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Share-My-Story Series: Gretchen

Share-My-Story Series: Gretchen

I met Gretchen at the GOTG March Retreat and I spent time talking to her as we hiked. I could feel the depth of Gretchen’s soul as we talked and I knew how important getting out in nature was to her. It’s not easy being vulnerable and sharing your story. I am so grateful she shared her’s with us today.

Gretchen’s Story:

“Is it possible to be an introvert and extrovert?  Or are we shaped by how we live?  I believe the latter. 

The more I am stuck inside without nature and human interaction, the more introverted I feel.

The more I am outside, active, with nature and people, the more extroverted I feel.

Hmmmm…I choose extrovert!

My name is Gretchen.  I am 55 years young and I am an extrovert 

I grew up in a small town in Ohio as a shy, overweight pre-teen and then moved to Idaho in 7th grade.  My parents took us out exploring Idaho camping, fishing and skiing.  However, it wasn’t until I was in my late 20s and early 30s that I found I had a passion for the outdoors and how it made me feel when I was challenged by some great outdoor adventure. As a Mom and a friend, I encourage others to enjoy the outdoors with me.

For the past three years, I backpack with a friend over our summer birthdays.  Tough backpacking – heavy packs, long miles, serious elevation gains, but an awesome challenge.  This year was no different other than I was completely out of shape from big life changes over the past eight months , but rather than fret about it, I really took time to mentally prepare and think about how good being outside with my friend was going to be. We set out on a five day adventure with a goal of 40 miles.  Day one was tough.  Not gonna lie.  I was hurting.  40 pound backpack (4 nights, 5 days worth of “stuff”), 10 mile hike in to 8500 feet. We did a few days of daypacking (kept camp at one lake for three nights) and that really helped us get in the miles.  We ended up with 46.7 miles, 8400 feet of elevation gain, a renewed strength, clarity to resolve problems at home and a “can-do” attitude. I’d like to share what I walked away with.

Lesson learned:  Self-Compassion through Mindset.  I went into this trip with a completely different mindset.  I knew I was not physically well-prepared for this trip, but I stayed positive. Things I said on the trail were positive.  I did not focus on how exhausted I was, but physically I was slow – and that was okay. I accepted that I was a bit out of shape – I accepted that this was me, now, in this moment. I had only myself to hold accountable and I had no excuses.  I got to our destination on my own two feet…there was no one to carry me and I would never turn back.  There was no “I can’t”; just “I’ll try”.  I was not afraid to fail.  It’s all for fun and adventure and no one was judging me.  My friend was super supportive and encouraging.  We listen to each other and mentally lift each other up. I also realized I would never, ever take these times for granted.  The time with my friend and her dog are precious.  The mountains, lakes, trails, people we met – just beautiful!  I mentally soaked in all this while we were out on the trail.  They say, “Stop and smell the roses.”, well, I did  Took lots of pictures and tucked away many vivid images in my head for those tough days ahead.

Lesson learned:  Connections.  As we continued to hike throughout the week, it felt like we were in our own little world.  We had gone with the intention of hiking in far enough and high enough to be away from most people.  It’s sad how the current Covid situation leaves us feeling like we are in a battle to protect our own thoughts and feelings and not be mis-guided by others.  I looked forward to being away from social media and the news in general.  It was a wonderful break.  But what I did not expect was the connections I would make with my friend (even though we have been friends for three years) as well as with those we met on the trail.  We saw others and encouraged them. We stopped to chat and learned from them.  We shared in the solitude and we connected with them.  Father/daughter duos, girlfriends and guy friends, old and young and families with little kids that just blew us away. Everyone was respectful and everyone loving every minute of being there together.  It was very special!

Lesson learned:  Clarity.  Do you ever feel like there is so much “noise” that you cannot think clearly to work through issues?  Simple and big issues I face and I can’t find ways to deal with them until I’m out on the trail.  Then everything is clear.  I have quiet time to actually think through the issue and even talk through some issues with my friend.  Many times, those thoughts and conversations are GREAT distractions during tough parts of the hike.  It’s like having your own personal counselor. I also take time to meditate and write when I retire into my tent at night.  It’s typically pretty early, but I don’t fall asleep for hours after.  I’ll listen to mindful, inspiring podcasts and write in my journal afterwards.  Something about having this time outdoors, listening to birds, babbling brooks, gentle breezes, it opens my mind and allows me to know very clearly how I’m going to resolve issues.

