So much of how we live and experience life is a matter our perspective. Shift it just slightly, and everything can change. Such was my recent and first visit to Portland, Oregon. While I enjoyed the humming energy of the city and all that feeling of abundance and novelty had to offer, I was particularly and deeply affected by the natural beauty just a short trip away. After months in the grip of winter's gray, I found myself absolutely swooning over the Pacific Northwest's blankets of moss, trees spotted with lichen, waterfalls and ocean brushing against rock faces kissed with green. On a trip that was interwoven with a personal embrace of new beginnings and a hunger for openness, I can't think of a better landscape for thoughtful immersion and contemplation.