so many times I’ve journeyed to beautiful places, been with friends or family or in an experience only to return feeling like I wasn’t really there. Disappointment and guilt rising for not being present, not feeling like the beauty sank in or that my heart was in it. It’s in these moments we’re hoping to be simultaneously saturated and cleansed, and the lack of embodiment in these spaces can leave us longing. How I’ve learned to work with this over the years, is to make small practices of engaging my senses, focusing on maybe one or all, whatever is inspired or feels comfortable. Doing so helps bring awareness into the physical body and out of thought patterns, facilitating integration of body and mind while meeting the energies of the environment. On my hike today, the friend I was with noted how commenting out loud how being in the woods and the reprieve she felt as benefit deepened the appreciation and joy in our being there. Speech, sound, connection. I inhale deeply, noticing pine and dark earth scent. I drop in to notice my heart rate accelerating, the sweat on my neck, and how good it feels to lift my hair to expose my skin to the wind. Relationship with plants helps here too; I taste a violet and garlic mustard leaf on our way down the mountain. The contrast of the sweet astringency of flower and pungency of the green. We hear crows and hawks. The sound of gravel meeting our feet. By the end, legs worked over and happily tired, I can go home belly hungry, but spirit full.