The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog


Make A Positive Change

 

In January of 1981, at the suggestion of my college friend Albert Borris, (author of the road trip novel “Crash Into Me”)  with whose encouragement to stretch my comfort zones, then and to this day; I spent 10 days freezing my tush with a dozen or so equally intrepid/insane souls; depending on your perspective, engaged in a leadership and wilderness survival course called Outward Bound. I was in my senior year of college, which meant (from this now 51 year old perspective) that I was young and without much idea of what I was in for. Dare I say “young and foolish” ? It was likely where I began my “feel the fear and do it anyway.” mindset. I had the vision of moving to Vermont after graduation from the much more temperate Philadelphia regional climate in which I had spent the first 20 years of my life. As a result, I chose the course offered via Dartmouth that would allow me the opportunity to traipse along the part of the Appalachian Trail that wends it way through New England. I figured if I could survive outside in the winter in those climes (and climbs), I could survive inside.

 

So after 6 months or so of training in preparation, off I went, assuring my parents that I would arrive alive afterward. Surrounded by some of the most exquisite natural wonders, high in the mountains, beyond brrrr temps, in the company of people ranging from an uber-confident 18 or 19 year old young man, to a seasoned 50-something adventurer, from a homemaker and if memory serves, a veterinarian, I lived in a blended sense of abject terror, sheer delight and the ever present question… “What the heck did I get myself into?”

Although there were many challenges and rewards in that period of living with a group of ‘strangers turned family of choice’, un-showered, carrying heavy backpacks, sleeping in tents in the 40 below temps, warming our freezing feet on each others’ bellies, fantasizing about what we would do when we got back to ‘civilization’ (one person wanted to have a Twinkie party, which we indulged in with decadent delight), there is one thing that stands out for me more than anything. It was uttered by one of the instructors. This young man, not much older than I was at the time, shared infinite wisdom. He said words to the effect of : “If something isn’t the way you want it to be, make a positive change. If your socks are wet, change them. If you are cold, put on another layer of clothes. If you are hot, take off a layer. If you are hungry, eat. If you are tired, rest. Don’t complain about it”. Simple as that.

After 10 days, a broken pinkie, frostbite on my fingertips, and bronchitis, I emerged triumphant, took the equivalent of two showers and enjoyed a few Twinkies. I never moved to New England and I have a photo that my friend Bryan Effron took when I got home that reminds me of that moment in time. I am sitting perched on a stool in 3/4 profile, hair streaming down my back, gazing, as if into my future, with an Outward Bound poster in the background. That 20-something knew stuff that this 51 year old profusely thanks her for. The courage that it took for her to dive deeply into her own wildness/wilderness, face her fears, take on the ‘tundra’ and carry across time and space that message, is priceless.

www.outwardbound.org

 

www.albertborris.com



Previous Posts

Turn Your Mess Into Your Message
Wise people are everywhere. Today I met a wise woman while waiting to see my cardiologist. She was the receptionist who greeted me from behind her sliding glass (slid open, of course) window.  When she asked how I was doing since my last visit and I gave her an update, she responded:  "You are tur

posted 10:01:15pm Sep. 19, 2014 | read full post »

Invulnerable and Invincible?
  Yesterday, in the midst of a radio interview with Kerri Kannan,  I was asked a question about vulnerability. It is a topic that has become as familiar as the fingers typing these words. I was awakened to it when viewing a TEDTalk by Brene' Brown a year or so ago. It doesn't come easily to

posted 10:24:20pm Sep. 18, 2014 | read full post »

The Now What Club
This morning, I joined two dear friends for brunch at Mal's Diner in Skippack, PA.  After a heart-healthy workout in cardiac rehab, I had a heart- happy  meal of egg whites, spinach (no cheese), fresh fruit instead of home fries and dry (no butter) whole grain toast. Yvonne Kaye has been my mentor

posted 10:10:09pm Sep. 16, 2014 | read full post »

Enjoy Every Moment
Feeling emotionally raw at the moment, having just returned from a day of honoring my friend Delane Lipka. I had written about another extraordinary day in a previous Beliefnet article called In the Garden of Eden that described a gathering of kindred spirits that had been organized by Delane. For d

posted 10:03:50pm Sep. 15, 2014 | read full post »

Cardia-versary
This morning marks 3 months since I experienced the kind of pain that cracks you open and has you revealing the emotional viscera that had long lay dormant. Literally at this moment, I was captured by the symptoms of a heart attack- searing heart burn pain, jaw tightness and wringing wet sweats. I s

posted 10:56:19am Sep. 12, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.