Conscious Content

Keeping Conscious Through the Holidays

By Conscious Adventurist Admin

Keeping Conscious Through the Holidays
The holidays have always been a fluid, dynamic force in my life. One year to the next was never consistent. When I could argue nothing in my life was changing, the holidays would always swing in to prove me wrong. This time of the year has a certain weight to it. Regardless of belief or religion, there is something about this last week of December that carries with it a sort of boiling down, a reduction of the self. It burns off the excess and gets to the core of who you really are.

There were the first years of newly divorced parents in my childhood as we split Christmas Eve and Christmas Day between my devout Catholic father's side of the family and my semi-devout atheist mother’s side of the family. At least one person would end those nights in tears. In the following years we lost a grandmother. I lost my religion. The other grandkids and I left for college. The holiday break became a time of frantic hoping that I would pass that chemistry class or find that summer job. Another grandparent left us. And then another grandfather battled chemo right through the gingerbread and Christmas lights only to pass away in the spring. I left Pennsylvania and moved across the country to Colorado. My mom moved to a new house. My aunt and uncle moved across the state. Last Christmas we celebrated and mourned the final year in my grandmother's house that had been a staple in my family for decades.

This year, we will celebrate the holidays split between my mother’s house and my grandmother's new house near Pittsburgh just before a handful of us fly off to Florida to enjoy some much-needed warmth. It will be the biggest change to our holiday routine yet.

As such a sentimental person, my mother is always surprised how little I cling to things like traditions or familiar places. When she moved out of our childhood home, I barely registered it while my brother lingered with conflicting emotions for almost a year. For me, when the routine changes, I look for the people who made those routines so endearing. Not the food or the places or the traditions that surrounded them. In moments of drastic change for the people around, I didn’t want to be resistive.

I recently heard a talk about finding the path of least resistance as you move through life. About how not to be reactive to stressful or uncomfortable situations––that you find the least resistance when choose to react with joy rather than other emotions.

When it comes to the holidays and especially when it comes to family, I think it is important to find the path of least resistance and spend some time there. Of course that means something different for everyone. For me it means being open to spending the holidays in a different way every year. It means setting down my activist tendencies for a week to just enjoy the people in my life that love me. It means forgiving any family members who have hurt me and spending time trying to learn from them rather than teach them. During the holidays, I try not to react to my anxious need for control.

For others, the path of least resistance might be not seeing family––it might be choosing not to visit in-laws, or old friends and old habits. There might be trauma or sadness or anger that simply should not be opened at this time.

As you wrap up the week and delve into the end of this heavy month, take time to find your own path of least resistance. While your holiday plans may already be final, the way you react to them is not.

"...if the doors of my heart ever close, I am as good as dead." - Mary Oliver, Landscape

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Flipping the Coin: Why Nature Doesn't Heal

By Conscious Adventurist Admin

Flipping the Coin: Why Nature Doesn't Heal

By: Alice Bellini

Take a fish and keep him in a tiny splash of water ever since he’s born. He will be on the verge of choking his whole life. He won’t even know swimming exists. A sense of frustration and anxiety will accompany him everyday. In a word, he won’t be a fish.

And even if he is “lucky enough” to live in a fish tank, he won’t be able to experience streams, corals and sands, nor all the other species of fishes and living beings that are meant to surround him. Storms and sunlight. Freedom of choice. He will never develop resilience, nor the capacity to believe in himself against fear and adversities. He won’t be able to eat properly. He will struggle against a complete disconnection. Almost certainly, he will never be able to be at peace with himself, because he’ll spend his life figuring out why he’s not happy in that splash of water, or in that fish tank. Why he’s not good enough and strong enough to feel and be calm and happy.

Then take that fish and put him into the ocean. All of a sudden, he feels, and he feels good. Connected, at peace, fulfilled. So he’ll believe the sea has a healing power, when it actually was all the rest of his life that was sickening.

Likewise, we believe nature has a healing power, when it actually is society as we know it––made of consumerism, judgments and corporate ladders––that have the power to take our humanity away, disconnect, drain and anesthetize us. Eventually, make us sick.

