Journey through the Heartland

Reframe The Story: A New Chapter

My Dad the Healing Angel

Today is the start of my new way of being with my dad.

Here’s the old story:

I’m 24. I’m the program director at Woodland Altars Outdoor Education Center. I love my job! Every day I walk the trails. I’m connecting children and teachers with nature, helping them experience Nature as a nourishing and vibrant sensory exploration. I’m recruiting a record number of schools, welcoming teachers and chaperones, and training my own staff of teacher-naturalists. I love my job!

My dad, however, wants me to be an engineer. He asks, “When will you get a real job?”

At that moment he had cast a spell of doubt on my life. A veil dropped over my soul and I wandered, unsinging, searching for that other self that would please my dad, trying to discover my “real job” and not finding it. I had believed his view that enticing others to come outside and experience wonder and fulfillment in Nature was not a real job.

Until today.

Until today.

Today, a New Story begins. And my dad literally blazed the trail on which this story unfolds.

My dad helped blaze the Buckeye Trail in Dayton, OH decades ago. Today, the city of Dayton is being officially dedicated as a “Trail Town” on the Buckeye Trail. And it just so happens that I will be welcomed in the ceremony as one of the hikers who are currently walking this trail because it just so happens that I chose this trail for my next long walk.  While I walk the Buckeye Trail’s 1200 mile circuit around the State of Ohio, I will be coaching women to walk into their own dreams. I will be creating Fulfillment through Forgiveness ceremonies in towns along the trail. I’ll be guiding women on short ForgivenessWalks on certain sections of the trail. That’s my “real” job.

The spell is broken. My dad cleared the path and welcomes me back today into his Trail Town, my hometown, which I left decades ago to seek my “real” job.

Let the New Story and this new journey begin. I think I’ll call this walk my Journey through my Heartland as I explore the art of living with a singing heart while walking through my homeland.




Love Letters

“If you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all.”

I heard this advice often as a child.

I was quiet child

I had plenty of “not nice”  things to say about how we were treating each other and how stifled i felt.

How needy i felt emotionally.

But I was silent because it didn’t seem nice to say.

I feel lonely.

I wanted to say things like,

“I want more love.”

“You seem mean and unhappy.”

“Why are you sad?”

“Can we do this differently?”


I learned not to speak at all even when I had a nice thing to say.


What would I have talked about?

How beautiful Nature is.

How jealous of others i am

How much I love walking

How scared I am to speak up!


I concluded that there really was no time at all to share what was in my heart. Everything I had to say was invalid.


I was muting myself systematically, especially when I had something nice to share becuase I feared the accidental spilling out of something mean.


Until I learned about Love Letters from Barbara de Angelis and John Gray in 1983.


I learned that all those unspoken mean things – the anger and blame –   always had other feelings beneath them. Sadness. Fear. Guilt. And Love. And at age 35, I finally had a way to unmute myself!


In a LoveLetter, I learned to write equal parts of all of those feelings and the thoughts attached to them. Then I read them out loud.


Heres a short example:


“Dear John,

I hate it that you chew loud

Im sad that I feel seo

parate from you

I’m afraid to talk with you about what’s really important to me

I’m guilty of unconscious eating myself and don’t want to admit it.

I love and appreciate you for providing all this food for our family.”





Some letters were very long. The anger spilled out over pages. Then, to follow the rules, the other feelings had to balance. I was particularly challenged with writing an equal “love” section because there was so much unexpressed anger that I couldnt get to the love.


After a month of letters the balance came easier.


I discovered that saying the love part became more comfortable and that the stifled anger wasn’t always the first thing that popped into my mind.


Eventually, I noticed that “a nice thing to say” did occur to me and I started to speak more often. I could write my balanced Love Letters, knowing that it was fine to feel all of my feelings.


Can you relate?


Try a Love Letter. I’ll get you started.


Dear …..


Im mad at youbecause……


Im sad about …….


Im afraid…..


Im sorry that I……


I love you for…….





Then, read it out loud to someone who can witness and validate it with no editing or comment, just “Thanks for sharing that.”


Let me know how this works for you!






Magic Wand

I can help!

I get excited. I get stimulated. I get excited when my smart, dedicated, determined, productive, dynamic yearning friends and acquaintances say,

“I’m stuck. This happens to me all the time. Here it is again. There’s nothing I can do but persevere and push through this problem. I wish I had a magic wand that’s all that will work.”

I want to jump up and down and shout and laugh “I have that magic wand!”

I know what to do to open floodgates of creativity and solutions and abundance and ease really quickly and easily with no pushing or pulling or stepping on anyone.

It’s so simple!

Just take these Four Steps to Radical Forgiveness, from Colin Tipping’s tools for expanding into love as he teaches in Radical Forgiveness

Say and reflect on these four steps:

1. “Look what I created”

2.“I notice my judgments and love myself for having them.”

