Monday, November 9, 2015

Summit Sisters - Women's Wilderness Event

Things are starting to slow down since The Swarm aired and readers can expect some new posts soon, so check back.

Until then, if you are an rough mountain mama or a city lady who wants to take the first step in connecting with nature and yourself, check out this upcoming Women's Wilderness event called Summit Sisters.  It's taking place in Colorado from June 3-5, 2016.  This is for women only, sorry men.  You can sign up for some amazing session, including one of mine.  This is going to be the ultimate women's weekend, so register before spaces are full!  Click on the link to take you to the website.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Naked and Restless

My survival skills and restless genes were put to test during a Naked and Afraid challenge last winter.  Watch my episode tomorrow night,  October 25, 2015, on the Discovery Channel at 9pm Central to see if I was able to survive the wild Panama jungle of Isla San Jose.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Catch Me on Naked & Afraid -Really!

Yes, it's so very true!  If you've been into the show since season 1 or you're a newbie, you'll love this season!  Friend me on facebook or twitter to see all the latest updates and soon to be air date for my challenge.  More to come soon!


Click here to see the season preview!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Seasons Of Change

As autumn approaches (technically on September 23rd, 2015 for the northern hemisphere) and the term “seasons of change” seems to be recycling in my head.  I try not to get too personal on RestlessGenes, but things are changing very much in my life right now and the timing seems right to share.

First, I’m going through a divorce (my choice).  It was a difficult decision and we are moving through the motions and challenges to finalize things.  A couple of months ago my ex mentioned he thought my decision had to do with me being restless and needing change.  At that time the answer was no, but after a couple of months to think about it a bit more maybe 5% of my decision was based on being restless.  I recently read marriages with only one partner as an ADD/ADHDer are twice as likely to divorce compared to marriages without an ADHD spouse, or when both spouses have ADD/ADHD.  It’s sad to think about it, but our marriage has become a part of this statistic.  The whole divorce thing is complicated, however my ex brought up a valid point in which I will continue to think about and reflect on for some time.

Living in the mountains of Colorado is my absolute favorite.   Trying to find a home in possibly a new community is exciting and yet exhausting.  Home searching is not an easy task!  Buying a house, building a house or being more mobile are all options running through my head.  As many of you can relate, when there is a nearly completely open direction it can be hard to focus on just one interest.  Luckily, I’m not locked into any time frame,  so it will be interesting to see what unfolds and where I will end up this time next year. More to come on this adventure for sure!

My lovely daughter is graduating from high school this December and is preparing to enter adulthood and attend college soon.  As a parent, it’s always hard to see your teen move on and start their own life.  Part of me is sad because I will miss her so much.  The other part of me is so dang stinking proud I just want to squeeze and kiss her for hours! She is one of those people who will totally do amazing things in her life.

Lastly, my life is about to made very public very soon.  I was given the official go ahead to share my exciting news, but am waiting until next week to make the announcement.  So, check back here next week or on my facebook or twitter pages! 

In light of all the changes going on in my life,  I recently completed a 10 day silent Vipassana meditation retreat.  It was definitely an enlightening experience combined with a few very emotional realizations during the journey. If you aren’t familiar with Vipassana Meditation practices, please check it out.   The themes and practice have stood the test of time from Buddha through today.  The themes include being in the moment, observing ourselves and accepting life is constantly changing.  I found a special connection to all three of these themes during the duration of the course, but as you can guess, the theme of change can easily be tied into restlessness.  It was comforted to learn about a meditation practice concentrating on constant change. Accepting change  also helps us become aware of being too attached to things, ideas, people and perceptions.  Yes, having a healthy attachment and love to family members, especially in the infant through teen years, is important.  However this attachment is different.  This attachment addresses clinging onto the past or future and ownership of things and people.   Seriously, check out a course in your area or even travel to another country.  The courses are technically free and students are encouraged to serve (volunteer) in the future and donate what you can based on personal experience, learning and financial ability.  Contact me if you'd like to learn more, however I won't share too many of my details.  If you are seriously considering attending a course,  only look at the Vipassana website and staying away from other people's personal detail stories, as each person will have a different experience during the course.  Attend with a completely open mind with out any expectations, other than you will be safe, it won't be easy and you'll be taken care of.

