This morning I felt that I wasn’t going to be in the sun a lot today so I put on minimal sunscreen (SPF 4) as I headed out the door. Living in Southern California, I should know better. I ended up going for a last-minute walk around the block with my dog, then got stuck in traffic where the sun was shooting through the window, and then I was organizing things in my yard for longer than expected.
In the end, I realized that never should I leave the house without at least 15 SPF on my face. I came back into the house at 4pm and felt how tender my skin was immediately. I put on some coconut oil to relieve it, but it’s only a remedy. The damage was already done.
As I was opening up my packages from the mail, I was happy to find some all-natural sunscreen with SPF 35 that had been sent to me. I put it directly into my medicine cabinet where I can find it easily each morning. Today was the last day that I would be heading out without protection. The strength of the sun is so strong these days and I don’t want to have tender skin again.
At first, we were scrambling. Did we send out all the emails we needed to before we entered the site? What would we do if someone needed to get in touch with us during the time that we were there? Soon we entered into our camp routine, but honestly, I was often thinking about what messages I may be missing while we were away.
When we returned to civilizations on Sunday afternoon I had two realizations. First, there was nothing that I was missing while we were away. No important emails came in and the people who need me most on a daily basis were with me the whole time, my husband and my dog.
Second, the break from technology gave my husband and I a chance to speak about topics that probably would have never come up if we had had the distraction of everyday life. Not only were our minds relaxed and we could think more easily of creatives topics, but by needing to come up with more topics of conversation, we dug deeper into ones we had already had. We were also not distracted so a conversation had each of our full attentions.
I highly recommend getting out of town for two nights and letting the mind relax. It’s not easily to leave the world behind, but the world that you enter is well worth it.
When it comes to moisturizers, I am very skeptical. First, I feel that skin has the natural ability to moisturize itself and that within a few hours, we can typically create enough oil. At least my skin has been able to for the last 15 years.
Then again, I live in Los Angeles. The weather here is typically 70 degrees all year round. I don’t have to wrestle with the cold winters which of course will make skin dry on everyone.
This year, I felt my skin begin to feel dry after a shower and I attribute it to the fact that I now wear sunscreen 99% of the time. I have a dog and I am very often out with her around town so I’ll usually put on sunscreen in the morning and wear it all day. Now, my natural ecosystem is upset because the skin is not used to having to create oil because of the sunscreen.
When I think of wearing moisturizer, I cringe because so many of them have awful chemicals and/or feel heavy on my face.
This year, I was opened up to the idea of argan oil and I can’t believe how great it is. It’s light, natural, and feels good on my face. I don’t feel like I am playing with the ecosystem of my face while still making it feel better when it feels slightly dry.
It’s so awesome to get away. Last weekend, my husband and I took a weekend escape to Yosemite National Park. Not only was the park amazing, but I loved that our cell phones didn’t work and we had the perfect excuse to escape the world.
Most importantly, I also absolutely loved quality time with him, as well as our little dog. Despite having my dog for three years and knowing my husband for almost two, there is still so much to learn from him. On the trip up and back, I requested that we don’t listen to music or the radio, but that we just spend the five hours each way talking. I felt happy as a pig in mud.
Along the way, we were able to discuss what is happening in our lives today, what happened before we met, and also what we hope to accomplish now in our future together. When I dreamed of getting married for those 12+ years, I imagined someone with whom I could have fun just sitting on a bench or sitting in the car. I knew I didn’t want a relationship that relied on external activities or shared interests alone to support the union.
Thus, for this trip, when we left, I packed a lunch so we wouldn’t have to stop and I happily jumped into the car. When we pulled into the park five hours later, I was not only excited to see that we had an excuse to turn off our cell phones, but also excited to know that I had chosen my husband wisely.
For the past few months, I have been getting back into listening to audiobooks while I walk my dog. Sometimes, though, during the year, I feel that I could use the silence more than anything while I walk. There are times that I am continuously taking in information during the day so that the time spent walking is an opportunity to clear my head and have some peace.
Since the holidays, my consulting schedule has slowed down and I’ve felt fortunate to get into a few good books. Most recently, I finished Wild by Cheryl Strayed, which has been turned into a movie with Reese Witherspoon. It’s nominated for a few Oscars and I’m happy to say that I now know the plot. Cheryl is a talented writer and although it wasn’t what I thought it would be about, I still found it very insightful, entertaining, and very much worth the time.
I think that listening to books while I walk is greatly satisfying. Not only am I being opened up to new perspectives, but I’m able to move the body and still fully concentrate on the subject. Moving gives us a fresh outlook which I find is very powerful. Maggie and I walk on quiet trails by the beach or by the nearby marsh, trails which also allow for concentrated focus.
This being said, I’d like to share with you something that I’ve taken away from this book so far. It is a meditation technique that the main character uses in Wild when she is hiking the Pacific Coast Trail (PCT). She spends many days by herself and often on tough, rigorous hiking paths. To keep her mind focused, she starts counting her steps. When the trail is easy, she is able to count to 100. When it gets more difficult, she can only make it to 50. After some time, the uphill challenge only allows her mind to count to ten.
When we try and keep our mind still and count to ten, it’s almost impossible before the mind wanders. Although we are not being physically challenged, our busy minds are continuously on the go and/or something interrupts us. The character in Wild most often was uninterrupted when she was counting, but when the body was stressed, she could not count very far.
Our physical bodies are not often stressed, but our mental ones are. We often don’t realize how exhausting it is to have the mind jumping from topic to topic throughout the day. When we go on retreat or on vacation, it’s much easier to achieve these goals.
I liked this example because it shows us how the exhaustion stops us from moving forward. When you have some time, see if you can quiet the mind enough to get to a higher number.
Today I got a pair of SPF 50 sun-protection sleeves in the mail and I couldn’t be more excited. Despite my trying to avoid sun, wear sunscreen, and put on long-sleeved shirts, I still continue to get more color than I think is healthy. I know that Vitamin D is important, but here in California, the sun is so strong that even after fifteen minutes, I often get burnt.
Last week, I took Maggie for a walk and I discovered again how great it is to walk outdoors. She takes me on these adventures where we wander through our community, meet neighbors, and listen to books on tape (ok, just I listen while she walks).
When I return from our outings, I am always calmer, feeling physically better, and I always have a different perspective on things. When I sit at home, I circle around and around about decisions or projects that move through my brain, where often I end up at the same dead-end conclusions. When I move, however, new ideas consistently spring into my mind.
For example, today I had completely forgotten to email a friend with some information. Yesterday, I was so excited to connect with her and I told myself to write her as soon as I was back at my computer. With the Monday rush of things to do, it completely slipped my mind. Then, just as Maggie and I were walking back from our outing, I remembered. I quickly sat down and sent her the important note.
Contrarily, sometimes I feel reluctant to take her because it feels like so much effort, but it’s never as much as I think. As soon as we start walking, I quickly catch fresh energy and feel myself stepping with vigor more and more in each step. With my new sun-protection sleeves, I can’t wait to continue listening, to create clarity, and to live life to the fullest.