One guide said, “I’ve seen guys not do half as well.” As if my being a woman should have been an impediment.

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It was a perfect summer afternoon when I joined a whitewater rafters group in Stanley, Idaho. They were heading out to the class III whitewater on the Salmon River, and I was tagging along, the only lone participant, with a kayak.

About 20 of us piled into an old school bus towing our boats in a trailer behind. The other adventurists were mostly families: Mom, dad, and 2.5 kids. They’d be riding the rapids together in large shared rafts with guides. I’d be braving them as a woman alone in an inflatable kayak.

Being the solo single woman

On the bus, we blasted Aerosmith on the radio while trailing along the cliff edge that bordered the Salmon River. Once we were moving and it was clear nobody would be joining me, the tween girls gave me sideways glances and smirked. Tweens are always smirking. The parents mostly talked to each other, and I, as I usually did in these situations as the oddball out, talked to the guides. …


With snippets to help you apply what I’ve learned without all the reading.

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I read 75 books last year, and I’m highlighting the best or most prolific from each month with a lesson I took away that you can apply to your life too.

The books range from self-improvement, professional development, educational tomes, and a good dose of grocery store romance and pure fluff, so there’s plenty to learn.

Most of my book choices come from the same instinct: the desire to improve personally and professionally, to learn more about others and the world around me, and to have a fair dose of good-spirited fun just for the sake of bringing something light and easy into my heart. …


We always talk about things we would do if we only had time — now many of us, especially those living alone — have plenty

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Quarantine has been good to me in one way — time. Being isolated, in a new city, and virtually unable to leave my apartment for the last 9+ months has afforded me a lot of time for self-improvement; in fact, 2020 is shaping up to be one of my best self-development years yet.

We always talk about things we would do if we only had time — now many of us, especially those living alone — have a lot of extra time. …


Holiday baking isn’t about the pastry at the end, it’s about the traditions and time spent together as a family

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As a child, I didn’t follow clocks or calendars. I woke when somebody nudged me, and I went to sleep when I was too tired to keep my eyes open. I knew Sunday was for going to church, and every other Wednesday was for visiting gram’s doctor. But I didn’t need a clock or a calendar to tell me these things. These were things I knew.

I also knew when it was time for Christmas because gram would go into the kitchen and start pulling out the baking supplies. For her, standing long enough to cook anything more than hotdogs took too much effort, but she still loved to bake, so, when it was Christmastime, she made her way into the kitchen to prepare Hungarian kefli, kolach, and angel wings, and I was alongside her awaiting my orders. …


Poetry Sunday

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One day I won’t know you anymore
That realization dawns on me
Like a new day
I didn’t plan on seeing

When times were ours
And hours on the clock only hours
I thought we’d know each other
Forever

Now I see our part in this journey
Has come to a close
I did not expect
Nor do I welcome its coming

I planned to know you forever

But like cells in the blood
We almost shared
Divided we are
And go our separate ways

Slowly like the flowers of springtime
Your memory will fade from my mind
The beauty I once saw
Only a picture in my…


Fear has only one tune: “No, don’t, scary, stop.”

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There we were: Me, my fear of falling, and a tiny ledge between us and a 400-foot drop. In my mind, I separated myself from my fear and the fall. I had to, or I was never going to survive the situation I’d put myself in.

And yes, I’d done it to myself, well, me and Nelson Mandela. It was his quote, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it,” that gave me the idea that fears should be conquered.

So, in a moment of inspired bravado, I’d signed up for a rappelling lesson. Despite being in my mid-forties and embarrassingly out of shape, I was going to rappel on the . …


After I left Sedona, my longtime dream to earn money with my writing became a reality. It was as if a pathway had been cleared.

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Sedona is one of several places on Earth that seems to vibrate if you are still enough to listen. Like the great pyramids of Egypt, Stonehenge, the ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum, or Machu Picchu, it has an ancient power.

These sacred sites have long been recognized as portals for connecting to the universe and once I learned there were vortexes in Sedona, where I was planning to spend some time, I needed to learn more.

Once I started researching vortexes, I found I had been to a few known sites without even realizing it. This is the way for many of us. …


As for me, I’ve been converted to a believer, though of what I don’t exactly know.

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I used to answer that question, unequivocally, “No. One hundred percent, no.” I’d add an eye roll for good measure. But that was before I think I saw one.

Now, I’m questioning all of my beliefs and assumptions.

But, frankly, it’s embarrassing; I don’t want to believe in aliens. I’m a “smart,” educated, rational person. I’m a journalism major and former reporter. I believe in facts, data, proof, and things we can all see, touch, and feel. “Aliens” don’t fit into any of those categories, at least they didn’t … before.

My change of attitude happened in Sedona, Arizona, a place known for dark skies, spiritual awakening, and vortexes of pulsing energy. The Earth itself hummed with a mysterious knowledge as the bold sun beat down upon the too red rocks. …


35 years later, one memory schools them all.

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I didn’t have dolls, but, as a third-grade girl, I felt like I should. The other girls at school brought them all the time for show and tell. Maybe a doll could unlock my popularity problem. It wasn’t that I was unpopular — they didn’t even bother to rank me. It was like I wasn’t there.

Being a quiet and shy tomboy in a family full of boys was great, but the boys at school wanted nothing to do with me, not that I didn’t try. Once, I even brought in my younger brother Jimmy’s square blue, robot for show and tell. …

About

Rene Cizio

Adventure, exploration, life, and the joy of satisfying curiosity one experience at a time.

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