Endorphins and awe

This post has been at the tip of my virtual tongue for months. I started to think about writing it at the end of the summer. Last weekend, Jonny Moseley announced at the end of this year’s Warren Miller movie that for skiers, “winter starts now.” Better late than never, right?

Season notwithstanding, it’s a tough post to write because grief and loss are at the root of it. I’m not ready to share the source of this grief (sorry about that—I hate all the vague, obtuse posts floating around the Internet, too). However, I’m happy to share the two things that have helped me heal: movement and beauty.

I found peace and beauty hiking in the Rockies, in Hell’s Hole and Devil’s Thumb (you could say there was a bit of a theme).

Hell's Hole, near Winter Park, Colo.

Hell’s Hole, near Winter Park, Colo.

On the Hell's Hole hike near Winter Park, Colo.

On the Hell’s Hole hike near Winter Park, Colo.

Hike to Devil's Thumb, near Winter Park, Colo.

Hike to Devil’s Thumb, near Winter Park, Colo.

I found simplicity and exhilaration putting my earthly belongings in a backpack and camping in the Adirondacks’ High Peaks region.

The view from Fish Hawk Cliffs , close to our camping spot at Gill Brook.

The view from Fish Hawk Cliffs , close to our camping spot at Gill Brook.

I found grounding in my regular runs to the gardens at Yaddo.

Yaddo Lake.

Yaddo Lake.

And I found hope watching the most stunning sunrises and sunsets in the peaks overlooking Lake George.

View from our camping spot at Fifth Peak.

View from our camping spot at the Fifth Peak lean-to.

Sunset from the Fifth Peak lean-to, part of the Tongue Mountain Range.

Sunset from the Fifth Peak lean-to, part of the Tongue Mountain Range.

I don’t know why the combination of endorphins and awe is so powerful. I just know that it works in a way that feels truly magical.
How have you found healing through motion and natural beauty?
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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Endorphins and awe

  1. How do I find healing in beauty and motion: I run or bike long. Beforehand, I have gathered names of people that have serious issues. After warming up well, and find the ability to focus on one thing, I pray for one person at a time. I recall their face as I pray and I pray from point to point; the stop sign to the light pole for example. And I have found that as I pray for the healing of others, I have helped in the healing of myself.

  2. I am sorry for your grief, and for whatever is causing you grief. I wish you peace, or lessening sorrow if that’s all that’s possible. I am glad you are able to find some healing and comfort in the beautiful outdoors and in the motion. I do think it is soothing to the mind and spirit, part of our nature.

    (I think Marvin’s practice is a wonderful one, reminds me of some Buddhist practices.)

  3. These are beautiful places and It’s wonderful that they have helped you find peace.

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