#8 Be a couple but still be free

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Just because you enter into a relationship, it does not mean you have to give up who you are as an individual. Successful relationships allow room for growth, personal development and change.  Good partners support one another’s individual journey and respect the process of evolution.  Freedom comes in many different forms, sometimes it calls for alone time, sometimes a separate hobby and at other times it just means giving each other space for self-realization.  At the end of the day all freedom is built on one foundation, trust.  Just like a bird does not belong in a cage, you too my friend do not belong in relationship captivity. You deserve to fly so you can reach your highest high and so does your loved one.

The Cookie Thief

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Being a lover of poetry I glow with happiness when I come across a work that speaks in fluid rhyme and delivers a meaningful message. The poem Cookie Thief by Valerie Fox did that for me and I am excited to share it with you today. I won’t get into poem interpretation here because I want you to experience it yourself but I’d love to hear your thoughts on Valerie’s message and happy to share mine if you care to discuss. Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.

As always, sending you good vibrations and so much love!

The Cookie Thief by Valerie Fox

A woman was waiting at an airport one night
With several long hours before her flight
She hunted for a book in the airport shops
Bought a bag of cookies and found a place to drop

She was engrossed in her book but happened to see
That the man sitting beside her, as bold as could be
Grabbed a cookie or two from the bag in between
Which she tried to ignore to avoid a scene

So she munched the cookies and watched the clock
As the gutsy cookie thief diminished her stock
She was getting more irritated as the minutes ticked by
Thinking, “If I wasn’t so nice, I would blacken his eye”

With each cookie she took, he took one too
When only one was left, she wondered what he would do
With a smile on his face, and a nervous laugh
He took the last cookie and broke it in half

He offered her half, as he ate the other
She snatched it from him and thought… oooh, brother
This guy has some nerve and he’s also rude
Why he didn’t even show any gratitude!

She had never known when she had been so galled
And sighed with relief when her flight was called
She gathered her belongings and headed to the gate
Refusing to look back at the thieving ingrate

She boarded the plane, and sank in her seat
Then she sought her book, which was almost complete
As she reached in her baggage, she gasped with surprise
There was her bag of cookies, in front of her eyes

If mine are here, she moaned in despair
The others were his, and he tried to share
Too late to apologize, she realized with grief
That she was the rude one, the ingrate, the thief

Road trip through Colorado – the epic way

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If you haven’t taken a road trip through Colorado, you haven’t lived. Ok, I may be exaggerating a little, but really, it’s a must see. This breathtaking land nestled in the heart of America is filled with so much beauty that it is almost impossible to translate into words. I will do my very best. From quaint little towns to bigger than life mountains there is something for everyone in this wonderful state. Colorado has been thriving under the radar for years and now with its booming economy it is quickly becoming the place to move. If you haven’t been to Colorado, I would like to give you a few pointers on how to see the best of what it has to offer.

#1 – A concert at the Red Rocks Amphitheater – there is something ghostly magical about this place. The ora in this space is absolutely captivating. It may be the surreal surroundings or the incredible natural acoustics or perhaps the fact that you are entering one of world’s greatest performance venues. Whether its one or all of these reasons put together the outcome is unparalleled. If you are a music lover, make the Red Rocks Amphitheater a stop on your journey. I recommend seeing one of your favorite bands here, this intensifies an already awesome experience. Warning: the Red Rocks may undermine your future experience at most other performance venues. This is a side effect.

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#2 – Garden of the Gods is a National Natural Landmark located in Colorado Springs. This beautiful park sits amid incredible 300’ sandstone rock formations with a stunning backdrop of snow-capped Pikes Peak and brilliant blue skies. The park offers an array of activities. Hiking, biking, rock climbing, nature walks, Segway rentals and Jeep tours. Activity you choose depends on your preference of course but I strongly recommend a private Jeep tour. It is $50 per person for a 90 minute tour, you get to go off-roading and chatting with incredibly wonderful tour guides. We even got serenaded with a sea chanty! What a treat.  Learn more at http://www.gardenofgods.com
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#3 – Epic road trip through the Rockies. If you love a mighty road trip with breathtaking views around every corner, take a ride to Ridgeway, CO. Ridgeway is roughly a 7 hour drive from Boulder depending on how often you stop to take in the scenery. Heads up, it will be often and it is totally worth stopping as much as possible to soak it all in. In this case the journey really is the destination. Drive up US-285 and US-50 to catch some incredible views and be prepared to feast your eyes.

