The journey is the beauty of a therapeutic quest
We all do different things that we consider to be therapeutic or cathartic. By definition, a catharsis indicates that something is purged or removed. When we say something is therapeutic it can be a number of things, but the results of that activity are judged to be desirable and beneficial. That is true whether the result was expected, unexpected or even an unintended consequence.People find a therapeutic release in a number of ways and activities. For some, it is found with family and friends. For others it can something like fishing, going out to eat, napping, playing volleyball, traveling, exercising, reading a book, taking a class or riding a dirt bike. Whatever it is, it should stir something inside of you when you think of its pursuit. Every year, I get the opportunity to listen to the 8th grade exit interviews at West Grand Middle School. The students are required to recite what they have learned in math, science, social studies, reading and writing. They must use an example of each discipline to show their comprehension of that subject matter. At the end of the exit interview, each student is provided the opportunity to talk about a subject of his or her choice. It can be a pursuit either in school or outside the school walls. This year volleyball was a popular choice for the girls and there were examples of raising and showing steers, maintaining skateboards, and riding dirt bikes and motorcycles. It is interesting to watch the students visibly relax as they talk about something that they truly enjoy. It is obvious they are talking about something they find therapeutic. That is an example of what would be healthy for all of us to pursue.Personally, I get kind of caught up in the need to always be productive. It is difficult for me to relax. It has been known to happen, but it usually takes two days of a week-long vacation for me to reach that stage when I can relax without feeling pangs of guilt.I also realize the need to find therapeutic pursuits in my life. I have experienced them enough to know they can prolong ones quality of life and also help encourage things like reflective thought and introspection. In my younger adulthood years, I found therapeutic release in recreational activity. Softball, tennis, golf, bowling and basketball were my most commonly used crutches to get a cheap session of therapy. For me, those activities were also satisfying my need to be productive because I was getting some exercise and burning a few calories. Over time, however, economics robbed me of some pursuits while the aging of my body robbed me of the others. The pain of recovery outweighed the pleasures of hitting a double, picking up a split in bowling or stroking one down the line in tennis. I enjoy reading and a good book or magazine. I also enjoy a good television show and those pursuits work well during the long days of winter. In summertime, however, I cant seem to shake an inner voice (strangely, it sounds like my mom), telling me to go outside and get some fresh air. To somewhat satisfy my quest for physical exercise, I have installed horseshoe pits, a basketball goal and even (for a time) a chipping green. Most of the games grew old, though, as I got tired of competing against myself. There are only so many World Championships which one person can claim and, besides, trash talking with yourself loses its allure in short order.For years, I have found solace in mowing lawns. Back on the farm in Kansas, we had a huge lawn and my first job was in lawn care. When I first moved to Kremmling, to earn a little extra money, I mowed a few lawns one summer. Somewhere along the way I found that it was a great time to think. It may have been the drone of the Briggs & Stratton engine, the neat lines left in the lawn or the sheer mindlessness of the task. By this time, it has become a conditioned response for my mind to start pondering the great issues of life as soon as the lawn mower engine starts. It became a very therapeutic exercise.A few years ago, I thought I would translate the therapy of lawnmowing to other yardwork. I found an instant match. Whether I am pulling weeds, mulching the flower bed, watering the plants or pruning bushes, I find a therapeutic benefit. I cant explain why I find a release in gardening. Some might argue that seeking solace in gardening in Grand County is an invitation to insanity. To me, it is just the opposite. I find pleasure in the blossoms of the flowers, particularly when they attract bees, insects and hummingbirds. The actual fruits of my labor in the vegetable garden are few but I can image the taste of fresh peas, onions, squash, strawberries for an entire year. The past few years, I have concentrated my plantings on attracting birds. I admit to a certain satisfaction to contributing to the lifecycle of other creatures.The point isnt whether or not I have lost my marbles while working in the potting shed. My goal in gardening is not to provide therapy for other people. The goal is for me to find a place and an activity that brings me a bit of peace and joy. I would highly recommend it as an appropriate quest for anyone.
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