Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Solutions

I stopped making new year's resolutions a long time ago. For me it always ended up being discouraging when I missed, slipped, skipped or failed.  I do like the idea of looking at a brand new year ahead and the opportunity of making it a great one.  So I have made a list of my positive solutions:

New Year's Solutions

More music in my head
More loooooong walks
Laugh 'til I cry
Let it go
Get my "mojo"
WRITE, wRiTe, write from the heart as if no one will ever read it.
New Places, New Spaces, New Faces
Make smiles, Reach out, Give back, Share
hug where needed or just because
think and REthink
Know I am living a dream
be quiet
just be

Wishing you a Happy New Year 
filled with good health, happiness and great walks!
Come Walk With Me!

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Season to Let Go...with guest Tesha Buss

Being that our days in Arizona are still reaching well into the 90's, I am just starting to think of fall.  Some of you from other parts of the world probably have already moved on to thinking of brrrrrr...winter.  My friend Tesha Buss, owner of Good Commons, a boutique retreat and vacation home in Vermont, definitely put me in the mood for fall with her beautiful analogy of falling leaves and letting go.  I think you will enjoy her words:

"Fall is my favorite season in Vermont because of the colorful beauty of every gaze out the window, and every winding drive and refreshing hike to a stunning mountain vista. The leaves are dying which turns them into stunning color crisps that fall off the trees to become beds of reds, golds and burning oranges. Mother Nature is such an amazing lady. What a beautiful death she brings to us! And what a teacher!"

"In a society where we are consistently thinking about what we can obtain or maintain, Mama of the Earth gives us a gorgeous reminder to let go. Let the internal roadblocks you carry burn up and fall to the ground beneath your feet. Give the earth what you no longer need, for it is bigger than we are. It holds all of us tight to its spinning landscape and it can absorb our burdens too. Have a blessed season of color wherever you are. Of course, if you can share it from a vista with us here at Good Commons, we welcome you with a Tesha hug!"

Tesha Buss, owner of Good Commons
Hugs back Tesha, I hope to Come Walk With You in Vermont sometime soon!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Treasure Hunt

On all Walking Connection trips we try to balance the amount of shopping time included in an itinerary.  Some people like to shop...A LOT, and others not at all.  We usually have our guides give us a taste of what treasures a location holds and free time is when you have the option to hunt for that perfect souvenir.

Gene and I are not big shoppers when we travel. I really try to limit the amount of "stuff" I acquire, (even though I really love nice "stuff").  I might buy something small to help conjure up a memory of a place I have been. I rather accumulate travel experiences than things. Over the years friends and even strangers have admired my small "stuff," scarves, pottery, textiles, bracelets, belts, pillows and prints from far away places like India, China, Costa Rica, Africa, Peru... 

Bali is truly a shopper's paradise. Hundreds of boutiques and roadside stalls have been set up all over the island. Thousands of artisans, craftspeople, seamstresses, woodcarvers and painters create beautiful works of art in their village compounds. Bargaining in markets and art shops is a normal practice and getting a good price depends largely on one's bargaining prowess.  

We are going back to Bali next MarchDuring a small portion of the free time I am going on a treasure hunt.  Actually I won't have to go very far.  Just walking along the beach there is always something beautiful for sale to catch your eye.  I am going to be looking for a few things for a future Global Connection enterprise we are working on.  Anybody want to help me search?  It will be very laid back and casual, a pick and choose what you want to do, go at your own pace kind of trip. You are invited...

Friday, October 5, 2012

1095 Days = Three Years of Walking

On November 1st, 2012 I will celebrate having walked
every day in a row for 3 years!
Whoo Hoo!

