Tag Archives: Running

Self-Compassion Saturday: Niight Wind

I’ve been practicing yoga for six years now. At first, yoga was all about my body (or rather my dissatisfaction with my body), and my intention for my practice was to stretch it, make it stronger and leaner, change it into something else. There was nothing spiritual or gentle about it. I was focused on resistance and control. Over time, and with the help of wise and kind teachers, I softened. I showed up, opened up, allowed and accepted, let go of my agenda and surrendered to the practice — and with that, everything changed.

Niight Rain Wind is one of my favorite yoga teachers, specifically because her “light hearted teaching style brings a focus on physical and energetic alignment, embodiment and creating a strong foundation.” For at least a year, she taught my Monday morning class, and I learned so much from her. There have been a handful of individual classes for me that were transformational, and one was a morning when I was the only person who showed up for Niight’s class, so I got a private session. It was during that class that I knew the full potential of yoga, felt the connection, the union, the presence, the breath, the heat, the power.

Niight has the best energy, and is a joy to be around. She’s consistently cheerful and encouraging. I’ve lost count of how many times her support, physical and emotional, enabled me to do poses I was certain I couldn’t, to engage with the practice from a fresh perspective. I know the power of a headstand because of her, the release available in reverse bow/wheel pose. She never pushes you beyond your edge, but rather inspires you to reconsider where that might be, gently guides you to a new possibility.

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Niight describes herself this way, “Niight Wind is a Yoga and Wellness Coach in Fort Collins, CO focusing on Digestive Health, Empowerment and Overcoming Trauma. She is a sought after speaker who has presented at Ignite as well as numerous Universities. Niight is a nature junkie and the creator of the Yoga Coaching for Runners Program.” Niight is also an amazing photographer.

To begin her answers to my questions, Niight shared this quote,

Self-Love is essential, for I cannot see the love in the hearts of others or in the world if I do not know it myself. The love I feel for the Divine echoes throughout my life and sets my course. Love is all around. ~Laura Alden Kamm

1. What does self-compassion mean, what is it? How would you describe or define it?

The first thing that comes to mind when I think about Self Compassion is being your own inner “perfect mother”.  She is the one that tells you everything is going to be o.k. and can always see your beauty, and knows when to listen. We all have this inside ourselves if we listen, even if your real mother is not anything like this.

After really thinking about this question, I came to the realization that self compassion is very connected to self esteem and self care. To see self compassion from a more tangible point of view, we can look at the pillars of life: food, sleep and creativity. Keeping these in proper balance is a huge part of having self compassion. When these are out of balance it is much harder for us to function and yet we often deprive ourselves of these very important simple needs. There is one thing beyond this that can help us have more compassion for ourselves and that is having a purpose that lights up your heart. This doesn’t have to be your job, but it could be.

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2. How did you learn self-compassion? Did you have a teacher, a guide, a path, a resource, a book, a moment of clarity or specific experience?

I learned self compassion from a lot of trial and error, and a lot of strong, but gentle people. The technique I use the most is self study. But, one of the biggest moments of finding self compassion, was a time that I was really upset. Riding my bike home from work, crying. I was sick of wasting my energy, just plain fed up. I realized that I had the power to flip that switch, to have compassion for myself and take back my power now, and at any time I wanted. It was a big realization that I was wasting my time and energy living in the past and beating myself up about it.

Reading and listening are completely different from doing the work, but a book that I love and always recommend around this topic is True Love: A Practice of Awakening the Heart by Thich Nhat Hanh.

niightpose3. How do you practice self-compassion, what does that experience look like for you?

I practice self compassion by being gentle on myself, and self inquiry and self study. If I look at a situation and see something did not turn out how I wanted, instead of beating myself up, I ask myself how would I change that next time? What was this really about? What can I do now to set myself up for “success” next time?

There is a reason that they call most things a practice, it is because you have to practice, it is not about getting to the perfect point, but getting better at dealing with situations, better with the inner struggles, creating a quicker reflex to turn to self compassion not doubt and blame. Self compassion comes in many forms for me: going to bed when I am tired, painting my nails, taking time for myself in nature, going for a trail run, saying no when necessary, the list goes on.

