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Mindfulness, Nature Immersion, and The Pacific Crest Trail with Jessica Moon TPP241

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Jessica Moon In a Boat Smiling

In this episode I’m joined by Jessica Moon for a conversation on mindfulness, nature immersion, and hiking the Pacific Crest Trail for 5 MONTHS!

About Jessica:

Jessica Moon is a Stress Management Coach who focuses on Mindfulness and Nature Immersion as vehicles for powerful healing and evolution. From many years in corporate America to hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, Jessica has a broad range of life experiences that has provided her the insight to guide and transform in her one on one coaching practice. She is an advocate for mental health awareness and diversity in the outdoors, and active in building her local community.

Instagram: @jessicamoonco

My (non verbatim) notes:

TP: Jessica Moon, old dear friend, along the ride of tantra punk journey since very beginning around 2013, was shocked to find that name hadn’t already been turned into some sort of persona online, hopefully I’ve done my best

she’s way beyond a supportive friend, an inspiration, somebody who’s kept me on a very ethical and conscious path, has given me lots of great feedback

talk about her path, eco psychology, forest bathing, many ways to look at benefits of spending time in nature, deep personal journeys of long distance hiking

extra bonus, you might recognize her silky voice as the voice of the outro on all of my episodes, does a wonderful job of doing the wrap up details, its a treasure to have that mystery voice be on the podcast

JM: working on getting people outdoors, help people see benefits of being immersed in nature, millennials , anyone can benefit, remove barriers to help people really benefit

start when I younger and in college I was a sexual health peer mentor for my university, worked with my peers to educate them on health topics, disseminated health and hygiene products through the outreach center, help become more empowered

after graduated, joined nature center, help plan ecological programs and events, natural conservation for the city, got to work with variety of people

it was a very beautiful experience to be intimately connected with these people, very active motivated hikers, some people who’d never spent time even at a park

really wanted to help people have a more enjoyable, more intimate experience with natural world

then got into corporate world, for about 5 years, it was good to learn a lot of skills, but definitely aching, stress, heaviness of not having that immersion that I used to have

caught up in career, societies idea of success, lost connection with self, deep connection with natural world

year, decided to hike pacific crest trail, had been training, reconnecting with mountains, beaches, when I took the leap, and left for the trail, such a transformation from being immersed in the wilderness, back country for 5 months, feel completely at peace now that I’ve had that experience, affirmed, not everybody can take that much time off their life

but any amount of time is so beneficial, now that I’m back, into the science, philosophy, how to get more nature time into our busy lives, liberating motivating

TP: want to get into the drama of this whole arch of preparing, doing some permaculture the other day, mentioning we were gonna talk about this, the PCT, how do people survive, you can’t bring a semi truck water tank that drives behind you, what are the amenities on the trail, he said people will send selves care packages, I don’t really have a clue

JM: the resupply logistics, first, instead of one really long trip, think of as series of 3 to 5 day, sometimes more than 7 days depending on snow, how quick you hike, generally 3 to 5 days, given that , hiker hunger, metabolism working so hard, never felt hunger like that before, if you think about it as you’re going town to town, long series of small backpacking trips, you can self packages ahead of time, my strategy was I resupplied in town, if you’re lucky, supermarkets, sometimes just gas station, generally you know, or if you didn’t ask around, anticipate that, if you go get into a town with a big grocery store, buy food, ship it forward, only did for really small towns, didn’t want to eat pop tarts and snicker bars, backpacking food, if you don’t go really expensive route, has a lot more nutrients compared to options like instant ramen, after a while, can’t eat this any more, try to mix it up, hit up bulks, blessing to find bulk section, keeping an open mind, would have been hard if I had any dietary restrictions if I was vegan or gluten intolerant, I would have done more sending myself ahead of time, its really not that much cheaper or convenient to send yourself the boxes ahead of time, you’re tastes change

you don’t have a car, last thing you want to do is walk more

TP: from prepper survivalist world, lot of people in fantasy land, vision of how their gonna be so fit, prowess, bad ass, when zombie apocalypse happens, but they’re not conditioning in the mean time, but the experience of doing this endurance drill, makes me think everything has to be so tightly economized, efficiency, variables to consider, you’re probably better prepared for anything to go wrong, then people who make a whole life style out of being a prepper, tripping me out

could you tell me about some of the sort of dietary life hacks that you came up with, as some one doing this frugally, out of necessity, on a budget, how to have healthy food and not junk food

