Friday, May 18, 2018

"Just A Heads Up..."

Such a subtle transformation it was.
One of the processes of alchemy that Outward Bound Instructors are so well known for, as they lead wondering wanderers out there for their first time.
It was at the beginning of our course, with those heavy packs, the unknowns before us, some with new boots, others with doubts and fears, all inexperienced adventurers.
All of us were heads down it seemed, when hiking, when climbing, even as it felt at times when we were resting too.
If we looked up at all we would catch that inspiring glimpse of one of our leaders, head up, relaxed and contemplative. Mostly of us, but also of their surroundings, and even of something maybe not really seen, likely more elusive for those of us so new to these highlands.
As we so journeyed, we were coached and encouraged to keep our heads up. Initially because we would likely breath better, Later it was more about awareness... Of the wild places we were moving among, and the unfolding experiences we were going through.
As the long days became deep nights, and the nights evolved back to enduring days, then further to expansive hours, and more finally slowed to moments - one by one we individually found ourselves more heads up.
We began recognizing this in each other, and also saw the ongoing smiles this sparked within each of us.
The packs were still heavy. The terrain just as challenging. The footing as tricky at times. But we were no longer existing just with heads down.
These wild place perspectives had changed us as we had evolved farther while journeying through them.
From heads down. To heads up.
From enduring to enjoying.
From doubts to confidence.
From unknowns to welcoming embracements.
From just tired meandering to blissful wandering.
All with our heads up, held high, with great big full wonderful smiles to be found upon everyone's faces.
Heads up my friends..... DSD 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

"Waiting To Be Discovered..."

When introduced to our first Outward Bound Instructor on my initial course, we would learn that this person was very much a Leader, then also both Mentor and a Guide, yet even more.
We all began to realize from those moments on that more within this adventure experience was waiting to be discovered.
When we thought we were there, he invited us to move further along the trails.
When we believed we were too tired to take another step, he gently showed us how to go even farther.
If we thought it couldn't be done by ourselves, he would then support each of us in taking turns leading our group onward.
At times we could not see our way, and were then inspired by his vision.
As our doubts and uncertainties about where we were, and what we were doing became apparent, he modelled and demonstrated  the ways and means to keep going upward.
It was clear that what was heard and learned by us now, was becoming more than only what was said...
But what I myself found most intense, so distinctly vivid still in my memory, was what happened after I had shared about some particular limiting beliefs.
He looked right at me, if not right into me.
He didn't sit back, but instead stepped forward.
He asked certain distinct questions that only I could answer myself.
Then he also whispered quiet affirmations that seemed to resonate just for me.
What was said echoed out, but what was also truly sensed right then by me was an invitation - reflecting an intense enthusiasm, for sincere and powerful commitment.
What was said, then what was sensed, would now guide me along those endless paths for discovering more within than I had ever first realized..... DSD  

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

"Your First Course..."

"We shall not cease from exploration, and at the end of all exploring, will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time...". T.S. Eliot
On Outward Bound, on these many adventures, over all these long wonderfully full years, we share in learning more regarding what the mountains, the forests, the oceans, and the canyons are all really about.
On Outward Bound, through such adventures, over these endlessly amazing seasons, we then share in the knowledge too about who we are truly becoming as we are out wandering.
For we learn so much about all of what is out there. 
Then we discover as well that there is so much more within than ever first realized.
For as Henry miller wrote too: "Our destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things".
From gazing back upon where we each started .
Look at where we are now..... DSD 

Dedicated to all those about to undertake their first Outward Bound course this year.  

Sunday, May 06, 2018

"I Didn't Know I Had It In Me..."

A thesis demonstrated, a question answered, a lesson proved - out on Outward Bound yet once more.
I have seen it so many times over the years. Now it was shared with me again as a friends young family member pondered over their own elusive adventure experience.
There were remembrances of the trials out on the trails, the pushing of limits towards summits, and the evolving but sure developing of confidences.
Further skills needed to be learned and then truly practiced. Also enduring connections needed to be made with others, and with the many elements out among the wild places.
Yet, what echoed out most especially and significantly was what was then stated by a young adventurer who then quietly said, "I didn't know I had it in me...".
What wonderfully, powerful words these are.
That reflect even more potent meanings for all of us who wander.
Their Outward Bound maxim is that there is always more within us than we ever first realize.
This musing is one that we are quietly invited to endlessly ask deeply of ourselves.
The lesson then proved, is the gift we now have, in the answers we each create, while adventuring far out there.
There was still wonder, surprise, even awe, on the face of this young friend as those words were repeated again. By someone who now senses what they do indeed truly have within themselves. A young person who will now carry these dawning realizations further forward, and ever upward, now throughout their unfolding life.
Just like when I said this myself...
Way back then, so very long ago, and still subtly often do now, time and time again as well.
Such a wonderful lasting echo this is..... DSD 

Sunday, April 29, 2018

"Drums In The Distance..."

I think they have always been there.
These 'drums in the distance'.
Drumming has always been a very moving music for me to listen closely to. Those endless varied beats reflect our pulse it seems, the rhythms our pacing, and its' engagement our excitement.
So when I dream, ponder, and muse; then especially as I train, plan, and prepare - I often hear them building. These resounding drums in the distance.
The farther we go, the more clear they begin to feel.
The higher we climb, the more they resonate so strongly.
The longer distance we cover, the more distinct this music evolves.
The harder the experience we endure, the more pronounced the moving memories become.
I know I am not the only one who has sensed them..
There are many others who nod their heads, and slowly smile, when we quietly discuss hearing such music amidst our shared inspirations.
These drums in the distance echo off the highest mountains, within those endless ocean waves, from across the tallest desert towers and deepest canyon walls, even from beyond the farthest northern lakes.
These distant drums particularly resound from the long awaited anticipations, the real excitements, the epiphanies & wonders, and the unfolding awe we experience when beginning, and then enjoying, our journeys far out there.
The pulsing is really an inner music we know. The beat reverberating from our own hearts and songs.
But they are always there.
Never really silent.
Those slowly building, powerfully resonating, rhythmically feeling, forever echoing - our drums in the distance..... DSD 

Saturday, April 21, 2018


Musae, Movere, Ignis. Significatio, Elementi, Vita. Ignis, Ubi, Natura... Nine words of Latin. Written on some parchment. Found in an old register. Upon an elusive summit. It seems the interpretation though, is now up to each of us. Calculus...  DSD  

Friday, April 20, 2018

"Just One Stone..."

"If I am hiking along a ridge with my mind somewhere else, then the rocks and grasses between my feet are just rocks and grasses. But if I am mindful, curious, and observant enough to stoop down and pick up just one stone because it has an unusual shape, then it becomes magic, not just for me but for everyone around me... If I go one step further and grind up some pigments to make ochre dyes, paint the stone lovingly, and set it on the mantle as a reminder of this hike, then the magic has become a prayer for the survival of my tribe...".  J. Turk