Reflections on “Me Too”

October 18, 2017

My heart goes out to the women who have bravely posted “Me Too” in the Facebook campaign to show our widespread experience of sexual assault. I’m one of the lucky ones whose rape left just a black eye, a sore knee, and a short-lived uneasiness being home alone. Yes, being assaulted by a home invader who punched me in the face, pushed me outside, threw me to the ground and raped me from behind was the scariest and most brutal thing that has ever happened to me. That was the only black eye I’ve ever had.

I was lucky, though, for many reasons I realized in the aftermath. I had neighbors I could run to who called the police. My husband, who worked at the local newspaper, heard the police call on the radio and ran home, saying, “That’s my street! I hope Regina is ok!” He held me, and took me to the hospital. He also called a friend, Sue, who was the director of the local rape crisis center. She arrived within the hour and coached me on what to do next, preparing me for how the detective and the hospital staff might respond.  For the next two months my husband supported me with tenderness, first with a three-week vacation together, including a house sitter, then the companionship of a friend’s guard dog whenever I was home alone.

Sue invited me to join her next session of rape crisis training. What an empowering experience that was! During that month of training I learned just how fortunate I was!

I learned that the detective’s scorn and the medical staff’s coldness were typical responses to rape victims. I learned that most rape victims are blamed for being raped, that being raped was our fault! I learned that law enforcement officers blame the victims and rarely investigate assault. I learned that hospital emergency personnel are disgusted by rape victims and don’t really know what to do with them. I learned that Kentucky State laws at that time in 1979 had little protection and few rights for rape victims. I had no idea until being a rape victim that so many women had horrible, demeaning, and emotionally devastating sexual assault experiences!

Like I said, I was blessed to be instantly comforted, supported, loved, and empowered by people close to me. I never felt blamed, unclean, or abandoned by my husband and friends. My rape experience bonded me with you who have also posted “Me too”, empowering me to understand how to validate and support your healing.

A few months after my rape, Sue asked me if I would be willing to testify at a state legislative committee hearing. I eagerly accepted the invitation, emboldened by my experience to speak up for other women who were ashamed and silenced by their ordeal. I could speak out feeling angered, emboldened, and justified to demand compassionate treatment for rape victims. The legislature responded to those hearings with laws that gave rape victims more legal rights.

I know that my rape experience was an awakening, not a defeat. It gave me the power, the compassion, the understanding – and the responsibility – to assist and support other victims whose sexual assault left lasting trauma, shame, isolation, and fear. 

This week I posted my “Me too” to stand with you with support, validation, compassion, and an open heart to listen to your story and walk with you on a path of healing.

As you have been reading as you follow my journey, discovering and transforming limiting beliefs and obstacles to joy and fulfillment is my focus and passion. Walking with others through the challenges with self-love, companionship, and the beautiful expansiveness of Nature, I gently help courageous women confidently take their next step on a path of renewed self acceptance and choice.

Have you posted “Me too” and yearn to be heard? Was posting “Me too” something very hard to do? You knew you had to, but wished it weren’t true? 

I want to walk with you on your next step. Listen to your story. In gratitude to those who supported me I  pay it forward and offer you a shoulder and a compassionate ear. 

Hit reply to this email and say “Me too.” We’ll schedule a chat. I’m here for you.

Compassionately,

Regina

Journey Photos

October 17, 2017

Days in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park begin with radiant sunrises in a huge sky. Mountain vistas, rocky routes, and rare oases delight my senses and exercise my body! Here are a few photos from my first week here at my fun job as Park Interpretive  Specialist.

Today, my ardent fan, a regular Junior Ranger, came in to see if I’m back. He has come to most of the Saturday Junior Ranger sessions for the past three years! Our most common activity has been to head out the door and climb a kid-sized mountain we call “Junior Ranger Mountain”. I count this as one of my best contributions to the Park and to the local community! 

What an honor and a joy to share the desert with a boy who can’t sit still!

https://photos.app.goo.gl/zPlXcigF4Dz1upQl1

In joy,

Regina

Winter Home

October 11, 2017

Nomadic lifestyle,  my habit since April 2103 when I sold my house, continues this year with my return to California for my winter seasonal job. This is my fourth year at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park working in a position I love! I create and offer programs for park visitors of all ages. Since my life’s purpose is to entice others to come outside and reconnect with Nature, doing that for my living makes my heart sing!

