Mountains of peace
My happy place
On my birthday this year, we loaded up the car and headed to Colorado. It has been years since I have been there, to the mountains, to the place I find it easiest to breathe and relax. As the terrain changed, and the mountains came into view, I instantly relaxed. Home. It felt like home. The cool air relaxed me, the scenery mesmerized me, and everything the last year dealt us seemed to be in the distant past. Finally, I could breathe.
Each morning, I walked to a nearby coffee shop, enjoying both the solitude and the scenery. I sat, watching customers, reading Scripture, journaling a bit, or staring out the window. We went on a hike, we explored downtown, we soaked in the hot springs. It was not the most action-packed adventure we have ever been on, but it was exactly what my soul needed.
Wondering and wandering
I sat on the back porch of our Air BnB, chilled and delighted by the cool, mountain air. Memories of the last twelve months weaved their way in and out of my mind. New opportunities, new lessons, hard lessons, epic failures, struggles I have never known before and hope to never know again, rejoicing and grieving with others, all of it. It all marched slowly through my thoughts. But there, listening to the wind rustle through the leaves, I released it all. No more holding on, carrying, struggling. I just let it go. I had survived it all. In fact, I was (mostly) pleased with how I handled situations. The faith that has carried me for so long continues to carry me still. And I? I was able to let go of all I had been holding onto. Breathe. This is what it feels like to breathe.
Going without leaving
My counselor and I discussed the mountains being my safe place. If it were up to me, I would be in the mountains once a month, at least. She looked at me and asked, “What’s stopping you? Maybe you cannot load up your car and go. But what’s stopping you from going there when you need?” She then took me through an exercise to allow myself to mentally go to the place I feel most at peace, the safest, the most at rest. I am trying to implement this more. But can I tell you, the actual trip to the mountains was just what I needed. I needed to plant my feet upon hilly ground, to walk uphill and stare out at the vistas. My lungs needed to inhale, and exhale, far away from everyday life. And now, now maybe I can practice “going there” a little more often.
Where is your safe place? Where is it you find yourself the most at peace? Some of you will say near water, some under bright city lights, some may say in a room surrounded by friends. Wherever that place is for you, I hope you find yourself there, sooner rather than later.