Distraction is one of the greatest tools of control, after all. Calling things the wrong way. Distorting our reality.

So when we experience nature, it’s not healing we feel, but rather what life is really meant to be. We go back to our roots, we discover the chance of being grateful and focused on the present moment; we become human again and we just feel plain good. In a word: authentic.

Conscious Content: Mountain Trail

We start to make more conscious choices, we embrace our vulnerability, our limits and our mortality, because we suddenly realize they allow us to feel love, express kindness, be curious and explore the world. They allow us to live in a dimension that is way more appropriate for us. Actually, they allow us to live.

We all equally experience that, because nature is in our guts.

So if we start calling things with their proper name and if we really find a power to nature, then that’s just the capacity of being unmistakably ourselves. Not trying to be something different just to be liked, approved or shared. We don’t demand invincibility, immortality or perfection. Everything is just as it is. Here and now. Breathing and being. No distractions, no instruments of control, hence freedom.

If we don’t know where to start, we can start from ourselves: aren’t we nature too, after all? We are not superior, nor owners. We are not something apart. We are fully and gratefully part of this planet. If you observe the outside, you will find many great correspondences and teachings about the inside, and the other way around: that’s what they mean when they say we are one with the universe, like everything else.

We too have a role, we too serve a purpose. The less human we are, running after unnatural and unrealistic fabrications, the more we’ll experience and breed shame. The reason why we constantly feel we are not something enough is that we are not in the right environment. You don’t expect a fish to feel adequate, happy and healthy outside of water, do you?

Conscious content - water breaking over rocks

The reason why we feel so disconnected and always craving something we’ll never obtain is because we are not tuning into the right frequencies. A lion will never be at peace if he tries to live the life of a computer, or that of a superhero. If he’s after immortality, if he poisons himself a bit everyday. Perfection is not the purpose.

Diversity teaches us that there are many different ways and points of view, we just have to find the one we resonate with the most. Embrace our nature and become humans.

Does this mean we all have to go back to living in caves and giving up on our creativeness, never invent anything and stop being animals with critical minds? Of course, not at all. It means to choose to use our tools properly. We, differently from all other animals, can be aware of ourselves and develop thoughts and actions consciously. We can name what we feel. We can choose, but most importantly we know that we can. So the way we use our brain, and our products and our means, that’s what makes the difference, that’s what allows us to be one change or the other. That’s what makes us men-men instead of machine-men, as Charlie Chaplin would call them.

Conscious Content - Mountain Top

To cultivate our awareness is vital. Of course there are many ways to do it. Mindfulness is one. But if none of them convinces you and if you don’t know where to start, then start from being aware that you breathe and that that’s what makes you alive. That’s the first exchange you have with the rest of the world, that’s the first sign you are here and now. Inhale. Exhale. Feel the air. Acknowledge your presence and your present moment. You don’t need an hour, you don’t need any particular equipment, you don’t need anything else but yourself, like every other living being on this planet.

By breathing, you’ll just connect. And there the human journey begins, toward a more mindful and conscious way of exploring the world. It’s a first step, on probably what will be the greatest of expeditions.

Nature doesn’t have a healing power, she teaches and involves, that’s what she does. She demonstrates the obvious, if we are willing to see it.

Embrace and accept. Show up, collaborate, experience the present moment. Nature has the power of coherence, of being the change she wants to see, of recognizing the important things.

The moment we understand that, we’ll flip the coin. We’ll initiate a culture of gratitude and mindfulness, of sharing, belonging and living authentically. We’ll stop consuming and we’ll start using. We’ll cease fear and we’ll start coexistence. We’ll inspire instead of compete. We’ll stop perfecting and we’ll start embracing.

We’ll become humans.