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4. What do you still need to learn, to know, to understand? What is missing from your practice of self-compassion, what do you still struggle with?

The biggest thing I am working with right now is realizing that anger is fear, and when I am angry at others, it is fear, and the person is mirroring that to me. I then try to catch myself and move into a place of self love. The reason I say love for myself, and not love for that person is that it is much easier to love myself first, and radiate that. Where as in a state of anger it can be much harder to feel love for the person you are angry at, and you do not have the capability to change someone else. You can only change yourself. Anger and fear just waste your energy.

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I am so grateful for Niight, for her wisdom, her teaching, her practice, her gentle presence, the joy she radiates. To find out more about Niight, to connect with her:

Next on Self-Compassion Saturday: Jennifer Louden.

P.S. If you didn’t see the first post in this series, you might want to read Self-Compassion Saturday: The Beginning.

Something Good

1. Fort Collins, Colo., might be the happiest place on Earth on LA Times. I love where I live.

2. How To Boost Creativity With A Morning Routine from Fran Sorin.

3. Everyone saw the biracial Cheerios commercial, but kids saw it differently. This is a great video. The little girl with freckles is my favorite.

4. Dave Matthews breaks down on bicycle, gets a ride to his concert from fan. Reading this made me cry, thinking about how magic happens, how this person was just being a decent human, offering to help someone who needed it, and got such a great surprise reward for it.

5. how trusting my body makes my dreams come true, a great reminder from Sas Petherick.

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6. How I decide what to charge for {everything} I create from Alexandra Franzen.

7. Elizabeth Gilbert’s posts on Facebook. It’s like she’s writing a mini blog there, and her posts are so good that I can’t stop sharing them. Here’s one on Bringing Up The Light, which sent me to the paint department to look for my color. Does Running Away Work? was another really good post.

8. Do Whatever Makes You Happy, from Christian Novelli.

9. Also from Christian Novelli, 46 Reasons To Exist. What 46 things are on your list?

10. The Space Between and Learning How To Stop The Glorification Of Busy on Scoutie Girl.

11. Chris Rock Gives The Best 60-Second Piece Of Advice To Liberals, Conservatives, And Human Beings on Upworthy.

12. Most Celebrities Promote Products They Like. Ellen DeGeneres Is Not Most Celebrities. and BOOM, ROASTED: Here’s Why You Don’t Ask A Feminist To Hawk Your Sexist Product on Upworthy.

13. Take The Human Test, a brilliant set of videos from ZeFrank, who has a habit of making brilliant videos.

14. Golden Retriever Champ: Probably the Happiest Dog In The World and Meet Norm, Pug With the Best Selfies on the Internet on Bored Panda.

15. Terms of Endearment from Rachel Cole.

16. Louis CK – Animated: If God Came Back

17. Rest in Peace, Tiger.

18. Preorder the Humans of New York book. One of my very favorite projects.

19. My son and dog’s 2 1/2 year friendship on Reddit. The last picture in the set is so sweet.

20. 21 Cozy Makeshift Reading Nooks on BuzzFeed DIY. We all need one of these, a good book and a dog or two.

21. How To Be Happy: Simple steps to lead a simple and content life. Yes, please.

parkinggaragevine22. Coolest Dad Ever on Elephant Journal, a Latino Depeche Mode cover band that consists of one dad and his two kids, one girl and one boy. Cool.

23. Dad Captures His Son’s First Year, One Second Per Day, and It’s Lovely, another cool dad.

24. My Girlfriend Weighs More Than Me. So What?

25. 21 Things to Stop Saying Unless You Hate Fat People on Live Love Grow.

26. Confessions of a life coach : slogging through the muck from Amy Kessel.

27. from running to runner from Jessica Swift.

parkinggarageface28. We Shake With Joy, a short poem by Mary Oliver.

We shake with joy, we shake with grief.
What a time they have, these two
housed as they are in the same body.

29. 14 Things You Didn’t Know About Neil Gaiman on BuzzFeed.

30. 5 Powerful Resources for Decluttering Your Home and Living More Simply and How to Release the Grip on Your Comfort Zone on Be More with Less.

31. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

The next time you lose heart and you can’t bear to experience what you’re feeling, you might recall this instruction: change the way you see it and lean in. Instead of blaming our discomfort on outer circumstances or on our own weakness, we can choose to stay present and awake to our experience, not rejecting it, not grasping it, not buying the stories that we relentlessly tell ourselves. This is priceless advice that addresses the true cause of suffering—yours, mine, and that of all living beings.

32. Home Bound Blues, Raf Horemans travel blog which includes the most beautiful photography.

parkinggaragehands33. Evidence for the suggestion that racism isn’t natural, it is taught: The 40-Year-Old Photo That Gives Us A Reason To Smile and this more modern picture that shows the same from Reddit.

34. Wisdom from Tama J. Kieves,

You may think that making the “right” decision guarantees you success. But, really, knowing that you can’t fail is what guarantees success. You can’t fail because the Love that guides you is infallible and can always course correct.

35. Latest Parenting Trend: The CTFD Method.

36. Allison Mae Photography does it again. Oh Allison. Oh Idgie.

Photo of Idgie, a.k.a. Honey Badger, by Allison Mae Photography

I couldn’t bear to have Allison take pictures of Dexter, could never bring myself to go through with it, make that call, just knew looking at images this beautiful when the boy was gone would have hurt too much, would have felt too bad to have two of my dogs captured this way when Obi was already gone and would never have the chance. But now that there’s just Sam, and there will be another boy one day soon-ish, I think a session is in order.

37. 10 Epic Treehouses Cooler Than Your Apartment on Mashable.

38. 40 Days of Dating.

39. Just One Paragraph, from Christina Rosalie. This is a great idea, but I can’t take one more thing on right now. Check her comments section for other bloggers taking part in posting just one paragraph each day for 30 days. I am loving reading Christina’s posts, like this first one for example, Making Saturday Slow on Purpose {Just one Paragraph: 1/30}.

40. Things I want to remember from Susannah Conway. Oh my, the poop moment — who knew such a thing could be so sweet.

parkinggaragemural41. How you can ask for — and receive — cosmic guidance from Danielle LaPorte.

42. Something else Elizabeth Gilbert posted on Facebook,

Several years ago, I went to see an ophthalmologist on account of some recurring trouble with eye strain and general blurriness. During the exam, the doctor asked me, “Do you spend much time reading or writing?” I replied, “Only when I’m awake…”

Me too. Me too.

43. Walking Across America: Advice for a Young Man.

44. From Rowdy Kittens’ Happy Links list, Life is Not Perfect. Fortunately.

45. If I lived alone, this might be what my place would look like: anahata katkin: papaya! on SF Girl by Bay.

parkinga46. your daily rock : no expectations

47. How To Draw Mandalas (And Why You Want To) from Andrea Schroeder.

48. Shared by Susannah on her Something for the Weekend List: So, How Was Your Day? and So We’ll Always Remember.

49. This story, of how good people can be, and how important it is for us to share the good stuff, because apparently this wasn’t reported on the news.

The ashes of Sean Misner, one of the 19 firefighters who died last week in Arizona, were being transported by his wife back to their hometown on Tuesday. She was in his truck and is pregnant with their unborn child. On every overpass for nearly 500 miles there was a tribute similar to this. Pretty damn remarkable and worthy of more media coverage than most of the other stuff that has been on tv lately. Wanted to share because our media has seemed to overlook it.

firetruck50. love this: ellie’s current favorites from Liz Lamoreux. I love the sweet way that Ellie sees the world.

51. Dog Finds A Tiny Kitten, Risks Everything To Save Her on BuzzFeed. Hopefully these two get adopted together.

52. Calvin and Hobbes Documentary Trailer Gives Us All Kinds of Feels on The Mary Sue.

53. If I were to take another online class right now, it would have to be Be Your Own Beloved, “a 28 day photo adventure designed to cultivate self-compassion through the practice of taking self-portraits” with Vivienne McMaster. The next session starts on August 1st.

