September 9, 2017
I’m joining Laura West of The Institute for Joyful Business for a 30-Day Passion Project!
Today, I got the gift of a creative retreat day from Irma. I came home a couple of days early from my family visit in Charleston, SC. I’m exploring my ideas for passion projects. Inspired by Laura’s worksheets and using my own regular practice of painting through a chakra balancing meditation as a base for brainstorming, I’ve taken two steps forward: 1) Noted desires/growth in each chakra area with project ideas and 2)Elaborated on the outcomes, benefits, challenges, and areas of transformation I see for each project. Here are the worksheets:
Next step is to evaluate each project and energetically choose ONE! I’ll keep you posted! The project launch is Monday, September 11. Hmm. Interesting date for starting something.
September 7, 2017
Fires, hurricanes, floods, full moon, sunshine, health challenges, and adventures. Today, I acknowledge that at any moment we can be experiencing any number of physical and emotional events! I offer The Radical Forgiveness Invocation to awaken our sense of unity as spiritual beings having a human experience.
The Radical Forgiveness Invocation, by Crow Dancing
May we all stand firm
In the knowledge and comfort
That all things are now, have always been, and forever will be in Divine order.
May we surrender to this truth whether we understand it or not.
May we also ask for support in consciousness in feeling our connection with the Divine part of us, with everyone, and with everything so we can truly say and feel
We are One.
Blessings to all in this dramatic time!
August 30, 2017
Louise Hay passed away today. Her work gave language and acceptance to self-love as a path to loving others. It was my sister, Claudia, who first shared Louise’s words with me. I remember taking the cassette tape into bed and listening, with amused astonishment, to that deep, soothing voice enticing me to be grateful for every little thing in my life. At the time, it actually seemed a bit silly to be thankful for the morning light, and for my body’s basic functions, and for water, and breathing. Her visualization of walking to the ocean of abundance to scoop up goodness, asking, “What are you using, a teaspoon?!!” really jarred me. Aghast, I noticed that I was!
Her book of affirmations, You Can Heal Your Life, has helped me pinpoint symptom-specific beliefs countless times! What a novel – and challenging- idea, that symptoms and diseases are physical manifestations of limiting beliefs! It seemed incredulous in theory, but neither could I deny the accuracy of her alphabetical list of conditions paired with beliefs! So, I used it, setting aside my need to have scientific proof before acting as if this body-mind connection were true.
For me, Louise Hay’s way has been a helpful precursor and complement to Colin Tipping’s Radical Forgiveness, the practice which has made room for seeming miracles and shifts in my life!
I’ve noticed that the reports of Louise Hay’s passing have all used words like, “passed,” and “left her body” and not “she died”. That seems fitting for a great teacher who gave us the language of Love in terms of everything being Energy! Surely, she is still here in another form. I am imagining that she, and what she brought to humanity, is now even more available to us in her non-physical form. May we magnify her gift by embodying her words, her ideas, her legacy!
“Every experience I have is perfect for my growth.”
August 27, 2017
This week’s walk took me and John on a traverse of our entire ridgerunning seciton. We walked from Partnership Shelter to Damascus, VA on the Appalachian Trail. This is the section that we have taken turns walking since April 24th. The flowers have made a noticeable transition from spring to late summer species! I captured just a few of the crisp, colorful blooms that delighted me this week.
Here’s a link to the album of Late Bloomers:
August 24, 2017
What caught my eye on my walk this week through the Grayson Highlands, VA in the Mount Rogers Reccreation Area were decomposing tree trunks. I first noticed one on my ascent up Balsam Mountain, the actual mountain one climbs to reach Mt Rogers, the high point of Virginia. I took a photo of an array of wood planks that reminded me of a hand of cards, spread out on a table.
As I walked, many more trunks stood out, each with a story to tell of a once majestic tree melting into the soil. Their patterns, colors, and shapes were mesmerizing. The closer I looked, the more intricacies I saw. Soon, I had a collection of photos, which, of course, only suggest the complicated, delicate, yet rugged transformation of these forest creatures. Enjoy my photo album – then go out and find majesty transforming on your own walks!
