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Motivational Monday - REI's "Adventure in Real Life"

by Cory Dudley

 

"My plan never included this many roadblocks. But maybe the only difference between 'roadblock' and 'adventure' was my perspective..."

 

Life often doesn't go quite as planned. In fact, many of us are familiar with the old saying, "The only constant in life is change." Depending on the day and your mood when such change strikes, it can be difficult to embrace it fully for the adventure that it is! REI's short film "Adventure in Real Life" touches on the importance of changing perspective in order to appreciate experiences as they come; for better or for worse.

 

(Video Credit: REI)

 

"Slowly I discovered that nature was all the more beautiful because of the unplanned and the unexpected."

 

 

"I guess life is like that; full of setbacks and roadblocks. But when we love something enough, we can turn any obstacle into an Odyssey. The truth is, life isn't going to go as planned... The only question is will you choose to call it an adventure?"

 

Nothing forces someone to embrace a humble attitude like a tough challenge. You're bound to become kinder and more sympathetic to others and their own obstacles, too. Embracing your failures will better prepare you for your next great adventure, and remind you that you are indeed human. 

 

The most efficient use of your mental and emotional energy is to focus on yourself first; what do you think of your efforts? How do you prioritize personal growth? What makes you truly happy? What makes you feel accomplished? While the validation of others can be a temporary relief, your own validation will provide long term satisfaction in any situation.

 

 

 

Green Thumb Guidance - Outdoor Living for Any Season

by Cory Dudley

 

 

 

Here in Colorado, as we already know this fall, it can be 75℉ one day and 25℉ the next.  We can get more than 300 days of sunshine during the year and it’s important to take full advantage of the weather no matter what season.  Here are a few tips to make your outdoor living space cozy and enjoyable any time of the year.

 

Warmth

The biggest factor if you will go outside and use your patio will be, is it warm enough?  Provide a fire pit (built-in or moveable) for your family and guests to huddle around.  Fire places can also be a great spot for a cozy outdoor couch to make it really feel like an outdoor living room.  You can also purchase portable outdoor heaters that can be placed in the specific locations on your patio.  Another option can be heaters that are mounted on a pergola or enclosed patio to give you warmth without the fire.

 

 

Lighting

 

Adding a little of bit of ambiance will really invite you and your guest outdoors when nights become longer.  Place a few path lights along your front entry but also along your back patio to help guide your guests.  Uplight your evergreen trees or place uplights on a wall to soften your landscape.  Cafe lights strung from your pergola or trees can add a playful look as well.  Be sure to not light up your entire backyard so you can still see the night sky but a few here and there will help light the way to your outdoor space.

 

 

 

Furniture

Outdoor furniture can be just as important as your couch inside. Your family will end up spending a lot of time lounging outside if you have something comfy to sit or lay on.  Also, it’s a great time to set up a nice dining table for family dinners or even a Thanksgiving dinner in the brisk fall air.  Places like Christy Sports, Fruehauf’s or All Backyard Fun have a wide selection of outdoor patio sets.

 

Comfort

As with any space you use, you want it to be inviting and comfortable.  Add blankets, pillows and warm drinks as you lounge outside in the sunshine.  Though the air is brisk, it’s a great time to soak in some vitamin D and relax.  Outdoor speakers could also be nice to add soft music on your patio.

 

Grill or Outdoor Kitchen

Cooking outdoors isn’t just for summer barbeques anymore.  Gas grills and outdoor kitchens make it really easy to light up the grill for any weekday dinner.  It is also nice to be able to be with your guest in your outdoor living room while you are cooking.  These built in kitchens can complement your home and really add value to your property and be something you can always use no matter the weather.

 

 

Swim Spa or Hot Tub

 

There is a reason hot tubs are so popular year round - they are warm and relaxing.  Whether you are the only one soaking or you have invited all your friends, a hot tub is a warm way of enjoying your backyard any time of the year.  If you are looking for something a bit bigger consider a swim spa for soaking or exercising. 

 

 

 

 

Enclosure

 

If you really want to make your outdoor living space feel cozy, add a pergola or covered patio.  This will add shade, protection from the rain or snow and make it feel like your very own outdoor living room.  

 

 

 

 

Bring the Fun

 

Set up some backyard ladder golf, cornhole or bocce ball for your guests to enjoy in the cool fall air.  You can also mount a T.V. under a shade structure to watch Sunday football with friends.  Host a movie night to watch your favorite films on a projector screen or wall while you lounge on the patio furniture or lay on a blanket in the grass.