Change and transition is a definite theme in everyone’s life, but even more so in the lives of those who thrive with it.  What changes are going on in your life?  If so, what are you clinging onto that you need to let go? 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sand Dune Solitude

Recently, I had the opportunity to be one of the ten backpackers issued a back country pass to sleep in and/or around the Great Sand Dunes National Park Dune field.  The park is located in the San Luis Valley near Crestone, Colorado.  Crestone is know for it's positive energy vortex and is full of spiritual people and amazing Buddhist temples.                

I highly recommend this trip for ANYONE who would like a short, but silent backpacking trip into one of the most magnificent places in the world.  The elevation is low enough where you aren't huffing and puffing onto a 14,000 foot peak and is fun enough to explore the different ecosystems in and around the dunes.   You can take as long or as little time you need to hike into the dunes, which means no pressure for speed hiking....unless you set off about an hour or two before nightfall.

Visiting the Great Sand Dunes has always been a person favorite location of mine, but had never slept in the Sand Dunes until last month.  The dunes call to me every early summer, while the Medano Creek still surges and breathes with the with pulse of the earth.  Last year, I heard about the limited back country passes and decided to take advantage of the opportunity this year by completing a solo Sand Dune Solitude adventure.

Upon arriving at the park, I hurried to the visitor center to hopefully obtain a back country permit.  The park only gives out ten permits a night and luckily I was only number four at 2pm on a Tuesday afternoon.  The ranger issuing the pass, signed me up to park at Point Of No Return.  Despite the haunting name, I found the very small parking lot and nearby trail head inviting.  I hiked about a 1/2 mile to Medano Creek and played in the water a bit until the mosquitoes were too much.  I crossed the creek into the maze of dunes.  Typically there aren't as many mosquitoes, but Colorado had a record high amount of late snow and early summer rain this year.

After crossing Medano Creek and headed up the dunes. I was able to capture these fabulous views of the San Luis Mountains behind the dunes. Hiking into the dunes themselves isn't too long of a hike as the crow flies, but it definitely drains your energy hiking in the sand straight up to the peaks.  If you haven't hiked in dune before, think of the scenario of one step up/half step down. The sand is also hot during mid day, so I would highly recommend sport sandals.  I was able to hike on the east side w/o a problem since I started my hike around 3pm, after the sun had moved to the west side of the dunes.  Hiking in the evening and early morning is also a good time to hike barefoot.

I set up my bivy and slept inside because of the expected thunderstorms.  Luckily it only rained for about 30 minutes, then I was able to sleep outside under the milky way. Since the temperatures weren't hot and the sand held warmth for part of the night, my summer sleeping bag of 25 degrees did the trick just fine.  I kept my pack light and was able to use my daughter's amazing Osprey day pack.  The food was very minimal- a couple of Luna Bars, 2 hard boiled eggs and lots of water.  This worked out well for a quick overnight trip.

 I decided to summit a dune in the morning right after sunrise,  This photo was take as I was walking up the dune.  Aren't these shadows amazing in the morning sun?

This picture was taken in the morning as I submitted the tallest dune peak by sleeping area.  Taking a few minutes to sit down and enjoy the view is so important to me.  Sometimes being alone and one with earth is well needed to reconnect.  This trip definitely fulfilled that need.  My trip was one of the quietest hikes I ever completed.  I didn't see a single soul past 5 or 6pm, and it was quiet enough to hear the sand blow it's energy around me.  There aren't many birds or animal noises in the dunes, so will confidently call this trip my Sand Dune Solitude adventure.

While taking time to my self I came up with this quote that seems to be a theme in my life.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Top 5 Reasons To Join Us For A Weekend In The Woods

Open Sky Yoga & Restless Genes Wilderness Journey:  Colorado, August 1 - 2, 2015

Nature is calling you - Unplug, connect with the earth, work on your roots and listen to your primal calling.

      Connect with like-minded people -  Be inspired by others and make a new friend.  Feel supported in a safe place to reflect, explore and be playful. 

