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Guest Post: Life Change Can Be an Adventure. Really.

Author  Janna Marlies Maron . // Photo courtesy of  Marita Madeloni

Author Janna Marlies Maron. // Photo courtesy of Marita Madeloni

Janna Marlies Maron is currently on a virtual book tour to share the story behind her recent book, "How to Manage Depression Without Drugs" and she's been kind enough to stop by the blog today! She's a wonderful writer whose goal in life is to tell stories without shame. Her book comes out later this month and will—without a doubt—help a lot of people who can relate to her struggles. 

A self-proclaimed “woman in progress,” Janna is most passionate about creativity and the power of the written word. She currently runs a coworking space in Midtown Sacramento with her husband; publishes a quarterly literary arts journal; takes on select editing projects; teaches college writing and pursues her own writing.


Life Change Can Be an Adventure. Really.
By Janna Marlies Maron

If we think about embarking on any adventure—camping for the first time, mountain climbing, even a road trip—we get excited, we investigate options, we stock up on supplies. We’re eager for a new experience, and we look forward to it. We can approach life-change with the same eagerness and excitement, and it really can turn something we dread into something manageable and, eventually, enjoyable.

My life was pretty intense with drastic change for about three years. Imagine this: In the short span of three years, from early 2010 to the summer of 2012 I filed for bankruptcy, I got laid off from my job, my church shuttered, I got engaged, I had a falling out with my family because of the engagement, I had an episode of optic neuritis which led to a string of MRIs to monitor for Multiple Sclerosis, I got married, and, ultimately, in June 2012 I was diagnosed with MS.

Talk about change. This was not your ordinary get-a-new-job or move-to-the-other-side-of-town change. This was life-altering-mind-boggling-and-sometimes-debilitating change.

The MS diagnosis was only the beginning. During those three years I had been struggling with depression (“It’s no wonder,” my therapist said.) and attempting to get it under control without drugs (which is what my new ebook is all about). So when my neurologist gave me the choice between two immune suppressing drugs—one a weekly injection, the other daily—my husband and I went home, talked about it for like a second before we both agreed that I would not be undergoing drug therapy.

That meant, if we were going to pursue a natural course of treatment, we’d be taking on a complete overhaul of our lifestyle: from food and eating habits to work and sleeping habits.

How do I do it? How do I maintain a sugar-, dairy-, yeast-, soy-, gluten-free diet? How do I get enough rest and keep up with all of my projects—ThinkHouse Collective, Under the Gum Tree, TrueStory, teaching college writing, freelancing?

There’s no easy answer to those questions. But one thing that has helped me is to think about drastic life-change as an adventure. Here’s how that approach has helped me adjust and embrace the change.

Perspective Flipped

Often change happens and we feel like it’s out of our control, right? We feel like now we have to do things that we don’t want to, and we don’t have a choice.

But looking at life-change as an adventure helped me to flip that perspective. Instead of having to change my diet, I get to try all these new fun foods. Instead of having to start exercising on a regular basis, now I get to make yoga a priority.  I treat it like an adventure and I get to investigate options; I get to stock up on supplies and, yes, I even get excited.

Prompted Experiments

Experiment means to try something out and see how it goes, and adventure is all about trying new things. We can treat life-change the same way.

I’ve been experimenting with new recipes like homemade crackers and new self-care practices like skin brushing. At first I didn’t think crackers were something I could make, and I didn’t know what this skin brushing was all about. But I gave them a try—along with a host of other odd stuff that I’ve never done before—with no expectation, just to see what would happen. And so far the results have been stellar.

Promoted Openness

We often resist change, don’t we? It causes our reflexive no to kick in. A sugar-free diet? I can’t do that! Regular MRIs? No! A GI test? No! Going to bed early? I’ll never be able to! Asking for a laundry list of exceptions with a restaurant order? I don’t want to be that person!

The problem with the reflexive no, the automatic resistance, is that it closes us off to adventure. Seeking adventure requires the ability to say yes (perspective) and to try new things (experiment). Once I had my perspective flipped and experiments prompted, I found myself becoming generally more open to new ideas, such as supplementing my health with essential oils—something I previously would have dismissed off hand with little to no consideration. (I write more about using essential oils in the ebook.)

Life-change isn’t easy and it definitely isn’t always fun. But treating it like an adventure can make the journey much more manageable and even enjoyable. We seek adventure and try things that we’ve never done before in hope of discovering something new about the world—about people or history or religion or culture. Life-change can do the same thing and, really, what we end up discovering is a new part of our self.


Interested in following along with the rest of Janna's virtual book tour or ordering the book? I've got you covered!

VIRTUAL TOUR DATES:


Many thanks to Janna for sharing her story. I've read the book cover-to-cover and have already implemented some of her tips to help in my own quest for health. Though her story is different than mine, I think her practical advice, non-nonsense tools and honest account of her journey can help anyone striving to be the best human being they can be—no matter what life throws your way.

Happy reading, friends. I hope you enjoy learning from Janna as much as I have!


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Guest Post: The Road to Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park

I've asked a few blog friends to share their experiences and adventures this week and I'm pleased to introduce this incredible travelogue from Adina Marguerite Pease from Gluten Free Travelette I've been following her blog for quite some time and the girl knows how to travel. She's been kind enough to share one of her favorite drives through Fiordland National Park in New Zealand.

If this post doesn't make you want to hop on the next flight to NZ, I don't know what will. Enjoy!


