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Wild Places Make You Earn It...

Dear Everyone:

We Repeat What We Don’t Repair. The number of times I’ve recited this fundamental truth can’t be quantified. It’s a mantra in my facilitation, my speaking, my teaching, and my coaching. The joy is in knowing that we can repair. We can repair harm. Even deep, intergenerational harm. Even self-inflicted harm. Especially self-inflicted harm. We can repair and restore. And - given time, intention, and effort - our wounds can be transformed to sources of tremendous strength and wisdom. After all, what is the alternative?

If we do not transform our pain, we most assuredly will transmit it…


I’m just back from a week in the Boundary Waters Wilderness. While every trip is an adventure, I went into this one also hoping for relaxation (and maybe a little rest). I found neither. If you want time off-grid in true wilderness (especially with your small humans) you’re gonna earn it. Wilderness makes you work – planning, packing, paddling, portaging – for the rewards. Wild places aren’t easy comfort, and that is exactly what makes the experience so powerful. There’s nothing quite like putting a 70lb, horribly imbalanced Duluth pack on your shoulders and setting off on the first of multiple, mile-long trips back and forth on a portage between lakes. Sloggy, slippery, buggy, and sometimes a bit treacherous, footing-wise. If the first pack feels heavy and hard, the third trip that first day (marking mile five) feels undoable. What I noticed, though, is that by the third day it didn’t feel so daunting. And by the sixth day, it was just routine. This was doubly true for the small people on the trip. What was new and hard and “how-much-further?-unending” on day one was, by the end of trip, no biggie. It isn’t that it became easy, or that we were suddenly much stronger and more able (I mean, it’s 6 days. If exercise worked that fast, I’d probably participate with greater enthusiasm…) What happened by the 6th day was we’d mentally adapted. We knew we could do it because we HAD done it. We knew the reward (lunch!) and recognized there was, indeed, an end to the struggle. Our psychological stamina increased. We stepped outside our comfort zone, stayed in the discomfort, and reaped the rewards of our efforts: Quiet. Solitude. Peace. Beauty. Star-filled night skies and mist off the water in the early morning.

Wilderness makes you work for it, and the week was a glorious reminder that there simply is no growth without discomfort. The same holds true for every area of our growth If we want to get better, we’re gonna work for it. There simply is no bypassing the hard stuff.


Most of my favorite coffee mugs are very sweary. I’ve learned to be careful with my hand placement during zoom meetings over the last year as, more than once, I’ve had someone lean forward and exclaim, “what does your cup SAY?!” {{Like a sailor on shore leave, my language and sense of humor.}} My most recent acquisition, though, makes a less profane but equally impactful statement:

Your Comfort Zone Will Kill You.


Building muscle – be it physical, mental, emotional, social, or spiritual – requires we step out of comfort. And muscle that is being stretched and strengthened also requires periods of restoration and support. We need both/and: Both work and play Both hardship and rest Both losses and gains Both solitude and community My time in the wilderness wasn’t restful, but it WAS restorative. There is nothing quite like time off the grid – disconnected from our phones, media, and the unceasing chatter – to downregulate the nervous system and reset priorities.


Whatever your plans for the remaining glorious weeks of summer, I strongly encourage some prolonged time disconnected from the incessant noise and unending electronic intrusion. It allows for full engagement with self, each other, and space for recalibration of priorities. I hope you make time to connect with someone you love this week. Make space for the things that restore your spirit. Laugh and play.

If you haven't already, please vaccinate. And yes, #Hydrate. More soon, Dr. K p.s. No. I did not, in fact, encounter a Face-Eating Bear (nor a regular bear!). Thank you to all who reached out and inquired...

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