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#4 – Lodging – me and my fellow road trippers were looking to get away and dive into some serious R&R. This is why we decided to avoid busy fancy hotels or pricey resorts and chose a quaint and unique Air B&B property. We stayed in the heart of Ridgway with Alice Billings aka The Horse Lady. Alice met and exceeded our expectation, her property is warm and inviting, has all the conveniences of your own home and is artfully designed to showcase wonderful equestrian artwork created by Alice herself! Alice has a wonderful loving heart. She let us meet and hang with her beautiful horses. We got to feed them, pet them and even hang out in their pasture. Alice has an incredible wealth of knowledge and she is more than happy to share it with the world. The cabin fits 4 people and for $89 per night you get so much more for your money but most importantly you will make memories that will last a lifetime! It truly was an experience we will never forget. Be sure to ask Alice how to get to the local peak just behind her property, it boasts one of the most incredible views in Ridgway. There is a ton of activities available in this town, again depending on how active you want to be. We did some mountain biking, rafted along the beautiful scenery and soaked in some hot springs. Side note, Ridgway has their very own hot springs venue where clothing is optional 😉

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#5 Telluride –  If you heard of this place you probably know about its incredible reputation for its beauty. A small ski town surrounded by vast and beautiful Rocky mountains. While it is no doubt beautiful year round, it is spectacular in June. Lush greenery blankets the base of the mountains while majestic white-capped peaks sparkle in the spring sunlight. Colorful flowers are scattered everywhere you go and fresh mountain air invigorates and rejuvenates your lungs. There is a magical feeling among these streets and it seems as if you are in a fairy tale or at the very least, a post card. Telluride gondola is a fun steep ride that boasts dramatic views, even in the non ski season. Be sure to watch out for stunning waterfalls atop the mountains as those beautiful white caps melt away in the glorious Colorado sun.

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#6 – Last but certainly not least, be sure to visit Monarch pass gondola on your road trip back. Monarch pass is the continental divide, which means one side of the melting snow goes to the Pacific Ocean and the other half feeds the Atlantic. There are not many feelings in life that can compare to standing at this monumental location. My words can’t describe it, a picture won’t capture it and no medium can make you feel what its like to be there. You just have to go. On your journey through the Rockies you will encounter multiple bodies of water that rest peacefully among the valleys, take the time to pull over, stretch your legs and just sit, allowing the surroundings to captivate you.

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In the end Colorado was much more than a road trip. It was an eye-opening experience that uncovered endless possibilities. I learned that people are capable of living a slower, gentler, kinder lifestyles. They take time to enjoy their beautiful surroundings and appreciate quiet moments. By visiting Colorado I tiptoed into freedom from the hustle and bustle and boy…did I get hooked. I am grateful for every minute spent among the mountains. Being surrounded by their greatness felt invigorating and I patiently await until we meet again.

Love, peace and unity

#7 Be the first to reach out

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Too often our ego gets in the way of our progress. We’re worried that if we apologize first, we lose.  In reality, being first gives us an advantage.  It shows we are able to take the high road. We get to be the first to reach out, the first to make amends and the first to extend the olive branch.  That my friend says a lot about your character.  That is something to be proud of.  So go ahead, feed that to your ego if you must. Being open and honest about our feelings is a healthy and productive way to handle relationship hurdles.  Learning to navigate your ego is a valuable skill that will benefit you in many walks of life, not only in your relationship.  Don’t let a three-letter word get between you and someone you care about.

“Often when there is a problem, each person will wait for the other to take the initiative to work things out. But the longer you wait, the more frustrated you both get and the worse you feel. Try making the first move to break a stalemate.  It doesn’t mean that you’re giving in.  You’re getting the ball rolling instead of being stuck.”

~ Norman Epstein, Ph. D., marriage researcher and family therapist at the University of Maryland