It started out as a 30-day goal just to get myself back on track! Well it turns out that one day leads to another and another....A few times along the way I told Gene (my husband and co-founder of the Walking Connection) that I didn't feel like walking anymore. He would just respond by saying, "So tomorrow morning you are going to say Day 1, Whoo Hoo!?" Yep he always knows how to get me going, in a good way of course :)
So here I am with almost three full years of days - of walks - of hikes - of miles, sometimes only ten minutes, but an accomplishment none-the-less. WOW! I really did this and now I want to share this milestone with everyone! To celebrate I am inviting all of my friends from around the world to go for at least a 10-minute walk (run, bike, swim - just be active) on November 1. It can be anywhere, any place YOU are. It doesn't have to be far or fast, just walk with a purpose. Just Walk for YOU 
So far, friends that are joining this 10 minute walk are located in 47 states: AR, AL, AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NM, NV, NH, NJ, NY, NC, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WI and VT  They'll be joined by my international friends in the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. As well as the far off lands of Korea, Belgium, Mexico, China, Honduras, New Zealand, India, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Argentina, Italy, Australia, Peru, South Africa, Egypt, England, Botswana, Israel, Singapore, Ireland, Nepal, Wales and Iceland. Our four legged friends count too: Piper, Stella, Bentley, Dexter, Sadie, Griffon, Mei-Mei, Mr. Boudreaux, Alex, Rex, Roxie, Romeo, Hobbs, Sam, Kaya, Lakota and Chloe will be walking!
If you are "IN" send me an e-mail and let me know where you are walking. For those of you on Facebook, I ask for you to go to the event page and join in or even better post a picture or video of your walk.
Invite your friends to come walk with YOU. We are going to make this a real walking connection and who knows, maybe it will be your "Day 1 - Whoo Hoo!"

Come Walk With Me!

Monday, September 24, 2012

The "Too Short List"

That is "the things that life it too short to do list." This was an article that I wrote in 1998 for our then paper newsletter.  Yes paper! Now seems pretty archaic not to mention environmentally unfriendly.  This month marks 23 years since the Walking Connection was founded by my husband Gene and I.  But as much as things seem to change the words written still ring true...

"It has been about ten years (now 25 years!)
since walking has become such an important part of my life.  Since the beginning, I have been walking and talking, listening and learning.  Over the many miles I've tread, I have had the opportunity to get to meet and know many wonderful people from "all walks of life."  I feel fortunate that many have told me that something I have said or that the Walking Connection has inspired them.  Motivation and inspiration were both words we used when we set out on this journey. I am proud and it makes me feel good to know that in many cases we have been successful in accomplishing that.  For me personally, it has also been a two-way street. The many special people I have walked with have inspired me. Through their endeavors, courage and successes, they have left an indelible mark on my spirit which is truly a deep source of motivation to me."
"One of the most important lessons I have learned is that no matter how well you think you have things planned, you can never really know what tomorrow will bring. Sometimes, in just a matter of seconds, something happens and our lives can be completely changed forever. My personal goal is to live each day to the fullest. Often, in our hurried lifestyles, we take the gift of life, our health and the people around us for granted. We neglect our real priorities such as the things that give us personal meaning and fulfillment."
"Actress Linda Carter, (aka Wonder Woman) spoke at the recent Arizona’s Family Women’s Expo.  She talked about her “list”.  This list is her ”the things that life is too short to do list," and it is comprised of all the meaningless things that drain energy away from our spirit rather than nurturing it. Many of these things seem very important at the time, but if you take a few moments and let some time pass, you get a better perspective of their relative importance in your life. I know that since hearing her speak, my "life is to too short" list has grown considerably."
"As the pace of living continues to ever quicken, I hope you will take some time and make your own "too short" list.  Take care of yourself by putting things on that list that negatively effect your mind, body and spirit.  Take time to laugh out loud.  Connect with the beauty of nature.  Share a smile.   Be curious. Learn something new. Take deep breaths -- often.  Meet someone new. Listen to a different perspective. Be a kid. Hop, skip and jump. Take time for quiet moments. Make time for great walks and hopefully, find time to
"Come Walk With Me"


Thursday, September 13, 2012

There's An Elephant In The Room

I went for a walk one day and there it was.  Standing in a neighbor's driveway. FOR SALE.  I never really wanted one, but Gene has been talking about having one for years.  My question was always, "Where would we put it?  It's too big, it would mess up my house and besides, I don't need one."  He would try to convince me that he would take good care of it and that it would fit nicely in the garage....