Focus on just you -  Get away from current situations and refocus your energy.  Listen to your intuition and gain a new perspective.  Connect with your mind and body.

You’ll leave feeling better - Rejuvenate - you deserve it!  Be surrounded by positivity.   You’ll leave the wilderness more grounded and in tune with yourself.

Try something new - Sleep under the stars, learn to forage for food and build a shelter. Go beyond your comfort zone by challenging yourself to adapt to a different situation in the Colorado wild.

  Space still available.  Contact Jamie for details or to register.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Intuition Is a Primal Skill And Sacred Gift

 What is holding you back from doing what feels right?  Is it your overly rational brain or monkey mind?  Try listening to your intuition instead.   Intuition is a key element to the success of the human race.  I believe it is embedded in our DNA and is in our souls.  Our primal ancestors tapped into their intuition in order to survive and thrive. Unfortunately, our brains further developed and societies  “progressed” toward the direction of losing the ability to listen to our inner voice.

For those of us, who have the mind of an ADD/ADHDer, our brain is often clogged with a million thoughts per minute.  If this is you, you'll definitely want to do more research about intuition and how to tap into this primal and spiritual skill we have all been gifted. Learning how to calm the mind and listen to our inner voice can be a challenge for us in particular.

Tapping into our intuition is often side tracked by an unfocused or overly focused mind.  As a child and young adult, I thrived on the notion of being a free spirit and skipped through many open door opportunities.  During my 30's I thrived on being more “practical”.  I enjoyed weighing out the options for the best possible choice. Luckily,  I personally never feared making wrong choices, like many people do.  Otherwise, I may have held myself back in many ways.  Somewhere during my adulthood my logical mind took over.  Maybe because I felt the need to keep my daughter and family safe according to American societal standards.  However, in recent months, I have come to the realization that it is our intuition that keeps us rooted, safe, accepted, flexible and guided.

Take a minute to truly think about how times have changed, especially America's society.  We often hear the words, “Don’t play with fire!, don’t go outside barefoot, don’t climb big rocks, don’t play with sharp objects, blah, blah, blah".  What if we released some of those logical practicalities as adults and got back to the basics of trusting our own, AND other's instincts.  This includes learning to trust our children's instincts too.  I'm not telling you to drop your children off in the middle of a rain forest and wish them luck as they try to find their way back home, but I am encouraging adults to start topics of conversation and practice around listening to your inner voice.  Let your children explore and develop these skills.   What if we encourage youth to trust and listen to their instincts rather than second guess every thought in their head because this is what society models?  Are we raising the upcoming generation to think for themselves?   Be confident in their choices?  To trust their inner voice?  

Teaching our youth to listen to their intuition is the best gift we can give.

The over rational monkey mind leads us to question our instincts.  Is this REALLY benefiting our overall happiness and well-being? 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Why Do We Instinctively Spend More Time Outside In The Summer?

This time of year might be one of your favorite seasons.  Summer (in the northern hemisphere) has arrived!  Spending time outside seems much more inviting.  The weather is warmer, our moods are uplifted, we aren't weighed down by heavy clothing,  we have a need to increase our physical activity, we feel healthier, our motivations increase, our senses are heightened and we instinctively crave to spend MUCH more time outdoors.

There are countless reasons why we are drawn to spend time outdoors.  Research has proven the benefits of spending time outside and WHY we NEED to be outside.  Below are four simple reasons why our primal instincts kick in and signal our brain to get out into nature on a regular basis.


Me getting my shot of Vitamin D on May 20, 2015
(Yes, that is snow on the ground)
Vitamin D - Our bodies need vitamin D to help process calcium.  Calcium is what helps our bones grow and stay strong.  Without sufficient vitamin D we are at greater risk for breast cancer, colon cancer, depression, weight gain, osteoporosis, heart disease and diabetes, just to name a few.  The sun's rays are strongest in the northern hemisphere this time of year, so expose your skin to the sun (yes really) and get your daily shot of vitamin D today!

