Leading Yoself

Doing the work, especially inner work takes patience. Seeing the results or recognizing growth, takes time. My schedule last month changed drastically, throwing up a lot of mental resistance and frustration within the adjustment period. It presented an opportunity to observe and put into action piece by piece what I have been trying to develop; stronger self belief. When we first resist change, viewing that window, the opportunity for growth, can get somewhat fogged up by frustration and a loss of control.

I have been learning about team leadership. Things like, roles within teams, traits of good leaders, differences between managers and leaders, styles of leading. It got me thinking, how can we lead ourselves better? How can we be our own best team mate. Passing the baton from strength to strength and back again, growing our network of skills. We CAN learn to lead. Go team Numero Uno!

Knowing your team well and identifying its strengths and possible weaknesses is key. Having a clear path, understanding the phases of developing your team, leading it through support, encouragement, communication, empowering the team to keep momentum and improve, reaching and striving. These can all be applied to ourselves. Knowing who we are are, identifying where we have power and strength, working on strengthening perceived weaker areas. Having clarity, understanding it isn’t always plain sailing. Supporting ourselves through self care, encouraging acknowledgement and celebrating the wins, stoking our fires. Learning.Cheering. Championing.

I had to complete the Belbin self-perception inventory , on this leadership course I am taking. This identifies through a points system, over seven sections of scenarios, where your preferred team roles lie. There are nine team roles in Belbin’s model. Later the class set out to complete various team tasks, building objects within specific briefs. We then further analyzed which role each person took up within the briefs. Shortly we are going to be subjected to psychometric testing, ‘nailing’ our personality to 95%. WELL! Initial thoughts on these results, viewed roles taken, and impending testing….NOBODY PUTS BABY IN THE CORNER! Intense feelings of unjust. Why? I don’t like being pigeon holed. Rick ‘em, rock ‘em, rake! Stick that sword into that snake!

Fast forward a week, having completed a CV and Interview skills course, I’m feeling a little differently about it all. Hello objective perspective my ol’ buddy, ol’ pal! I partook in a mock interview which was filmed, and a real interview opportunity which was not filmed, all within the same week.

In the mock situation I was allowed to choose any job I wanted, it didn’t have to be real. Armed with a list of interview questions, AND the reasoning behind why an interviewer may ask a certain question along with sheets of positive vocabulary, off I toddled to prepare. It was pretty evident upon reviewing of the footage, with my mentors, how much I believed in myself, for this role, how I was able to identify my strengths, skills and really appreciate all I had done in my previous role, and apply it to this dream job. The clarity, how proud I felt of myself, it was gold. I felt like, WHO is she? WHO is THAT girl?I want to be like her…oh wait! I am her! WOW. An objective look at myself for the win.

In contrast I attended a real interview only a few hours later. An opportunity somewhat based in my old field. I was now confident in my abilities and skills. They on the other hand, had no clarity of the role, no clear line of questioning, filling air space with a bunch of buzz words to mask that fact. I learned although I was capable, it was not in line with my path, and that I am ready to leave the corporate life behind. Eeeek! Holy VanMoley! WHO AM I?

As I explore my path, I am learning to use tools along my journey. Last month I spoke about my future-self journaling, a tool I am consistently using daily. In fact, I applied it in choosing my mock interview; I self-projected myself into the role I was going for. I have collected a new tool to add to my arsenal. Power Posing. Yes my friends! Research has shown how this is extremely effective, and that it WORKS. Go check out Dr. Amy Cuddy, she has done wonderful research on it. Click link in her name to view TedTalk. How do you use it? Choose a power pose, do it for 2 mins right before anything you are nervous about, this could be a review, date, interview, meeting, presentation, class, hell even before going to lift at PB at the gym! Rest period, power pose it out! PP strong!

