.  Time to scan my body and balance my chakras. Time to observe my mind and emotions. And time to respond instead of reacting.  

Now I’m pretty good at remembering to put in to practice all of the above when I am alone.  And it is just that, practice.  I’m actually quite good at balancing myself. But throw another person in the mix, especially someone I love …that’s a bit harder for me.  Probably because I become so attached, I foget I am completely whole just as I am.  And I take EVERYTHING personally.  Which is exhausting.  And not helpful.  They too are a spiritual being having a human experience. Nothing they say or do has anything to do with me, really.  So really when I feel offended or hurt by someone else, it would be great to remember it’s an opportunity to practice balancing myself.  

I am love. I choose joy.

Thanks for listening.  Love and hugs, Adventure Mel

Happy Adventure Friday and Happy Birthday to Me

Today is my 42nd birthday. According to my astrological charts, today is also a new birth. The stars and planets are aligned very similarly to when I was actually birthed. So today is essentially a new beginning for me.  

Thank the stars!  

I am not at all where I thought I was going to be today. Even three days ago, I thought I would be somewhere else. And three months ago, I certainly had no idea the chain of events that would lead me here. To this place. 

Last night, my fortune cookie said “Remember three months from this date, good things are in store for you”. I know, it’s just a cookie. But it got me thinking about where I am and how I got here. And where I am headed.

Three months from now I will be at the end of the current journey I am on AND at the beginning of a new journey. I don’t pretend to know what that looks like. I do know it will be magnificent and adventurous. Just as I am.  

So today as I adventure alone, I am at peace. And I am eternally thankful for the blessings I have received and have yet to come. I may not be where I thought I would be today, but I am exactly where I am supposed to be!

Happy Adventure Friday!

Love and hugs, Adventure Mel

Happy Halloween

Cemeteries are known as scary, creepy places. They are certainly portrayed this way in the movies. And I admit, for a very long time I felt the same way. However, now I have a love for them. They make for the most interesting and beautiful images. And although I don’t necessarily seek them out, they seem to just find me.

A cemetery is also a safe place to weep…even if you know no one in them.   That ugly crying that sometimes is needed to get out the emotions that deeply are rooted into you can be easily experienced in between graves of those who walked this earth and now roam elsewhere.

This adventure has allowed me to visit many incredible cemeteries. Here are some of my findings…

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Happy Halloween, my friends! Be safe out there. And when you happen upon an old bunch of graves, take a minute and look around…you never know what you may find!

Love and Hugs, Adventure Mel

Glacier

It took me three days of waiting as patiently as I could before the weather would cooperate and allow me to visit Glacier National Park. It may have been raining in Kalispell where I was held up, but it beat snow storms and sleeping in 19 degree weather. My reward was beautiful weather, a fun hike that lead to a lake, meeting new friends (including one girl who was very inspirational to talk with) and hanging out with my pal Thomas.

Thomas is a butterfly. One day, a year ago, a friend of mine and I had an amazing encounter with an orange butterfly. He hung out with us for what felt like hours. We named him Thomas. Ever since then, Thomas comes and visits me on days I really need to slow down and enjoy the magic that is life. Now I am fully aware that it is not the same butterfly. But that doesn’t really matter. The important thing is that I recognize the moment and slow down. Because of this, every orange butterfly I come in contact with is now named Thomas.

Thomas visited me while I was in Glacier.

The day before I ran into Thomas, I decided to go on a hike up to Avalanche Lake. After setting up my tent at Sprague Creek Campground, I drove up to the Avalanche Trail Head. It was over flowing with parked vehicles. In fact up to a mile in either direction past the parking lot there were cars, trucks, campers and motorcycles. It was full. I would, along with other tourists, slowly drive past the vehicles hoping someone would be leaving. A mile or so down the road I would find a place to flip a bitch and slowly make my way the other direction. It was quite frustrating after 6 or 7 passes and I was beginning to make a plan ‘B’ when all of the sudden a bear cub crossed the road in front of me. No momma in site but I’m sure she was around. I didn’t have time to grab my camera as the cub was running but wow did it make me stop and be present. As I pulled away from the bear sighting, a spot opened up right at the trail head. Score! Now it was a tight squeeze and I had a passer byer actually help me by stopping traffic so I could re-angle my car. I tried to be as considerate of a parker as I could. But like I said, it was a tight squeeze. This didn’t stop the people in the jeep I parked next to (I’m assuming it was them as I only left them about 12 inches on the driver side but they had like 3 feet on the passengers side) from writing all over my car some obvious stress relieving profanity. Thankfully I had the dirt to help them out.