Mental Health - Studies have shown people who spend more time outside have a much healthier and happier mental state.  Why do you think eco-therapy and wilderness therapy are growing industries? Exploring nature and being aware of our surrounds has a calming effect on most people.  It's also healthy to push our comfort levels to try new outdoor adventures and expand our confidence.  Being outside gives us a sense of freedom and enlightenment.

Grounding or Earthing - Grounding is a way to connect to the earth's energy and pulse of her heart. Sitting in the ground, walking barefoot, sleeping on the ground at night are all simple ways to re-energize yourself.  This can help clear your mind to improve your focus and creativity.  Try grounding for 15 minutes per day for a week and see how you feel on day seven.

Physical Well Being - When we play outside we improve our balance by walking on uneven ground. We exercise more by playing sports, gardening, outdoor recreating, exploring and just romping around.  Even just breathing clearer air free of indoor toxins, can help your lungs and healthy body status.  With the increase of exercise, your sleep should improve as well.

What if we didn't spend time outdoors?  What would happen to us then?  How sad.  Watch the below video to learn more about what would happen if you stopped going outside.

If you'd like to learn more about how a lack of spending time in nature impacts us, check out Nature Deficit Disorder.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Yoga & Wilderness Survival Skills Journey Announcement!

Restless Genes and Open Sky Yoga have partnered to offer an amazing one night/two day wilderness journey south of Fairplay, Colorado located at 9,000ft in elevation.  Join us in a small group setting, while we connect with others, nature and ourselves.  Specific activities include yoga, barefoot earthing, mini solo experience, soul gazing, wilderness survival skills, wild plant identification, star gazing and more.  The price of $95-$140.00 is based on a sliding scale donation.  Meals and gear are not included, however we will provide hot drinks (coffee, tea, etc.) for the group each morning and night.  More details to come soon!  Contact Jamie DeLuccio to register.  Space is limited to only 12 people, so save your spot today!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Six Traits All Survivalists Share

I believe EVERYONE, even in this day of high comfort and vast technology, still has at least some wilderness survival instincts embedded deep within their DNA that has been handed down from our ancestors.   It's our choice to act on those instincts, and for some this may be a bit easier.  For example, if you grew up on a farm, in an off-grid cabin, or spent countless hours sleeping under the stars, your instincts may be sharper  than the average westernized person.  If your idea of spending time outside is laying on a beach or mowing the lawn, your survival instincts might be pretty dull.  If a person decides to hone in and polish these instincts, they can eventually develop into survival traits.  These traits will give them the ability to survive in extreme situations. All true wilderness survivalists share six common survival traits.  These traits are the keys to their survival.

Over the past couple of years, I've read many books and websites on the characteristics of wilderness survivalists.  Even though survivalist's backgrounds may vary, there are common survival traits they share.  Two of my favorite survivalists are Ernest Shackleton and Zebulon Pike.   Ernest Shackleton overcame extreme conditions, not only for himself, but for his team.  Some will argue he put himself and his team in danger, but despite this perspective his story is quite heroic.  I  consider Zebulon Pike the "Ernest Shackleton of the Rocky Mountains" due to the paralles of their stories.  Another story that is quite impressive is that of a 3 year old girl, who survived 11 days in a Siberian Forest by herself.  At age three, she had just enough common knowledge of water, food and shelter to keep herself safe until help arrive.  I honor all of these survivalists and find their stories inspirational.

After a lot of curiosity, research and just plain creative thinking, I decided to come up with my own list of traits found in true survivalists.   Below is a list of Six Traits All Survivalists Share I think are necessary to survive and thrive in the wild.

Going into any survival situation, one needs to prioritize.  Being familiar with the Rules Of Three is a key element into survival.  The rules of three state that it takes an average of 3 minutes to die without oxygen, 3 days to die without water and 3 weeks to begin to die without food (or at least before your body literally starts eating away at your organs).   Some people also say you can't survive 3 hours without shelter.  I challenge this because it depends on the environment in which you are located.  I've survived more than 3 hours without shelter many times.  (My opinion on this will be addressed in a distance future post.)  Another common killer of survival in the wild is hypothermia, which can relate to the shelter piece.  While keeping these four (oxygen, water, food and hypothermia) survival threats in mind, a survivalist will know how to prioritize.  Priorities of survival can change each minute, hour, day or week depending on any immediate threats.  It takes a rational thinking person to prioritize the needs at each moment, while thinking ahead to the future.