JM: does take a toll, body type can’t just eat anything, when I was on trail, I was like omg I can eat chips and candy, I really felt terrible, I really need to take care of myself, I was like okay I really need to change the trajectory of my nutrition, took a lot of supplements, glucosamine , multivitamin, try to pick up juice shakes, I needed that because when you’re on the trail, you have to consider weight right, weight expense and convenience

for example, you can get tuna packets, just a staple for hikers, thing about them, not terribly expensive, but not cheap either, on cost, in the circle of the through hikers, most people agree it’s about $1000 a month, on a tighter budget its possible to hike less, you’re gonna be spending less time in town, if you’re a social person its a fun part of the experience to explore the town

if you’re on a tight budget its definitely possible to do the hike on less, buy the food in bulk previously

dehydrating food at home and sending forward, people get sick of the same food, but you can spend a lot more on the trail as well, stay in hotel, one bed vs 6 hikers, or alcohol, or deserts, depends on person, average person not super luxurious is about $1000, barrier to entry is not accessible to everybody, it is a big trip, felt very privileged that I had opportunity

TP: bullet points, staple macro nutrients, can feel you on the weight and price, on that path as urban survivalist, trying to figure out what my pallet will enjoy and what my guts will handle, I could have the most Bourgeoisie, organic fresh catered diet to the maximum degree of what I know is the ideal, but if I did that I wouldn’t be able to do anything else, joke about “whole paycheck”

but I do believe in my heart of hearts that there are life hacker ways to have extreme frugality, but have extreme nourishment, bulk, group buys, I’m curious for you, fats, proteins, carbohydrates in that framework, stuff you could tolerate the longest, didn’t make you sick, sweet spot of weight and cost, ramen doesn’t cut it

JM: biggest thing for me, that I bough dehydrated vegetables, basically a soup mix, in bulk, just add it to everything, find the vegetables that you like, if you have a dehydrator, I would say incorporating vegetables into your diet no matter what, can eat dried meat, jerky, bison bars, sausage, tuna or chicken pouches, but if you just have that, you’re lacking that balance,

really enjoyed dried, pre prepared beans, really not that expensive, compared to bison bar, or higher end nut butters, just dried beans, make sure they’ve been dehydrated as cooked beans, they’re like bean flakes, if you’re vegan or something, or if body can’t tolerate fat anymore, its really high fat out there, powered humus also an option

sunflower seeds are really cheap

also drink powders, couldn’t handle the sugar, protein powders keep you full

cheeses work really well, lactose intolerant, but a popular lunch was a flour tortilla, summer sausage, and hard cheese

things like spam, powdered eggs, dehydrated milk, I really enjoyed dried veggies, dried fruits

chilli mangos was a treat, new technologies for much lighter, dehydrated and freeze dried veggies and fruits

really liked raw stuff, everything was so dry, and processed, but things like nutritional yeast, everything but the bagel package, sauce packets, miso soup, chicken noodle soup, powdered taco mix

lots of sodium and preservatives, but they’re light, cheap, last a long time, if in a pinch they have something to offer

I just bit the bullet and got green juices, or super food mixes whenever I could afford it

avoid ramen, so many other things available, entire bagels, last for a few days, instant rice and potatoes, always a staple, nan flat bread, corn tortillas don’t last very well, whole slices of bread, couscous was really popular

you have you’re good old trail mix, mixing it up and making it different, you really start to despise it

