High Country Week

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:20170804_075955

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!

Crew Work
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!20170805_131944

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:

Beliefs:

  •  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!


20170808_092535

 

Empty Space 

July 26, 2017

Raise your hand if you have stuff in a storage unit! Today, I get to celebrate that my rented storage space is empty! 

I admit, I can’t claim complete victory over storage because my stuff has actually just been relocated to storage in my son’s new residence in Ohio, but this is a step. He is using some of the household items that were stored.

I enjoyed poring through one of the boxes that was filled with artwork and writings from my sons’ youth. I got to feel a range of emotions as I fingered each piece and stirred memories of their making.

And now my physical presence in Buena Vista, Virginia, is gone. I’ll always feel connected with this small town on the Appalachian Trail because it was my home for the six summers I worked here as AT ridgerunner. When I sold my house after my divorce in 2013, this was the place that made most sense to store the stuff I couldn’t part with. 

Today, I close the door on the empty Unit #71 with gratitude that it safely contained my precious things for four years. Thanks to my son, Simon, for offering me space in his home! 

In joy,

Regina 

Connection


Grayson Highlands,VA

July 25, 2017

Is “connection” something that comes to us or something we choose to acknowledge? When the woman walking with me this week said, “I know I’m connected to God, but I just don’t feel it!  Maybe when I feel that connection, I’ll feel more confident out here.”

As I walked th.IMG_20170721_123315rough the magnificent forest, then out into an open field, I pondered her quandary. “What if we are connected, no matter what, and at any moment we can say, ‘this is what being connected feels like at this moment?'” I wondered out loud. I invited her to walk for the next twenty minutes reflecting on the notion that being connected is constant and foundational.  Simply noticing how that feels is the feeling of connection at that moment. I believe that we can choose to ignore, deny, or deepen that connection whenever we want.

Having said that, I realized that there are many specific connections I can feel while walking the trail. There’s connection to the Earth and the support of the ground. There’s connection to the air, with it’s wind, weather, heat and cold. There’s connection to plants, reflecting on the various qualities of growth that resonate with my emotional, spiritual, and physical growth and metabolism. There’s connection with other people, how our journeys cross, coincide, compare, contrast, or not. The list could be quite long, and a long walk allows for leisurely reflection on the idea of connection.

This quandary was one of many that Diana brought to me as we walked our 26 miles together. Here are a few others:

Pacing, I realized, while coaching her with my Meet the Mountains Technique to easily ascend each mountain, is not only a helpful skill and practice, it’s essential for a joyful walk of a long trail.  Discovering our own body’s rhythm of breathing and stepping that supports us to walk up any slope tirelessly, I’m convinced is the foremost skill to master before considering walking any appreciable distance on the Appalachian Trail.

Unless one has an acceptance and ease with climbing, and descending, mountains, a walk of the AT would be grueling every day!  By contrast, developing from within a physical rhythm, just like perfect timing in an engine, that we can sustain throughout the day regardless of the terrain, makes going up mountains, walking on level ground, or descending mountains a joy. If we’re not struggling for breath, burdened by a heavy pack, or straining our muscles every time the trail ascends, we can pay attention to our surroundings!

Gear. Diana also helped me appreciate the value of scrutinizing every single piece of gear, choosing the smallest, lightest, and fewest versions of items I carry with me!  I know that I started where she was when she came with me this week, following the advice of an outfitter salesperson and investing the smallest amount of cash possible.  I remember my first backpack trip when I thought I needed a roll of masking tape. I have no idea why. I just remember being glad that we had mistakenly taken a longer way to our first campsite, happily discovering that we were close enough to our car to dump a bunch of unnecessary items, including the tape, the next morning!

That’s why I was glad that I had planned her first night out to be a single one, with a night off the trail before we went out for another night.  That gave her the chance to reevaluate choices, leave a few things behind and find smaller bottles for toiletries. She helped me remember that it took me many short trips to pare down, try different things, replace heavy things with lighter ones, and sew some of my own gear to settle on the reliable and repeatable pack of gear that I now carry, fifteen years and 10,000+ miles later.  I still don’t know that I would have invested early on in the best quality, lightest weight gear that I carry now!  It makes a big difference in my enjoyment, though!

Thanks, Diana, for walking with  me to remind me of what it’s like to be a new hiker. I was there once, too!  Keep walking, and learning, and adjusting! Stay aware of connections – and come back again soon!

