Sunday, March 22, 2015

Monks, Rocks, and Mardi Gras

So far, my Year of Adventure has been exciting and busy.
In February, Patrick and I did so many amazing things.
The first adventure was our hike up Pulpit Rock.  Now, the climb isn't nearly as treacherous as the Manitou Incline in January, but it will definitely make you sweat. 
See that black speck on top of the rock in the photo above? 
That's a person - and we went all the way up there.
All. The. Way.
The view from the top is breathtaking (as with most places in Colorado Springs, really).
If you're brave enough, you can sit on the edge of the bluff with your feet dangling hundreds of feet above the ground.
The trees are still brown and dry, but the sky was sunny and bright.
The scariest part wasn't making my way up, or hanging out above the entire city: it was the climb down.  Imagine how it feels to stare down as you inch along, gripping the rocks for support.
We have a lot of scree here.
Someone took the time to carve this heart into one of the highest points of the rock.
Just for us :)

The next weekend was Mardi Gras, which we celebrated at the Carnivale in Manitou. 
So here's an interesting note about the annual Mardi Gras parade:
absolutely anyone can be a part of it.  
All you have to do is show up at the starting point with a costume or float and join in!
It was one of the best parades I've seen in a long time.
People were into it: stilt walkers, belly dancers, clowns, puppeteers - you name it!
The costumes were crazy elaborate, and everyone was just so happy to be there.
The energy of the event was incredible.  It was magic.
I love that each year, no one knows exactly what the parade will entail until the very moment it happens!  What a great idea, it's like performance art.
I know what I'm doing next year.  If anyone wants to help me build a float, hit me up...
(I'm like 60% serious about that - no 65%...for real, let's do it)

 One of the most enlightening adventures last month was a guided meditation and lecture given by Ken Rinpoche, a Buddhist monk.
He traveled from India to visit the Bodhi Mind Center here in Colorado Springs, one of the places Patrick and I go for meditation.  He spoke about developing bodhimind: the altruistic intention to awaken in order to benefit all beings.  
At times, he was a bit difficult to understand, but the messages came across clear (sometimes with a little translation).   He smiled and laughed often, which I really liked.
I was shocked to learn that he's in his eighties - and still traveling around the world!

Finding adventures can be a challenge if you don't have much money to spend.  
If you are familiar with this blog at all, you must assume I don't have much money, or I probably wouldn't spend all of my time at thrift stores and gluing old things together (actually, that's a lie - I would live the same way even if I was rich beyond my wildest dreams! The only thing I'd do differently is pay someone to cook every night).  
So anyway, I do my best to find things that are free or as close to free as possible. Many of the events were discovered while perusing the Colorado Springs Independent, a local newspaper available for free in the lobbies and vestibules of virtually every restaurant and store in the area.  I also look at websites like and  Most of the places we've gone in Colorado have been introduced by friends and family.  
Don't be afraid to ask around, you'll be surprised how many adventures are waiting out there for you!

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