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Hiking Solo

Happy Summer Solstice everyone! Today marks the longest light and celebration of growth, both in our gardens and within ourselves. This time of year is such a mixture for me, when the pendulum swings wide between sadness and joy, between the past and the future. In preparation for the upcoming Way of the Heart festival this weekend, where I'll be doing a workshop about embracing all of life's experiences, I wanted to connect to my own heart so off into the woods I went, where I came upon many solstice signs.

St. John's Wort is a summer solstice herb, it greeted me at the start of the trail!

I used to go into the woods by myself all of the time. I loved to go with friends but there was something about going alone that I craved and needed. After the suicide of a dear one (it will be six years ago tomorrow), walking through the woods became uncomfortable and I didn't want to do it. It took me a while to figure it out but I realized being in the woods after loss showed me what I was avoiding. I wasn't ready to feel again that deep joy that I used to feel from being in the woods alone.

There were other things I had to feel in order to begin to heal. I had to be in

the sadness, confusion and even in that hole in my heart that only I, not even the beautiful woods, could love until it didn't ache so much. We might not want to hurt and be sad but those feelings will cycle in their own good time. Today, for the first time in six years, I happily chose to go alone into the woods. I was excited about my solo hike just like I used to be. There were times when the trail showed me landmarks of my sorrow as well as happy memories. Today I was okay to be there with it all.

I even said to myself, "I feel so happy." And then there was this: around one of those particularly magical turns in the trail, you know the ones where you have an intake of breath no matter how familiar you are with the view, I heard a veery. This happy sounding little bird is one of my favorites. I never take video but I did to capture the veery song. While recording I heard a loud buzz and turned my camera in time to record a hummingbird! My technical skills are still lacking so I wasn't able to upload the video here but I'll put it on the ten summit fb page. Hummingbirds are a symbol of joy, particularly joy in the present moment and a reminder that you have guardians. I know I do! Thank you little hummer!

I honor my past, I still feel sad but it is inevitable that the pendulum will swing the other way. We go from darkness to light, there and back again and again. On Monday I celebrate my second wedding anniversary. The hummingbird reminded me of how fortunate I am in the present and of all the simple joys waiting to be experienced.

On I hiked all by myself but with so many others on my mind and in my heart. I stopped to give love to a favorite tree...

...and to kick up my heavy hiking boots, up, up and UP!

Hiking alone may not be a chosen part of everyone's journey, but if there is something you once loved that you've fallen away from I hope you trust that what you feel right now is not everlasting.

Trust that your joys and your sorrows are fleeting.

Trust that you and your loved ones are made for healing and to be healed.

Trust in what brings you back into this body to feel it all.

Trust that your practices, whatever they may be, will work on you, albeit slowly but assuredly to remind you of your wholeness.

You are complete with every bit of joy and sorrow you've ever experienced or have yet to experience.