Inspiration Comes in the Stinkiest of Places

I’m alone in the house, surrounded by sleepy animals, my husband is at work at 7pm on a Tuesday night. Dinner is simmering on the stove, will be ready when he gets home. We are mostly unpacked, clean sheets on the bed await us tonight. The rains followed us home and as the drops hit the door and the winds bend the trees outside, I’m taking a moment to reflect on our trip, and the bigger picture of it all.

My mantra for this trip, as I told Molly before we left, was “Grateful Not Hateful.” It’s been a struggle. Work. Everyone’s work has been a struggle. Mark and I feel like once we finished our whirlwind first part of the year, we spent the middle part being exhausted and just trying to find some routine.

SO. In light of that, I was seeking some refueling, some refocusing, and a reset on living. I had become disconnected over the last few months, and the hateful was more likely to rise to the top that the grateful. Seeing it, knowing it doesn’t make it less of an actual thing. So I was seeking something on this trip to ground me back to me. I knew we would have lots of car time, dashboard beauty guiding us. I knew there would be wonderful music. I knew there would be a day for me to just be still. Surrounding myself with those that I care for, those that have similar authentic outlooks on this world, was going to be the added bonus of the trip.

Once again, the weather had a different idea. Living outdoors in rain is hard. It is dirty, and cold and the wet gets into your bones and lasts for days it seems. I was reminded of another time when we were tested and the great stories and beauty and love that came out of that experience once we all blessed it and leaned into it. 

There was a moment, several in fact, when walking up that hill in my Keene sandals that were rubbing harshly on my feet, could have been the thing that broke me. When my cold feet and inability to freaking pack properly for anything Colorado/Outdoor/Festival related were about to snap me in half.

My voices were loud.

With each step, with each pre-blister I heard, “you’re fat. you’re out of shape. you need makeup. how did you let yourself get this way.”

Loud and mean.

There were moments when it was really my own struggle not to snap at loved ones, not to bitch at Mark, not to feel like this trip was being ruined by the rain and take it out on just everyone with my mean girl voices.

And then I went right back to that blog post I wrote after Harvest, and the sermon I had just heard somewhere, maybe Oprah, (I know. I can’t even, either.) And it was loaves and fishes and how at first there were only a small few of these items and so many hungry people to feed. Instead of bemoaning the lack of support provided, the men gave thanks. They gave thanks for that which was not enough.

And it became enough.

You’ll laugh when I tell you the thought hit me as I was taking my turn in a porta pottie. Because life is never more real than when you’re hovering over a vault of other people’s poo, keeping your knees taut so that your pants don’t fall down and touch the muddy mess on the floor and trying to make sure you use enough of the most sheer, practically see through toilet paper ever made.

And I laughed. And I gave thanks for that which was absolutely not what we had in mind as we drove to the mountains.  And I wept as we sat under the tent on a gorgeous, dry brilliantly sunny Sunday morning and listened to The Sibley’s speak to us about joy, and love and told us not to believe the news, that people are actually good. And as I looked around at the faces of our song circle on that final, beautiful, clear, star-filled night I saw faces and heard music that filled my soul. Faces like Mark and Rhonda, who we didn’t even know until three years ago. Faces like Nikki, who we see here in Norman, but who bravely joined her first song circle and played like a boss. New faces like Matt and Emily, who I felt instant and authentic connection with. Their relationship and banter and sense of humor are already a mainstay in our group. We quote them and laugh and I didn’t even know they existed on Thursday. We met new neighbors Clark like on Vacation and Mike like Suzy’s brother and they came and sat with us and talked and shared coffee and the fire.

As we were packing up yesterday morning, Mark said, “We keep making real friends on this mountain, don’t we?”

Yes. Yes we do.


I don’t actually dread work tomorrow. Not because I’m excited that vacation is over,  but because this weekend I was reminded that there is so much more to life than a job, and I remembered how to lean into that which doesn’t at first appear to be enough.


4 thoughts on “Inspiration Comes in the Stinkiest of Places

  1. So glad you found that reset/reconnect button and some joy. It isn’t just you – we all those points of miserable and hateful and we all need a reset.


  2. It was so perfect in it’s imperfection. We innovated. We laughed. We cried. We were friended and we befriended. We celebrated the life we have. We dreamed of the lives we want. We lamented…oh lordy, we lamented all that rain. All that rain that made us so grateful for the Sunday Sibley refreshing.

    Misti, I was so glad to have spent that time refreshing with you. Thank you for being the best example of how to open up and let it all in.

    I generally get angry on the way back from Colorado. The temperature goes up all day and into the night. There are no mountains to frame the sun on it’s way up and down. The sky just isn’t the same deep blue… But this time I came home with a sense of purpose and it wasn’t work. It was with a purpose to live life fully and meaningfully and with joy and dreams. Those Sibley’s and all their wisdom!


  3. Every time we traveled to New Mexico or Colorado, I made a friend in one of the campsites and we would be pen pales for a while. It’s just what that place does. It brings people together. Glad you were able to salvage this trip.


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