Back to my initial feelings of being pigeon holed. What did the interviews teach me? Roles were just strengths; they don’t define who I can become. When I ask the right questions, I have right the answers. I have many strengths yet to be uncovered, yet to be seen. I can only be pigeon holed if I do not see my own potential. Identifying, encouraging, leading, empowering, acknowledging, celebrating, growing, uncovering. We all have the ability to lead ourselves, by getting down to the brass tax of getting to know who we are, and challenging what we are made of by asking ourselves to do so.

Folk, lets get to know ourselves better, commit to love ourselves, celebrate and lead ourselves through the knowledge of our power. Get crafty with our tools. We are powerful, we are capable, we are able, we are strong, we have it in us to be authentic in our lives, and ask of ourselves to do so. Lead on my friends!

Spotlight

Being heard, that’s all people really want isn’t it, and not just listened to, but actually heard. How many of our emotional reactions stem from the feeling of not being heard? Shouting silently into space, and being hit with its gusty return; slap right across the cheek. Thwack! Ouch! It stings.

How can we be heard if we don’t even respect our own voice, or, think it worthy of hearing ourselves? To even know what it is we want heard in the first place, but still have the intense feeling of not being heard. Huh? How does that even work? I’m pretty sure I’ve battled this unknown frustrating feeling, for the best part of 15 years. Shouting for help when you don’t know what you want help with. Puts hands in pockets, kicks stone across yard, sighs hard, a gentle rage builds, kicks stone harder. Know that feeling?

We get told to stop following people online that make us feel bad about ourselves, right? The thing is there are so many good, inspiring and helpful resources out there. The kicker being, how quickly we get lost in following such a diverse melee of information, that we begin to block out our own voice, we cant find it anymore, or hear what its saying.

Hello from the other side! It sings, from deep in there somewhere. Hello…is it me your looking for…to which we respond, nope sssh!…Look! Such n such influencer super star is saying…I need to dance the funky chicken at 5am to loosen my joints #mobilityfam (It’s the golden hour hun, productivity high five), THEN spend 3 hours squeezing my gluteus Maximus so I have strong glutes, THEN I need to get out of the echo chamber, touch the void, trigger myself and unpack all of that shit, all while our planet slowly dies. #youcantdustforvomit Phew! You have approx. 5 mins to perform this routine as you have wasted 95% of your time watching someone else do it. FUCK MY LIFE! Do you hear me?

How do we separate the wheat from the chaff? Stop the incessant searching of the outside world, and turn inward, to our own wisdom. Yes, our own voice. We can still have all the socials, but we need to build on hearing our own voice, so we can separate the wheat from the chaff. Be our own expert. Cut the crap.

I’m coming into my third month being unemployed, living at the family home, trying to make changes, and create a plan or a path I am excited/energized by. It’s A LOT of pressure, but mainly, time. I am grateful to be afforded this time, I just didn’t realize how incredibly uncomfortable it is. The spotlight is on girl. What ya gona do!? The scrutiny #scrotiny. And yes my friends I’ve dove deep, deep into the world of socials, to hear a different voice. I flip flop between calling bullshit and then thinking their story, is my story. OH SHIZEN HOFF.

What I have started doing is…judging myself…no! I joke! I actually started to Future Self Journal. To tap into my inner wisdom, and hear myself again, to work at being uncomfortable, and accepting that this is how things are going to feel like for a while. I want to be my own expert. Super nerding go!

Where did I hear about this future self journaling you say? The all-encompassing world wide web don’t you know! There is a wonderful lady who provides a free template in order for you to follow daily. Dr. Nicole LePera I also recently read an article in Women’s Health Magazine on body positivity. Professor West, a researcher behind the naturist studies recommends mirror exposure therapy. That is repeatedly observing your own naked body (approx. 20mins at time) in a full length mirror. Overtime it is said it can reduce people’s negative and anxious responses to the way they look. I think future journaling is a form of this for your mind.

