If you’ve ever been backpacking you might know that throughout a wilderness you’ll find “campsites”. These campsites are usually by a water source, there are some that were established in the 1930’s by the CCC, and others that have been built along the way by different groups who start and add on to the campsite.
The thing with these areas is it’s really easy to lose the main trail. There are branches that break off here and there going to different campsites, and it’s easy to find yourself wandering about, looking for the right path, looking for the path you’re supposed to be on. It’s relatively easy to find your way back to the main trail, but not without wandering for a while. Sometimes there are clear markers, like the duck below, sometimes you just wander until you walk across the most worn path, and sometimes you simply stay on the path you know you’re supposed to be on.
I wrote this prompt and took this picture back in November when I was backpacking in West Virginia, but I never did anything with it, it didn’t feel right. However, as I was slowly walking on a trail a few days ago in Rock Creek I was thinking about how there are times in life we just feel lost, we’ve wandered off the trail. And sometimes it takes a lot of wandering before we get back on our path, other times it’s relatively quick to find that trail again, and there are times in life the path you're on just feels like the right one, it just feels correct. As I was walking up a particular path in Rock Creek this past weekend I was struck by how it just felt right, it just felt correct, this path I’m on right now….but the wandering I took to get here, the time I spent lost and not sure where my trail went was right also, it was also part of this journey. And if we’re being honest, I’m not sure what my trail looks like ahead of me, but at this moment in time I feel really good about the unknown also.
May we be ok with whatever path we’re on this week, whether it feels like we’re a little lost and wandering off the trail, or whether it feels exactly right for where we are right now. May we learn from the path we’re on, whatever that might look like.
Have a fabulous day dear friends, I am so very thankful for each of you.
Showing up. These words have been on my mind of late. Showing up, being present, taking time, really looking at and taking what you need. You probably regularly hear those words in your head with how often I say them.
These past 10 months have been deeply, deeply hard on me, for reasons I’m not going to go into (sorry) but that are entirely unrelated to Covid and what’s been going on in the world and in our area (although those things certainly haven’t helped!).
But, you know, showing up to practice with you all has been a constant source of joy in my life. Showing up, breathing with you, relaxing my jaw when I remind you to relax yours, softening my shoulders. Being there, being present, with nowhere else to be, with nothing else to do.
And seeing you, day after day, week after week. What a joy it has been to be with you all each week. It has been just the deepest privilege and honor to have you in practice. A balm in a really hard time in life. I really do mean it when I say, other than one (only one!) terrible day when I really did have to fake it to show up, teaching has been a constant source of joy in my life these past months.
My dear friends, I am so deeply grateful for you. It has been such a privilege to teach, to be here, to show up and be present with you. Thank you for showing up with me. Life is both beautiful and also really hard sometimes, and there are times when all we can do is show up and breathe through the hardship. Thank you for breathing through it with me.
May we show up a little more in our own life this week, in the good times and in the bad...and there will be both good times and bad…perhaps breathing a little deeper in both.
Have a wonderful day dear friends. I am so very thankful for you all.
There’s this hiking trail we used to visit on the regular when we lived close to it. It was a pretty consistent after school activity for my kids and me, and even more so in the summer. My kids loved climbing boulder after boulder on the trail. They would climb to the very top of the highest rock just to scare me. My younger son and I just recently walked it and re-lived some great memories.
The trail is lovely and wooded, but it’s also sandwiched between two major roads, so for most of the walk one can hear traffic in the background. There’s still the experience of the lovely nature and the beauty of the creek and of the water, sometimes you get to see a majestic blue heron on the water, but the sound of the city is there even in the midst of the trees and beauty.
But there is this one spot, a little off the first road, and well before the second road…….where the water is running a bit faster and the traffic just disappears. You simply hear the sound of the water and of the woods around…..and nothing else.....and it is so very peaceful, even when knowing the city is so near. There is this space of peace and quiet, of rest in the middle of chaos. There is this space where all else disappears and you can fully immerse yourself in the world directly around you, where you can breathe a little deeper.
May we, this week, find a little more peace in the middle. May we find pockets of rest, of quiet, of space in the middle of chaos. May we breathe a little deeper this week.
