Twenty-Two years ago today...
After leaving a pretty sweet job at a small, all female advertising, marketing and public relations agency in Madison, Wisconsin, I packed up my little Honda Civic hatchback and hit the road for big sky country (photos are of me saying good-bye to my wonderfully supportive family :) ). I knew no one where I was going, not a single person, but I had a job and a place to live - front desk at the Huntley Lodge in Big Sky with employee housing. I was set. I didn't care that it only paid $6/hour and didn't use my college degree. I was moving to the mountains! The career could wait. And wait it did. (I think it's still waiting...).
At the time I had no idea how significant that decision was. Like so many choices we make in life we don't realize the effects until we look back several years later. All these years later I don't regret it one bit. Somehow, amidst the pressure of the post-college should-gets (a career, husband, house...), I scrapped it all and moved to the mountains. My heart felt what John Muir is so often quoted saying, "The mountains are calling. I must go." And so I went. And I never looked back.
On a recent hike with some dear girlfriends we discussed how to apply the concept of culture and branding that is used in the world of sales and marketing to connecting people back to nature. I believe the greatest hope for a healthier world - people and planet with all its creatures - is to learn to be a part of it, to live in harmony with it and one another. We didn't come up with the answer on our hike, but it provided fodder for miles of conversation. I feel that the pressure to stay ahead and "do it all" in our modern society has us so disconnected from nature and ourselves that we are often pushed to the extremes - go, go, go or crash. This wreaks havoc on our bodies and sooner or later our body sends us a wakeup call by means of chronic disease. Our bodies want to take care of us, but if we are not connected to them and do not take care of them they cannot effectively take care of us.
I like to believe we can shift this paradigm. By pausing to breathe, recognizing what is present we can reconnect our body and mind together. Our breath can serve as the tether connecting them, helping us to feel whole. We've been whole all along, but when we're disconnected we search for other things outside of us to give us a sense of wholeness.
Back to the conversation I was having with my girlfriends on our hike; we agreed that creating this awareness must be experiential. One must step out of their current system/structure to see it with fresh eyes. This is what I strive to offer through MOLTE RETREATS. On the yoga mat or on the trail you have an opportunity to let go of everything and simply connect with yourself - your body, your mind, your soul. Can you do this at home too? Of course! However, a retreat offers you the opportunity to truly step out of your routine, to let go and to receive. And, in my book, being in and consuming nature is by far the best medicine.
I didn't know twenty-two years ago that I'd be marketing nature to people with busy, full lives, but here I am and I think it's a pretty damn cool product. Right now nature is free, but the supply is limited. By taking care of it, it will take care of us and our children and our children's children.
Wishing you peace and joy,