54. This wisdom from Audre Lorde, “When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”

Something Good


1. From Justine Musk, The Question You Need to Ask Yourself.

2. This quote from Geneen Roth:

Sometimes we use food and our weight as a way to be left alone. Since many of us believe that, regardless of what we get paid to do, our real job is to on call for people who need us, we leave ourselves with a way to get what we need and want: food. But when you say yes when you mean no, you abandon yourself. And when you say no when you mean no, you signal to yourself that it is safe here, inside your body. Safe here, where you live and are and breathe. You don’t have to run away. You don’t have to lie.

Saying no is a way of being tender with yourself and honest with the people around you. And when you say no with your voice, you will no longer need to say it with your body weight. And when you say no to what you don’t want, you have space to say yes to what you do.

And this one:

Right now, in this very second, ask yourself if what you are doing, what you are thinking and how you are acting brings you closer to yourself or farther away. Does it open your heart or does it close your heart? You have a choice. Break the trance. Come back to kindness.

And this one too:

Sometimes happiness is as difficult to accept as sadness or loneliness. Sometimes, we eat because we don’t know what to do with happiness or joy. We think we’re not allowed. We think we will get “too big for our britches.” We become superstitious. If we talk about it, people won’t like it. If we tell someone, they might be threatened and go away. We hold onto our sadness because we think that that is what connects us with other people–that if we feel terrible about ourselves, we will get help, but if we feel as if we are occupying our own lives, if we feel powerful, we will lose. In this way, we keep ourselves psychologically small. We keep ourselves wounded and afraid of our own magnificence. But it’s when you are aware of, and own, the hugeness of your heart, your being, your love that you are most connected to other people–which then allows them to connect to their own power, their own love. It begins with you.

3. A tiny riverside house in JapanOn the inside, it looks so much bigger, more spacious than you’d expect.

4. Understanding How to Frame Your Creative ExpertiseAnd P.S. I’m a survivor.

5. How to Write Like a Mother#^@%*& by Elissa Bassist & Cheryl Strayed.

6. Not Today a beautiful poem by the beautiful poet Julia Fehrenbacher at Painted Path.

7. The Power of Showing Up from Clare Herbert.

8. “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.” ~Mary Oliver

9. 5 Lessons I Learned While Running from Marianne Elliott. The final line of this isn’t about running at all, but it’s my favorite. Marianne also has a really great Resources for Writers page on her site.

10. Ben’s Friday Dance Party. I love this guy. He makes me smile. But I also watch this video and wonder if you were around him all the time, would it get annoying? Or would your face and stomach hurt from smiling so much and laughing so hard?

11. 30 Best Jokes from 30 Rock. I watched the final episode this weekend, am so sad that it’s over.

12. I commit to 28 days of meditation practice. May my practice benefit all beings.

13. 14 Days of Self Love hosted by Vivienne McMaster.

14. My Creative Life: Rachel W Cole on Susannah Conway’s blog. Two of my favorite women together.

15. 8 Ways Happy People are Different from Everyone Else by Shelley Prevost.

16. Why We Write: Mary Karr on the Magnetism and Madness of the Written Word on Brain Pickings. Equally depressing, refreshingly honest, and oddly comforting is this, “I still don’t support myself as a writer. I support myself as a college professor. I couldn’t pay my mortgage on the revenue from my books. The myth is that you make a lot of money when you publish a book. Unless you write a blockbuster, that’s pretty much untrue. Starting when I was five, I always identified as a writer. It had nothing to do with income.” I wish it weren’t true, and yet if it is, wouldn’t it just be better to surrender?

17. Brene’ Brown: The Courage to Be Vulnerable, Sounds True Podcast. Listen or download for free.

18. 13 New Year’s Resolutions for Writers from Jeff Goins, shared by Susannah on her Something for the Weekend list.

19. Glazed Beet and Carrot SaladI want to eat this, (also from Susannah’s list).

20. My Gift to You from Erica Herbert, in which Erica reads the sweetest book, (also from Susannah’s list).

21. Seth Godin on The Art of Noticing, and Then Creating, an On Being podcast, (from Happy Links on Rowdy Kittens). Also about Seth Godin, Here’s How Seth Godin Writes on Copy Blogger. My favorite part is when he is asked: “Do you write every day?” and his answer is “Do you talk every day?”

