I am so excited to share with you one of the most inspiring women in my life, Jes Palace! This new Women Who Rock series has me pretty amped up.
Jes is my boyfriend’s sister, but she’s also become one of my favorite human beings. She oozes passion, has a strong sense of self and has a voice that would give Janis Joplin a run for her money. She hiked the Appalachian Trail SOLO for three months this year for crying out loud. I’d be crying by night three, (okay night one), so she’s got my attention!
Passions/ Occupations: Currently I am obsessed with my yoga practice. My usual lifestyle consists of being constantly on the move, challenging myself in new and absurd ways and throwing myself into new situations. Unlike the usual, however, yoga allows me to calm my mind and designate the proper amount of “me time” required for my sanity! To me, it is not about the advanced poses that I can now hold in my yoga practice, but more so about treating my body the way it was meant to be treated and learning how to be healthy in mind body and spirit. I am currently studying to become a yoga teacher. The feeling I get from showing someone a way to love themselves and leave feeling confident and happy is the best reward of all, and helps me stay dedicated to my practice and lifestyle.
What does success mean to you? : To me, success means to find happiness in your purest most natural state. It means to strip your life of all the unnecessary materialism, emotional attachments, and societal expectations and to constantly thrive on change. To constantly seek challenge and self-improvement. To come back from all experiences, positive and negative, with new eyes.
What are you inspired by? : I am inspired by traveling and meeting other travelers who have stories and experiences that are totally different from mine. I’m inspired by experimenting with and living alternative lifestyles such as the culture that exists at Black Rock City. Black Rock City is a city that exists for only seven days out of the year as Burning Man, and I have attended two times. It is based off of 10 basic principles including some such as gifting or being radically generous. The idea is that if you give more than you take, everything will be okay in the end, no money is allowed. Other principles include being self-reliant and self expressive. Non-attachment is a huge concept here as well. At the end of the week a lot of the art sculptures are burned. This is to symbolize letting go as well as the constant change and non-permanence that surrounds us. The most inspiring part for me is the celebration for the things that go unnoticed in normal everyday life. An example of this would be the sunrise. Every morning 68,000 people watch the sun as it emerges over the earth’s beautiful landscape of mountains and we celebrate the start of the day together. The experience inspires me so much and restores my faith in humanity. I live to spread this playful innocence and gratitude every day.
Something you’re proud of: I think what I am most proud of is my trek on the Appalachian Trail this past spring. I took a bus to Amicalola State Park in Georgia by myself with the intent of hiking about 500 miles to Damascus, Virginia. When I got there, I decided to keep hiking. I changed all of my plans of coming home to a steady job and loving, supportive boyfriend, and I hiked a total of 962 miles to Front Royal, Virginia, almost half of the entire trail. It took me about two and a half months. I think I am most proud that I did it by myself. I met some amazing people while I was out there who I hiked with, but I made my own decisions with no influence, for the first time in my life. And I lived in the woods! I can’t want to return to the simplicity of that lifestyle, and one day I will. I think my next big goal is to hike the entire Pacific Crest Trail!
A piece of advice: SAY YES. The one thing that I’ve learned in the past couple of years since I graduated from college, is that NOW is the time. I always used to say “I wish I could do that” or “I wish I could live that lifestyle” but the truth is I can! And I am. We all can live the life that we want to live. And we can do it now. The only thing holding us back is ourselves. We only live once in these bodies and you cannot live your entire life saying I wish I would’ve done this or I wish I would’ve done that. Let go of any guilt or self-consciousness and just go with the flow. Say yes without reason! You will be amazed at the quality of life that you are creating for yourself.
“The most exquisite paradox… as soon as you give it all up, you can have it all. As long as you want power, you can’t have it. The minute you don’t want power, you’ll have more than you ever dreamed possible.” Ram Dass