Have a wonderful day dear friends, I am so very grateful for each of you!
I was in the park the day after a big rain. The sky was still grey and it was definitely still drizzling out. And the creek, the creek was massive. It was overflowing its banks, rushing and running so fast. Rocks that were normally visible were hidden under the rush of waters. It was large, and quick and a little dangerous.
The creek had so much more power and strength then it normally does. It could do things faster and with so much more force. It took up more space and affected the banks around it with its extra water.
All because the creek allowed a source outside itself to fill it.
Ok, ok, I know....the creek did not make a choice to allow the rain to fill it, that was a bit of a stretch there. But go with me.
We are stronger, we are more powerful, we can get life done better when we allow ourselves to be filled, when we allow ourselves to find ways of self-care, when we show up for ourselves and give ourselves permission to be fed.
What does allowing yourself to be filled look like to you? How do you take care of yourself best?
May we, this week, allow ourselves to be filled, give ourselves permission to take a little self-care time in whatever way that looks like to you.
Have a wonderful weekend dear friends, I am so very grateful for you.
There’s this tree I pass in Rock Creek on the regular. The tree is living, leaves will grow on it come spring, but it has a deep, deep bend in it. It looks like a rainbow, arching its way toward the water. It’s a beautiful and really fascinating tree to look at.
It’s alive, it has its roots in the soil, and it’s hanging on…...but the trees way of living isn’t sustainable. Maybe not today, maybe not this year, but someday the weight of its own unsustainable curve will bring it down. It can’t live bearing that much weight forever.
There’s a part of me that just wants to prop it up, to find a large branch and wedge it under so the tree doesn’t have to bear so much weight. Turns out, I don’t have access to the proper equipment to prop large trees, so I don’t know how I would do that.
I was thinking about that tree and its parallels to our lives on the regular, but especially in these interesting times we’re living in. People are resilient, people are strong, but there’s only so much pressure people can sustain before breaking.
So, even though I can’t prop that tree up, what can we do to “prop” ourselves up, to take care of ourselves a little more, to perhaps take a little bit of the pressure off and make our curve a little more sustainable. We might not be able to fix that curve, we might not be able to take the pressure away, but I think we can find ways to give ourselves some care, some support even when the pressure is still on.
This week, dear friends, can we care for ourselves a little more? Are there ways we can prop ourselves up, we can give ourselves a little support?
Have a wonderful weekend dear friends. I am so deeply grateful for you.
I came across a spot in the trail that was a muddy mess.
At the same time I got there, there was a guy coming the other direction. He decided to go around the mud. I decided to go right through. I made the better decision that afternoon.
As I was going through all the mud, there were some well-hidden, but well-placed rocks that helped me through. There was some overstretching and some balancing to be done, it wasn’t always a sure, clean bet, but I got through it, I came out the other side.
But poor dude. The spots that looked dry…….well, they weren’t. Dude ended up calf-high in the mud.
I might have made the better decision that afternoon, but I’ve been in that muddy mess, more than a few times. Calf-high in the mud, irritated, frustrated and stuck….at times a foot pulled out of a boot. Regretting my decisions.
As I saluted dude and walked on, I was thinking about how sometimes the best way through situations is straight on…...even when they look muddy, messy, and maybe a little scary. Sometimes straight on through is the right call.
Perhaps there’s something in your life that you need to walk straight on through. I deeply hope as you walk through, that there will be some well-placed rocks in your path.
I hope you have an amazing weekend dear friends. I am so deeply grateful for you.
I took a little detour to see this waterfall. Totally worth it, amazing, beautiful, majestic.
Now, if I had been really smart, I would have taken my pack off prior to my little detour, as I was going to have to get back on the trail anyway. But I wasn’t really smart, I was really distracted by the sound of the waterfall and my deep desire to see the waterfall.
After the waterfall detour, I was thinking about my needs. I was thinking how, if others had been there instead of me being on my own, I might have passed that spot without stopping so I could stay with the those with me. I might have swept my own needs aside to fulfil the needs of others.
But, you know what, I don’t automatically need to do that. No one would have held me back, no one would have told me I should stay with everyone. I could stop, see what I wanted to see, and catch up down the trail.....or, you know, ask my people if they wanted to stop and enjoy the majesty of that waterfall.
