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  • Writer's pictureBrooklynne Webster

"Go to the next level."

Hiking is an incredible form of exercise. It becomes especially awesome when it's nearby to your home and you can hike a weekday hike during an ordinary work week. This city mountain is just 15 minutes from my doorstep and filled with trail users of all ages. After my first ascent from this side of the mountain literally yesterday... I realize that this is absolutely necessary in my life way more regularly. After I finished my most recent half Ironman, I took an oath (to myself) that I would work on being more moderate and less extreme, which includes more yoga and hiking.


Since Oceanside 70.3 on April 6th, I've certainly done more yoga but very little hiking. Now it's time to hike, baby. Oo how good it is! The way that proprioception is strengthened on the trail, especially as we age, feels super important. Nature is beautiful and grounding. Getting to climb rocks and lift the body with one step to the next is building muscle and strengthening our legs, ankles, feet, and core. It's also strengthening our awareness muscle in our minds/brains.


Insights or "downloads" come to us more often when we are away from the busyness of the media, social media, our jobs, and the "next, next, next-ness" of life. Simply moving in nature for the sake of it gets us feeling good. We get to be in the space these "downloads" appear within our hearts and minds, and then the time we are allotted to mull it over and process the new thought.


After yesterday's hike, I was feeling great! I feel a strong desire to add this to my daily/weekly life, and so I shall make that my intention and hike as often as I want. Feeling good, I went to REI and picked up two more pairs of my favorite kind of running/hiking shorts. Ordinarily I'd opt for the REI brand shorts, but seeing as they didn't have the exact pair I was looking for I went with the fancy pants: Rabbit's Speed Leggy 7" Shorts. Huge fun already. The shorts are comfy in the heat and non-cheffing. Hell yes, sister.


Today's highlight on the trail, aside from the kick ass shorts I now feel loyal to, was delivered to me in one line from a fellow trail user. Slightly hunched over and running at a pace certainly faster than my semi-brisk walk, an older gentleman wearing tanned skin, note-worthy abdominal muscles, a baseball cap, and white shorts drops a line that I'll remember for a long time: "Go to the next level." He says this to me with arms and hands emphasizing his words of encouragement.


My response? "Okay. I will."


This interaction happens within a matter of seconds as we both are moving in opposite directions. I'm still ascending the mountain, which is no more than a mile and a half up to the peak with beautiful views the whole way up. He's cruising down the mountain, no doubt having ran/climbed his way up to the top at an impressive pace.

"Go to the next level."

Humans are meaning making machines, and I am no different. I like to interpret life going on around me as the universe is conspiring for me, and my greatest life. I would like to note, however, that the universe is not biased. It is neutral; because it is neutral, it will interact with you in the way that you are energetically showing up. Like attracts to like, that which you manifest is before you, the car goes where your eyes go, the law of attraction, etc. How you interpret your life does matter. You matter and how you choose to show up matters.


This fit shirtless old guy didn't have to say a single thing to me as we passed by one another. He couldn't have known what those words would mean to me. I'm open to life's happenings and this is a primary example of why. "Go to the next level." My interpretation of "the next level," for me is more consistent balanced healthful decisions, being consistent in my ability to focus and grow my business, and feel my emotions -- all of them, not just the warm and fuzzy ones. Thanks to the work I'm doing with my therapist (who I think is badass), I am getting to learn more about myself and my tendencies which helps a lot.


Another "next level" life move for me is being and feeling healthier physically. I'd love to be fit just from the lifestyle I live and the choices I make, not from some crazy gym regimen and wild diet that I'd probably despise. The goal and overall intention? Mind | Body | Spirit = holistically fit and well.


Going to the next level means going into the semi-complex stored away filing system of my emotions and uncomfortable "shit" I have to work through in life thus far. The mentally stored life events that bring up uncomfy feelings have become unprocessed events that I've stored in my brain/body. Some traumatic/Traumatic experiences that I haven't paid much loving attention to and have written off as "I'm fine," show up in ways that I know aren't truly aligned with my values. This is work I do (that I want to do) as I get to feel myself grow and evolve into a more holistically healthy, happy, and more fulfilled version of me.


Ways that unresolved trauma, and old stories of self-doubt or unworthiness show up in my life:

  • binging and purging, not regularly, but frequently enough that it feels like a problem

  • overeating to the point that it negatively effects my sleep

  • feeling hypercritical of my body and my food choices

  • eating when I'm not hungry

  • drinking or smoking weed out of avoidance (note: Not every time I choose to drink or partake in mary-jay is out of avoidance. Some use is not problematic at all, rather just enjoyment and even facilitating healing growth.)

  • subconscious beliefs of unworthiness, that can bubble over into my conscious and become thoughts

  • self-criticism, self-doubt


Another note worth noting: I do have a tendency to be overly analytical and put myself under a magnifying glass. This is something I get to really work on in therapy when I share my analysis and essentially ask Jenni to help me discern a problem versus being hypercritical.


Anyway, to bring it back to talking about this hike and the climb... The climb is fairly technical with a significant number sections that are mostly large rocks and large steps up. This offers great opportunity to those that are looking to strengthen and develop the finer supportive muscles around their knees. Because it is a fairly steep climb to the top, as opposed to a zero elevation gained hike, it encourages hikers to have a tucked pelvis with a tight core which alleviates lower back pain. We love a moving core workout (we could always have a tight core just in everyday living if we put intention on it).


Lastly, the design of my feet which are very wide with high arches, and years of playing soccer in poorly fitting cleats, I often experience the infamous plantar fasciitis. Thanks to numerous recommendations, #1 coming from my Aunt Mandy, I bought a pair of Altra running shoes that have zero drop, and a wide toe box. This gives me great opportunity to strengthen my feet as I hike! Yahoo. Many good things hiking so far, y'all.


Happy trails!


With love,

Brooke on a bike


P.S. My work spot today is incredible. I'm right next to the local laundromat that I frequent on Mondays (laundry day in Brooke's world, also my "Sunday" which I love). Such great airflow, lighting, and other coffee shop visitors with their laptops out working. One of them kindly kept an eye on my computer as I changed my laundry. Turns out she went to law school with my sister and recognized me because we look so much alike! Nice and pleasant interaction. Bring it on, Universe, I love the good energy exchanges.

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