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Thug Yoga - The Gateway Yoga

By Conscious Adventurist Admin

Thug Yoga - The Gateway Yoga

In the early days of my yoga practice, when I was bunched up in an awkward ball, my limbs bent at odd angles with ligaments unable to fully extend, I used to watch from an aching side stretch as the women and men around me smoothly walked their bodies over their mats, flowing with a grace it seemed my stiff, inflexible muscles would never achieve. I was fragile in those early days, my body and my ego. If someone had said to me, “maybe yoga just isn’t for you,” I would have packed up my $10 Target yoga mat and never returned to that practice.


Between the incense, the group oms, the crowded rooms hot with other people’s sweat, it’s a wonder that anyone new to the modern yoga class sticks with it at all. Couple that with an unfortunate elitist attitude and an inaccessible price point that accompanies many studios and it becomes easy to understand why yoga can feel downright impossible.

Courtney Smith, founder of Thug Yoga in Aspen, Colorado, is on a mission to challenge that elitist yoga mentality and create a space where anyone can practice.

“Thug Yoga is an alternative way to get into yoga,” she said. “It’s designed for the person who thought they would never do yoga or never wanted to do yoga.” She laughed as she excitedly explained the fundamentals of the practice.

“We call it the gateway yoga.”

Courtney Smith in reverse chug pose
Courtney Smith in "Reverse Chug" pose
Photo credit: Jesse Hoffman


After traveling the world for various jobs and practicing yoga everywhere she went, Smith returned to the states landing eventually in Aspen, Colorado. She worked at a ski shop in town, practicing yoga in the early mornings in the back of the shop.

Smith worked with all men at the shop, and despite seeing her practice every morning, she said, “they had every excuse under the sun for why they wouldn’t do yoga.”

They’d tried other classes, Smith explained, but they felt uncomfortable. They didn’t like the music and the stifling heat of the more popular hot yoga practices.

But worst of all Smith said, “Some of the guys had been told that maybe yoga isn’t your thing.”

When Smith heard this, she said, it hit hard.

“Every single person on the planet can do yoga. It doesn’t have to be the fancy Instagram posts with hands stands.”

She started working with her ski shop friends by inviting them to the classes she taught at the Aspen Club and she said they quickly found enjoyment in her style of teaching.

“They said to me, ‘if we could have our own space and our own studio, we would do yoga.’”


Smith began teaching classes at the ski shop, moving the racks of clothes on wheels to the edges of the shop every morning so she and her small following would have a place to practice. Classes were capped at a maximum of $10 and focused on flows designed around the musculature involved in snowboarding.

During class, Smith played hip-hop music, let her students drink a beer and created new names for poses that were easier to remember––like Snoop Downward Dogg.

Courtney Smith in Thug Yoga's Snoop Downward Dogg, with the Dogg Father himself
Courtney Smith in Thug Yoga's "Snoop Downward Dogg" pose, with the Dogg Father himself

“One day,” said Smith, “This guy comes in and sees all of these snowboarders in their baggy clothes and goes, ‘what is this, thug yoga?’”

After that, she said the name stuck. Looking up the origins of the word, Smith found it was rooted in Sanskrit and Hindi, referring to a people cast out and given their own space by a merciful sultan.

“Thug means we’re not the traditional yoga people,” said Smith.

This is the way Smith and her following practiced for a few years––in a ski shop, gathering whoever they could to join. But when Jayne Gottlieb, a well-known yoga instructor, opened a studio in Aspen, she found Thug Yoga and invited Smith into her space.

When Smith explained to Gottlieb the less traditional style of Thug Yoga and the occasional spilled beer, Gottlieb said to her, “I don’t care. You can clean things up.”

“She actually gave us our first studio,” said Smith. “She’s been absolutely awesome.”


Students in Thug Yoga's Brazilian Landscape Inspection pose.
Students in Thug Yoga's "Brazilian Landscape Inspection" pose 
Photo credit: Seth Beckton


Thug Yoga classes are later now, typically running around 7:30 pm to accommodate those working retail jobs. Drop-ins for a single class are still never more than $10 and mats and beer are always included.

Despite a little more recognition and full classes even in the off season, Thug Yoga has managed to maintain the core of its foundational beliefs.