The next thing I know he is walking it down the middle of our street.  "I got a really good deal," he says with a big smile on his face. He carefully moves it into the garage and before you know it even gets on it.. "Whatever," I shrug and go back inside.

As the mild spring days warm up into summer heat, he decides a better place to keep it is on the back covered patio.  Fresh air and great views, but still protected from the burning rays of our Arizona sun.  I try not to notice all of the space it takes up as he daily sets it in motion.

We are getting ready to leave for almost 3 months of travel. It's not a good idea to keep it on the patio while we're gone.  So I begrudgingly help to wedge it through the back door to bring it inside.  We return home for brief stints between trips.  I ignore it...

Our travels bring us to cool places even winter temps in some.  From Southern Africa, to Peru to Iceland we walked and hiked in amazing places.  A road trip takes us to higher elevations in New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and finally our summer favorite  - the cool pines of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Road weary and 22 different hotels and lodges later, it was good to finally be home.  Though the end of August was here, there is still another month and a half of heat to contend with.  But I have to walk...I am well over 1030 days.  I pass by my living room and there it is.  The "thing" that I ignored, didn't want or need.  "I'll walk with it just this once and only for 10 minutes," I decide.  I get up on it with a magazine to help me pass the time and before I know it 30 minutes have gone by. The next day I do the same.  A week goes by and I've read a book. As the heat lingers, another book is read. I'm addicted.  One day as I step down after finishing my walk, I fondly think it certainly is an elephant in the middle of my living room.

But I swear as soon as the heat is over it is going back in the garage next to Gene's newest yard sale purchase - a weight bench...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

1000 Days Of Walking

Most days I walk in the desert behind my house. And for most of those days, Gene goes with me, always encouraging me to keep on going. Many days I don't feel like it, especially in the summer heat of Arizona. He reminds me that I don't really want to start all over with DAY 1, especially after walking every day consecutively for almost 3 years!

To me my walks have become common place, I don't usually feel like I am doing anything special...until I get another e-mail saying something like, "Thank you, thank you for helping me to ‘keep on keeping on’." (from Bill Fleming)

"How far do you walk?" is a question I am most often asked. My reply is always 10 minutes to 10 miles. My walks aren't about how far I go, but about taking time for me each day, even if it is only for 10 minutes. I know 10 minutes doesn't seem like much, but I have covered a lot of ground...(take a look below)

In the past 1000 days I have walked in Australia, Galapagos Islands (twice), highlands of Ecuador, Machu Picchu (three times), Grand Canyon (4 times), Costa Rica, Mexico (3 times and safely I might add), South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Boston, New York, California, Colorado and many airports around the world.

Where shall I go in my next 1000 days? I don't know yet. Those paths have yet to be discovered. But I will always have a standing invitation to you...

Come Walk With Me!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Kaleidoscope of Color

The first time I went to Bali I was struck by the beauty of the green terraced rice paddies. I had the surreal sense that I was flowing through the slow turning pages of a National Geographic magazine...

The kaleidoscope of color, the crafts, the cultural connection ---- all inspired the title of my next book, "Life In A Sarong", stories and simple lessons from traveling the world.

In Bali everyone wears a sarong, both men and women, young and old. And everyone looks beautiful. For me it is a symbol of simplifying the chaos in our life. One piece of cloth, so many uses...and it always fits!

