The Great Escape by Katherine Heigl

The Great Escape: My 2 Day Getaway To Jackson Hole WY

As I write this I am sitting in a pretty little brunch spot called Persephone in downtown Jackson Hole WY…by myself…all alone…so so alone…and it’s amazing! I mean I’m not totally alone, I’m surrounded by all the other patrons. There are quite a few of them, this being a busy September weekend in Jackson. Yet despite the throngs of humanity that surround me, I am alone. Alone meaning, no husband, no kids, no companion of any kind. Just me, my chai latte and my brioche. I can’t even remember the last time I ventured into the world on my own. I haven’t sat in a cafe by myself since…I truly can’t even remember. I’m not gonna lie, it was a little unnerving at first. I was a bit hesitant to head out the door, but now that I’m here well…I feel a perfect and quiet contentment. I am free to do whatever I please in this moment. I could just sit here and stare out the window for awhile. I can write this post with total absorption for as long as the place stays open. I could eat two more of these amazing brioches and drink six more chai lattes. I have no dishes screaming at me to be washed, no children interrupting me every two seconds, no dogs to feed, no house to tidy. I am footloose and fancy free for this one afternoon in Jackson and it is just what my body, mind and soul needed. A chance to sit and breath. To indulge my own needs and desires and creativity in a beautiful place just far enough away from all the demands of my day to day life.

The beautiful and quaint Persephone Bakery.
The most perfect Chai Latte and a cinnamon brioche.
One of each please!

It’s been far too long since I did anything even remotely selfish…no, you know what, I don’t like that word in this context. It is not selfish of me to take a moment for myself. To put everyone else’s needs on the back burner for a day or two. It is self preservation! So, it has been way too long since I have done anything more than steal a quick 20 minutes in the morning to do my intentions and prayers. It has been way too long since I’ve done anything big and grand to nurture the preservation of my best self. The last getaway I had was my birthday last November when I was 8 months pregnant, bursting at the seams and too exhausted from my full work schedule to really relax and indulge myself.

When this trip came up my first inclination was to balk, but when I took a moment to contemplate the last time I had a break I was shocked to realize it had been so long. No wonder I’ve been feeling so burnt out and lackluster. No wonder a sort of melancholy has settled in and the thought of doing one more dish just deepens that feeling. No wonder my patience has worn so thin and I’m scowling more than I’m smiling. I have completely, predictably ignored my own needs, and being the exhausted captain of my family’s ship have led our boat astray. I have children who feel like I’m harping on them all the time, a husband who’s been walking on egg shells, a baby who’s becoming overly indulged because it’s easier than waiting out his tantrums. My house has fallen into disorder and disarray. Despite forcing myself to spend 20 minutes on me, at least three days a week, I hit the kitchen gripping my positivity with both hands only to have it easily slip away in the mess from last nights dinner, or this mornings breakfast, or both.

I just recently published a post on how I manage to cultivate positivity in my life and home. Though I feel like my spiritual journey has evolved into a really beautiful place I know and understand that living my right life with a joyful, loving compassionate spirit is a perpetual work in progress. I’m better than I was ten years ago, for sure, but I still have a ways to go. Indulging in this weekend getaway, letting myself off the hook if you will, has been another piece in the puzzle of my spiritual evolution. It has become suddenly and irrevocably clear to me that I will need to make an effort to preserve my best self a bit more often than once every ten months.

I took Josh back the next morning so he could indulge in delicious too!

Last spring Josh decided to enter the LOTOJA bike race which would take him on a 200 mile journey from Logan UT to Jackson Hole WY in one day. Sounds like the seventh circle of hell to me, but hey to each his own right? When he first mentioned it to me I was only half listening, probably because I had about 16 plates spinning, all my irons in the fire, a bird in the hand and one in the bush…wait that last one doesn’t fit with the rest but you get my point. When it came up again more recently I couldn’t help feeling a smidge resentful, ok a LOT resentful, that Josh was getting to take off for two days and do something, however insane, that would renew and feed his heart and soul. I would be left behind with four kids and a house full of chores. When I found out that a group of our friends who were unable to get into the race decided to drive up to Jackson instead and meet the racers at the finish line, I quickly asked if there was room in the car for me. I realized that Josh wasn’t waiting for some universal sign of permission to take care of himself and his needs, he was giving himself that permission. So I decided to stop being a baby, stop complaining and do the same.

Nothing beats a getaway with great friends!
Even the gas stations in Jackson Hole have bars and gourmet food.
Couldn't resist a bottle or two of this!

I’ve heard about the beauty and wonder of Jackson for years now and figured it was the perfect opportunity for me to indulge in my own soul renewal. My friends planned to spend the day hiking and biking while they waited but I purposely left my sneakers at home. I just wanted to wander the little town, sit at a cafe, sip on a latte and get creative. I wanted to wake up late, lie in bed while daydreaming, do a 20 minute yoga, a 10 minute meditation and set some beautiful intentions with zero interruptions, or distractions. I wanted to sit here at this cafe and write. Well, now I’m at the hotel bar and it’s late afternoon and I’ve traded in my latte for a rosé. I’m meeting up with my friends later for cheese and wine by Snake River and then dinner with the champions. This trip is truly the best of all worlds! I get the solitude and alone time. The fun, connection and grown up time with people I truly love and respect. The quiet renewal and the joyful companionship. I could not have asked for a more perfect getaway.

This still life is called, "A Woman's Intent to Rest."
Traded in my latte for a rosé.
After my solo lunch I headed back to my room for a couple of hours of knitting and my favorite show!

Places I loved!

If hotels, babysitters and two days of meals out are not in the financial cards for you right now consider finding other creative ways to take a break from your routine. For example, you could yelp a bakery, coffee shop or lunch spot outside your usual neighborhood radius, barter with a friend or family member to take the kids for a few hours and make a quick getaway. You could use the same bartering method (you know, like promise your sister two nights of awesome home cooked meals if she’ll watch the kids for an afternoon) and go to the movies, by yourself, in the middle of a weekday like a renegade! There are a million ways to shake off the daily care taking, house minding blues. You just need to take five minutes to close your eyes and think of something simple that you’d love to do. Something that might inspire  or amuse you. Something that will feel totally indulgent and special like spending a little extra cash on a latte and brioche from a bakery you’ve been dying to try and spending hours sitting at said bakery with only your lovely self for company. Don’t let anything or anyone stop you from taking even a few hours every once in awhile to put yourself first! In fact, screw a few hours once in awhile, make it a priority to take a few hours every week! I bet you really, really deserve it! I’m talking to myself here as much as I am to you, now let’s see if I take my own advice! I’ll let you know how it goes!

All the stunning wildlife and landscape shots are from my friend Jeremy Steffensen who not only acted as my amazing Jackson Hole tour guide but is a phenomenal photographer as well! Enjoy!


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