22. Yo La Tengo – “I’ll Be Around” video, a simple but magically complex video.

23. Danny and Annie, a sweet, sad love story, with an ending like so many others.

24. 10 Things Parents Should Never, Ever Do on BlogHer. I’m never sure if these are funny to me because I don’t have kids, or if they’d be that much funnier if I did.

25. Get Out of Your Head and Into the Moment on Scoutie Girl.

26. How to Say No to Everything Ever by Alexandra Franzen.

27. Oh What To Do About Sugar? by Jennifer Louden. Oh what to do indeed.

Gratitude Friday

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This post started as a mashup of The Little Bliss List and Joy Jam, and as such is meant to celebrate: the little things that brought me hope and happiness this week, the sweet stuff of life, those small gifts that brought me joy this week. By sharing them, I not only make public my gratitude, but maybe also help you notice your own good stuff and send some positive energy out into the world.

1. Running. You heard that right, and no this isn’t a joke. I am grateful that I am alive, healthy, and my body is up for it.

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2. Clarity. About the help I need, about where to focus my energy, time, effort. I had an awesome coaching session with Andrea Scher this week, and her ability to see, her compassionate and clear vision, always surprises me, touches me, inspires me.

3. Good things happening to good people. People who have been working, trying so hard, suffering and struggling and loving as big as they can stretch, people who deserve it, people I love, people who inspire and support me.

4. Sleep. I’d like even more of it, but I’m grateful for the rest I do get, and that it’s usually easy for me, there’s no struggle involved, that I can surrender to it.

5. Laughing with Eric. Only he’ll understand this, but this one is for you, Mr. Salahub: “This is designed to hurt. This is designed to hurt.” I’m so lucky we find the same things funny, can so easily make each other laugh.

Bonus Joy: Another week with Dexter. This time has taught me so much about being present, about gentleness and play, about love.

bigdlittled

Gratitude Friday

This post is a mashup of The Little Bliss List and Joy Jam, and as such is meant to celebrate: the little things that brought me hope and happiness this week, the sweet stuff of life, those small gifts that brought me joy this week. By sharing them, I not only make public my gratitude, but maybe also help you notice your own good stuff and send some positive energy out into the world.

Running. I’ve been doing a bit more because Dexter has been having episodes of reverse sneezing (any one with experience with this, talk to me!) and when he runs, he’s less likely to, and I will do anything for my dogs, even running. I’m so grateful my body can do this, that it allows me to keep trying.

Blogging. I’m still so in love with the whole thing, the crafting and the creating, the writing and the visuals, and especially the connection with readers and other bloggers, (the only thing I don’t love is tagging and categorizing posts). This week especially, I was so grateful to my kind and gentle readers.

Meditating. For the past few years, I’ve struggled with where to put this in my schedule, have tried all kinds of variations to get it to fit, to stay, to stick, but I think I’ve finally got a system that works, a routine, and I’m so grateful.

Sandwiches. Yay Turkey from the Red Table (even better when eaten across the table from Chloe’) and my favorite made at home sammie: Garden Burger, hummus, spinach, and cucumbers (even better when they are from my own garden) on thin multigrain bread.

Farmer’s Market. Our first one back in Fort Collins, and we got all this, plus some amazing fresh tortillas.

Gratitude Friday

This post is a mashup of The Little Bliss List and Joy Jam, and as such is meant to celebrate: the little things that brought me hope and happiness this week, the sweet stuff of life, those small gifts that brought me joy this week. By sharing them, I not only make public my gratitude, but maybe also help you notice your own good stuff and send some positive energy out into the world.

1. Peonies. Can’t…get…enough…of…them.

2. Running. This is going to seem confusing to those of you who know how much I hate running. However, my friend Niight challenged a group of us to commit to 30 days of every other day either one mile of running or 20 minutes of yoga, and since I already do at least four yoga classes a week, and I’d wanted to start running again, this was a good opportunity to get some support for it. And it’s really working.

The plan is to run at least one mile on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday (the dogs are very supportive of this idea). We have a Facebook group where we post our progress (or complain, or whine, or bitch and moan–but maybe that’s just me?), and it makes a big difference knowing you’ll be checking in. I told them yesterday that “I was met by resistance, reluctance, revolt, refusal, and rage this morning…did…not…want…to…run. But I did, and then, just because I did, I ran some more, almost an extra mile. Why? Because I knew if I didn’t run, I’d have to come here and tell you that, and that might lead to stopping altogether.”