In joy,

Regina

 

 

 

 

Gratitude in Advance

May 17, 2017

Huzzah for speaking up for basic services! My “basic economy” ticket on delta left me with a seat “assigned at the gate”. What an uneasy feeling! At 3:30 am local time I called delta saying, “I really want to know that delta cares about me by assuring me that I have a seat before I get to the gate. What would it take to get that?” “Buy a different ticket next time,” Debbie said. “How about for this flight? Can you tell me if the flight’s overbooked? ” She replied, “No, but I’ll check the seating chart. “Wow!”, I said, “Having a seat would really make a big difference for me! I’m feeling like you really care about me!” Well, she found seats for both flights, and changed my status! I now have seats and a boarding pass! Rachel Rossiter Trabelsi, I was thinking of you as I practiced what you helped me learn during my Introduction Leader Program – affirming my value and being grateful in advance. And, Debbie Unterman Deanna Hohnhorst Colin Tipping for creating the Satori board game that helps me practice the words and feelings of New Stories like “I’m worthy to receive what I need”.  I thanked Debbie, then asked if there was someone I could tell about her service. I assured her supervisor that it really helped me to get that service and will now board the flight believing that delta cares about me. That’s my contribution today toward creating a world of generosity and service. Basic Service. Gratitude in advance.

It’s Not Him

May 11, 2017

Feeling unfulfilled has nothing to do with him. Being solo has shown me that. It’s clear that my disappointments, low energy, scattered focus and distraction are not caused by him. I’ve done it to myself!

In my solo month, I’ve hardly accomplished any of the things I thought were so important – doing touch for health, painting, journaling. Tiredness has pervaded me. Attraction to the political drama playing out in the country saps my time and dominates my attention.

On the other hand, I have been delightfully focused on my schedule of evening programs, spending quality time with a handful of visitors in the evenings. That, at least, has been an admirable focus. I have done my job well. 

I’m willing to love and accept myself and honor what I HAVE done, accepting that my list of desired activities just may exceed the capabilities of my current schedule.

And I do have a quandary about Life energy. It’s been good to be solo to sort out what’s my responsibility to myself in contrast to my responsibility to another.

Stretch

April 29, 2017

32 more days solo. I accept my body stiff and feeling fat. I stretch, roll, chant, and breathe Life and Love and Ease and Flexibility into my body. I notice that I thought “precious body” and would not write that. 

“I am not my body, but I love and accept the body I have.”

My Message

Here’s what I said to a woman struggling to lighten her pack. 

“And now, if you’re game for an even deeper exploration, it has helped me immensely to delve into clarifying my purpose for walking. I realized that the trail is a blank canvas on which I paint my own journey, design my own fulfillment. Sure, a popular way to engage with the AT is to backpack long distances. That’s not the only way it can be visited, and, conversely, hiking might not necessarily be the best way to fulfill your dream. It might open up a whole new journey to explore what you’re thinking that hiking the Shenandoah section will provide… ultimately, in my own hiking, I want to create something that makes my heart sing!”

Self Righteous

November 9, 2016

I truly want to grasp what Marnie means here! I would love to sit together with friends Vera, Roger, Kym, and others who envision unity with all, to listen and understand!
She says:

​”Yesterday morning I predicted Trump would win. Want to know the main reason why? Over the last 7 years I have watched the preparation of Light Bearers with messages of freedom to share (spiritual, physical, financial, and emotional restoration). But these people have gone through a lot of hard things in the last few years. We’ve just been trying to survive. 
Maslow knew that people can’t self actualize when the basics are threatened. Lighting the way for others is the last thing on your mind when you’re in survival mode. 
I knew that if we continued along socialist paths, our society’s days were numbered.   Light Bearers would not have the opportunity or time to deliver their foreordained messages. Millions would not be set free and healed. Surely God would not place a good desire in your heart and then not create a way for you to achieve it. 
As we united in prayer to save America, God created a window of time for us to step forward and deliver our messages. And Trump’s boldness paved a way for our voices to be expressed and heard as well. 
We are bolder now, and we have a work to do and a window of time in which to do it. The light bearer chandelier, which had been taken down for cleaning, will now be hoisted back to the ceiling to illuminate the world with Christ’s light. 
Do your work now, my friends. Shine, teach, liberate the captives and bind up the broken hearted. You are Christ’s healing hands! Step forward and rescue and triage the wounded while this season of liberty lasts. #LightTheWorld”

and here……..