TP: shifting into more paleo and keto trend if you will, and so I’ve been experimenting a lot with build seeds, grinding into a more palettable form, powdered tahini, from bulk sesame seeds, grinding down to pumpkin seeds, mixing with coconut oil, like bread and butter, get that experience but it’s low carb, more protein, then having that fat, thinking about weight factor

were people bringing tubs of coconut oil or was it just too much weight, olive oil or other oils, calorie dense but you can’t eat that that much of it

JM: lots of oil, add a scoop of coconut oil to your meal, delicious, add more calories, seen people carrying full glass bottle of hot sauce, to spice things up, seen someone carry a glass jar of coconut oil

when for lighter right

went for single use coconut packets, a light way to incorporate into meals, trying to avoid highly processed carbs, I don’t make me feel that great

nuts, sunflower seeds, chia hemp and flax seeds also in my diet

they’re just delicious

TP: sprouting seeds and recycling water?

JM: read about a woman who sprouted just in a tupperware, poked holes, put a piece of cheese cloth, had fresh greens all week

broccolli, peas, lentils, alfalfa, also there was a time where there was a bunch of rain, miners lettuce foraging in oregon, what if I just threw some of that in to my ramen

TP: what level of foraging is legal/desirable, plant ID nerds, not gonna survive 100% but hope they wouldn’t be too restrictive about that kind of stuff

JM: I really can’t say, if we’re allowed to, it’s a protected trail, but in oregon you have to have a permit to forage for wild mushrooms, also, I definitely eat the huckleberries on the trail that were everywhere, just so many

TP: some things are invasive too, its a benefit

JM: thank you these giant berries we’re going into the trail

if I had a little more confidence in local flora and fauna, know for sure you can’t hunt, if it was permissible I’d totally lead a group, let’s get launch, wild mustard, miners lettuce, local invasive plants, didn’t have personal experience foraging, other than the berries

TP: people not yet in romance with nature yet, remember when I didn’t feel a romance with nature, grew up playing in woods, at the beach, wasn’t a deep yearning to connect with something I’d never known, didn’t feel deprived, took it for granted, video games started to eat my childhood, I don’t want to say disenchanted, I can commiserate with the people who feel like they feel more excitement from video games, socializing, hipster strips, when go out to nature I’m bored, cynical earlier in life, then rekindled romance through gardening, seeking healing, would love to have you in your words, help people feel into the shifts and transformation and deep soul tissue healing that’s happening, if you could romanticize the journey

JM: I think just to start it off, if you’re not in love, or find yourself bored, but you’re stressed out, want to work on health, nurture it better, just like to share, some of the research that is, where we are right now with nature immersion is where yoga was, in terms of more mainstream, widespread, growing body of research combined with intuitive understanding, tipping point, health researchers, government, very progressive, bring nature to people’s every day lives, it can lower stress hormone levels, reduce nervous system arousal, enhance immune system function, decrease anxiety, improve mood, help with aggression, accelerate healing

highly stimulated in this world now, if you want to try, give it a chance, big study, 20k people, people who spent 2 hours a week in green spaces, parks, neighborhood with a ton of trees, just hanging out and removing yourself from urban environment, traffic, noise, any kind of natural environment, either all at once or spaced out, like taking 10 minutes on launch break, fresh air, giving self space

attention restoration theory, allows brain to restore, allows cognition, your brain giving it space and time to relax, when you go back to desk or work, cognition levels are much better

little things like that, if you’re not someone who gets super excited, its such an easy thing, give yourself 10 minutes, 2 hours a week spread out, try it

when we make something important, our health, mental health, emotional states, spiritual states, at very least, relax and think, relax and not think, taking time to do that, make it important, have that connection with natural space it will begin to show itself to you

a friend that is not trying to tell you what to do with your life, or unsolicited advice, they’re just there, allow you to work through whatever you’re going through

natural world all of the patterns that exist in that space are things that as humans we’ve evolved with, all very familiar

one quote I really love, from scientist who was a pioneer for forest bathing Japan, “we are visually fluent in the patterns of the natural world, because we evolved in the scenery of the natural world we can process its patterns easily, it is this fluency that relaxes us”