I get up daily starting my day by working through my journaling. I do so first thing in the morning, as this is the time that works best for me. I have been doing this for 12 days now. Not long I know. I’ve gone back and re read all my entries. What is prevalent? A voice that is growing in strength. Yes! Now I need to go ahead and hear it. Below I share some of my journaling snippets with you.

I am peaceful and aware. I will be my own cheerleader. I will acknowledge my own strength, and not seek out my weaknesses to diminish my current position. I can be clear about what i want without being anxious. I am able to adapt. I will be less affected by others agendas. I am a lovely worthy woman. I want to be less dismissive about what I am trying to do. I am grateful for my determined mind. More belief in what I see as a path. I have something to contribute.

I look forward to my voice becoming stronger and more direct. Let’s stop playing victim to our inner limiting beliefs. Tease them out, expose them onto the page, read them allowed. Hear them. Let them lose power. Read how wise our own advice is, that inner wisdom we all possess. Our expert. We are our own teacher. We can cheer ourselves on. Tap into that low rumble of wise wild power. Put on our invisible super hero suits, and beat the bejaysus out of those inner demons. Shout them down with our strong minds, so they can hear our ROAR.

Body Mind Connection

Here I am, started my new chapter, first month almost under my belt. Taking the time to; just be. Spending time with my family and friends, doing things I enjoy, saying yes. Yes to things I’ve said no to in the past, now I have the room to. Allowing my days to take their own form. Relying on my own drive and incentives to be proactive in decision making for the day; is proving interesting. It being solely my responsibility, what I do with my time, how I chose to spend it. In my old daily life that sense of responsibility was shirked off by my rote routine. I forgot that it had always been my responsibility. Whoa! right, Hmm, Eeek, SHIT! That in itself was quite the revelation

I am responsible for my days; rolling that around the cheeks, hearing it aloud,seeing it written down, it’s powerful stuff. It’s shown me that it goes hand in hand with being responsible for my thoughts. I like to fill my days with being outdoors and moving around a good deal. That’s where I feel most at ease, content. The sitting with myself, that’s what I find hard. Boy can I go slow, but stop. Stopping is, phew! …well it’s intense. It’s easy to fill your days with things you enjoy, it’s hard to go to the places of yourself you have avoided. Long avoided. Ducking and diving into the content happy la la place. If avoidance is the game, I play it well! TUCK AND ROLL.

When you stop, things get loud. Hark is that my intuition I hear? gut starts
talking, tummy fills with butterflies, then BAM!, the door flies open and in
storms the boogie man of negative city heights. Just when you think you’re
out…they pull you back in! Rushing in to hold me back. I’ve been working,
chipping away at my internal dialogue for a good chunk of time, and I am
getting good at closing that door, quieting the chatter. Choosing not to run
into the space made up of; unknown, uncertain possible crazy negative
scenarios.

What I have uncovered, or actually exposed, is a physical tick that goes back to my teenage years. With this whole responsibility realisation, clarity on my tick’s source has arrived. I can for certain see it is linked to how I see myself. A manifestation of non-acceptance of my outward/physical self. It’s a little devastating, especially as I have been doing it so long. The good news is, perhaps this acknowledgement can help me finally address it head on. And truly, that is good news .

I think the majority of us punish ourselves outwardly, subconsciously, for our inner anguish about how we feel about ourselves, our worth. The most common, or should I say most focused on, is body shape, accepting our form and shape. Over eating/under eating/Yo-yoing/Binging…. This is where there is a huge amount of punishing and beating up with negative perspectives. Another example being, biting nails when anxious, about a decision, a judgement, or our ability. So many of us are doing it blindly, we don’t even know we are half of the time.

My tick is related to my skin. How I punish it daily for not being perfect. Unknowingly so in the main, although often purposefully too. Hands wander its landscape, fingers seeking out imperfections. I have never had clear skin, well that’s not true, before I was a teenager I did. I remember thinking, when I turn 18 my skin will be perfect! Here I am at 37 with this imperfect skin. Yes it is genetics, hormones and things out of my control also. I have spent years looking at diet, trying a million products, going to the doctor, the consultant, taking this tablet and that tablet, applying the lotions and potions. Maybe it all boils down to me not truly accepting myself. I wrote a poem about it.