As I began down the trail, I stopped at the map sign to get my bearings.   That’s where I met the bay area boys. We walked a little ways together and met up several times on the trail. It was fun to talk about pictures, traveling and being adventurers.

The trail was just what I needed. Weaving in and out of trees, waterfalls, a slight incline but not too rough and a lake so calm it reflected, like glass, the mountains surrounding it. As I reached the lake I couldn’t help but stop and take a picture of a couple from Oregon enjoying the view. Funny thing is I took the picture with their camera and didn’t even think to take one with mine. It was picturesque. At least they have it to enjoy! They did however take one of me in the same area.

The trail continued to the far end of the lake. That’s where I first saw the girl in purple leggings. She was napping. I thought ‘what a wonderful place to just be.’ I found my own little resting area and had a snack. This side of the lake was much less crowded which made it much quieter. Really, the only chattering I heard was the people exclaiming “Look! Up there! That white dot…the one moving!” People were very thrilled to “see” the mountain goats or the “little white dots on the mountain”.

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After giving myself an hour to simply relax and enjoy my view, I decided it was time to make my way back to my car. For some reason I wanted to wake up the girl in purple leggings but I thought better of it and headed down the trail. About 1/4 of the way down, she passed me with a “excuse me, thank you, sorry, have a good day”.

I waited till she passed me and then I called out “that’s a lot of statements in a short amount of time” She looked back, we exchanged a few words and we giggled. I continued down the trail.

My body was a bit achy. I was looking forward to making it back to camp, eating, journaling and going to bed. It was still relatively early, but I knew I needed to listen to my body and get some decent sleep. But since I was still hiking, I decided to not focus on the future, but instead be mindful to the moment. That’s when I heard footsteps coming up behind me. I glanced back and it was the girl with purple leggings. She must have pulled over somewhere around the other side of the lake as she was, once again, about to pass me. I stepped aside. As she passed me, our eyes met.

“You’re passing me again…” I noted.

“We’ll see for how long” she joked.

Quickly she was out of my sight again. Before I knew it, more footsteps behind me. This time it was a lady in her 60’s jogging down the trail. I was inspired. I began jogging behind her. I did not keep up with her. I did however, run into the girl with purple leggings. We began chatting. In fact we chatted the rest of the way down the trail.   She too was on a journey. She was inspiring to talk with. We exchanged info and talked the possibility of hiking the next day with one another. She however was going on a 11 mile hike and I was going on several smaller hikes. Her hike meant no children on the trail. Mine meant my body could heal. But regardless, the plan was to text each other in the morning when either of us woke up and see how the day unfolded.

Well apparently I was right in listening to my body. I slept in till 9 am. I checked my phone. No service. ‘Well I guess I’m solo today’ I thought.   I made myself some oatmeal with peanut butter, pre-meditated and made my way to the East side of Glacier. Because of the snow storm, a few days prior, the main road through the park (Road to the Sun) was closed half way through. This meant driving around the park on Hwy 2. It was a beautiful drive.

I made my way to Two Medicine Lake. This is where Thomas was. He landed on my back pack and we had ourselves a photo shoot. After about an hour, I decided to move on.

When I reached my camp site that evening, I had a couple hours left of day light. The camp ground overlooks Lake McDonald. I decided to walk down and day dream. Guess who was waiting for me? Thomas! This time he landed on my leg. I took a video. Then he landed on my finger. This is when I lost track of time. This is when I became lost in the moment. This is when I found total bliss. Thank you, Thomas, for helping me enjoy the magic we call life.

Thanks for reading my story and going on this journey with me!

Love and Hugs, Adventure Mel