It’s outdoor adventures like these that really turn my life around!  I’m so grateful I get to be out in nature with friends, family, or by myself and really take advantage of these opportunities.  Not only do I physically feel stronger, but I feel mentally stronger from all I learned through connections and clarity.  And I know, with the right mindset, I can do and be anything I want for myself.  If you have the chance, get out there!”

Share-My-Story Series: Jasmine

Share-My-Story Series: Jasmine

Jasmine was our yoga instructor on the June Yoga Retreat. Jasmine came to the retreat ready to make friends and be a friend. She was full of life and kindness. Not only did we all love her teaching style but we also all loved her personality. She was such a light on the retreat and I will always be grateful she came.

“One of my favorite things about the retreat was getting to know other inspirational women. We were all so different and in different stages in life, but I felt like we were all cheering each other on.

Sometimes it’s easy to judge when we see each other from a distance on social media. It’s easy to compare, to put on a pedestal, or to criticize unfairly. When you are up close and personal with other women, you see we are all the same inside. We are all just doing our best to live this life, to speak our truth, and to make a difference in our own unique way.

As I hiked with different people, I heard different stories…different voices…but I realized we are all one. Unity does not mean sameness, unity means supporting others to be who they were meant to be.

I asked Brittany what motivated her to create “Get Out There Girl,” as I had not heard her story before. As soon as she answered, I knew she had the vision of unique women supporting each other that I had witnessed at the retreat. I knew that she knew how important it was to connect with each other, to connect with nature, and come back to the core truth that we are all in this together, and the fact that we are alone is just an illusion. Thank you, Brittany, for being willing to step out of your comfort zone and create a space (both digitally and physically) where women can experience growth and healing by forming connections with each other and with nature.”

“Share-My-Story” Series: Kim

“Share-My-Story” Series: Kim

I knew that the day would come when Brittany would ask me to share my story.  Honestly, I was super hesitant and did not want to because I had no clue where to even begin with “my story,” but I am a big people pleaser and advocate for getting out of your comfort zone, so here it is. I prefer not to be in the spotlight.  I tend to be a perfectionist and over analyze everything.  I try really hard to come across as a chill and go with the flow kind of girl (and I am in many aspects of my life) but when it comes to being vulnerable sharing something about myself, I would rather just run the other way.  I struggle with what people think of me more than I would like to admit and don’t want people to think I’m crazy.  I logically know these are self-defeating thoughts.  After all, I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and have heard many stories before and if anything, I feel more connected to a person when they are at their most vulnerable times in their life.  In fact, I honor it.  I admire it.  So why is it so difficult for me to do the same with others?  I’m human and have acknowledged that I struggle with fear and anxiety. 

Becoming a mother almost 12 years ago, really threw a curve ball at me.  When my oldest two were toddlers, I remember feeling like this would never end and my life was doomed to just cleaning up messes every. single. day.  I always knew that I really wanted to stay home with my kids to raise them and not have to work outside the home.  However, there were many days I wanted to just escape and run away.  I felt like I couldn’t breathe at times.  I do work from home teaching online courses which I thought was way harder for me since what would take me two hours working outside the home literally took me all day long.  I was so overwhelmed.  I knew some action had to be taken.  I finally decided to send them to daycare for a few hours a couple of times a week and I felt so guilty at first that I couldn’t just take on the world and had to ask for help.  Asking for help is definitely not my strong suit.  I knew that I needed this and my kids needed it too.  I became so stressed that I would be on edge all the time and yell at them way too much.  I even tried to work outside the home full-time a few years ago.  I really enjoyed some parts of it, but it was too much at the time.  I respect working moms so much.  Over the years, I have learned that self-compassion is so essential to life and especially in my role as a mother.  We are so quick to lay on the mom guilt that can become an overwhelming shame that lies deep within us.  I have been so grateful for women that have come into my life where I have been able to open up with and connect.  It has been a saving grace for me.  I am a strong, independent woman and often feel like I should be able to get through things on my own.  I quickly am reminded that it takes strength to ask for help and realize that you need other people in your life.  When I struggled through two miscarriages, great women beside me helped me through those difficult losses.  When I was losing my hair to an autoimmune disease, alopecia areata, so many friends were there for me.  I was fortunate to find out that I had celiac which keeps my alopecia at bay for now and I have my hair.  While I don’t like to be in the spotlight and center of attention, we all want to be seen.  I’m so grateful for good people that see me.  Bottom line, women need women. We are better together.  I know I would feel guilty at first when I would get together with my girlfriends and that it was taking away quality time with my husband and kids.  I have since learned that it is so essential for my emotional and mental health to give myself this gift to connect with other women.  This is where I can recharge and come back a stronger and better person, wife, and mother. 