This Skin I’m in

Reading, learning, trying to remember and apply.                                                  All the care and work I put into understanding.                                                          Yet I scrape and scratch, pull and pinch my skin.                                                    This thing, this living organism that protects all of me.                                      Blindly punishing its imperfection.                                                                                    I accept and love myself; The Who of what I think I am.                                          But still I pick away my outward self.                                                                        Missing acceptance of what makes up a whole me.                                                Inward work to solve an outward puzzle.                                                                     To accept the skin I am wrapped in.

Outward work heals inward pain, inward work heals outward trauma. We need some mindfulness of how both are so intertwined. We can lose that obvious connection. Be responsible in a kind and caring way. Remember you are golden and have the power to shine your light. Acknowledging and knowingly moving towards the whole true spirit of who you are.

I hope that you can find something in this that you might relate to in your own journeys into further self-love and acceptance. Be wildly responsible for your gorgeous big, glorious life. Keep climbing.

The Plunge

‘Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life’ – Jerzy Gregorek. This June, I finished up in my job, after 14 years service to the company. A hard month emotionally, because not only was I leaving my job, I was leaving my life in Dublin too. By nature I go at a slow pace, albeit a splash and go girl when it comes to smaller, enjoyable choices. For me, making big decisions comes in fits and bursts of toe dipping. A little further each time, wading to the knee, extended periods of lolling in the adjustment, in between phases, dragging fingers through the waters of indecision. It has taken me approx two years to get to the jump off point, the big splash into my unknown.

A bitter sweet decision, having built a lovely life for myself, I was choosing to saying goodbye to something I was proud of creating. Farewell to my communities; family, friends, yoga, gym, colleagues, connections made. I have lived in Dublin all of my life. It was a big deal for me to leave, even if I wasn’t going too far away. It’s all I’ve ever really known.

It’s scary to give up something, especially when so much of it was good. Underneath all that goodness though, I had buried deep an unfulfilled void in relation to my work/career per say. The noise of which seemed to get only louder and louder, until finally, I had to listen, and do something about it. I am grateful for what those 14 years has given me, it has shown me; I know how to make a happy life, I understand myself, I know the things I need to cope, and how to surround myself with a wonderfully vibrant support system of people, activities and fun. Being there allowed me the space to learn that. It’s where I grew up.

Big changes tend to unsettle the air and kick up dust. Lots of things whir around in the whirlwind of an impending change. The universe seems to throw you curve balls, change is never plain sailing. Dealing with unexpected reactions, situations that really test your strength, is the stuff that fuels doubt. All of those obstacles are there to show you, to help you learn, and solidify why the change is in fact necessary. In letting go of something old, sometimes you lose connections, but you gain clarity in doing so. In the end we are all only trying to do our best with what we have. Having the kindness to allow emotions be felt, and not add them as a burden on your path, is paramount.

I had to go. I had spent 14 years being stuck and comfortable, never quite being able to muster the strength, or courage to figure out a different way. Often we box ourselves off by the overwhelming large picture, it creates a blindness and inertia that stops us seeing possibilities, or being open to a different way, without having every detail planned out. The more you communicate with your circle, listen to your intuition, break up with old habits, the easier it becomes to let in the light of opportunity, and begin to re-frame your situation, breath energy and power into action. These are all the little lessons I have been learning through my blogging, that have given me the courage to keep going, keep trying, and see another way. I always say start in an area of your life you enjoy, challenge yourself there, make changes there first, transfer those skills to the places that your find harder to move on.