 

 

 

Garden

Your garden doesn’t have to look grey and dull all season.  Make sure you plant trees, shrubs and perennials that have winter interest for color and texture.  Evergreens will add rich greens, while grasses can sway in the wind.  Add chrysanthemums for a pop of color in the fall with pansies and ornamental kale as annuals.

 

Celebrate

Take advantage of the sunshine and carve pumpkins outside in the fallen leaves.  Decorate your home with pumpkins, squash and corn stalks.  Host a holiday party that is both indoors and outdoors so your guests can use the fire pit and outdoor kitchen.

 

 

Kristen Whitehead, owner of Helios Landscape Design, writes featured blog posts for our monthly newsletter on everything plant-related! She's happy to guide you in your next garden design effort.

 

 

Rocky Mountain National Park Series - Stay Curious Video Series

by Cory Dudley

 

 

"I think that's what I like the best is understanding more about how things work, and what's living there, and how it interacts with all the other organisms in that system."

- Erin Borgman 

 

The National Park Service's video series, Stay Curious, most recently selected and interviewed one of Rocky Mountain National Park's very own. Erin Borgman is an NPS Ecologist and Field Coordinator with the Rocky Mountain Inventory and Monitoring Division. In short, her job is to keep a close eye on the vital signs and overall 'health' of important streams and rivers within the park. These bodies of water are the most important resource to the park's habitat and wildlife inhabitants, making her mission a crucial one! 

 

Check out the video below to learn how Erin began down the path of Ecology sciences and the advice she has for anyone else trying to discover their place in the world around them. 

 

 

 

 

"Love creates a communion with life. Love expands us, connects us, sweetens us, ennobles us.

Love springs up in tender concern, it blossoms into caring action. It makes beauty out of all we touch. In any moment we can step beyond our small self and embrace each other as beloved parts of a whole."

- Jack Kornfield 

 

 

We know all too well that the world can be a scary, overwhelming and confusing place; and lately there seems to be a lot going on. Between natural disasters and acts of violence, headlines are dreaded and draining before the day has even begun. Despite the darkness during challenging times, there is something else going on that's worth noting. 

People are donating their time and resources to charities and various efforts of all kinds. They're giving all that they can, however they can. It's during the darkest times that humanity can shine the brightest! That light is putting love and kindness into action, and we're all capable of putting this energy into practice. 

Beyond becoming involved in your community and in charities that speak to you, inward reflection is an essential aspect of processing tragic events that are beyond our control. Truth be told, the majority of us can only control how we react to such things. A simple meditation practice can cultivate the love & kindness that is so important following disasters, and can even be done in spare moments throughout your daily life.

 

 

Loving Kindness Meditation

 

Begin by finding a quiet or special space where you feel comfortable and relaxed. Take deep breaths for a few minutes, focusing on a soft heart and releasing all plans and precautions. First, recite the below phrases inwardly and focus on your own well-being. 

May I be filled with loving kindness.

May I be safe for inner and outer dangers.

May I be well in body and mind. 

May I be at ease and happy. 

While repeating the phrases, allow images to come and go naturally, and focus on allowing the feelings to fully permeate your body & mind.

 

When you are feeling a strong sense of self love, you can then feel confident in expanding the meditation to include others in your own social circles, then your community, and finally, humanity as a whole. Repeat the same phrases as above, but imagine sending the feelings outwards to others. 

May you be filled with loving kindness. 

May you be safe for inner and outer dangers.

May you be well in body and mind.

May you be at ease and happy.

 

Local Longmont Ballot Issues

by Cory Dudley

 

There are 3 ballot issues that have been approved by the Longmont City Council for inclusion in the 2017 election. Before it's time to cast your vote, get the 4-1-1 on each issue and make a truly informed decision.

 

No matter what your stance, be sure you participate on Election Day, November 7th!

 

Water Storage Bond - Ballot Question 2J

 

 

What is it all about? The City of Longmont is requesting the issuance of bonds to fund construction of a water supply reservoir for Longmont's use.

 

Why? Currently, Longmont is one of several cities that have water rights in the Windy Gap Project; water diverted from the Colorado River that is at this time held in Lake Granby. During wet periods when the lake is full, there's nowhere to store the excess water! The goal is to have additional storage space during wet periods, and a surplus available during dry times.

 

How will it be built, and where? Construction and management of the project will be managed by the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District on behalf of 12 different participants. The reservoir would be built just west of Carter Lake and would be approximately the same size (90,000 acre feet). 

 

What would this cost residents? The proposal is to increase water rates by 13% in 2018 and 10% in 2019. For example, if someone's water bill is currently $36.07, it would instead cost $37.39. 

 

Arguments FOR....