It’s been a good fit for me at this park because my supervisor likes my sensory approach to programs. My primary theme is to encourage visitors to explore the desert with all their senses and discover what’s there that delights, intrigues, and inspires them. This seems so important to me in the desert because the desert environment is largely unfamiliar and misunderstood! My goal is to let the desert itself arouse wonder, curiousity, awe, and respect. So far, I get affirmative feedback from participants as they search for all the colors of the rainbow in the garden, walk silently across the playa at dusk, watch the full moon rise, or sing Animal Songs. 

Yes! I love my job! And, I hope that you have work that makes your heart sing, too! If you do,please tell me about it. If not, I encourage you to reply to this email and start a conversation to begin a journey to YOUR heartland. It’s a journey worth taking!

In joy,

Regina

Negative

October 7, 2017

A new hiker posted a question about how to respond to her family’s discouraging comments about her dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail. 

Here’s a view to add to the mix. I’ve discovered that others mirror my subconscious beliefs coming to the surface to be challenged and transformed. Fears, doubts, and limiting beliefs that I may have deep down or that I’m pretending I don’t have, but really I do, get brought up by others. The more I’m willing to touch into those “negative” beliefs and transform them with experience and inner strength and clarity, the less others are needed to mirror them. Make sense? Now that I’ve walked 10,000 miles, “negative” comments are easy to respond to with stories of my own experience to affirm or deny the fears and concerns.

PCT Anniversary

Pacific Crest Trail 9 Years Ago

October 6, 2017

 On this day in 2008, as I reached the northern terminus of the PCT, I declared, "Now I know I can do anything I set out to do. What I want to do is earn my living hiking." Nine years later, I have worked 7 summer seasons as a ridgerunner for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, three winter seasons as a program specialist at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, a CA park on the PCT, and created a coaching business, Forgiveness Walks, that specializes in helping women clear their path to walking into their own dreams. Just like walking from the southern border to the northern border, there have been ups and downs, unexpected choices, surprising supporters, and benefits from having a clear focus to manifest the journey. I am heartily grateful to acknowledge that fulfillment is evident! The journey continues!! Thanks for being on it with me!!!

Read my Pacific Crest Trail journal here:http://trailjournals.com/mssnglnk

 

Old House New Life

October 6, 2017

I’m walking past the house that used to be home. My heart and mind are doing flips between explaining the facts and feeling the feelings! The fact is that I sold it and moved away four years ago! It’s a different color and the spiral garden is now monotonous grass. My house no longer exists there! My feet and soul tug me toward the driveway, my body memory strong. Striding along the street stirs familiar patterns and memories of walks away from the house in search of a new, unknown life on trails expressing my authentic profession. 

Baby Backpacking and a Story

October 4, 2017

I took my 9-month old grandson to the start of the Appalachian Trail Approach! So cute and filled with promise! Then, his mom and I walked up to a heartsinging favorite, the Len Foote Hike Inn! The Hike Inn is a backcountry inn accessible only by a five-mile path up a mountain in North Georgia. I’ve stayed there many times, mostly with a complementary stay as a volunteer. It feels like home to me, so in a way, I was welcoming my family to my home!

My heart sang too as I supported Jessica, Felix’s mom, in her own accomplishment of carrying her son up the mountain.  We bonded as mother and daughter. “We could make this an annual event!” she mused. Sounds good to me! Felix was in good spirits for the journey and the favorite among the other guests, of course. Jessica felt proud to hear that babies are rare visitors to the Hike Inn.

My heart sang as well when I gave my Moon program that evening to fulfill my volunteer agreement. It’s the one I share at my winter home at the Visitor Center in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in California. “It’s the same Moon we have out there!” I joked, creating a heart connection between the two places.

A Story to Share

It’s the fourth, and concluding, week of Laura West’s 30-Day Passion Project. The project I chose for support and accountability has been to play for 30 days with illustrations for a nature story I wrote for a program at Anza-Borrego. Allowing myself the time and the permission to Do it imperfectly, have taken me on a fulfilling inner journey!

My mom became my model for the story’s wise grandmother figure and my older grandson the model for another page. Painting from photos of them provided bonding moments with them! I discovered that the paintings I’ve made could work for the story! This week, I declared that I intend to take one more bold action in my project this week. One step, I realized could be to share my current draft with you!

Here’s the link to the story. Enjoy! And please comment!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0By9Edgo2K09hQjNGci1WeE5vM1U/view?usp=sharing

 

And please reply to this email and let me know what’s happening on YOUR Inner Journey this week!

In joy,

Regina