“Anyone, any level, any age has access to this amazing science, this amazing tool. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it,” said Smith. “Ultimately the right yoga will find you.”

Learn more about Thug Yoga and Smith's practice here.

 


Anja Semanco
Creative Writer & Journalist
@ansemanco
 
Anja Semanco
Anja is a professional freelance writer living in Boulder, Colorado. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and appears in such places as Terrain.org and Zoomorphic magazine. Keep up with her at anjasemanco.com.

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The EarthWalkers

By Conscious Adventurist Admin

The EarthWalkers

At the end of the Vietnam war, Lynn and Morris Walker––creators of The EarthWalkers family band––were in the Vietnam jungle performing for U.S. soldiers when it started to pour. The power went out, the soldiers pulled their ponchos over their heads and together used their flashlights to illuminate the  duo. Despite the soaking rain, Lynn and Morris continued to play their instruments and sing.

Years later in a state park near Knoxville, Tennessee, Lynn and Morris found themselves performing for a group of 500 Boy Scouts in an eerily similar scenario. As they sang about eagles, it began to rain, the power went out and the Boy Scouts pulled their parkas over their heads. The group of boys held up their flashlights to see the couple.

“Morris and I looked at each other with the chill of de'ja vous and smiled and kept going,” said Lynn. “We won't forget that night ever.”

Lynn and Morris Walker

The EarthWalkers––a family folk band with an environmental message––grew out of Lynn and Morris’ adventurous experiences. The two folk singers traveled the country performing for public schools, hospitals, prisoners, reform school students and more, delivering a message of environmental stewardship and appreciation for the natural world.

“Morris and I did a lot of traveling around the world and saw that things were not so good environmentally in many countries,” said Lynn. “This was disturbing to us and we felt that music could move mountains and so we wanted to do our little part.”

The Earthwalkers

When they were able, Lynn and Morris brought their two young children, Skye and Amoris, into the band as well, homeschooling them as they traveled around the country living in their Chevy Gladiator van and Silverstreak trailer.

“We were doing the van life way back before it was popular,” said Skye, who now works as a muralist, artist and designer.

The EarthWalkers were on a mission to bring environmental education to children and adults, regardless of class or background. Rather than performing at more traditional music venues, the family sought out places where their message could be understood and developed. Schools assemblies were often their platforms and young children regularly comprised their audience.  

“The kids we performed for really liked us,” said Amoris, a documentary filmmaker and owner of Hot Tea Media. “It was the strangest and most wonderful feeling to have people love you just because you’re on stage playing music.”

The Earthwalkers

While a more “normal” childhood occasionally crossed their minds, Amoris and Skye explained that they experienced so much more within the country and the natural world than many other children were able to.

“ We were able to travel the country and see the natural places most students only read about in books,” said Amoris. “Some of those places had long-term impacts on our lives.”

The Earthwalkers

When her children were very young, Lynn said she recalled reading a psychology study that kids between the ages of six and nine weren’t dreaming about what they wanted to be when they grew up because they didn’t believe there was a future.

“And I thought, we need to do something,” said Lynn. “Is that what we’re doing, taking away the dreams of children?”

By touring the country and teaching their children about art and music while educating others about the environment, Lynn and Morris hoped they could provide a space for dreaming. Both Amoris and Skye expressed that they couldn’t imagine their childhood any other way.

While the family still plays music when they all gather together, Lynn and Morris have moved into video production and writing, while Skye works as a professional artist and Amoris works as a documentary filmmaker and digital content producer.

One thing that hasn’t changed though is their passion for the environmental movement and social justice. Teaching children is still an especially important aspect of the family’s life.

“If you teach the children they will go home and teach their parents,” said Amoris. “They will become the stewards of the earth.”  

 

To learn more about the EarthWalkers, check out their documentary here.

 

 

Anja Semanco

Creative Writer & Journalist

@ansemanco

 

Anja Semanco

Anja is a professional freelance writer living in Boulder, Colorado. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and appears in such places as Terrain.org and Zoomorphic magazine. Keep up with her at anjasemanco.com.