I decided I wanted to mark, celebrate, signify and draw a line under my Dublin life in a truly personal, positive way. I choose to cycle the 166 km to my new life; marking the end of a chapter and sailing into a new one. I knew it was going to be tough, whatever way I cut it, I expected that. This journey was my pilgrimage to a new start. I chose a route so scenic, that throughout the physical struggle and effort, I had only to look around me, take in the beautiful countryside, wildlife and wondrous nature, to be thankful for this time. To remind myself, I didn’t need to rush, I had all day, and this day was for me. To take it in and be grateful for the opportunity I had given myself to be in the moment. It harked back to my childhood, spoke to my heart, and assured it I was listening, and that I did care. It was nature, wildlife, outdoor activity, at my own pace, all the things that bring me joy and make me who I am today.

I am currently working on re-birthing, settling, rejuvenating and regenerating good energies. I am being happy in my now, and relishing the freedom that I have worked hard to find, so I can move forward.

Are there any changes you crave to make? Anything is possible once you put your mind to it, and allow the time and space for it to come to being. I am resting with these two quotes at the moment;

‘Heal yourself, love yourself, know yourself – These phrases are becoming more and more common, why? Because they are the pathways to our own freedom and happiness.’ – Yung Pueblo

‘Part of self-acceptance is releasing other peoples opinions. We are meant to be different. When we can accept this, there is no competition and no comparison.’ – Louise L Hay

Wishing you all joy, love, light, energy and courage on your own journeys . Paint wildly and freely, friends.

Celebrate your Circle

The energy we surround ourselves with, our friends and family. How we connect. How we lift each other and champion good energy. The people in our corner. The light we shine, attracting others to shine with us, and grow a powerful energy of living, together. Our orbit, our community. Nurturing, growing, wilting into bloom, through all the seasons of life. This is our infinite energy source to which we live our lives.

In a time where we have unparalleled access to knowledge, wisdom, information, guidance. Gurus in self-help, wellness and self-care. SO MUCH INFORMATION. Motivational quotes and snippets helping us traverse adult life. We tend to forget about our own circle. Overlooking the knowledge and wisdom of those close to us, for that of people we’ve never met or connected with. Who don’t know us or have any idea of our journey.

We are so used to connecting with our friends and family on the same levels, paths grooved in over years of friendship. Look around your orbit. I am sure you admire and want to best for those within it, but have you ever stopped to ask; What motivates them? What energises them? How do they energise themselves? What tools have they used to succeed? What techniques or rituals work for them? and I mean really asked them, and not just an assumed an answer.

If your stuck on something in your life, pivot and look around your circle. Who do you know that does that area of life well. Go spend some time with them, ask them about it. Be inspired by them to face your challenges, by how they have succeeded in theirs. Doing this brings deeper appreciation to your connections. A gratefulness of your sphere, and a realisation of how powerful that energy can be. Sharing in your experiences.

This month I did just that. I went to Italy to visit a friend. He took the leap to move there 2.5 years ago. I wanted to see first hand what that was like, to fully go for something you had dreamed of. I wanted to see the realities, hear the good and the bad. It gave me great comfort to see him out there doing his thing. I felt inspired, and spurred on to face my fears, and just go try. Often people don’t realise how much of an impact they might have on your life at certain times, and it feels good to tell them. Tell them, Hey! I think what your doing is awesome, and you make me want to go and get after it too!

Talking about your plans, thrashing out problems or asking for simple advice is very liberating. Sharing a vision or speed bump you have, makes a world of difference. Hearing what your pals have been through, overcome, strategies they use that you may never have known about. Makes not only you feel more grounded, but makes the other party feel good about themselves in turn. Sometimes you don’t say out loud the things you have achieved, and when you hear them, it hits home. Hearing your why, can give new energy to a person and yourself. We sometimes forget our whys. Talking helps you shape, reframe, organise and understand how you feel, and builds confidence in the knowing of yourself.

As part of mental health awareness month, I have been trying to reach out and spend time with the people in my circle, make more of an effort to connect with intention and let them know I appreciate them. Reach out, make a date. Who in your circle inspires you?, why not tell them. You don’t need to be looking for advice, help, ideas or perspective to spend time and share good energy, go celebrate it. Champion your circle.