I first heard about GOTG from a Facebook post that an old college friend Laura shared about the cowgirl retreat.  My curiosity peaked and I thought this sounds fun and at such an affordable price.  I went back and forth on it and finally told my husband and he told me to go ahead and just do it.  I then found myself signing up for it still not quite so sure about this.  I legitimately thought that it was possibly a scam.  I knew nothing about this company or group. I am super shy and reserved, but I am so glad that I went out of my comfort zone and went.  I really thought most girls there would really be like riding horses their whole life and I would feel so out of place.  While there were a few amazing riders, everyone there was so nice and never felt like I did not belong.  I love my time there being able to stretch myself in ways I haven’t before.  The snowmobile retreat was a similar experience and don’t regret going on either one.  These experiences have enriched my life. Thank you Brittany for all the good work you do and the amazing women I have met.  

Kim and her friend Laura hiking on the Cowgirl Retreat
Richards Hollow: Hyrum, UT

Richards Hollow: Hyrum, UT

Get Out There Girl was created to offer women the opportunity to connect with one another through adventure and feel compassion for themselves as a result. Hiking has become a valuable tool in helping accomplish that goal. In June we hiked the Richards Hollow trail in Blacksmith Canyon above Logan, Utah. The trail follows the path of a creek and 1.5 miles in reaches a waterfall that cascades down a rocky cliff.

We began the hike near a campground, and though it was popular that day, it was serene nonetheless. The sound of the water trickling down the mountain, the wildflowers bending in the breeze, and the tall trees shading us was exactly what we needed to truly enjoy the outdoors. The trail is narrow in some places but often wide enough for two of us to walk together and enjoy the company of a new friend.

As we climbed the mountain towards the waterfall we crossed the creek multiple times and enjoyed the cool water on our feet. Walking on fallen tree trunks and hopping rocks brought a bit of childish excitement to the hike. When women let go of the worry of looking silly and enjoying the moment we can be who we really are. Those carefree moments are imperative in connecting with other women as this too allows them to do the same. 

Richard’s Hollow Hike is the perfect place to get out and enjoy nature. The trail is rigorous enough to give you the feeling of accomplishment but easy enough to make it enjoyable for hikers of all levels. Plus taking pictures in a tepee and eating lunch at the bottom of a waterfall is the perfect way to enjoy a hot summer day.

https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/utah/herd-hollow-richards-hollow-loop-trail

Share-My-Story Series : Niki’s Story

Share-My-Story Series : Niki’s Story

This week Niki shares (in video format) how powerful connection is when we share our struggles with each other. She talks about how we don’t need to look like each other or have similar personalities in order to connect. We can connect through our vulnerability.

Niki is a licensed therapist and just a few weeks ago, at the June Yoga Retreat, she led our group in a workshop on Mind Body Bridging. Niki imparted her knowledge and tools in helping us bridge the gap between our emotions and our physical reactions to them. It was wonderful.

Thank you for sharing Niki! We are so grateful you were willing to put yourself out there and come on a retreat with us. We all learned valuable information from you that weekend.

You can learn more about Mind Body Bridging from Niki on her Website.

Share-My-Story Series : Niki’s Story

Share-My-Story Series : Niki’s Story

This week Niki shares (in video format) how powerful connection is when we share our struggles with each other. She talks about how we don’t need to look like each other or have similar personalities in order to connect. We can connect through our vulnerability.

Niki is a licensed therapist and just a few weeks ago, at the June Yoga Retreat, she led our group in a workshop on Mind Body Bridging. Niki imparted her knowledge and tools in helping us bridge the gap between our emotions and our physical reactions to them. It was wonderful.

Thank you for sharing Niki! We are so grateful you were willing to put yourself out there and come on a retreat with us. We all learned valuable information from you that weekend.

You can learn more about Mind Body Bridging from Niki on her Website.