Words From Friends

A large envelope arrived in the mail before I set out on this voyage. The return address was from friends in Montana, a group of awesome women I had worked with for many years while I was at Outward Bound. Inside I found a set of pink envelopes with different instructions on each.

One said, “For when you need a bit of a boost.” Another, “For when you are not sure what to do.” A third said, “For when you are really bored,” and there were a few others. I immediately knew what these were, a version of the high/ low game we would play with students on expeditions. What fun to have these to take with!


Often the instructors on an Outward Bound course in Minnesota would give the group two small packages and tell them that one was to be opened at the “highest high” point of the trip, and the other was for during the “lowest low.” Typically there would be some kind of treat inside, maybe chocolate or something fun, and some encouraging words to help the group keep going. But the outside was opaque, making the contents a mystery until opened. This was a great way to get the group talking about how things were really going for them. They would often bring it up at some point during the day. “This has been a good day, should we open one of those packages?” Lively debate would usually ensue as to if it was indeed the right time.

Now I have been playing the same game with myself: Is this truly a moment for celebration? Has this been a really tough day, or just a kinda tough day? How bored am I really...

It is wonderful to have these cards. They make me step back and consider any moment or day within the larger context of the expedition. This has been a tough trip, with plenty of ups and downs both mentally and physically, moments of doubt, and victories large and small. I am grateful to have had a few pink envelopes next to my journal, asking me each night to consider how things truly are. It is like having a great group of friends along to cheer me on and help me think things through.

And besides: it is just plain fun!  =)


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