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A Conscious Life with Slackliner Andy Lewis

By Conscious Adventurist Admin

A Conscious Life with Slackliner Andy Lewis

What got you into slacklining?

A love for adventure, travel, problem-solving and a need for an artistic outlet led me to slackline. It was such an easy idea, an easy concept; rig a line and walk across. What slacklining involved into was something I could have never imagined.


Do you recall a defining moment when you knew this is what you’d do for the rest of your life?

There were many moments I recalled that I would probably slackline for the rest of my life. From not being able to go anywhere without a slackline for years, to seeing people of 70 - 80 years of age with the ability to learn slackline, to teaching kids and receiving almost more joy from their joy than my own personal accomplishments. All these small moments led me many times to thinking I would slackline forever. However, there was one day on February 11th that I got a "SLACKLIFE," tattoo, and that moment definitely committed me to a life of balance, teaching, travels and adventure.


What do your parents think of your lifestyle?

My parents, like my friends, and sister, all were very uncertain of my lifestyle at first. I started up with sports fast and just kept going harder and harder and harder, and many many people were just "waiting for me to die."


For instance when I free solo a highline––walking a slackline high off the ground with no safety––the people around me will always go silent, not wanting to think or say anything at the risk of it breaking my focus and killing me. Their hearts pound, their hands sweat, and many will come up to me after and tell me personally they really didn't like how it made them feel. And it’s funny that all that happened while I was in my happy place.  


What did your childhood look like?

My childhood was amazing. It was very cozy with a mom, a dad and a sister. We all hung out all the time, went hiking, biking, to the beach and were taught to have open minds and follow our hearts from a young age. My parents were semi-religious but also very philosophical and even more into the arts. My childhood was immersed in literature, music, art, adventure and exploration. I definitely have to thank my dad and mom for raising me in a way I hope to one day raise my own children.


What goes through your head when you’re highlining?

When I am doing it right it is a meditation that wipes clean all thought except the beauty of the moment being embraced as a whole for then and there. The complete now. Sometimes though I have to give interviews, do tricks, try lines I can't walk, and during those times thoughts are so fast and spontaneous it’s hard to list them all. Tons and tons of things machine gun through your head, and the beauty of conquering that stream of thought into full relaxation and acceptance is part of the beauty of the sport.


How do you practice mindfulness?

I do a lot to practice mindfulness. I have become interested in the idea that the first step to changing the world is to change your world first. When you want to start seeing better food, recycling, protection of the environment, the first step is to manipulate your life around you to see how to do it in a microscale. Once you see the complications that come in your day to day life it is easier to help other people transition to being more mindful too.


What’s coming up next for you?

Next is the month of November which brings on the most beautiful time to have a huge team of people come to Moab, Utah to do the biggest and coolest projects ever seen by man! So needless to say I am super excited. We are hosting some trash bag challenges for Conscious Adventurist, we are hosting a fundraiser for the local police, Bureau of Land Management and state and we are having the largest extreme sports festival meeting in the U.S. and rigging a bunch of highlines. Hopefully I will break my current personal record of 230 meters.

 

 

 

Anja Semanco

Creative Writer & Journalist

@ansemanco

 

Anja Semanco

Anja is a professional freelance writer living in Boulder, Colorado. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and appears in such places as Terrain.org and Zoomorphic magazine. Keep up with her at anjasemanco.com.

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5 Ways to Reduce Plastic Waste

By Conscious Adventurist Admin

5 Ways to Reduce Plastic Waste

Photo by Kevin Krejci

Plastics are a problem. Due to their design, plastics cannot truly ever biodegrade. In fact, about 97 percent of all plastics ever made are still in existence today (the other three percent were incinerated). Although plastics make up some of the hardiest products, roughly 33 percent of plastic products are used only once, then thrown away. Of the 30 million tons of plastic thrown away every year by Americans, only eight percent get recycled. Plastic waste also makes up 90 percent of all ocean pollution and more than one million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed each year because of plastic ingestion.