Breaking up is never easy

A routine queen, I put my hands up, it’s true. My tapestry of routines and rituals are what guide me through daily life. Layering up over time, they have become a delicately knit fabric, interwoven together creating harmony in my world.

The beauty of life is, it’s ever changing. We change, we grow, we evolve. Learning to accept and allow the flow of life take its course. Not holding fast and steady to routines and rituals that once worked for us, but no longer seem to. Acknowledging this, instead of fervently trying to stuff our now round peg back into that old square hole.

When an old routine becomes stagnant it’s a sure sign that a change is occurring. A shift. Growth. It’s a message you need to listen to. Change can creep up on you, especially when you get so caught up in the doing of routines, a disconnect from being, from you, begins. It’s important to stop and notice when these flags start pinging up.

It’s a frustrating time, trying to understand, to figure out what is going on. Firstly, we must start to question. Why did it work before? What was its purpose? Why is it not working now? Does it still have a purpose? What is it that I want, what is it that I need? Has that changed? Have I exhausted its means? Viewing it in a positive light. You are still you, you have just grown. Same, same you, but different you. Let’s not pigeon hole or type cast ourselves. Make room, thank your old routine for getting you thus far, start the curious journey of creating something new, something to match your shift.  Give yourself space to expand those horizons.

I recently listened to a Tim Ferriss podcast with Neil Gaiman. He talks about how his writing routines have changed over the years, and how you must not be afraid when an old routine stops working for you. Accepting the fact, you are different, yet, you are still you, and making a change to reflect that.

I have several friends that have just had kids, and/or have young families. I have watched on in awe, how they as parents, are so very capable of routine changes. All the changes, all of the time! At the drop of a hat. Figuring it out like a bunch of pros on the reg. I’m taking inspiration from their hop scotch strong game.

In my life I struggle with stress management. I have had a solid routine for the last 3 to 4 years that has transformed my life balance. I am now re-examining these, because they seem to be no longer working. I am busy delving into these questions and figuring out what has changed. Examining all the angles. I might have to go to the root, the source, the cause, all the way to Lemkin. This time I’m not afraid to. I think it is time to break up with an old way/routine/route/path. Yikes.

When we recognise that nothing stays the same, we can let go of where we were, so we can be where we are now. Next time a way of doing something/being, or a routine stops working for you, or starts making you feel stressed and anxious, question, re-evaluate, listen, accept, move.

We do in order to be, but we also must be in order to do.

What changes have you had to make? How did you go about it? Did it take you long to figure it out? Please share.

Break up

Views and perspective

This month, I stepped up to the plate, and entered a writing competition. To date the majority of my goals have been fitness orientated.  I constantly set goals and challenges in this area.  I strive to explore, grow and remain curious within my practices. I feed off the energy I get from continuing to do so. Until now, I had not equated that type of mindset with my writing. I want to transfer that positive energy and growth into this area also. Why not try, see how I can expand this area of my life which I enjoy. Take the mind shift and move forward with it.

I understood that this was just a starting point, my writing wasn’t going to be perfect,  my piece would not smash it on my first offering. It was a place to start, a place to measure where I could grow from, see where I needed to put the work in, what I needed to improve upon. This can hold us back so often. That we are not going to be instantly awesome at something. It can stop us from continuing to put in the work, and get better, to hone our skills.  If we can get over that mind hurdle, keep showing up, and keep putting in the work, we will succeed.

With all of that said, I now share with you what I wrote. It’s a story from my travels. It was entered for a travel writing competition. My aim was to evoke a feeling, paint a picture, hopefully bring you back to a moment where you may have felt that same feeling. Perhaps inspire you to hold onto it, and seek it more often in your life.

