I tell stories when I teach my fitness classes. Of course I teach the movement, explain the purpose, the anatomy and keep the class as fluid as possible using music to set the rhythm and humor to set the mood. Along the way I try to share stories that amuse, inspire, distract (sometimes you just don't want to think about another set) and connect. Usually I get a knowing smile, a glance of acknowledgement and even outright laughter. We work, we sweat we connect. I love it when I am able to create connection in the group of participants that decided to attend.
Not long ago, I talked about how I had to learn to love the desert. Having moved from a geographically diverse and beautiful area north of San Francisco, I struggled to find beauty in such a different environment. When I first moved here all I saw was brown. The dirt, the buildings, the air, it all looked brown to me. It is also loud and fast. The constant hum of traffic is so pervasive I drive with my windows up to quiet the noise. Mostly flat wide roads make it easy to drive fast and people fly by the speed limit signs as though they are just suggestions. I was incredibly homesick and I sometimes still pine for my wine country roots, but I live here now, and the solution was to look for the beauty around me.
As much as I'd love to recreate Nor Cal in my back yard, it would be too expensive and not sustainable, so I try to find green public areas with trees or water. After I told my class about learning to love the desert and finding places I loved, students approached me and asked where I go? The picture above is the path I walk every day with my dog and where I find my daily dose of calm and green. I also love the Riparian Preserve and walk there often.
I have hiked in several areas around the valley. When you can get away from the freeways, the traffic and the urban sprawl, you can find peace and beauty in the desert. I am a member of the Desert Botanical Garden www.dbg.org/and find peace beauty and tranquility there too. Finding the good in any situation is a skill that translates to many areas of our lives. Nurturing our souls daily and connecting with others is a basic human need. There is nothing more rewarding than finding a way to help others discover what works best for them. Keep looking, and when you find it, make time to do it. Connecting with yourself is just as important, if not more so, than connecting with others. If finding beauty in your surroundings is important to you, here are a couple of resources to get you started.