Imperfection Accepted

December 15, 2017

What if I have a project for watching the sunrise every day, or sending a weekly blogpost, or painting every day for thirty days, or walking the Appalachian Trail?

What if I miss a day of sun watching or painting or skip a week of posting or take a day off walking? 

Does that negate my success or mean that I failed? 

Does it matter if I have a valid excuse for skipping a turn? How about if I had set up the project with parameters for skipping? 

So, I went outside and watched the sunrise for 60 consecutive days, and on Day 61,  I slept through it. My reason, my excuse, my choice was that I had traveled east to a different time zone, so sunrise was three hours earlier than my body’s rhythm had developed. I needed the rest.  I did feel a little sad, a little diminished in accomplishment. Then, I decided to let myself off my made up hook. I decided that I could love myself anyway and accept this imperfection in my plan. 

What if I let myself off the hook for other imperfect accomplishments in my life, like days of rest on a long distance walk, days with no painting in my thirty-Day project, a blog free week in five months of weekly posts. That seems just fine. I can accept myself having done that. 

Now, I’m wondering if letting myself off the hook of self-hate could be done for even egregious inconsistencies like skipping a day of my marriage, or taking a day off work, or a day off breathing? Well, the breathing one is taken care of, right? But, suppose I could let go of self-hate for my divorce. Maybe even that project could be ongoing yet inconsistent.

I’ll ponder that!

What are your thoughts and wisdom about this?

Divorce Feelings Journey

November 27th, 2017
Witness an unfolding journey of my heart:

Upset

November 25, 2017

“Love to all today. I  celebrate your family fullness in my heart.” What I did not send to my adult kids today. 

I feel unworthy to share this sentiment and all the turmoil of my heart as my children gather with their dad’s family for a cousin’s wedding. The feeling of separation and exclusion is not new. Heart connection  was always tenuous with the inlaws, and twenty-five years into the marriage, exclusion was clearly stated. At that time, I legally had the right to be there. Ten years later, divorce just makes it official. Exclusion is now proper and justified.
But, I still feel sad, as I did while still legally included.  

The Radical Forgiveness tools guide me to “love myself having these feelings and know that when I am ready I can choose peace.” 

Well, today I do feel sad, and I feel unworthy to share my true feelings with my family, and even with my partner. What I believe is that my family doesn’t want my drama and my partner doesn’t resonate with my feelings about family. Since I actually have no right nor ability to project my beliefs into the minds of others, I must conclude that these beliefs are mine. 

What if I project love, oneness, compassion, fullness? I resist that, and yet I’m willing to try it out, pretend that a new belief  is another option.

I’ll let you know how it goes!

Movement

Later on November 25, 2017

I felt my feelings. Cried a bit. Kept silent while allowing others to mingle freely. I would not have gone to the party anyway because I am committed to the job I’m doing out here in California. I let it be ok to be here, open to the idea that I don’t know how Spirit is guiding me in this event. “I am open to the idea that this is happening not so much to me as for me.”

Shift Happens

November 26, 2017

My son posted a video of my grandson at the family venue, innocent and cute. It was easy to feel acknowledged, included, connected to them in that moment.

Later, I received an email from my ex-husband that is a miracle! He had written the first cordial sentence he has shared since our divorce on April 9, 2013.

“Yes it was a lovely event. Lots of Skardas and two mischievous babies.”

A breakthrough, in my opinion, for the man who had declared that after our divorce it would be as if he never knew me. I graciously acknowledge this miracle of the heart!

Integration

November 27th, 2017

I acknowledge and celebrate this transformative journey. “I now see that what was occurring was exactly what my soul created for my spiritual growth and I am now grateful for this situation.” 

In joy,

Regina

Thanks, Louise Hay

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.”

-Louise Hay

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!”