Exploring Clifty Falls

“We’ve all had a heartache. And so my journey now is to find some sort of grace in the face of this defeat. And I can look at the journey, not just the destination. I can feel proud, I can stand here in front of you tonight and say I was courageous.”  – Diana Nyad

The quote above speaks loudly to me. We all face disappointment and I know that I have endured many of my own heartaches. But somehow, wandering in the woods brings out the strong, sometimes buried courageous side of myself.  Its not just about the destination, but facing head on the challenges of your own journey. Sometimes I find myself trudging on trying to get to the end destination instead of focusing merely on the beauty around me, and the strength it took to reach the top of that hill.

So much like life… some times we find ourselves wishing it away. I will be happy… when… if only…. as soon as (insert end goal). Often, I relate my hikes back to situations I am facing in life because I find there are a lot of comparisons to be made there metaphorically. Clifty Falls is one of those special places with no end destination, because there is so much beauty every where you turn. There may be a few hills along the path, but the payoff and strength gained is worth it.

A couple of weekends ago I visited Clifty with a friend of mine and did some exploring. First, we went to scope out the waterfall, because it’s super easy to get to and is a must see for the first visit. Then, we went down to the creek bed to wander around for the rest of the day (Trail 3). There was hardly anyone there that day (it was still cold) so we let the dogs enjoy some off leash time too.

For me the creek bed is always a delight. Its dried up in many areas, which allows you to explore all through it. The cliff sides and trees surround you and the beautiful creek stones and occasional flowing water makes for gorgeous views. The creek also features many large coral and shell fossils. All of these sights, and sounds let me fall away from my daily barrage of worries (again… coping with anxiety) and just savor the current moment. FYI there are many different trails in this park and it is certainly suitable for beginners.

If you live near Louisville it is only a short 1-hour drive to Madison, IN where you will find Clifty Falls State Park. Madison itself is a charming, historical riverside town. Anyone needing a place to hike this spring, and a place to enjoy the “now” should certainly add Clifty to your list of nearby visits.

 

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Finding Balance

So I am a week behind on blog posts, but last week was a killer for me. I was stressed to the max and felt like I just couldn’t keep up with my to-do list (both for work & at home). By Friday, I was  so irritable I just knew I needed to readjust my attitude and get centered for the busy week ahead.

Do you ever just feel like… I am going to scream if I get one more email request for something someone needs “now”? Yea… that was me. Needless to say, if you spoke to me last week, I apologize for my less than bubbly disposition. There are certain things I have noticed have a tendency to greatly affect my mood throughout the week including the amount of sleep and rest I get and the time I make for myself.

Thanks to my generation (yes… I am a millennial) there is an expectation we should always be connected and available. Work days, are no longer 8 hours, and I know there are times I find myself checking email late at night. This is one thing that I have tried to really get a handle on not doing. After 8PM, I feel like whatever it is can wait until the morning. My evenings are for catching up with friends/family, snuggling on the couch, walking the dog, and taking care of me. It’s not that I’m less committed than those who do, it’s that ‘ME’ time is a necessity.

And now at the risk of sounding like an extremely old lady (I swear I am only 32), I try to get 8 hours of sleep throughout the work week. My devices go off at 8PM, and I am in bed reading a good book at 9PM. YIKES… I sound so old! It’s amazing how my evenings have changed over the last 5-10 years.

Gone are the days carousing at a bar on the weekends – although I’ll proudly admit I poured myself a bourbon or two last Friday. I need weekends to be restful and I particularly enjoy spending time outdoors. My work week is fast-paced and stressful, not to mention, I spend time the majority of my day at a desk in an interior (no windows/fluorescent light) office.

I am still figuring out balance and how to achieve it. But these are things I think we all need to be a bit more mindful of – particularly allowing yourself to unplug every once in a while. This doesn’t make you less committed or productive. This allows you to have time to pursue other interests, which in turn guards against burn out and makes for a more positive working environment for both you and your team. Make time for rest, the hobbies you love, and of course your family and friends.

Next weekend I challenge you to explore a new town, read a book, or take a yoga class – invest in your own happiness and well being.

 

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How my Friendships with Women Inspire Me

Happy Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month, and I wanted to write a post about my relationships with other women and how these friendships impact my life. We all have our different types of friends; some are old or new, some are thoughtful, some are the life of the party and always providing the laughs, while others are no-nonsense, “tell it like it is” companions. All of these various women in my life help give me confidence, support, and even sometimes a shoulder to cry on.

First, I have to say I have been blessed to have always been surrounded by strong women, starting day one with my mother. Growing up she always pushed us to try our hardest, but also gave us love and comfort when we needed it. She set an example for hard work when she not only worked full time as an RN raising two kids, but also went back to school to finish her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. Then, I had my grandmothers who both raised kids and took care of husbands. I have been fortunate to have close relationships with both of my grandmothers, and their loving advice is worth more than gold. The lessons I have learned from these women I carry with me daily.

I also grew up with a younger sister, Emily (yes – my poor Dad had to endure a house full of women). Though we fought a lot growing up, as sisters often do, we have a great relationship as adults. My sister has been there for me through many ups and downs and she is one of those people I know I can always call. Lord knows, she’s had to listen to me cry about more breakups than I would care to admit, but I know she always has my back.

I have always had wonderful friendships with other women (I don’t get the whole – I’m not a “girl’s girl” thing, and frankly think it is stupid). In my hometown, I have friends I love that I have known for years, and since moving to Louisville I have gained a whole new group of friends. All of these women inspire me with their goals, hobbies, careers, community involvement, bad ass parenting skills, and many of them seemingly able to juggle it all. These friends give me career advice, push me to be more involved, give me pep-talks before Bumble dates (LOL – true though), and most importantly they show me what I am capable of through their own achievements. Seeing women further in along in their careers kicking ass, or being an awesome mom raising an actual human being (I’ll stick to my dog for now because you know… training wheels), these things are inspiring to me. These things show me what is possible.

So cheers to all you bad ass women from the past to present! Thank you for your support, drive, dedication, and most of all your inspiration.