LIVE AUTHENTIC || human in the wild

Sunday, May 18, 2014

I have no qualms about admitting that I have suffered from debilitating anxiety in the past. Truth be told, two years ago I was in the midst of a breakdown that left my nerves shattered. A few key opportunities and large changes in my life were my saving grace, but sometimes the remnants of my anxiety-ridden brain still linger. Once your brain is hardwired to respond to certain triggers with anxiety it takes a lot to be able to retrain it not to react with stress.

Norepinephrine is better known as the hormone behind the fight or flight response. There was something going on in my life that was keeping me from making the choices that resonated with me that causes internal conflict. In psychology we call this cognitive dissonance. In essence, it means you are not living genuinely to your own subconscious standards and your brain starts to freak out. The  way I saw it, fight or flight hormone was being released at an above-average rate in my central nervous system, but there was nothing to fear or run from. So instead it was being directed into this internal turmoil within myself. It's hard to live a life in constant battle with yourself, you know?

I was tired, felt groggy, I remember vividly it being a hot August night in California and as I went out for a walk with my mother my body was literally shivering even though I could feel the damp sweat on my brow. My mother that night looked at me with that motherly gaze I'm sure we all know, a look of complete and utter acceptance, support, and love. She told me, "eres hija de la luna y las estrellas." You are the daughter of the moon and stars. Time and time again through hardships in my life I've looked to the stars and an absolute humbling sensation of irrelevance to the cosmos as a means of feeling grounded. I clung to those words like they were my lifeline, because they were.

But in order to feel grounded,  I eventually found I needed to return to the Earth. I took to hiking and exhausting my body through long treks and scenic vistas. There is something endlessly satisfying in feeling the strain in your muscles as you trek upwards and feel the sweat accumulate on your body as it's chilled by the cool breeze. This was what I had been searching for, a means of clearing out my head. When you're focused on nothing more than one step in front of the other, inhale exhale... you reach monotony in your thought process that clears your head, it's hard not to feel centered.

Some days I still awake with a thousand thoughts ransacking my scatterbrain and a weight in my chest that staggers my ability to breathe. On these days, I  hit the trail. Last week was no different. I've been working 6 days and it started to hit me that I really needed to just go. It's a desire to disappear, to get lost. Maybe not always geologically speaking, just to lose your thoughts if only temporarily. So I did. Maybe driving 1.5 hours to Hood River to do a 4 mile hike sounds nuts, but when my sanity is on the line it's not asking much.

So I took my time on this splendidly warm, beautiful day as I hiked to the vista point surrounded by wildflowers.

"It had only to do with how it felt to be in the wild. With what it was like to walk for miles for no reason other than to witness the accumulation of trees and meadows, mountains and deserts, streams and rocks, rivers and grasses, sunrises and sunsets. The experience was powerful and fundamental. It seemed to me that it had always felt like this to be a human in the wild, and as long as the wild existed it would always feel this way. "
-Cheryl Strayed, Wild

These photos were edited using the VSCO Film presets for Lightroom.




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