* Significant opportunity for Longmont to secure both the current and future water supply for the city

* Bond financing has initially lower user rates than if cash were used to fund this project

* Costs are more equitably distributed among current and future Longmont residents 

* Continued contributions will come from fees paid on building permits

​​

Arguments AGAINST....

* Longmont doesn't have a need for this much water now or in the future 

* Alternative funding sources should be involved rather than the city itself 

* There are other options available out there to address the issue of city water

 

 

Public Safety Tax - Ballot Question 2H

 

 

What is it all about? Did you know that the Longmont community has grown by over 10,000 people in the past 10 years? As a result, the City is asking voters to approve an increase in the public safety tax. 

 

What effect does the growth in our community have, from a public safety perspective? Some of the most obvious effects are recorded increases in service calls, violent crime (increased by 20%), traffic volume, accidents and traffic-related fatalities, and computer fraud and technology-related crimes. 

 

What would the increased tax be used for? It will be used to hire more police officers, dispatchers, firefights and necessary support staff, as well as all the equipment and facilities needed to provide public safety services.

 

What would this cost residents? The increase to 0.255% is approximately 2.55 cents for every $10 spent on taxable goods. 

 

Arguments FOR...

* This tax increase is necessary to properly align police and fire services with the safety needs of Longmont

* In order to better address 9-1-1 demands, emergency dispatchers must be properly supported

* Longmont is currently behind the ball on providing these critical services to the community, despite its undeniable growth

 

Arguments AGAINST...

* Shouldn't the growth within the community pay it's own way for increased needs?

* It's the duty of the city to prioritize city services as needed, not simply increase taxes

 

 

Marijuana Tax - Ballot Issue 21

 

 

What is this all about? This particular issue is two-fold. 1.) The city council is considering allowing 4 retail marijuana stores within Longmont city limits and 2.) Put in place an additional tax on the sales in said stores.

 

Are you saying that all residents will pay this tax? NO. Only people who purchase trail marijuana within Longmont city limits will pay this tax! 

 

How much would the tax be? 3%, or 3 cents per dollar spent on marijuana products. 

 

What would the proceeds be used for? Half of the tax collected will likely be used for various expenses related to the retail marijuana sales; licensing, inspections and public safety services. The other half will be used to fund affordable housing. 

 

Arguments FOR... 

* An additional cost will be incurred by allowing retail marijuana stores to open shop within the city limits, and an additional tax will be necessary to support that

* Tax revenue will be used for affordable housing

* There is an opportunity to collect revenue from other Colorado residents surrounding Longmont from other communities in which retail marijuana sales are prohibited

* Currently, Longmont is losing out on revenue collection because Longmont residents are traveling to nearby Boulder, Lafayette and Louisville and contributing taxes to those communities instead

 

Arguments AGAINST...

* There is no clear use guarantee that the funds will go directly to affordable housing

* Other communities along the Front Range have lower tax rates than this proposal, meaning Longmont won't be able to compete anyway

* Additional taxes specifically target marijuana users to pay for city services, and why should marjiuana use be taxed any differently than clothes, food and other products?

 

Rocky Mountain National Park Series - Park Closures for Elk Protection

by Cory Dudley

 

Closures to protect the elk during the annual bugling season are currently in effect throughout Rocky Mountain National Park. Horseshoe Park, Upper Beaver Meadows, Moraine Park, Harbison Meadow and Holzwarth Meadow will all be closed through October 31st. In addition, fishing in the Fall River, Thompson River or Colorado River during the closure period is prohibited.

 

"The purpose of the closures is to prevent disturbance and harassment of elk during their fall mating period and to enhance visitor elk viewing opportunities," states Kyle Patterson, park spokeswoman.


 

The park reminds visitors that elk calling, shining headlights for better nighttime visibility and generally harassing the elk is not only prohibited but dangerous. The majority of issues are caused by people directly who get too closely to the elk, or "elk jams" due to so many viewers parked alongside the roads. 

 

In order to enjoy the rutting season and visits to the mountains responsibly, maintain your distance! 

 

 

Motivational Monday - 'Where We Belong'

by Cory Dudley

 

 

"When the day is full of potential, being lazy isn't a consideration.."

 

Throughout human history, people have gone out into nature in search of self discovery, connectedness and transformation. At times when we're feeling most unsure of ourselves and our place in the world, venturing into the wilderness can provide clarity and motivation. In a day and age when we're bombarded with technology, constant bustle and triggering stresses, removing yourself from your immediate environment can reveal the potential for seeing yourself elsewhere in the world. 

 

Someone's perception may shift along with a new vast and calming landscape....

