Lessons in The Goat: Part 6 – Our Collaborative Book Project, a sample.

Inspired by our time in The Goat (our beloved camper-van), the finale of our six-part series brings you a sample of our collaborative book project, which involves three components for each day of the year: a daily photograph, a natural elemental focus, and around 300 words of meditative wisdom.

The Goat, at Desert View Campground, Grand Canyon

The four natural elements become our guides for balancing your wellness and growth. Here is a limited example of the topics each element represents:

Earth: Body

Health, Self-care, sustainable lifestyle, addiction, planet, wilderness, boundaries, loss and change, the workplace, employment, finance, the home and diet, rituals, community, family, safety, the herd.

Air: Mind

Progress, history, philosophy, recovery, mental illness, knowledge, civilization, intellect, government, law, cultural values, words.

Fire: Desire

The will to live, peace, truce, war, sex, personal goals, relationships, grief, art, love, travel, empowerment, change, and impermanence.

Water: Emotion

Balance, emotional maturity, emotional health, facing fear, grief and loss, hope, joy, resentment, regret, revenge, rage, martyrdom, heroics, pride and perception.

How it works…

Dayhike Photography is Bob’s landscape photography business, which truly compliments our goal, to bring readers daily visual beauty, thus reminding us of the glorious world in which we live. With collaborative discussions and a collective review, Isa Glade, (me) a writer, freelance editor and writing coach, then largely creates written content: personal experiences, quotes from expert sources, and suggested inspired actions. We will both contribute to each other’s parts as well.

Here is a preview of the book:

Water 🜄  June 1. Emotional Maturity

Graves Creek, Thompson Falls, Montana

I know I made a lot of mistakes because I was so emotionally immature. I spent many years avoiding my feelings, with addictions and denial, bravado, and contempt. I think I was emotionally 30 years old when I hit a physical 50. I sought a therapist to guide me, and I was very selective and patient this time. I finally settled on my fourth choice of therapists for the next two years. Before that, I was this physical adult walking the earth, a professional woman, and relatively intelligent, but with the emotions of a fourteen-year-old. 

Emotional immaturity can be the result of insecure attachments during early life experiences, trauma, untreated addiction or mental health problems, and/or lack of deeper introspection or work on oneself. It can manifest as self-centeredness, narcissism, and poor management of conflict (Psychology Today 2021).

Inspired Action Each evening, whenever possible, take an inventory of your emotional day. Consider what it was that generated feelings and identify those emotions. The four base emotions are fear, sadness, anger, and joy. It is likely you felt each of these to some degree today. Acknowledging your identified emotions is the first step toward knowing yourself as a curious observer and an insightful, mature adult. Try to not judge your emotions. Notice which feelings you resist. Notice which feelings you might distort for the sake of comfort? Try to allow all of them, and try to keep them right-sized. Feelings, in and of themselves, are not bad. They signal us to a truth we choose to believe. But denying emotions allows the emotions to control us underneath the surface. Think of emotions as a window into your values, beliefs, and experiences. Honor your emotional world.

Earth 🜃 June 2.  Take Four Minutes

As far back as I can recall, I have been a tight bundle of raw nerves, forever seeking solace from my relentless and vibrating body. Ulcers, welts on my skin, jaw pain, grinding teeth, knots in my shoulders, intolerance, and hypersensitivity. It is genetic for me. And the modern world only keeps it that way. Therefore, I have come to know what helps and what, eventually, only makes it worse.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health concern in the United States. Over 40 million adults in the U.S. (19.1%) have a diagnosed anxiety disorder. Most people develop symptoms before age 21(National Alliance on Mental Illness).

Mission Mountains from Dixon, Montana

Like a live wire, anxious people must take measures to ground themselves, in order to avoid further undue harm to themselves or others. The great news is, there are many ways to alleviate anxiety, in addition to seeking professional help. 