I was thinking as I was walking, life doesn’t always have to be an either/or. I don’t think we always need to choose. There’s a way we can have a both/and situation in our lives. We can acknowledge our needs, acknowledge the needs of those around us, and fulfill both. Perhaps not all the time, but maybe more often than we think.
We can stop and see that waterfall.
May we, this week, see both the needs of ourselves and the needs of those around us as valid and worthy, and recognize we don’t always have to choose between them.
Have a wonderful weekend my dear friends, I am so very thankful for you!
As I write this, I am enjoying my coffee while sitting next to a beautiful stream. It’s morning and the sun is just starting to hit the tops of the trees. I took a picture for you, it’s my view right now. It’s magical. You’ll get this a couple of weeks late, unfortunately that’s not my view this particular Friday morning. As I sit here, steeling myself for the inevitable (really cold) barefoot stream crossing I must do when I get myself going for the day, I am aware of the fact that I am holding space for myself…...and it feels so deliciously good.
I was thinking a lot yesterday, as I walked my 11 miles. For part of my day I was contemplating my therapist. I have a therapist who I really love, and as I was walking yesterday I was trying to pinpoint exactly why.
She holds space so well. She shows up, she listens, but she doesn’t just listen, she really hears what you have to say. I feel safe and held and heard and seen and most importantly not judged in her presence…..and all through a computer screen. She is an amazing space holder. Now, don’t get me wrong, sessions are hard and I often leave feeling totally and completely emotionally exhausted…...and sometimes I just want to stick my head in the sand instead of being in session with her.
Back to my walk. I was thinking about how often we listen, but we’re not really listening…..we’re really thinking about the next thing we’re going to say. Now, granted, I am not under the impression that anyone is perfect in this area, and so I’m sure my therapist is also guilty of thinking over the speech of others in real life even though she excels at listening and hearing in the professional setting.
However, as I was walking, I couldn’t help but think how different life might look if we held space, if we showed up, if we really listened and heard and saw without judgement in our own every-day lives with the people in our homes, in our workplaces, who we pass on the street…..and with our own selves.
May we, this week, show up and listen a little more fully, with a little more intention and a little less judgement to both those around us and also with ourselves.
I hope you have an amazing weekend dear friends, I am so thankful for you.
I went backpacking by myself, completely alone.
I love backpacking. In the list of “Krista’s favorite activities”, it is up there in the top 5. I love putting my life on my back and walking in the woods all day long, and then setting that life up on the other side, and taking it down the next morning and starting all over again. There is literally no aspect of backpacking I don’t love, really, there isn’t (well, except really cold rain, I don’t love that). However, this is an activity I have always done with others, it has always been a family activity. We even have our backpacking routine going, I plan and get the food and divide it all up for everyone, my husband plans the route and gets the stuff out and all ready to go. We’re all in charge of our own clothes, so if you forget your jacket, buster, it’s on you. It is something I deeply enjoy doing with my family.
But this is an activity I love, beyond family time. And lately I’ve been realizing I want to take ownership of that activity. I want to know I can do this on my own. I want to be able to say that I backpack, not that I backpack…..so long as others are with me.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous, I was. In all honesty, I wasn’t scared of bears or snakes or getting lost…….but being a woman alone in the woods…...I was nervous about other humans. There is a deep vulnerability there.
But I stood in that vulnerability, I looked it in the face, I packed my big knife in a reachable spot, and off I went. And it was exactly what I wanted it to be. I walked my own walk, I saw my own sites, I thought and I thought and I thought. It was the most amazing of weekends.
Would it have been the right decision of me if I had been paralized by fear all weekend? I think probably not. But looking at my nervousness, and recognizing that while my nerves were real and valid, I wouldn’t be paralized by them, and allowing myself to do the thing I was nervous about was the exact right thing for me this past weekend.
And it was such a beautiful weekend my dear friends. It was everything I’d hoped it could be.
May we, this week, see our nervousness. May we perhaps do something that might add beauty to our lives, but might also be out of our comfort zone. May we find our vulnerability and stare it down.
I am so deeply grateful for you my dear friends.
(And sorry Mom for not telling you I was going!)