“We united in humble prayer, we fasted, we turned to our God, we sought His face, we repented. True to His Word, Our Father heard from heaven and gave us a miracle…. an opportunity to truly heal our land. Any festering wound must first be lanced and cleansed before ointment and a bandage placed upon it. Time. It takes time to heal, but the process has started. 
Thanks, first and foremost, to God and His holy angels who were hard at work answering our prayers to sweep corruption from high places and restore our liberty. God heard our prayers and the cries of the slain and unborn. 
Let us continue to repent and seek His face that He will protect our new leadership and help them ferret out the secret combinations wherever they may be and restore truth, justice and the American way! 
Praying for a smooth transition in what I imagine will not be a pleasant experience for some. Lancing and cleansing is never the most pleasant part of healing a festering wound. Hold still, America. Let the God of heaven do His work and our land will be healed.”

Marnie Marcus

In a spirit of willingness to discover our common ground of Love, what is the meaning here?

Regina

Projection

Fulfillment Partnership Journey

November 1, 2016

I noticed this morning that John asked, “How can I make your morning special?” My response was, “talk with me.”

I ventured into expressing my ever-present imagination of having a life partner who shares my fulfillment. I spoke about that and John listened without balking.

What I noticed is that as soon as I had shared a bit, I balked! I thought, “whoops! There I go again, talking too much, laying out my impossibly demanding, far reaching, complicated, outlandish life-purpose thing that no one else could ever live into! Why can’t I just settle for being loved and cared for?” And then I apologized.

“Sorry I say too much.”

And then, John met me. He said, “Well, I support you in living that purpose, really being it and attracting that partner, and maybe it can be me.”

I noticed that I really don’t believe that I can HAVE my fulfillment partner. I pull back in embellishing the vision, receiving it, believing that I “already have it” as a manifestation in the implicate order.

I project on John NOT having it, that he has to shy away, stop talking, balking. And then I act as if unfulfillment is my reality.

I now know that I have a CHOICE about what to project! 

Step. Step. Step.

Later. We took a walk in a beautiful canyon for a few hours, talking the whole time! Well, we stayed in conversation, but what I got was that the words “life purpose” stirs John’ s unworthiness story!

Countdown

September 17, 2016

9 a.m. 26 miles to go! 

Yesterday evening, we reached our goal, the Spruce Peak Shelter. It was a nice shelter, but it was only 5:00 p.m.! There were still two hours of light. We kept going.

First, through Devil’s Gulch, a short scramble through huge craggy boulders covered with ferns. I was glad we were exploring that as an evening activity rather than first thing in the morning. 

We kept walking. The trouble was that the trail skirted the side of a mountain, so no flat spots for tenting were available. “There’s one” would reveal lumps and bumps on closer inspection. Another quarter mile. Now, the trail headed straight up the mountain on narrow stone steps, up and up to Ritterbush Overlook. Now, we’d gone another full mile and darkness was soon to arrive. The trail leveled out. Yay! A decent spot appeared, but John had already moved on. Keep going. Another hundred yards, and John says, “Here’s a spot.” It was a very good spot – flat, with two trees for tying the tarp, and off the trail down an old road about twenty feet. Yes! It was a good spot! We had walked 17.3 miles too! 30.1 miles from Canada!

We almost slept in this morning in our comfy spot. We were surprised it was already 5:55 when we noticed that the sky was getting light. We packed up quickly and got on the trail by 6:30, an impressive start!

And that got us up to our 9 a.m. milemarker – just 26 miles to go from Mt. Belvidere.

Mt. Belvidere provided a view of Jay Peak, our last high mountain. We’re making good time. Yesterday, the trail was mild – we even walked rather than constantly scrambling on rocks!

View of Jay Peak from Mt. Belvidere

We were enjoying our morning oatmeal when another hiker appeared at the Mt. Belvidere summit. As we talked, I rejoiced in another happy synchronicity of the trail – getting just what I need at just the right time from a surprising source! I had asked Suzie, the other hiker, “How did you get to the trail to start?” She answered, “The owner of North Troy Inn works in Burlington, so he gives guests a ride. I flew into the airport, rode to North Troy with him and stayed overnight.” 

Bingo! That’s a perfect answer for our quandary about how to get away from the trail. Later, we called and made a reservation to spend Monday at the Inn. Our ride to Burlington, where we can get to Enterprise car rental, will leave Tuesday morning – at 3:30 a.m.!

Now, it’s 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, and we chose a bunk in the Hazen’s Notch Canp shelter to be out of the predicted rain storm. Even though staying in shelters, usually crowded and noisy, isn’t our favorite sleeping choice, we like the idea of a dry place. 

We’re in a really good position to finish the Long Trail with just 17.6 miles to go! We can do it all tomorrow – if the weather and terrain are congenial. Or, we can go 12 or 13 miles tomorrow, then finish up on Monday. Either way, we have a room at North Troy Inn where we can  clean up and begin our transition back to urban life!

Canada 17.4

Devil’s Gulch boulders and ferns

Corliss Camp Shelter