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Located on the Southwest quadrant of the South Island of New Zealand, Fiordland National Park is the place I just can’t stop dreaming about. Within the 12,500 square kilometers lie dramatic fiords, rainforests, lakes, meadows, and granite peaks. In addition to the varied landscape, the unique biodiversity of the flora and fauna have earned Fiordland National Park a designation as part of the Te Wāhipounamu World Heritage Site.

During my time there, I found myself simply enchanted with the curious trees and creatures inhabiting this relatively untouched ecosystem. While there are plenty of hikes (including 3 Great Walks) to take through the backcountry, Fiordland’s epic landscapes are also easily accessed though less vigorous activities. At the very least, a drive down Milford Road from the nearby town of Te Anau is a must do. Those 117 kilometers of road are so scenic; driving it just once might not be enough.

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Driving through the glacial carved valleys on Milford Road, the trees truly stand out. They cluster together and seem to be slowly flooding in across the grassy plains from the mountains. There’s just something about these trees; the way they move in the wind together, the way their limbs curl, and where they grow. The combination of the Southern Beech, Rimu, Miro, Kahikatea, and Totara trees makes me feel like I’m stepping into a different, almost magical, world. I imagine these curious trees are planning some kind of slow invasion of the open space.

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Continuing along through the rainforests, which are filled with the Crown ferns and jewel-colored rivers, you get a glimpse into a landscape dominated by those intriguing trees.

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Driving up into the higher elevations of the park, the forest begins to thin and the landscape is instead ruled by granite peaks, ice, and cascades of water carving their way down the mountains. Also found in this part of the park is a rather cheeky species of alpine parrot, the Kea, who are frequently seen begging for treats along the side of Milford Road.

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At the end of the road, small and large boats wait to take passengers on a cruise of Milford Sound. During the summer months, make sure to save your pennies and book early to take at minimum a short cruise through the fiord. On the sheer cliffs, the trees combine with moss to create nets of plant life which cascade down towards the water. The trees at the top function as anchors for the rest of the net. When enough anchor trees fail, the entire net goes tumbling down into the fiord. Leaving a vertical scar on the cliff from what is know as a ‘tree avalanche’.

Cruising through the waters of Milford Sound, make sure to watch and listen for the creatures who live there. The New Zealand Fur Seals can often be found sunning themselves on large rocks. If you keep a close eye on the water and bring a pair of binoculars, you may even spot one of the two species of penguins; Fiordland Crested or Little Blue. We were fortunate enough to spot the frilly yellow forehead feathers of the rare Fiordland Crested penguin swimming off the side of our boat.

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Milford Road is an out and back drive, so on the return trip make sure to stop at all the spots you missed on the drive into Fiordland National Park. If you find the flora and fauna as intriguing as I did, you’ll probably find it necessary to come back.


Adina Marguerite Pease is a travel and food writer, photographer, and explorer based out of Seattle, Washington. Having traveled through 6 countries, 18 states, and over 70 cities since going gluten free in 2009 - it's become her passion to share her adventures and inspire others to go new places and try new things. You can find additional stories about her adventures in New Zealand on her blog, Gluten Free Travelette.


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Flathead Lake + Wallace Stevens + Happy Links

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"Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake." - Wallace Stevens

Happy Links: 

Wrapping it Up: 

  • I came clean about my tendency to over-plan the you-know-what out of vacations. I'm working really hard not to go into planning mode as we get ready for our road trip. We'll see how that goes. :)
  • Have you ever wondered what it takes to get the Going-to-the-Sun Road cleared in Glacier National Park every year? Since we're heading that way soon, we've been curious. I started asking around and got the scoop!

Housekeeping: 

  • I've asked a few friends to stop by the blog next week, so keep your eyes peeled for some fantastic posts. Seriously...you won't want to miss them.
  • Have you switched from Google Reader yet? You can find me over on Bloglovin' and Feedly is pretty great too. You can also subscribe via email right here

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Have a lovely weekend, my friends! 


Let's hang out: Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Subscribe


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Tall Trees + Thoreau + Happy Links

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Well, we've made it to Friday and I'm back with a snap, a quote and a handful of happy links for you. I'm also adding links to all of my posts for the week... you know... just in case you missed anything. ;)

{"I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees." // Henry David Thoreau}

Happy Links:

  • Can we just talk about the visually stunning recipes over on The Forest Feast for a moment? So lovely.
  • This post by Megan of The Fresh Exchange about her experience at Alt Summit is so incredibly honest. After seeing all of the "hustle, hustle, primp, wear polka dots, sell, sell, sell" recaps about Alt, I had questioned whether or not I'd ever go. This is a great reminder that not every blog is the same and we don't all have the same goals.
  • I've been following Patti Murphy's Project 365 and am loving her "things to think, believe and do."
  • This video. So hilarious. So ridiculous. So true. {Warning: this is the explicit version. Bust out those headphones if you're living the cubical/coffee shop/co-working life today.}
  • It's been tough for me to stop admiring the work of Nicole Franzen after finding her work in the latest edition of Wayfare Magazine. Just look at her photos of the English Countryside.... {sigh}....

Wrap it Up:

If you missed any posts from this week, just follow the links!

  • Catch my latest GoPro video edit + dirt bike shenanigans + black lab cuteness right here.
  • Read a review of the new Wayfare Magazine here. {spoiler alert: it's incredible}.
  • Remember summer with me in a fun guest post I put together for my friends over at the California State Parks Foundation over here.

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Happy Friday and enjoy the weekend, all!

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