Here’s the link to the album:
August 22, 2017
My Eclipse story. We decided at 6 pm on Sunday to go for a location in the path of totality rather than stay in the Mt Rogers area for a 90% eclipse. I resisted traveling, wanting to avoid the trouble and shame of contributing to traffic. We made all sorts of bargains about what would make us abandon the plan. We packed for the worst case scenario of being stuck for two days by loading up with 6 gallons of water and our whole box of backpacking food, five or six days worth! We can sleep in the van.
Originally aiming for someplace west of Knoxville, TN, we realized instead that we could choose exciting spots on the Appalachian or Benton MacKaye Trails by going southwest via Asheville, NC.
We chose Wayah Bald, NC. It’s on the Appalachian Trail about 230 miles away. There was no traffic! We arrived there at midnight and maneuvered our van into one rare spot available on the top of the mountain.
Monday morning, I was impressed with the quietness and focus of the hundreds of people there. After a short walk on the AT, in the morning, we positioned ourselves to watch. A thoughtful, generous man gave us viewing glasses. Clouds teased us with intermittent blockage, helping us keep cool, until a couple of minutes before totality, when the sky cleared and stayed clear ’til the end of eclipse.
I felt a bond with all the people as the crowd dispersed – slowly! We took another walk on the trail, talking with people and stopping often to watch the waning of the eclipse until the very last passing of the tiny black thumprint.
We left the mountain at 4pm, arriving back in Sugar Grove, VA at 1am. We did encounter traffic, but didn’t mind it terribly because it was for the sake of that grand experience. Trying to avoid the bottleneck at Dillsboro, NC, we headed west to Cherokee, TN, and through Great Smokey Mountain National Park. That was a bonus, as it put us in touch with that beautiful drive – and another favorite long trail, the Benton MacKaye Trail, at Smokemont.
I remain happy for our choice and blessed by the experience! What stands out most was the flood of emotion I felt when the first sliver of light returned and the sky was lit by an eery, dim light.
While preparing for the eclipse I was considering it’s metaphorical considerations, believing that I would see meaning for life in the event. I was surprised to notice, however, that the pure physical observation and it’s scientifically factual occurrence captivated and satisfied my mind – and my heart! I thought, “That’s the sun with the moon’s shadow going over it! It’s not an omen or a metaphorical ending or beginning. It’s a rare celestial event and I’m so grateful I can watch it!”
August 9, 2017
Today, I walked from Dickey Gap to Fox Creek, 8 miles. The weather was utterly pleasant and I saw just one family group of five hikers. During the last 3 miles of the forest walk, I started taking photos of some of the fascinating specimens that caught my eye. There was an endless supply! Here are a few:
See the whole album at this link:
Notice and Wonder
August 3, 2017
My Ridgerunning walk this week focused on what’s called the High Country of the Mt Rogers Recreation Area in Virginia. My first night out on Thursday, I camped at a spot I’ve had my eye on while I walked through there other weeks. It’s on Stone Mountain, just south of “The Scales”, an open, grassy field where cattle ranchers would weigh and sell their cattle before driving them down the mountain. The story goes that they realized that the cattle weighed more before they made the descent to town! Now, The Scales is a favorite car camping spot. I prefer to walk a mile south on the Appalachian Trail, up Stone Mountain, to camp. There, the grassy, and bushy bald stretches for a mile with expansive views. The low vegetation is broken by groups of short trees, bonsai-like stands of beech trees, just 5″ in diameter and fifteen feet tall. They create inviting rooms of shade, where the wild ponies can cool off. I walked away from the trail a couple hundred yards and set up my tarp under a sprawling oak tree in a patch of grass. In the morning, the view across The Scales and the valley below inspired me to take time to do a quick watercolor sketch of the distant Wilburn Ridge, where the trail would wind its way south.
One of the programs I do during my winters at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is called Notice and Wonder. It’s based on the three prompts that naturalist, John Muir Laws teaches. He encourages teachers to take their students outside and practice journaling in Nature, making notes and drawings of what they notice, what they wonder, and what their object reminds them of. This past winter, I used my weekly program to motivate my own regular journaling. On Friday morning, this week, that Wilburn Ridge scene caught my attention for a session of Notice and Wonder! Here’s what I came up with:
Notice and Wonder is not so much about making a beautiful picture but about spending time with a scene to integrate the shapes, colors, and details of something I observe in Nature! I noticed that the coniferous trees stood out individually on the skyline. I noticed the various shades of green. I noticed the unique and specific shape of the ridgeline. Recording it would help me remember and internalize the shape of that mountain! I wondered if I would be able to recognize each of the points I observed when I walked there later that day.