These are just a few of the facts about plastics. More than 90 percent of Americans were found to have plastic toxins in their urine, with kids and women having some of the highest concentrations of BPA in their bodies.

If plastics are bad for our bodies and for our environment, it seems obvious that we should begin removing them from our lives.

Here are a few tips to reduce plastic waste that can be accomplished on the busiest days:

1. Rethink plastic wrap - The problem with plastics is simply how convenient they are. What’s easier than making a sandwich, quickly sealing it in plastic wrap, then heading off to work? Bee's wrap sustainable food storage has created a reusable alternative to plastic wrap made from beeswax, organic cotton, organic jojoba oil and tree resin.

Their sandwich wrap, in particular, is perfect for replacing that daily disposable piece of plastic saran wrap. It’s reusable and easy to wash. Their company places a heavy focus on sustainability initiatives meaning you’re doing more than keeping plastic from the landfill when you use their products.

2. Reusable produce bags - We all know by now that bringing your reusable grocery bags to the store is a must. But chances are, if you’re buying a lot of loose produce, you still need those thin plastic bags to hold your peppers or bunches of beets. Instead of reaching for the roll of plastic bags, try carrying a few muslin cloth produce bags.

ECOBAGS makes some fantastic, affordable cloth bags that are perfect for bulk food, produce or just carrying your lunch. These bags are easy to wash and easily pack into reusable shopping bags, so you’ll never need plastic at the grocery store again.

3. Carry a reusable bottle for cold and hot beverages - The average plastic water bottle takes 450 years to decompose, with some taking as long as 1,000 years. Buying disposable bottles doesn’t make any sense when we have so many reusable options. And although adoption of reusable bottles has grown in the last decade, when it comes to hot beverages like coffee and tea, disposable cups are still in high use.

To completely cut your disposable beverage holder habit, opt for a water bottle that can hold cold and hot beverages. The standard Hydro Flask hydration bottles are particularly well-suited for this purpose because their cap always seals and never leaks. They are perfectly designed to keep your drink super cold or super hot. If you’re already carrying one of these for water, it’s even easier to rinse it out and fill it up with coffee from your local coffee shop.

4. Use a wooden toothbrush - One billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away each year in the U.S., creating 50 million pounds of plastic waste. Instead of participating in this mass plastic disposal, try switching to a wooden or bamboo toothbrush.

Bamboo toothbrushes from Living Zero are a great alternative to the plastic already lurking in your bathroom.

5. Use non-plastic shower curtains and liners - Many people think that plastic shower curtains and liners are the only products that can keep water from spilling out of the shower. However, many companies have found that sturdy cloth curtains made from materials like hemp do just as good a job. Hemp is naturally mold resistant and these curtains can be easily washed.




Anja Semanco

Writer & Explorer

@ansemanco

 

Anja is a professional freelance writer living in Boulder, Colorado. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and appears in such places as Terrain.org and Zoomorphic magazine. She is passionate about the environment and getting women outdoors. 

Anja Semanco

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Staying Mindful in the City

By Conscious Adventurist Admin

Staying Mindful in the City

It is early morning. It is a perfect, silent morning which holds the cool air like two cupped hands. The street in front of the porch is perfectly still. The robins sweep the morning beneath their wings as they huddle on the dewy grass, plucking worms from the dirt. The finches gather in quiet bunches in the bushes, engrossed in a soft chatter.

In just three hours, Pittsburgh will come to life. In just three hours the students will emerge from their crummy apartments and trudge to class along the hectic streets of the urban university campus. The commuters will begin their drone along Fifth Avenue and Forbes Avenue. The air will fill with the whirs of sirens and the heavy hum of medivac helicopters landing on the local hospital rooftops.  

But for these three hours, from 6 am to 9 am, I am at perfect peace. I am alone on the front porch with a ceramic mug filled with hot tea and a heavy black Moleskine notebook. These are my hours. This is my time.