Throughout our entire trip in Central America we got an overwhelming sense of the happiness and gratefulness the people there had, for simply being alive. They were happy because they were. It’s so basic, yet here in the western world, we seem to be so busy wanting, that we lose touch with that fact. How lucky we are to be here, and this story is one of those moments that knocks me down with that knowledge.

“One of the most liberating things about travel is,  listening to, and hearing other travelers regale tales of incredible experiences, and unique discoveries from the road. In turn inspiring you to go on, hatch a plan,  catching yourself an opportunity to go explore some of the magic they painted for you.

This story is one of those moments, and how it paid off for me and my travel buddy.    We were spun an idyllic tale of swaying in a hammock, on top of a Volcano, under the cover of a million stars. Awakening to the most breath-taking sunrise over the Gulf of Fonseca in El Salvador.

We set our sights on this Volcano Conchagua, and its fairy tale sunrise.  At 1,242 meters tall, it looks out on the Gulf of Fonseca, home to a collection of various small islands, encompassing views of Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador.

Transport to the top, was what could only be described as an old cattle truck. A domed open wired frame, ropes hung, tied and knotted from same. Choosing a rope, we braced for a bumpy ride uphill. The views glimpsed between clearings and moments of concentration to avoid branch whippings, were spectacular.

At the top, wind had picked up considerably. We were shown to an unfinished restaurant, and it was suggested we sleep there. Unfortunately the weather continued to turn, and with no windows or properly secured doors, the winds howled, ripping through the restaurant. Without sleeping bags we were very under prepared.

Gone was our vision of a calm balmy night, dozing in a hammock, occasionally gazing up at a canopy of a billion stars. Upon taking our final bathroom break before properly bedding down, we were met  with several parked 4×4’s, and the most warm and welcoming of greetings. A small group of El Salvadorans had driven from San Salvador to camp for the night.  They were part of a hiking group that met at weekends to hike volcanos all around El Salvador and Central America.

They informed us that a freak weather front had come in from the States. When we told them of our under prepared situation, they offered a half covered truck bed for us to sleep in.  This is what turned out to be our saving grace.

Returning to the restaurant and our icy tiled layer,  we huddled as best we could, bony hips met with hard tiles, padded bottoms grown numb.  To the truck bed we went. Crawling into the compact space we were instantly relived by the wind cover.

Early morning brought calmed winds. We were beckoned for the first tendrils of sunrise ‘ Girls its starting’ . Stiffly we climbed out, met with the offer of a warm sleeping bag. With sleepy heads, and puffy eyes, quietly we padded across to the viewing area and chose our spot.

Black horizon turning to dirty grey orange, to cobalt blues and burnt, fiery tones; the rest of the sky remaining inky, stars still twinkling bright. Oranges turned to powder pink and cerise. The sun began to shine its golden glow upon us. Each and every second being different, never stopping to hit you right in the chest.  How it lit up every cell in our bodies with the acknowledgement of how truly incredible it is that this happens. Every. Single. Day.

We lolled on rocks, ate breakfast, drank coffee and relished our time together on Conchagua, exchanging stories. This volcano had brought us all together, from such different parts of the world,  with diverse life experiences and stories. Yet we were all just humans, in search of, and trying to maintain our inner peace, by connecting back to our earth, and in turn each other.

Later in our trip we managed to connect again, climbing Volcano Santa Ana with some of the group. This honest, pure human connection we encountered on Conchagua, not only made our first sunrise of Central America so special, but our time in El Salvador one we will hold onto for a very long time to come.

Anyone visiting El Salvador should add Conchagua into their time budget. It is worth spending a piece of it here to catch a sunrise.”

And that’s a wrap! I hope this short summary of a moment in my travels, can inspire you to delve back to a time you felt something similar, and give you some good energy. Strive for those simple pure moments of gratitude, they don’t need to be found on top of a volcano, sometimes they are found in a hug, or a walk in the park, or waking up on a bright morning. Let those moments fuel you forward into pure happiness, and appreciation for where you are right now.

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