I am going back to Bali, this November and am looking for a few traveling friends to join me. It will be very laid back and casual, a pick and choose, go at your own pace kind of trip. And if you want to Come Walk With Me we will have opportunities to make the connection to Bali's nature, to the people and even to ourselves...Won't you join me? Click Here

A Walk To The Spa

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Poster Board Dreams

A memory...BRIGHT RED poster board with thoughtfully placed National Geographic images adhered by glue from a rubber tipped brown glass bottle. Dark eyes and faint smiles, figures wrapped in crayola color telling of life on the highest navigable lake in the world.  At 12 I tried to imagine how a man made balsa boat (actually it looked like women doing the making) just formed from reeds could hold a real person.  Certainly your feet would break through and you would be swallowed by the lake whose name made us giggle.

Fast forward...I am headed to Peru on a return trip, but this time I am going to satisfy a 30 plus, some odd year old curiosity.  The finale of my journey was going to take me to places I had to learn how to pronounce and where Irish pubs were strangely common place. We would travel through thin aired mountain passes at 16,000' where wishes were strewn symboled by carefully built stones.  Had they all come true? I made a wish...

Puno was our destination where Lake Titicaca spread out before us.  The local Uru people, still live on floating mats of dried totora, a reed like papyrus that grows in dense brakes in the marshy shallows. From these reeds, the lake dwellers also make their famed balsa boats fashioned of bundles lashed together. 

We were beckoned to an island by women skirted in pink and orange and turquoise blue. As I stepped down the reeds crunched. Would I sink? Surely my feet would get wet...A young woman takes my hand and leads me to her home. Needing to lower our heads we enter. One room, warm and cozy.  Smiles are exchanged...

A balsa boat floats by, the reeds golden in the evening light.  
A new memory in many dimensions, now my reality
...DREAM ON...

Come Walk With Me!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Special Place

On our first Walking Connection trip to Peru in 2000, our guide Fernando took us to a special place.  It was an artisans' pottery workshop in the peaceful countryside of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. When I stepped up through the massive doors into the courtyard  I had a sense that I had passed into another world.  There was a current of energy yet the warmth of being home.  It was a quick stop, time was getting late, but time enough to buy a few beautiful ceramics.

Ten years later we were planning a return trip to Peru.  We had lost touch with our guide Fernando....contacts can disappear over time. How was I going to find him?  I was searching, trying to figure it out when one day I walked into my kitchen and looked at one of the beautiful ceramics hanging on my wall. I picked it up, turned it over and and saw the word Seminario inscribed.  Googled it.  Found a web site.  Sent off an e-mail. "Does anyone know Fernando Baca?"  A Marilú responded immediately and said they would try to locate our friend. Within 3 days Fernando was e-mailing me back! 

When we returned in 2010 I wanted to make sure to stop again, partly to thank this Marilú in person and partly to share this special place.  I felt drawn to it.  Again it had been a long day, we were all getting road weary. I insisted we stop and assured everyone that it would be worth it.  I stepped up and walked through those doors again and was warmly greeted by Marilú as if we were old friends.

Our small group was guided through Ceramicas Seminario which come to find out is the house come workshop of Pablo Seminario and wife Marilú Behar. Their artistic passions intertwined into one renowned global vision and as they simply describe:
"Seminario's Art
A message from the Past
Two hearts, four hands and a single dream:
To rescue pre-Inca Art"

That day I was taken aside and asked if I would like to meet Pablo in his workshop.  Si! Of course!  I was honored.  I shook his hand and told him how I had visited 10 years before.  He asked me how my recent trip to New York was. Turns out he had been reading the Walking Connection e-mails!  Very cool.  Then he invited our group into his studio.  A definite highlight of our trip.

Gene, me and Pablo Seminario

The Seminarios have shared their intensely creative spirit by making this special place not only theirs but a dynamic center for learning that inspires the mostly local artisans. When you step up and into the courtyard you too become part of the artistic expression. I am going back this July and would like to share this special place with YOU!  Come Walk With Me!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

If You Only WALK Long Enough

One of my favorite passages:

"'Would you tell me, please, which way
I ought to go from here?'
'That depends a good deal on
where you want to go to,' said the Cat
'I don't much care where...' said Alice.
'Then it doesn't matter which way you go,'
said the Cat
' long as I get somewhere,' Alice added 
as an explanation.
'Oh, you're sure to do that,' said the Cat,
'if you only walk long enough.'"