Paying attention to the mountain in that way did, indeed, make it become a more deeply experienced and memorable relationship! Now, in my mind’s eye, I can see the Wilburn Ridge, even after I’ve left it!
August 5, 2017
Today, I joined the volunteer trail crew from the Mt Rogers Appalachian Trail Club to build a fence. Stephen, from the Forest Service, the partner agency for this section, had brought the needed supplies and tools up in a truck. In three hours our crew of nine, with no boss, just cooperation – and luck – tore down the dilapidated fence and replaced it with a new wooden fence and metal gate. I had a fun and satisfying time of volunteerism and cooperation. That’s how the Appalachian Trail works!
Resonance on the Trail
August 7, 2017
On Monday, my last day of the week on trail left me a few hours to walk alone – in the rain! I reveled in the beauty of the trail and let my thoughts drift to imagining a fully developed and full-time Forgiveness Walks fantasy.
The business is thriving, with a team of assistants to help with online marketing, program implementation, and logistics. Women come regularly for custom coaching throughout the year, and on-trail programs, including a walk of the Appalachian Trail, uniquely focusing on creating fulfilling walks for each client. What’s unique and wonderful about Forgiveness Walks is that our focus on fulfillment in deference to accomplishment provides the creative space for each woman to delve deeply into her own heart’s singing. This listening shapes her relationship with Nature, the Appalachian Trail, and whatever venue provides the best canvas for her personal creation.
I walked for a couple of hours in this revery, reaching Old Orchard Shelter just as the rain let loose in perfect time to take a break in the dry shelter. Two women were there as well. One greeted me with “Beautiful day, isn’t it?” And she was serious!
Over the next hour the three of us chatted, getting to know each other – easily like hikers do! Amy’s story resonated with mine as soul sisters choosing fulfillment over expectation, letting go of unfulfilling relationships during the course of our thru-hikes. April, too, has divorced and teaches young children to recognize, acknowledge, and move through their feelings. These women understand Forgiveness Walks! Amy, too, knows her walking and breathing rhythm that makes climbing mountains easy! April talks about giving children space to “have their feelings” without rancor, special attention, or admonition.
The rain abates, we exchange contacts, and I walk on to my car parked a mile and a half away, my week’s walk complete. Affirmation that Forgiveness Walks resonates in the world lightens my steps. Its timing is guided by the Universe, allowing me to hold it gently with trust in its unfolding.
Solo Time Wanes
August 8, 2017
Next week marks my last solo week at the Ridgerunning job. John, having completed his project of climbing four state high points out west, bagging him all 48 of the lower-48 state high points, is on his way back. The ones he did between July 11 and August 7 were Mt. Hood in Oregon, Ganett Peak in Wyoming, Mt. Rainier in Washington, and Granite Peak in Montana. It was a major accomplishment and scheduling surprise for him to get to do all four of them during the month! I am very excited for him, knowing that he really wanted to complete this project. I have mixed feelings about getting back together, though! I’ve realized over the past year, now that we’re actually living together and not just hiking, that I tend to discount my personal preferences, defer my passions, and take a back seat to his choices when we are together. Being solo this month gave me unfettered opportunity and space to pay attention to my own choices without interference from someone else. For the month, anyway, I really enjoyed it!
I noticed that I’ve been making up a S.T.O.R.Y. (my acronym from Radical Forgiveness for a Sustained Tale of Repressed Yearning) about my assumptions about how my relationship with John has to be! What’s really bothering me is that I see some of the same characteristics that I developed in my marriage with John Reiter! First of all, this makes me see clearly that I am the one who is creating this as my reality, so I’m the one who needs to change it. In fact, what I now know about relationships is that none of this has much to do with him. The troubles originate with me! That means that it’s my responsibility and my opportunity to choose a different way of being! But what options do I have???
Satori Means Awakening
That’s the quandary that woke me up this morning! I decided to start my day off with a game of Satori, the Radical Forgiveness board game, to give me new vocabulary and ideas to address that question. As always, the game was a perfect fit for the story I was acting out!