Nature may initiate change help you to abandon your obsession over problematic frames of mind. Through that clarity, unexpected solutions will begin to form....

Mental static will melt away and the attachment to your version of reality will in turn begin to loosen, becoming fluid and neutral... 

 

 

Join 5 women as they traverse from Daniels Lake to Skwawka Lake in British Columbia. Along the way they discover that the wilderness truly is where they belong, despite the doubts that everyday life can instill. Though they were each hesitant to make such a trek solo, collectively their knowledge and spirit lifted them all up to greater heights. 

 

(Video Credit: Arc'teryx) 

 

"We're walking on the back of history and then it invites us in... We listen to it breathing. What we do is keep moving; we make a decision, we go. This is our real life. This is where we belong."

 

Nature invites us to open into awareness and discover where we belong - when will you answer the call? 

 

Rocky Mountain National Park Series - Finding Fall Colors This Weekend

by Cory Dudley

 

Beginning in late August each year, the aspens in the highest parts of Rocky Mountain National Park embark on their annual transition of 'quaking'; a term use to describe the leave's behavior in the breeze and unique color changing process from green to brilliant golden yellows, oranges and reds. 

 

(Video Credit: Colette Bordelon

 

If you have yet to visit the park during the fall, you must add it to your to-do list! The hues painting the mountainside change with each passing day until mid to late September, accompanied by the elk's rutting season and migration down from the high country. Tourists, photographers and nearly everyone else believes the park is in it's prime during this time of year, though there are certain spots that are recommended above others if you're chasing colors....

 

Hidden Valley

Far from hidden, this popular spot is a favorite among wildlife enthusiasts as a place where elk gather in large numbers, backdropped by fiery colors. There are numerous viewing spots along US 34 on the SE facing hillsides. Have your cameras ready! Elk show up with little warning and you may miss the ideal opportunity if you're not prepared...

 

 

Glacier Gorge Trail

All the way up to Alberta Falls on Glacier Gorge Trail, you'll be snapping pictures and looking on in awe; this hike is a beautiful one. Aspens line the path and fallen leaves float along the creek, welcoming you with a flurry of color. 

 

Bear Lake Road

This road runs parallel to the Glacier Creek and is worth the time it may take to travel all the way to the end. You'll begin at Moraine Park and will want to pull off the road any chance you get because every turn will offer a new and interesting view! If you'd prefer to hike or relax at an overlook, there are many opportunities along the way for that as well. 

 

 

Twin Sisters

Because the trail head is located just outside of the park's boundary (approximately 6 miles from Estes Park), this hike is a favorite for those who prefer a more secluded experience. If you've brought your camera along, be sure to get an early start to the day for the best lighting. 

 

Fairview Curve

About 10,000 feet up on Trail Ridge Road you'll find the Fair Curve and spectacular views of the Mummy Range up to the north. You will have driven through the Kawuneeche Valley to reach this spot, so you can now appreciate the valley's color from above! 

 

 

Kawuneeche Valley

Argued by some as the most beautiful place in the park to photograph, you'll drive through 10 miles of Kawuneeche Valley along Trail Ridge Road between Grand Lake and the Timber Lake trail head. Give yourself ample time for stops on this route because it tends to be more lovely than one expects. 

 

Motivational Monday - Break Free of Your Comfort Zone

by Cory Dudley

 


 

"One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again..."

Abraham Maslow

 

Countless people operate day to day within their comfort zone; a silent but common ailment. The longer someone stays within it's confines, the less happy they tend to be. Stepping beyond the boundaries of what's familiar is essential to finding happiness, accomplishing goals and discovering your true passions in life. So why do so many of us choose to stay there if it's slowly draining us?

Big changes take lots of energy. Everything in life takes energy, which can be translated into motivation. If we lack the motivation necessary to make big life changes, we as humans find reasons to remain in a state of stasis; after all, stepping beyond our current circumstances could end up being uncomfortable and even scary! 

But if you do not journey past all that you know, you're deliberately robbing yourself of 3 beautiful things life has to offer on the other side....

 

 

You are not growing

Shawn Achor, a positivity psychologist and author, states that happiness is "the joy you feel moving towards your potential.

We've all heard the saying that if you aren't growing and moving forward, you're really slipping backwards. Progress is a key ingredient to happiness in life! As long as you remain within your comfort zone, you're not growing because you're making no movement towards progress or growth. Remember, growth is about becoming more than you currently are and without experiencing all that is outside of you, you'll never get there. 