~ Lewis Carroll
Alice in Wonderland

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Desert Ramblings: Am I An Antique?

Every time we go for a walk in the desert behind our house we always find something new.  Sometimes it is a gift from nature, the first spring wildflower, an intriguing rock formation or an animal print that causes us to wonder what animal made it and when it passed by.  Other times it is man made.  On one of our long hikes, we found an early 60's Corvair in a dry arroyo (a dry creek bed for non-desert dwellers) half buried in sand.  Gene thought it was way cool.  It was one of the rare moments that he did not have his camera.  We pondered how it had traveled there and imagined it floating during a desert flood...

Another day, another walk we found a really old automobile license plate.  (Perhaps this came from the Corvair?)  Rusty with the paint worn, I liked how it looked and wanted to keep it.  I thought of it as an antique with a colorful past and a hidden story of how it got right there right then.  Suddenly I realized that I was older than it!   We chuckled but it got me to thinking as we walked home...

Why do I think of my found treasure as old and I am not?  Am I an antique?  

According to Wikipedia: An antique  is an old collectible item. It is collected or desirable because of its age, beauty, rarity, condition, utility, personal emotional connection, and/or other unique features... Well I do have unique features and am in pretty good condition....

Further more... It is common practice to define "antique", as applying to objects at least 100 years old. Collectibles are the possible antiques of the future and generally less than 100 years old.

So that settles it.  CE-4358 and I are collectibles and have another 50 something (+/-) years to go before antiquity claims us.

What shall I find tomorrow? 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

When Walking Is A Way Of Life!

About this time of year, I often become curious about the people who set New Year's resolutions and how successful they were (so far) in keeping them. Many, I imagine, have been forgotten or tossed aside in frustration. We have such good intentions on starting anew, whether it is on the New Year, an upcoming birthday, or simply the start of a new week. "I'll start on Monday," is a quote I hear often.

So what happens? Success is usually only achieved if our original goal was realistic. If they are not, we have only set ourselves up for failure and failing adds unwanted pressure, stress and negative feelings about ourselves. When we think of setting and achieving goals, we usually judge ourselves exclusively on the end results, rather than understanding the positive steps we are taking along the way. Often, if we do not absolutely achieve everything we set out to do, the negative thoughts creep into our minds and our good intentions become intangible. Our conditioned response is to fall back and do what we have always done. That is a more comfortable place and it is always easier to settle for the same old thing than it is to charter new ground, especially if we have tried to accomplish the same goal more than once. 

Dr. Chopra signs my book!
To be successful in setting our goals and reaching our dreams, maybe we should reevaluate our personal definition of success and see if some of our set backs were in some way related to our definition. In Deepak Chopra's book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success he describes the many aspects of success. He discusses how we judge ourselves based on acquisition of exterior or material things and suggests that they are only one small part of true success. He explains that a large part of success is in fact the journey toward the destination rather than the destination itself. If you solely concentrate on the destination, you will never be satisfied and therefore never successful.

In this book he also relates how success in life includes good health, energy and enthusiasm for life, fulfilling relationships, creative freedom, emotional and psychological stability, a sense of well being and peace of mind. These are valid considerations when thinking about where you want your new goals to lead you.

Each new day we awake to the ability to make our own choices. We can do and be whatever we want. And, the best part about this is that it doesn't only happen on January 1st, or "Monday!" The choices we make today will determine our successes of tomorrow. In choosing to be a part of the Walking Connection whether by subscribing to our newsletter, reading my blog, liking us on Facebook or traveling the world with me, you have chosen to make walking a way of life

And when walking is a way of life 
you can enjoy your journey to success every day!

Whoo Hoo - Come Walk With Me!!!