Mountain Medicine

Habibi. Shalom. Hello!

20171203_084837

For a few weeks, months now, I have been itching to go the mountains. This time of year, no matter where you are the holidays became busier, more stressful and if you are alone, it becomes increasingly more difficult to feel good. Lately, I have been focusing more on my mental health, maybe the sun helps, maybe I am settling into my life here in Colorado. Whatever it is, it feels really good and I couldn’t be happier or more excited to share this post with you. Maybe, it will get me the spark to re-start my blog.

About a week ago, my friend Leah and I talked about going hiking. She reached out to me and expressed that her, her bf and two men from Africa were maybe going to join us.

Going into this, I wasn’t too sure what it would be like or if I’d even go. After all, I went to bed around 230 and woke up around 700. Needless to say, I was feeling tired, and just wanted to lay in bed all day. I mean who doesn’t?

In this life. We all have a choice. Opportunity really is not a lengthy visitor and we must take every opportunity we get.

On the weekend. I had a choice. I had an opportunity. Like many of us do. I could stay in bed, watching shows and lounging around, nursing my hangover (OR) I could go out in nature, I could meet new people and I could get some free therapy in the mountain air.  I knew if I chose the first option, I would regret it. I usually do. I chose to suck it up, to commit.  These days, it is so easy to be a non-committal person.

On FB, we now have the option of saying “Interested, Going, Not going or Not Interested. In a world where we have so many options of what to do. Who to see. Who to date. What to eat. What to wear. What kind of job we want. I like so many of us, are guilty of this, it’s not our faults individually, its the culture that we have grown up in. But guess what, we all have a CHOICE. It’s Up to US!

Committing to YES:

700 AM Alarm Goes Off

705 Snooze

710ish Finally get up

730-800 Rush to get my ISH together

815-Picked up to go hiking to Rocky Mountain National Park

815-1030 We drive to the Rockies

1030-430 PM

The morning air is crisp, the sun is shining and we’re making our way to the Rockies. We stop at Peet’s Coffee. We have some good sweets (Croissants, Blueberry Muffin) coffee and tea. Wanting to nap but also beyond ready to get out and hike.  We listen to some jams, talk and learn a little about each other.

Some Background: 

Leah and Jonathan are together and pretty adorable! I recently became friends with Leah through the Jewish community and I know Jonathan from it as well.  Before this day, I didn’t know them super well but after I feel a lot closer to knowing who they are. Like how they have traveled and know Spanish and are full of energy and light.

Jonathan works at Anschutz Medical Center and became connected with Joshua and Aladdin, two men from Africa.  Joshua has been here for a few weeks, he is a Nurse Practitioner and is here on a work visa to learn as much as he can to bring back with him to Cameroon. He tells me about the wars over there, all the violence happening. He tells me he will send me videos so I can learn more. He says he wants to stay in the US and is trying to make that happen. Aladdin (Alaaeddin M. Elzubeir, PhD)  is here for a whole year, he is a Fullbright Scholar and his focus is Pediatric Hematolgic Genetic Disorders. He loves children and is very knowledgeable about the body. He is married and he shows us pictures of the Blue Nile River, truly gorgeous.

I am told these are not very close in proximity and they did not know each other before coming to Colorado. I am from Michigan. Leah is from Colorado Springs and Jonathan is from Florida. So none of us are from the same place but it felt like we were, at that exact moment. Pretty cool!

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 3.01.40 PM

Google Earth Map of Aladdin’s village: The brown part is the Blue Nile River

WhatsApp Image 2017-12-05 at 9.25.15 PM

WhatsApp Image 2017-12-05 at 9.37.55 PMWhatsApp Image 2017-12-05 at 9.38.46 PM

 

Joshua is Christian and follows Christianity. Aladdin (Yes, his name is Aladdin, pronounced Aladdin, is Muslim and practices Islam. Leah, Jon and myself follow the Jewish faith. Even if we may pray to a different G-d or higher being or whatever it is we believe in.

I like to think that we all share a lot in common, we all are seeking connection, belonging and adventure. I mean aren’t we all?