3. Corn on the cob. We had our first of barbeque season this week, and it was so good! Eaten over the sink, no waiting, just like it should be.

4. Hard goodbyes. I had to do one of these this week, but I am comforted in knowing that it was hard because we love each other so much, enjoy each others company, and are sad that we’ll be seeing each other much less now. When it’s hard to say goodbye, that’s a good thing, something to be grateful for, because it means there is love.

5. Vacation. Time off my paid work to spend time on my own work, time to relandscape the front yard, to nap, to hang out with Eric and the dogs, to clean and declutter (okay, so I haven’t done much of that yet), to sit in a lawn chair in the backyard with a book, to stay in my pjs for the whole day.

Bonus joy: I got a spot for Susannah Conway’s book event at Kelly Rae Robert’s Studio in July. There were only 35 spots, so this is precious. And it almost makes up for not being able to attend her event in Boston hosted by the adorable Susan Piver.

Day of Rest: Building my Base

Eric and I (and the dogs, of course the dogs) went hiking and running this morning. He remarked again how much better shape I am in, that we were doing something I wasn’t always able to.

He’s completely right. I have gone through various periods of fitness and then weakness in the nineteen years we’ve been together, circled around and around wellness, momentarily maintaining it but never able to persist, coming together and falling apart. But something about this time is different. I’ve had a breakthrough, a realization, what my friend calls a “come to Jesus moment”–you cannot get healthy with diet and exercise if you hate, loathe, abuse yourself. The only way to health and well-being is through self-love.

I want to make sure you get that, because it’s so important: the only way to health and well-being is through self-love.

It is through this devotion to yourself, self-care, a sense of yourself as precious, worthy, and enough that you become well, regain sanity, connect to your innate wisdom and compassion. It’s from this base of health and well-being that you also find the strength, the courage and stamina, the fearlessness, wisdom and compassion to help others, to serve them. It’s like Evita Ramparte said in the documentary Hungry for Change:

Something miraculous happens when you take care of yourself. You realize that you are precious…You become in love with yourself basically, and it shines, it overflows to others, becomes contagious. You give others the permission to be in love with themselves, with life.

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche has a new book coming out, Running with the Mind of Meditation: Lessons for Training Body and Mind. Chapter Two of the book is called “Building Your Base” and in it, he says that when you start running, you need to build your base. You can’t run a marathon on your first day. You start off slowly, but continually challenge your body so that it builds the structures you will need, the endurance and the strength necessary, to be a stable and smart runner. Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche explains it this way:

The base, as it turned out, was simply doing enough running, without overdoing it, to build the integrity of the bones and the strength of the tendons and muscles. This would slowly power up my basic physiology so it could handle the running. It was very similar to the first stages of meditation, in which we focus on building strength.

I have applied this wisdom directly to my running. Every time I walk the dogs, I run as much as I can, not pushing myself too far, but certainly touching my edge. I know that the more I run, the stronger my foundation becomes, and the easier running becomes.

I also am realizing how this wisdom applies to just about anything you are attempting to accomplish or change. In his book, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche relates it directly to the practice of meditation, saying:

This process of taking the inherent structure of the body and strengthening it through regular and repeated runs is very similar to training and developing the mind in meditation…The Tibetan word for meditation is gom. It essentially means “getting used to, familiarizing.” Meditation, then, is the act of familiarizing your mind with what you want it to do. That process of familiarity is just taking qualities and abilities that the mind naturally has, focusing on them in a methodical way, and thus building your base.

Learning self-love and self-care, moving towards health and well-being, undergoing this year of retreat, this life-rehab is building my base.

I am starting to be able to see what’s on the horizon, catch glimpses of what is possible, and it’s beautiful. It makes me weep sometimes, it is so amazing.

But so is the process, the path leading me there. And I have such good company.

What base are you building, dear reader? On this day of rest, may you have time to day dream about what’s on the horizon, and may it be beautiful.