When I lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania the early hours were my meditations. I spent as much time as I could every morning hauling up the words from the depths and tossing them on the page in any way possible. At the time I didn't know it was a mindfulness practice, but what else would you call the careful and studied observance of your world every single morning?

I am a writer and so I watched and listened and smelled and tasted what every day was like. I wrote it all down. If I could see my breath one morning in September, I wrote that down. If the geese were headed south, honking along in their steady chains, I wrote that down too. If I was stressed or anxious or uncertain about my life, I wrote that down as well. It was a daily mindfulness practice I barely realized I was participating in.

Observe the world, release tension, begin the day.

At the time, I lived with six other people. As soon as the sun broke open over the hills, the commotion began. The day would begin and music was already blasting, friends were laughing, someone was yelling up to the third floor, and this is the way it went each day like so many long and rattled sighs.

The city itself was loud in the way white noise is loud –– always there, humming in the background, barely noticeable until someone turns it off. My mornings writing on the front porch or at my desk by the window were the moments where I could turn the city off. If I listened closely I could hear the blood rushing behind my ears. If I sat long enough, I would notice the sound of the pen scratching over the paper. If I could be disciplined enough to pull myself from my bed before the sun was up and watch the subdued mornings crawl along to hectic afternoons, then I had succeeded.

On days that felt particularly dense and muddled, I would wander off into a nearby park and walk the limestone paths and count my breaths. Five big, slow breaths to descend the stone steps into the park. Four big breaths to get to the little stone bridge. Another couple dozen breaths until the path turned and dropped down into the creek. Several more until the steep hill. A handful of quick breaths ascending and then a deep sigh out upon reaching the top of the trail.

I was breathing and writing and trying so hard to be present, and I barely knew what I was accomplishing. Like so many people, I often felt that I could not be mindful or conscious of my connection to the world if I did not get out of the city and move into the tall mountains and uninhabited forests. I didn't know yet how wrong I was.

Two years ago I moved to Boulder, Colorado and thought now I can begin my life. But two years in and I've learned that no matter how close you are to the mountains and glacial lakes and serene aspen groves, your life begins when you take daily control of it. It doesn't matter where you are. Those mornings with my cup of tea, in a bustling urban center, on the edge of a massive university, were some of the most present and fulfilling mornings of my life.


Anja Semanco

Writer & Explorer

@ansemanco

 

Anja is a professional freelance writer living in Boulder, Colorado. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and appears in such places as Terrain.org and Zoomorphic magazine. She is passionate about the environment and getting women outdoors. 

Anja Semanco

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The Xanadu Life

By Conscious Adventurist Admin

The Xanadu Life

The Xanadu Life is on a mission to make a happier, healthier world.

As a lifestyle brand inspiring “wellness, education and green living through unique and playful experiences,” Xanadu is demonstrating exactly what it takes to drive environmental responsibility, personal well-being and deeper human connectivity.

In just two weeks, Xanadu launches Camp Xanadu, a 200-person, all-inclusive summer retreat just 22 miles off the coast of Los Angeles on the west end of Catalina Island. From September 29 to October 1, camp-goers can expect nutritious meals, guided water excursions, team-building activities, yoga, campfire jams and more.

The camp draws people of all ages and all backgrounds. Whether you’re a banker or lifetime yogi, artist or engineer, Camp Xanadu is designed to take every person on their own personal journey. According to their site, “No matter where you live, how old you are, what shape you are, what ethnicity you are, or what your story is, we all breathe the same fresh ocean air, sleep under the same stars, and are united in our human experience.”

Registration is still available here.

When you get involved with Xanadu, you’re also getting involved with their incredible environmental work. They run the Xanadu Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to creating plastic free oceans through activation, education and art. You can find them year-round participating in coastal cleanups to address plastic waste, which makes up 90 percent of ocean pollution.

It’s never been easier to get closer to the outdoors and also be a responsible environmental steward.

Interested in getting involved with The Xanadu Life? Learn more about Camp Xanadu and the Xanadu Foundation here.

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