Photographs by Meadow Linn

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Living Your Truest Self

Mt. Fletcher reflected in Fletcher Creek

Recently, while reading a novel about a woman reunited with the daughter she gave up for adoption 18 years earlier, surprisingly tears welled in my eyes and tightness gripped my chest. Although it was an entertaining read, it wasn’t particularly memorable or well crafted—more the type of book you read on vacation, forget you ever read, and then buy again a few years later. However, there was something that struck a deep chord within me that I couldn’t quite figure out, since I’m neither adopted nor have I given a child up for adoption.

Mother and Daughter
But then I realized… For most of my life, even though I don’t yet have children, I’ve pictured myself as a mother. Although it wasn’t particularly glamorous or sexy, my friends in high school nicknamed me Mother Meadow since I was always taking care of everyone. For some reason, I’m the person that babies smile at in the grocery store and young children seem to gravitate toward.

Even though I will never intimately know what it’s like to place a child for adoption, I closely identified with both the mother and daughter in the story. My mother and I are very close, and I feel the role of “daughter” deeply. And, although I don’t yet have children of my own, as a schoolteacher I spent many years in a mothering role. So, I realized that although I don’t personally know what it’s like to be adopted or to choose adoption for your child, I could deeply empathize because both “mother” and “daughter” both clearly shape my identity.

Have you ever noticed that when you’re doing what’s in alignment with your identity that you feel a much deeper connection and everything seems to just flow?

A Pointy Peak in the Yosemite High Sierra
A few weeks ago I went on a 5-day guided hut-to-hut backpacking trip in Yosemite National Park. Although the trip had been months in the planning and was quite expensive, I nearly cancelled a few days before. It seemed that everything that could go wrong had, and I wasn’t sure that I would physically be able to do it. Due to piles of work and being sick, I hadn’t been able to train for the rigorous hike. My new boots were stiff, and I was concerned about the heavy pack aggravating my sciatica, not to mention being prepared for the high altitude.

However, just as I’ve always identified with the role of “mother,” I’ve also felt equally at home in the wilderness. Although it’s been years since I’ve been able to backpack (due mostly to the sciatica), as soon as I reached the mountains, I felt alive and full of vigor. As we embarked on the hike, I felt strong and vital and found myself maneuvering around boulders and scaling cliff-like mountains with ease. Having spent a great deal of time in the backcountry in my teens and twenties, I was instantly in my element. My identity as an “outdoorsy” person had been reignited. As a result, not only was I able to tackle the mountains and absorb their powerful energy, but also because I was living in accordance with my true self, I even had extra energy, which allowed my nurturing side to shine. I was able to help some of the others and even bandaged a wound.

Meadow Enjoying the Meadow
We are at our very best when we’re living in accordance with our identity. When we embody our truest selves, we feed our soul and feel most alive.

What makes up your identity? Are you living in such a way that you’re feeding your soul? How would your life be fuller and richer if you lived in alignment with the way you see yourself? Believe it or not, the more you feed who you truly are, the more easily things come to you. I tackled the mountains because I see myself as someone who tackles mountains. Here’s to living our truest version of ourselves!
One of the Most beautiful Meadows I've Ever Seen

Romaine Heart Sandwich

The people who run the High Sierra Camps in Yosemite graciously offered to provide me with gluten free meals, for which I was immensely grateful. I was, however, a bit dubious when I heard that my daily sandwich would be a “lettuce wrap” since I didn’t think it would provide me enough energy to scale the mountains. But, the sandwiches they created by stuffing the interior of a Romaine heart were clever, delicious, and satisfying.

You can make this sandwich with whatever filling you choose, but this is what I ate in Yosemite…

Makes 1 sandwich

• 1 heart of Romaine lettuce, one or two inner leaves removed, but keep the stalk intact

• Sliced turkey, ham, chicken, or any other favorite deli meat

• Sliced cheese

• Vegetables: sliced tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, and/or cucumber

• Mustard and mayonnaise (optional)

Assemble the sandwich by filling the interior of the Romaine heart with your favorite goodies and enjoy with good friends and beautiful scenery.


  1. I love this post (beautiful photos, btw). More and more often I'm finding myself in that place you write about where life is just fuller, better and more real because I'm doing what I should be doing. It's like everything zips along at light speed because I'm in "the zone," but I can mentally slow down and savor the moment more.

    Thanks for the reminder to look for myself in the right places today.

  2. Dear Blogger,

    Thank you so much for your lovely words!! Here's to living our truest selves!!!

    Thank you,

  3. So happy to have found this blog and this post. Makes me more conscience of "feeding my soul." Thank you. I will be sure to check in often.

  4. The sandwich looks fantastic. I've had lettuce wraps, but I never thought of making a substancial sandwich like this. This looks hearty and makes me think I wouldn't miss bread.

    As for the trip, good for you for pushing yourself and your perceived limitations. You learned something you either didn't know or were unsure about.

  5. Dera meadow, I have received the Mystic Cookbook and I absolutely LOVE it!
    But more than that-as this new year begins, after reading the wonderful entries on your site, I began to realize that I wish for you...the man of your dreams.
    You 'saw' that man and the three children at the labyrinth and it was for a reason.
    My husband of 56 years and I went to Grace Cathedral yesterday and walked the labyrinth indoors. How wonderful it was-we plan to make it an annual pilgrimage.
    So, if I can find the man of my dreams, you can. too!
    You go, Girlfriend!

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