I walked up that hill.
I was tired. It was the right call to make.
Lest you think I’m really good at practicing the things I preach, I’m not. I can talk a big game, I can say y’all should listen to the wisdom of your body and rest when you need to and take the things you need. And in my head I know I ought to do the same. But I’m not always great at giving myself permission to take the things I need to take, to rest when I really ought to rest.
Several weeks ago one of my students told me about her weekend. She said she had a really busy and tiring weekend. She was all signed up to do Total Body Fitness on Monday, and then heard my voice in her head and decided it was the right call to do Yin instead of TBF. It brought me so much joy to hear that, so much joy…...it also stung a little bit, because I had been feeling really tired from the weekend also, and got myself up at 6am to run instead of listening to my own body and staying in bed for an extra 30 minutes of sleep.
But getting it wrong is part of the journey also. We’ll never get to the place where we do the right thing by ourselves or others all the time. I’m pretty convinced we’ll never be able to live in a constant state of “practicing what we preach”. We’re all just muddling through this thing, we get it right sometimes and we get it wrong other times and we live and learn….and hopefully we give ourselves grace.
So cheers to living and learning dear friends, getting it wrong along the way, and giving ourselves and those around us grace .
I hope you have an amazing weekend dear friends. I am so very thankful for you!
Last week I passed by a tree right as the wind picked up. 20 or 30 leaves suddenly began their journey to the ground. Some went stem-first and quickly fell, some caught a draft and slowly, slowly floated their way down, some went twirling and spinning through the air like a whirling dervish.
But they all got there. They all got to the ground. They just did so in their own very unique way.
One of the things I have deeply appreciated about teaching online for all these months is the opportunity my students have had to practice without comparisons, to practice their own practice and to give themselves what they need without feeling like someone else is watching them.
Yes, there are things I miss about being in-person, about being around other humans and feeling that deep human connection in a class.
But there is something deeply special about seeing my students in their own practice, with no one else around to compare themselves to, taking the needs of their own body into account.
Just like those beautiful leaves, taking their own unique journey to the ground, so to are we on our very own, unique journey. May we give ourselves permission to take our journey without comparison, without judgement of ourselves.
I am so deeply grateful for each of you, have a wonderful weekend dear friends.
Remember that hill from last week?
Yeah, I do too.
But, here’s the thing about that hill. As I said, I ran and/or walked up that hill two weeks in a row. No distractions. I don’t like listening to anything while I run and hike, so I was all alone in my thoughts.
And I had zero idea it was a hill I’d hiked countless times. I think I’ve hiked that particular hill probably in the neighborhood of 60 or 70 times. Not only have I hiked it, but I’ve stopped at the bottom and taken a picture of one particular log. I used to lead yoga hikes in Rock Creek, and that was the loop we would take. We would stop at the bottom of the hill, I would take a group picture of the folks who were with me, we would spend a little time looking at the river, and then we would hoof it up that awful hill. So many times, so very many times.
Furthermore, I’ve done that loop by myself countless times also. Always stopping at the bottom. Always spending time looking at the river. Frequently sitting on that same log while listening to the water move.
But these last couple of weeks I came to that same hill from a different direction and a different starting point. I got to that spot from a different trail. And when I came to that exact spot I had been to countless times before, from a completely different starting point and direction, I had no idea where I was, it was completely new to me.
How often do we simply need to come to a situation from a different direction? How might our perspective change if we looked at a problem in a new light? Perhaps we just need to come at it with a new angle to see our situation in a whole new way.
So this week dear friends, I hope we can see something in our lives a little differently, I hope we can shift our perspective so we can see the same situation in a whole new way.
I hope you have a fabulous weekend dear friends. I am so deeply honored to have you in my life.
If you haven’t already, you’ll soon come to realize that I find much of my inspiration while surrounded by trees.
Last week I ran up a really big hill. It wasn’t fun, my lungs weren’t happy with me at the top, and I deeply wanted to stop and walk, but I didn’t. I kept running.
But the best part was, the previous week I had started walking halfway up that same hill…...because, well, it’s a really big hill.
We can do hard things dear friends. We can do hard things.
But we don’t always need to do hard things. And we aren’t built to stay in a constant state of discomfort.