Since my recent intentional survival experience in a Central American jungle, I've re-evaluated what survival really means to me and what type of person can truly survive and thrive in the wild.  Some of my thoughts parallel Charles Darwin's famous quote, "Survival of the Fittest".   I grew up thinking this statement  meant only the strongest and fastest survive.  This is a common misconception.  Upon further reading, I found Darwin's quote has a much different meaning.  He defined "fittest" as meaning those that can adapt to their surroundings verses always being the strongest.   After my survival experience,  I consider Darwin's theory to be true.  I may not the strongest or the fastest in any given group of people.  However, my ability to survive in the wilderness is definitely higher than the average person.  Why?  Because I have all six traits listed above.  Some might be more pronounced than others, but I'm willing to strengthen and improve my shortcomings to become an even better survivor!

What survival traits and skills do you have?

Friday, April 10, 2015

Naked Feet

Carl Jung once said, "When you walk with naked feet, how can you ever forget the earth".  This quote has really resonated with me the past six months.  I started walking barefoot last fall to strengthen and toughen up my feet.  It's suppose to be good for long distance runners after all, so why not?   Since then, my feet have adapted to walking on rough mountain dirt roads and pokey pine needle covered ground.  I've fallen in love with being barefoot.  

I encourage everyone to challenge themselves to walking barefoot.  It adds a different dimension to the way you feel things under your feet, and heightens your awareness of touch.  After a few weeks, you will notice your feet muscles and balance are stronger than ever before.  Walking barefoot also forces you to be in the moment.  You will pay attention to where you are walking and how your feet and body move.  The whole process of breaking in your feet is really amazing and fun.  I recommend starting off by walking 10-15 minutes a day outside in natural areas, then increasing the distance to eventually walk 1 - 2 miles every other day.

Even though walking barefoot is my new favorite, I don't walk in town barefoot.   Walking on pavement and public places are really dirty, not to mention the changes of stepping on a sharp metal or class objects are much higher.  Walking on natural ground outside of town is best.

There are many benefits to walking barefoot.  I won't list them all here, but here are some of the benefits I've experienced:
  • Muscle Strengthening - One foot and ankle contains more than 100 muscles.  We need to keep those suckers healthy and strong!
  • Better Foot Balance - This is huge for me because I tore my right ankle ligaments June of 2013.  I love trail running and hiking mountains, so my feet need to be super balanced!
  • Foot Freedom - Socks are limiting, right?
  • Earth's Energy - Seriously! Your positive energy and calmness will increase walking on natural ground.  Give it a try for 30+ minutes a day and you'll notice a difference.
  • Foot Toughness - You'll toughen up your feet and will be less susceptible to blisters.  This is great for long distance runners and hikers.
  • Grounding Your Root Chakra - If you are into that sort of thing.
Since challenges and new goals are my thing, it will be appropriate to set a new goal to barefoot hike a 14,000 foot peak by August 1, 2015.  I am super excited to implement my new love of being barefoot to the test of hiking.  This means I need to hit the hiking trails and practice hiking above treeline in the high country of Colorado!  Can't wait for those trails to open for the season!

If you'd like to learn more about being barefoot, you can visit my Pinterest board, "Being Barefoot".

Friday, March 27, 2015

What are your limits?

I recently had the opportunity to experience a real survival situation in an environment completely different from the Colorado Rockies.  My experience included a three week period surviving in a Central American Jungle with very limited resources and survival tools.

My experience was raw and real.  

During the experience, I learned my mental strength is high, very high.  Much higher than the average person.  As a result, I am on a quest to push my mental strength to its limit or absolute breaking point.  What that is I'm not quite sure.  Only time, soul searching and adventure will tell.

In the weeks to come, I will share more of my experiences, challenges, successes and lessons learned from the jungle.  Also, keep checking back for updates on my new quest to find my breaking point.