3.“I’m open that there’s a purpose for this happening.”

4.“I choose acceptance. I choose peace.”


Then, take a walk, even a few steps. That integrates this shift in perspective into your body, activates your left and right brains, and frees you from the current stalemate.

What’s great about this simple exercise is that it requires very little brain work. There’s no pushing. No perseverance. No puzzling or figuring out or relying on old worn out problem solving methods that don’t work anyway.


It’s that simple, quick, and easy.

What happens energetically is vast, deep, broad, and amazingly powerful.

Just like the sweep of a magic wand!



Your magic wand is waiting for you here at ForgivenessWalks where we use walks, songs, easy tools, Nature, color, games – a whole treasure chest of lighthearted ways to clear our path of the obstacles to joy and fulfillment of our dreams.

Walk into YOUR dreams.

Turn your troubles into blessings.

Join us at ForgivenessWalks free here:



Clicking this link brings you to the gateway of ForgivenessWalks and the land of ease in the face of troubles, acceptance in the face of anger, creativity in the face of frustration, support in the face of loneliness.

I invite you to share your name and email and receive my gift of five free audios that introduce you to energy shifting practices, including the Four Steps to Radical Forgiveness, that you can use every day, instantly, wherever you are.

Walk with me and ForgivenessWalks into a land of freedom and joy.

Wave this Magic Wand!

In joy,






Delving a Little Deeper

Life is inviting me to step into my work and ignite my light. Here are three nudges I’m seeing at this moment:
– I’m visiting my mom where several of the “elders” of the family have also gathered. It’s a perfect opportunity to notice my old and new beliefs coming up for consideration and transformation. To help me, the questions in Laura’s thought leadership module for today are:
“what are the beliefs? What doesn’t work that others say is essential?, etc.

– I’ve had two requests from “fans” leaning on my expertise as a long distance hiker. They are asking for logistical advice, but what’s coming up for me is clearly a suggestion of going to the deeper fears, doubts, worries and uncreative thinking whose transformation could light up unseen possibilities.

In all three of these situations, I’m feeling tremendous resistance to responding with bright clarity with my message of awakening the heart as a pathway to lighting the head. Why? I ask myself: because I am afraid, myself, to respond from my heart and risk having it rejected as I have created in my own past.
so, here I am leaning into you, sharing what’s here for me, yearning to lead with clarity and confidence, knowing in my heart that YOU are cheering me on.



Laura West helps create authentic business:

Trail Journals Photos – 2013 Continental Divide Trail – Who is the tallest hiker?

The Govt Shutdown changed my plan to send daily photos! Yesterday was my last day working at Yellowstone Park as a room attendant for the Xanterra concession company. Originally, my contract offered a job until Oct. 16. With the park closed and no tourists allowed, there’s no need for Old Faithful Inn, so we spent three days closing it down for winter. Closing for winter is a normal occurrence, but this year it happened a week early.

With my Yellowstone stay over, my Wyoming Walk, in my mind, is officially complete! So, today’s installment of photos will give a sampling of the final five days of the journey! those days went quickly for me too (Well, except for the last one, in which that last 15 miles seemed to take forever!).

During that last stretch, John and I continued on our own, as Gary chose a different route and a faster pace. John and I took a day’s rest at a remote dude ranch near the trail. Then, we continued on a common route for the CDT, climbing the exquisite and remote Temple Pass, where we camped at over 10,000 ft altitude.

Temple Pass was our last high pass, after which we eased our way down from the Wind River Range and descended gradually through the foothills and down even more to South Pass City, where we ended our hike – and John celebrated his completion of the entire 3,000+ miles of the Continental Divide Trail.

Two days of creative traveling brought us back to Old Faithful and the beginning of our employment with Xanterra for a little over one month.

I’ve added photos with little stories for each of the days seventeen through twenty-one. Peruse them all or check out just a few. If nothing else, please open the photos from 08/22/2013 when we traversed Temple Pass. What a wonder it is!

I’d love to hear your comments and questions about my journey. Especially, I’d love to hear what your own journey provides for your soul.

Here’s the link:

Note that at the top of this page: Who’s the Tallest Hiker, there’s a scroll bar to choose which photo you want to view. You can click through all of them in sequence using the “Next” button or use the scroll bar to select your choice.

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Trail Journals Photos – 2013 Continental Divide Trail – Split Level House

Wyoming Walk Day 16:Sheep, Swimming, and Cirque of the Towers.
What a different walk today from our Pass Climbing of the past couple of days! This 16-mile day had no big climbs, just consistent miles of open plains, lakes, and views of majestic peaks.

Just a handful of 5 photos for today that capture the highlights of the persistent awesome views of this wilderness walk.

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