Last week it was the correct decision to run, but that previous week it was the correct decision to walk…….and who knows what decision will be correct next week.
We can do hard things. But we can’t constantly sustain a state of hardship. So in those days of determination and grit, how can we soften, how can we find ease, how can we give ourselves permission to walk when needed? Can we find that balance between hard and soft, between effort and ease?
Let’s strive to find a balance, to listen to our needs in the moment, and to give ourselves permission to take what we need.
Have a fabulous weekend dear friends. I am so deeply grateful for each of you!
Fall. What a lovely season, what a lovely reminder of the cycle of nature and of life.
I've been doing a lot of inner-work lately. Looking at patterns and behaviors, sitting in aspects of life I want to change and improve, thinking about new skills I want to build in myself. It's been interesting, and hard, and a little scary, and really rewarding.
And it's been reminding me of the cycle of nature. How this brilliance of color is part of the cycle for new life to begin again, how change is required.
I don't think I have anything profound to say about this.......but I hope you, like me, are enjoying the beginnings of change both in the world around you and perhaps in your inner world as well.
Have such a happy day dear friends. I am so deeply grateful for you!
(Rock Creek last Friday.......I'm excited to see what it looks like this week!)
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
I love the snow. I love everything about it. I love the cold, bundling up, I love sledding with my kids and the crunch you hear underfoot when stepping in the snow. It covers the world in a blanket of beauty and even makes ugly things seem beautiful even just for a time.
I especially love cross-country skiing. I grew up skiing and it holds a very special place in my heart and in my childhood memories. My husband, our kids, our dog and I go every chance we can get in the winter, and have been taking those opportunities since both the boys were just babies. Now, I love going with my family, we have so much fun together and it is such a beautiful family adventure every time.
Despite loving family ski time, for the past two days, after finishing up my classes, I have had the deep privilege of going skiing by myself. Just me, my skis, and quiet. There is something so beautifully quiet and peaceful about the snow and being by myself in the snow. Couple that with the fact that I saw next to no one on the trail, had no watch, no cell phone, and nowhere to be....this is a recipe for such a sense of freedom, peace and calm.
Skiing is a bit hypnotic. I hear the swish of the skis, the poles hitting the ground, feet sliding along the surface of the ground, quiet but rhythmic, calming and repetitive. Cold and trees surround, making a canopy above and around me. The sky was cloudy; thin, grey, enough to shade the sun but not to block it from view. It was as if the sun was peeking around a doorway, enough to know it's there, but not enough to see it. My nose and cheeks are cold, but beads of sweat start forming.
I followed the river a good way, stopping fairly frequently when the beauty would take my breath away and I would have to take a picture. I went up small hills, maneuvered around rocks and down those same small hills with grace on par with a newly-born giraffe, until I came to a spot that just felt like a turn around spot. I turned around and went home the same way I had just come.
I got back to my car, loaded my skis in, and drove home. It was beautiful, peaceful, quiet, and perfect.
We get pretty excited about snow around here, as it is a fairly infrequent treat. After breakfast the snow started falling gently to the ground, slowly building until you could see nothing but white. There is something so peaceful and quiet about the snow.
After my classes the boys and I took a walk to go to the lovely sledding hill at their school. There were kids all around. All were basking in the magic that is infrequent snow. Squeals of delight filled the air as little girls and boys slid down the hills in saucers, sleds. One even had the lid to a plastic bin.
Even with their joy-filled sounds surrounding me, there was still a quiet, a stillness, a beauty in the silence of the snow, even their squeals of elation, muffled with the white, fluffy surrounding snow. I couldn't help but think how yogic it was in that moment.....the fury of activity while at the core a stillness, a stability, quiet.
My name is Krista Mason. I am a mom of two very energetic boys, wife to my husband, former Kindergarten teacher, and yoga and fitness instructor in the Washington DC area.
I love to hike, bike, take my boys on adventures, teach and be taught yoga, teach fitness classes, cook yummy food, bake, volunteer in my kiddo's classrooms and hang out with my family.
I do not, however, have a natural tendency to write, but I am willing to try my hand at it.
Thanks for stopping by, I hope to see you again soon!