WhatsApp Image 2017-12-03 at 6.33.38 PM

Left to Right: Jonathan, Leah, Aladdin, Me, Joshua

The day:

It was pretty chilly. We stopped at Beaver Creek Visitor Center. We were told to go check out Cubs Lake Trail. After turning around a few times to find the road to take us there, we made it. We bundled up, we layered up and we went up into the mountains. Jonathan brought some extra clothing for our two new friends: Joshua and Aladdin to wear. After all, they have never EVER seen SNOW in their lives. Or worn a scarf before!

20171203_111348

Joshua and Aladdin 

Taking our first steps as a group was thrilling. The hike up to the lake was gorgeous. When we approached the lake, it was partly covered in ice. Our wonderful hosts: Leah and Jon prepared a scrumptious picnic: We had some delicious black and spicy Good Earth tea, apples and peanut butter, black beans with garlic/chilis, sandwiches with turkey, celery, tomatoes and taco bell sauce YUM! We prayed with each other, we laughed and we shared this beautiful day. It didn’t matter what race, what culture we were. All that mattered was the CONNECTION we created on that special, magnificent day.

WhatsApp Image 2017-12-03 at 6.34.02 PM

The weather was absolutely perfect. The sun was sunny as ever. The sky was bluer-than blue. The wind has a nice hush. The exchanges we had were exhilarating, fresh, new, and really truly magical. We prayed. We ate. We learned. We connected. We laughed. We  meditated. We cried. We belonged. We became اصدقاء : Asdigaa: friends. and we saw freaking moose and carcasses. I mean how much better, can it get?!

We spent hours in the Rockies. Time went by slow but yet so fast at the same time.

We had an all American meal at good ol Wendy’s. The fries, the siracha sauce, the chicken, the cocoa-cola pop, it all was so refreshing and tasted so good.

CONNECTION.

We are human beings. We are programmed to gravitate towards one another. We gravitate to what and who is familiar. For me, I have always enjoyed meeting perfect strangers. I find it a kind of rush, a kind of high, a thrill. Maybe, that’s why I became a Social Worker, why I chose this path (OR) how it chose me. Being out in Colorado, in wide open spaces, I am realizing more that I am happiest when I am out in nature. Being surrounded around trees. It gives me comfort. It gives me hope.

So I ask you how will you say YES? What is holding you back from experiencing moments like this and how can we create more of these?

Words from Aladdin that sum up this moment:

The fairy tale will begin when the snow falls … Heartbeats increase..
You look up, and your face will be falling and immediately melting snowflakes.!!

You will smile and rejoice, because it is in winter you want to believe in miracles.!

It is at this time of year that you make a wish for the new year and hope that the fairy tale will begin right now , with you guys.

Love you all❤ “Aladdin”

I just keep smiling all the time when I remember those moments I spent with you guys.😊

It’s truly moments like this that take your breath away.

WhatsApp Image 2017-12-03 at 6.34.11 PM (1)

#Blessed #MountainMedicine

blessings مُبارك : mubark

peace : السّلام : assalam

&

To many more adventures and saying YES!

WhatsApp Image 2017-12-03 at 6.38.20 PM

Rocky Mountain High- John Denver

He was born in the summer of his 27th year
Coming home to a place he’d never been before
He left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again
You might say he found a key for every door
When he first came to the mountains his life was far away
On the road and hanging by a song
But the string’s already broken and he doesn’t really care
It keeps changing fast and it don’t last for long
But the Colorado rocky mountain high
I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky
The shadow from the starlight is softer than a lullabye
Rocky mountain high (Colorado)
He climbed cathedral mountains, he saw silver clouds below
He saw everything as far as you can see
And they say that he got crazy once and he tried to touch the sun
And he lost a friend but kept his memory
Now he walks in quiet solitude the forest and the streams
Seeking grace in every step he takes
His sight has turned inside himself to try and understand
The serenity of a clear blue mountain lake
And the Colorado rocky mountain high
I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky
You can talk to God and listen to the casual reply
Rocky mountain high
Now his life is full of wonder but his heart still knows some fear
Of a simple thing he cannot comprehend
Why they try to tear the mountains down to bring in a couple more
More people, more scars upon the land
And the Colorado rocky mountain high
I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky
I know he’d be a poorer man if he never saw an eagle fly
Rocky mountain high
It’s Colorado rocky mountain high
I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky
Friends around the campfire and everybody’s high
Rocky mountain high
Modeh Ani ( מודה אני‎; “I give thanks”)

2 thoughts on “Mountain Medicine

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s