Before I drew any of the cards to start the game, I wrote out the S.T.O.R.Y. that I was bringing to this game. Here are the basics:
My story is that I fear John’s return. I have thoroughly enjoyed my solo time, being at Konnarock Trail Camp and on the trail solo. I have enjoyed doing my choices of activities – resting, watching the political scene, writing posts, working on forgivenesswalks, playing Satori. I believe that when John is with me I must choose to do those things solo or drop my interests and do his choices. So, then I wonder what partnering provides except an inconvenient unpleasant choice! What do we have to do together that outweighs or includes my personal choices? Can I have both? Can I feel ok with separate interests? I assume that partnering means relinquishing my interests and choosing his. Is there another way?
Here’s what the game brought!
First, the Event card I picked read Someone betrayed you big time.
“How perfect for the story I was telling!” I thought.
Second, the Context card I picked read: Career!
“Perfect, again! I want to choose my career with my partner!” I laughed.
The game unfolded, as usual, with cards and moves that helped give language and possibilities to a different view of the situation that I could choose if I wanted. Here are the cards I picked as I moved my piece through the transformational spiral:
- I am invisible and hardly ever noticed.
- I am not worthy of money.
- I just don’t look good.
- I simply cannot trust myself.
These beliefs certainly fed my S.T.O.R.Y. Then, the turns took me to the New Story gateway.
My New Stories:
- I have everything I want now. I am a powerful manifester.
- I am the luckiest person alive. I am so grateful.
I could certainly see, as I reached Satori, the place of Awakening to a New Story, that there could be other ways of seeing my situation. I affirmed in the Gateway to Surrender that I have released my attachment to my Old Story and I refuse to put any more energy into it. The game helped me get words for new possibilities that I can focus on if I choose!
Click on this link for my album of photos from my week in the Mt Rogers, VA High Country from August 3 – 7, 2017:
July 28, 2017
Rain pelted down outside Thomas Knob Shelter, high on the ridge near Mt. Rogers, VA. Redhat, my companion for the week, and I sat happy and dry in the shelter at one o’clock in the afternoon!
That’s pretty early in the day to settle in camp, but the continuing rain, predicted to persist until 11 p.m., made the dry shelter quite attractive!
We stayed. Redhat had changed into her dry clothes. Long johns and a shirt, plus a “puffy jacket” comprised her carefully stashed dry wardrobe. She also had a pair of dry socks. Everything she had worn for our five-mile walk in the rain was wet. She hung it out on various nails and hooks around the shelter, reveling in our luxury of space being the only ones there.
“It’s all wet” she lamented. “This rain jacket did no good! I’m soaked through!”
I, by contrast, simply pulled off my wet socks. Everything else was dry or just damp. I hung up my damp shirt, and pulled on my one warm layer, a thermal shirt plus a fleece hat. Even in summer, covering my head with a warm hat is crucial for retaining body heat. Although I was disappointed in NOT having a second layer of insulation, like the lightweight wool sweater I often pack, I was warm enough. My choice to leave behind my extra socks proved to be a discomfort as well, but again, I was in no danger. My rain gear had worked!
Through the afternoon, ten other hikers arrived in pairs, peeling off wet shirts, jackets, shorts, and socks. None had stayed dry in the rain, I noticed. What had I done differently that provided me a basically dry rain walk?
Here’s what had worked for me that day. Now, I’m not smuggly saying that I would never have an issue with getting wet, just that my rain gear worked in today’s conditions!
The gear I had chosen for today’s rain were basically two items: a cheap umbrella and a silnylon rain skirt. The umbrella kept my top ventilated and mostly dry. The rain skirt covered my shorts and kept them dry. If the wind had picked up, the umbrella would have been useless, so I was lucky there.
I did have both a rain jacket and a poncho packed along, but was able to keep them in reserve for those possible windy conditions. Not wearing the rain jacket allowed my torso to dissipate the sweat that can get trapped by a rain jacket – even a breathable one. Since my rain jacket stayed dry, I had it available to provide warmth in lieu of that missing sweater.
I will consider bringing along those extra items next time. It’s a tough choice for summer hiking, when I can most easily pack light, but this experience nudges me to pack for extremes like this. I’ll check the forecast for my next 5-day walk and consider packing the extra socks, sweater, leggings, and maybe, just maybe, my 8oz “puffy jacket.”
This time I had rain gear success -with no margin for extremes!