 

You're not out there trying new things

What are you passionate about? The luckiest of us discover what we love doing early on in life, and we're able to follow our hearts as we spend our lives mastering the art of it. But if you're anything like the majority of people, you spend the first two or three decades of life searching and testing and wondering what it is that our hearts desire.... And that's only if you're diving into one thing after another, and constantly trying new things.

Your comfort zone isn't about getting out there, challenging yourself and discovering. In fact, you'll rarely try anything new and if you do, it's typically not of your own free will. 

 

You're becoming comfortable with settling 

The worst fate of all! We all know those people that had a dream straight out of college and then life happened. They settled for a life that was good enough without being too much; they decided to remain comfortable and unchallenged versus chasing tirelessly after their passions. 

And this situation alone isn't the worst of it. If you become conditioned to settle in general, you will fail at recognizing prime opportunities that come along throughout life. You'll reject them out of the fear of leaving what you've always known. 

 

 

Don't worry - there is still hope! Anyone and everyone can expand their comfort zones and even wander beyond them in a healthy and enjoyable way. The real trick to beating is to make feeling uncomfortable a conscious and constant habit. The more you do it, the less resistance you'll experience to the feeling itself and to the actions associated with it. 

The old adage 'one step at a time' truly comes into play here. That first step is the most essential because it's the only one where we're facing our fears directly. Second and third steps are significantly less terrifying, and before you know it you're running from your comfort zone with a smile on your face. The next time around will be that much easier, as your confidence builds.

 

Here are 3 things you can do to develop the self confidence and strength necessary to step outside your comfort zone regularly...

 

 

1.) Make a list of your procrastinations

What are all of the things that you've been putting off and continue to put off? Try to think of everything, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, that you've been procrastinating on for a few weeks or more. 

 

2.) Start checking off things from that list, beginning with the smallest

Don't go chasing the whales on your list; begin with the small fish and work your way up. It's essential that you take that first step and experience success as quickly as possible. 

 

3.) Continue moving forward 

It's all about momentum from here. Continue moving forward by stepping further and further from your comfort zone until you feel ready to tackle whatever comes your way!

 

Your resolve is a muscle - the more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. Before you know it, spending substantial amounts of time beyond your comfort zone will become the new norm. 

 

 

Motivational Monday - Embracing Solitude

by Cory Dudley

 

A man can be himself only so long as he is alone, and if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom, for it is only when he is alone that he is really free.

Arthur Schopenhauer

 

Though we have all relied on our social connections with one another to advance as humans, time spent alone is crucial to our well-being - and is often put on the back burner. In a world that is constantly moving, loud, changing and demanding, we can easily become drained and robbed of creative energies and clarity if we aren't careful. 

 

Unfortunately for many of us, loving solitude doesn't come naturally! It can take a lot of practice and patience in order to become comfortable on our own, but once we do, the benefits are undeniable. Solitude allows you to reconnect with yourself and your truest desires without the expectations and distraction of others. It can also stoke the fires of creativity by allowing a safe space to explore ideas and feelings freely. Most of all, it can clear your mind of stress and bring about calmness and clarity. Inner peace is perhaps the most important benefit of embracing solitude. 

 

 

Here are some of the most productive ways to spend time alone:

 

1.) Create a personal space in your home that is dedicated to you and only you. Whether it's a corner of a room, an entire room or the whole house, make everything about it appealing to you. Decorate in a way that is welcoming and inspiring, and set aside time to be in that environment regularly. 

 

2.) Make a goal to become expert in something completely different & new. Research states that it takes 10,000 hours of dedicated focus on something to become an expert - what better time to get started than now? 

 

3.) Prioritize 'me time'. It's perfectly healthy to carve out blocks of time in day to day life just for oneself. Doing something that relives stress and calms worries will spill over into other areas of life, too! 

 

4.) Start keeping a journal. Being alone offers time to explore our innermost feelings, desires, fears, hopes, worries and ideas. Keeping all that down in one place allows you to revisit past moments for inspiration. 

 

5.) Learn how to cat nap! As every busy adult knows, naps are a luxury that we should be accepting whenever they come our way. But wouldn't it be nice to fit a short nap into your schedule a few times a week? By napping now and then, you will experience much needed respite from daily stresses on both your mind and body. 

 

 

6.) Work on your confidence by doing an activity that you would normally only do with others. This could mean you hit the slopes for a solo session, or jam out on your guitar all alone. No matter what it is, the extra practice and focus you give to the task itself will result in increased skill next time you meet up with your friends! 

 


 

7.) Pursue learning more within your occupation beyond the proximity of others. Only if you genuinely enjoy your career, that is! It can be very fulfilling to further yourself without the confines that your employer or office guidelines dictate. 

 

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