TP: stress less, talk to the nature painting, talk to the landscape

JM: with my own business, researching so much, why isn’t this more popular, why isn’t this more well known

allow attention to restore our brains, to chill out, thinking tests better, in New York, some crazy busy place, even just looking at pictures of nature, videos, listening, put on headphones listen to nature sounds

all of that is beneficial, so it’s like why not

not the most stimulating, in terms of instant gratification, but if you make your health, mental health, emotional state, a priority, 10 minutes a day for you to level up

TP: PSA for gamers, as of just very recently Santa Cruz has joined Oakland, decriminalize entheogenic plants and fungi, the whole suite of plant derived entheogens, still federally highly regulated, but just like cannabis, this movement is growing very fast, #decriminalizenature, I feel like for me what shift was the romance with nature 10xed when I started to integrate dancing in the garden with psychedelics, because all of that dopamine you’d get from slaying dragons in a video game world, you’ll be that thrilled just watching the flow of nature, and being a part of it, and doing your own shadow work, and having nature spirits help you with that

don’t want impose that narrative on our work

JM: hemp will save the world environmentally

TP: what are some of the more cinematic moments

JM: very very beautiful views are conducive of these type of moments, knowing that when you’re looking out on this beautiful landscape, mountain peaks, feel very small, but very connected, look out and see all these pieces of me, subatomic particles, everything is me, and I am it, really grounding type of experience to have, look out, wow all the issues I’m struggling with or limiting factors, or negative head space, all that just dissipates, because you put things into perspective, look into the night sky, see the stars, and you just, sense of awe, and admiration, and deep respect, when you are just so connected, just in tune

TP: I feel that, live for those vistas, any times where equipment failed, or got soaked, freezing, suffer through a night, moments of triumph

JM: I would say nature is cruel but powerful mistress, so like, in the same way that it will guide me into this revelation about absolute awe adoration, at the same time I’ve been cold, and hungry, and so defeated, but I think those are the moments when we’re struggling, going through change, extreme internal conflict due to weather and terrain, you’re able to grow, I have so much respect for nature, those experiences teach you how to tap into your grit, drive is more important than intrinsic motivation, which is fleeting, tap into own tenacity, hardship

when things are gravy at home, stressed out from work or life, but physically when you are drenched, no placed to put your tent, or snow, post holing thigh deep, on side of mountain gotta get off but sun is setting

even just being out there and pushing yourself is honestly the best way to make a transformation, quickest and most impactful way

meditation is very powerful and important, but holy moly I just did that, very immediate evolution when you experience that kind of physical challenge

just think about it, anytime you get pummeled in the ocean, I respect you so much, I will not through trash in you, I’m just a naked human, a flesh bag

TP: break up, death of loved own, quitting smoking or drinking, seems like any kind of major shift or transition even if its just a week, sounds like you’re a great person to be an evangelist for this, and it’s not a pill that you just take and pay big pharma to have you on a pill for the rest of your life, hopefully get off anti-depressants, I can feel that

we’ll have you back to talk more about your business, thought about doing meet ups, I was just exposed to night hiking, maybe we’ll be looking forward to what you have to offer, more than welcome to promote

JM: for now, instagram up, jessicamoonco on instagram, hoping to launch officially next month if you are stressed out, want some mindfullness guidance and encouragement to get out doors, definitely check me out, jessicamoon.co forthcoming

TP: heart ached when you told me you were in a corporate career, didn’t hear the exhuberance in your voice when you told me about it, glad it served you well for business administration, training for solopreneur, blessings to everyone who thrives in that environment, having known you at the peak of your youthful enthusiasm for exploration and breaking rules and being a rebel, I’m so thrilled to know that everything is coming full circle for you.

I had similar story of it being incongruent with spirit/soul being in a cubicle, but knowing when I was in corporate environment I was mining the experience so I wouldn’t just be a broke ass hippy, I’d know how to take a penny and make two pennies with out

JM: thank you so much for having me, thank you so much for your attention and hope we can get out doors, level up, hope you have a beautiful week

TP: been a treasure and blessing, much love to you and all your beloveds