Desire urges me on, while fear bridals me
Giordano Bruno

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Breathe Deeply - February 11. 2015

Breathe Deeply - February 11. 2015

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When there isn’t time to get out of town for a hike in the hills, Charlie and I head to a place known as “M Hill.” Aptly named for the massive “M” painted on the side of the hill to represent The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, this hill is located in the center of town and offers a trail system of approximately 20 miles over 300 acres. It’s not exactly like being in the middle of the Black Hills, but it provides enough to give you a sense that you are away from the chaos and busyness of the city. Whether we spend 45 minutes or two hours there, it provides a great escape and a natural alternative for Charlie to release some of his energy.

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Charlie seems to just enjoy running and exploring the different terrains we encounter (where ever we are). He is fascinating to watch because there is something about him that changes while on a hike. He was a free bird before he came to live with us and I think his time in the hills is an opportunity to feel free again.

While Charlie enjoys his time and runs off some of his vim and vigor, I take the time to notice:

  • Mother Nature’s art

  • The secluded feeling and quietness of the forest, and

  • The ability to breathe deeply and relax

And that is what hiking does – it offers us the freedom and the opportunity to get away from the madness of daily life to breathe deeply. I have always been in awe of the beauty that Mother Nature offers, and it is good for my soul to soak in as much of the natural world as possible. In my experience, nature cleanses the soul allowing the stress to melt away. Staying present and focused on the surrounding environment diverts my thoughts from ruminating on pressure filled worries and responsibilities, which gives my mind and heart the space to expand.

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Nourishing the soul is an essential part of the journey to your heart’s desire. It rejuvenates the mind and body to provide for more clarity and creativity, and also gives you added strength to better cope with stress. You have to choose what is right for you; just make sure that it is something that you genuinely enjoy. It can be as simple as taking a nap in the warm sunshine to enjoying a hot mug of tea. Below is a list of activities to help get you started (or create your own list), then practice one thing on that list daily.

No matter the conditions – dry, wet, mud, snow, ice, warm, or cold – when we return home from any hike or time in the great outdoors, the world no longer seems like such a bad place and hope springs eternal in my heart.

What do you do that nourishes your soul and provides a ray of sunshine in your life?


Give yourself permission to take some time for you! By nourishing yourself on a daily basis, you increase your patience, creativity, and ability to meet the demands of life.

  • Sit down and eat your very own lunch after you’ve put the kids down for a nap

  • Sit down to drink your morning coffee or tea. Greet the day

  • Take a bath with nice smelling soaps, bubbles, essential oils, reading materials, etc

  • Go for a walk

  • Do yoga

  • Play loud music and dance

  • Every day, write down five things for which you are grateful

  • End every day with thoughts of what you liked best about the day

  • Institute “silent and solo” time and read something for pleasure while the kids are self-entertaining

  • Write in your journal

  • Write to a friend

  • Call a friend or loved one

  • Paint your toenails

  • Do a 10-minute “house rescue” before going to bed so that you start the day with reasonably tidy space

  • Set a bedtime for your kids and stick to it so that you have time to yourself and with your spouse

  • Make one room your oasis – always tidy, serene, and quiet

  • Listen to music

  • Sing

  • Take a class

  • Have one date per week with your partner. Don’t talk about the kids

  • Watch your favorite sitcom. Record it so that you can watch it whenever it’s right for you

  • Go for a drive

  • Clean out your dresser and line the drawers with pretty paper and a hankie with your favorite scent on it

  • Think of all the things that bring you joy until you FEEL the joy

  • Get a new pillow and comfortable sheets

  • Make a list of things you’d like to do but consider impractical. Do them

  • Find your favorite scent in a therapeutic grade essential oil and use it often

  • Give yourself permission to listen deeply and respond to what you want, without judgment

  • Stretch like a dog

  • Curl up in the sun like a dog or cat

  • Dance with a dog

  • Write to yourself

  • Meditate

  • Make a list of all you’re grateful for and feel gratitude grow

  • See the beauty around you

  • Laugh out loud

  • Write your self-encouraging messages and post them around the house

  • Go dancing

  • Go ice-skating

  • Play an instrument

  • Work with clay, beeswax, Sculpey, Playdoh, etc

  • Have an evening out with friends

  • Go window-shopping or wander the mall

  • Play a game

  • Snuggle under a warm blanket and read a good novel

  • Buy yourself some flowers

  • Sit in a spa

  • Pet your cat, dog, bird, reptile, etc

  • Eat a delicious meal

  • Go to a movie

  • Enjoy the sunrise / sunset

  • Take a 15-minute break between work and going home to just breathe

  • Smell a beautiful flower

  • Walk in a plant nursery

  • Garden

  • Exercise

  • Hike

  • Color or paint a picture

  • Knit, crochet, or cross-stitch something for yourself

  • Sit and quiet your mind and body for 15 minutes twice daily

  • Treat yourself to a piece of fabulous dark chocolate

Spend time learning what nourishes you. It may not be what others suggest. If you don’t remember, think of what you enjoyed as a child…wind on your face, soft sheets, giggling at nothing at all, playing in the bath, making up songs, etc.

© 2013-2019 Kelly Marker, Charlie’s Wisdom All Rights Reserved

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