Archive for March, 2013

I'm fine. How are you?

I’m fine. How are you?

Stressed? That’s good. You’ll get something done. Just don’t forget to listen to your brain’s alarm system, or the amygdale, a tiny, almond shaped region in the emotional part of your brain. According to Dr. Julian Ford, the first secret of stress management is not to shut off your brain’s alarm. “The best thing you can do is actually the opposite,” he writes, “Notice it. Listen to it…if you hide under the covers and try not to hear it… it doesn’t go away.” Your best bet is to turn and face challenges.

I love this idea. But what if your challenges are all colliding?

Last week, I had a book launch party, a news article and a lengthy public meeting, all on the same day. (You’ll note there was no blog post last week.) My brain was firing its usual warnings: adrenaline, tension headache and waking up hours before my alarm. I did well with the book launch, which I had planned two months in advance. But I rushed the news article, and then I had to make a correction, which is still plaguing my conscience. Since then, I’ve been wondering what could I have done differently. And naturally, I researched. I found a few articles that pointedly stated the obvious; I should have slowed down, compartmentalized and prioritized. Or just relaxed. Noted.

This week, a similar set of challenges are colliding, so I’m breaking them into pieces and prioritizing. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Are you bored with life? Then throw yourself into some work you believe in with all your heart, live for it, die for it, and you will find happiness that you had thought could never be yours.—Dale Carnegie


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Cover No EdgeHumans have been around for 200,000 years, and we’ve been walking for most of it. We’re meant to do it. It’s only recently that we started sitting, and the results are predictably bad.

Time outside, particularly walking in a natural place,  improves the mind, body and spirit, which is basically the holy trinity of a healthy life and living. When we walk in the wilderness, we think more clearly, we develop stronger bodies, and we feel better about ourselves and all living things.

That’s the philosophy behind my hiking book, which I’ll officially launch on the first day of spring.  You’re invited to celebrate with me at Title Nine in Los Gatos at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 20.

In a nutshell, the 29 hikes described in the book cover select portions of the Southwest, largely California, but also southern Utah and northern Arizona. It’s taken me most of my life to find and appreciate these special places.

rock shadow embellishThus far, I’ve worked in Yosemite, Death Valley, the Grand Canyon and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks. For 15 years, I’ve wandered the West, from the dewy forests of Olympic National Park to the southern deserts of New Mexico, and many places in between. This book is about the best places I’ve come to know, and how they’ve changed me and help me grow.

Read the official introduction. Listen to the accompanying playlist.  And go outside and enjoy this beautiful day.

When you get back, you can buy a copy here for $25 and plan your next adventure. (Please note: There may be a momentary delay in delivery. It’s not automated yet, so you’ll receive it directly from me.)

I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.—e. e. cummings

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??????????????????????After being struck deaf and blind when 18 months-old, Helen Keller learned to speak, write and study. She graduated from college and became an active American citizen and an advocate. It’s a well-known story. But most people don’t know that at age 75, Keller embarked on a 40,000-mile, five-month trek across Asia to inspire and help the blind. That’s impressive.

We can’t all take years off to go exploring, but we can take treks in our backyards. I encourage you to do it.

In The Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost: Hard Hikes for Wild Women, I’ve united philosophy, history, hiking and even music. This book is about building bridges and blazing a new trail. It’s about getting to know the world and your place in it. In addition to challenge and beauty, you will find stories embedded in the landscape. Here’s a preview of what’s coming:

Corkscrew Peak in Death Valley, with music from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Mount Whitney in Sequoia National Park, with music from The Lone Ranger. (The shenanigans described here really should not be replicated.)

Read. Listen. Walk (or run like hell)!

I’ll officially introduce the book and playlist of music next week. Until then, Happy Trails!

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