Inspired Action  Today, as early on as possible or more than once, take four minutes for yourself, to get centered, to get grounded. Some really effective 4-minute options are here:
  • Drink an entire glass of water, slowly. Sit with your water cupped in your hands and drink a portion at a time in silence, with no distractions and no urgency.
  • Stand outside with your bare feet on the ground, or in snowy conditions touch your indoor plants. Imagine the earth absorbing your excessive nervous energy, and returning a clean and vibrant source of calm to your body. 
  • While sitting up straight, breathe deeply for four to five breaths, then breathe normally for the remainder of the four minutes. If you feel anxiety return, take another few deeper breaths.
  • While facing a window, imagine smiling softly at each of the things that worry you or wear on you. Internally invite the monsters to tea.

Try one or more of these each day for just four minutes, and notice if your resilience improves.

Fire  🜂  June 3. What Size is Your Flame?

My parents never tempered themselves. They ran impulsively from one passion to the next, from one home, one job, and one hobby to the next, from one lover to the next, and all their children had to keep up.  It is no surprise that we, their children, became replicas of them, unable to stop the inertia within. 

There is a line between passion and obsession. 

Sunset from St. Regis, Montana

The difference is with harmonious passion you know that you have control over whether or not you participate in the activity and choose to incorporate it into your life every day. Instead of overtaking the entirety of one’s life, it can exist and interact with all other aspects of a person’s life harmoniously. So someone who is really passionate about making music can still go to work every day, go to the grocery store, spend time with family, but then come home and play music for a few hours. If it was obsessive passion, the person would often feel the compulsion to engage in making music instead of doing all of those other things. When we’re obsessed with something, that thing cannot interact with any other aspect of our life harmoniously (Vallarand 2008).

Inspired Action  If your passion is taking over your life, your job, your family, your health, or your finances, perhaps it is time to take stock of its distortion.

Consider which way your passions lean – in harmony with other aspects of your life, or obsessively neglecting those other aspects?  There is a chance that obsessing is a form of avoidance. What other things are you avoiding by your over-involvement with this one thing? Take time to list all of the parts of your life that are important, even if you currently feel out of balance. Have a conversation with people you trust and ask them what they observe. 

We want to find a way to get at our passions without those fires burning the whole thing down.

Air 🜁 June 4.  Our Language Mirrors the Way We Think

I notice that my friend apologizes for almost everything. The words, “I’m sorry,” seem to be a go-to phrase for how she navigates the world. She must have learned that being sorry will earn her approval from others. I feel sad that she is always so sorry for just being in the room, or for being so pretty, or for choosing to say no, or for being the smart and capable woman she is meant to be. 

Northern Lights from Paradise, Montana

The words we use habitually truly mean something. The way we speak to others, the way we speak to ourselves, and the way we speak about ideas are all a reflection, a measurement of our values. 

“The words you use affect and are influenced by how you feel. Your feelings affect and are influenced by how you think. Your thinking affects, and in turn is influenced by what you do (or don’t do), and how you do things – your behavior. And of course what you do and how you do something has an inevitable effect on what you achieve, on the results you get, on your success” (Sudhaker, 2018).

Inspired Action. Choose three words or a sentence that describes your internal strengths with positive value. It might be something like, I am funny, and I am a good listener. Or perhaps, I am reliable, creative, and open to learning. Avoid focusing on external strengths like appearance, or in comparison to others. If you find this difficult, ask someone you trust for help.

This is your daily mantra. Say it out loud whenever you can. Saying it out loud has a stronger impact than silently. Write it down and read it. Whisper it to yourself often. The more you do this, the more normalized it becomes to think of yourself with esteem and self-respect. This is how we train our brains to use language for our benefit. When a new thought is embedded, choose another positive mantra.  

We hope you enjoyed this sample of our daily meditation book; as we continue our North American travels, we hope to complete this book project by Fall of 2024. Subscribe for free to my blog for advanced notice on isaglade.com!




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