Sleep on it

September 2, 2016

We are 52 miles from completing our goal of walking the Appalachian Trail twice! Camped just 1/2 mile from Manchester Center, we’ve positioned  ourselves to get down to the road, hitch into town, pop into Food Chopper for  a bite to eat, shop at Eastern Mountain Sports, pick up our last food box at the Post Office, then hitch back out to the trail with enough time to walk 10 miles.

We have a choice to make, though! When we reach Sherburne Pass and celebrate our second traverse of the AT, we have to (get to?) choose what to do next?

Here are the choices we’re seeing right now:

1) Go to Ohio for my  cousin’s funeral. I found out this afternoon that my 76-year old cousin, who had been in hospice care for the past week, passed away last night. The funeral would be next week, and there would be time to finish the AT walk and get there.

2) Go on hiking. Our completion point is very close to Maine Junction, where the Appalachian Trail and the Long Trail diverge. The AT turns east and continues its route to Maine. The LT continues north for another 178 miles to the Canadian border. Although we wouldn’t have time to do all 178 miles before my next family visiting date, we could walk for about 8 days.

3) Split up and go separate ways, me to Ohio and John to the trail.

4) Something else we haven’t considered. There’s ALWAYS another  choice! 

We’ll sleep on it tonight in our cozy site that’s partially hidden between a couple of boulders, and see what the morning  brings. In fact, we can wait until we complete our AT walk and choose then! 


September 1, 2016

OK. I admit it. I am a perfectionist, at least when it comes to talking about myself. I have been on the Appalachian Trail again since August 9 and I have been too shy to share. 

When John and I resumed our walk where we left off on July 6, I wasn’t sure how far I would walk, and that was hard for me to feel, even harder to admit to you!

Both my physical energy and my emotional energy  were low. I had had clear symptoms of Lyme Disease. In addition, I believed that all the posting and reaching out I had done on our first section was bothering John.  So, I wanted to be invisible and just walk for myself. I wanted to test out my Lyme treatment and sort through my relationship. 

Ta dah! I did! And, it all worked out! On July 25, after a week of fatigue, fever, headache, and then the classic bullseye rash, I started a two-week course of doxycycline and a month’s regimen of herbal supplements. Another week of rest while visiting my mom in OH precluded our return to the trail.

Four days into the walk, I actually felt great! My energy was good. All my symptoms were gone. 

My relationship challenges continued, though, and I kept writing stories (in my private journal) of doubt that I could truly express myself while in a relationship. Grateful to have the tools of Radical Forgiveness – The Thirteen Steps and Forgivenesswalks – Nonsenses Energy Balancing – I claimed my own story and let John off the hook for my own doubts. And I walked! 290 miles from Delaware Water Gap to Manchester Center, VT!

Now, we’ve just picked up the last of our five food maildrops, ready to set out for our last 52 miles. At Killington, VT, we will both have walked every one of the 2,189 miles of the Appalachian Trail – twice!

I’m ready to share about that, and want you cheering us on, asking questions, and reflecting on your own journey right along with me. 

So, I’ll do my best to post throughout the week, with our completion goal of Sunday, September 4, in sight. Please keep reading – and replying with your own stories. I want to feel your energy along my way!

Oh, and what really makes me want to share is that I now own one of those swanky cool down jackets that all the official hikers wear. I bought one on sale today at EMS in Manchester Center. Get a load of this! I mean really, after 11,000 miles of backpacking, I’ve got a lightweight, skinny down jacket.

Thanks for being here!

In joy,




July 5, 2016
This is our last night on the trail for this section walk. Tomorrow, we’ll walk an easy 6 miles to Delaware Water Gap, rent a car, and drive back to Virginia.

The rocks are waning, Pennsylvania is falling behind us.


Today’s walk gave us a chance to exercise one of our “trail mastery” skills: moving on from an undesirable social situation. Let me explain.

We arrived early at our day’s goal, just nine miles from our starting point, at a shelter with easy access to water. A couple of hikers were already there. They pointed us to the water. We noticed a picnic table on the trail to the water source, in a shady clearing behind the shelter. Nice! We could set out our stuff there! I suggested that we share the fire the other hikers were tending at the shelter and took our pot over there. No problem.

During the next ten minutes, we received a barrage of social behaviors that encouraged us to move on for the night! That’s my choice when I encounter folks whose behavior seems unfriendly, aggressive, self-righteous, or simply unpleasant.

These folks exercised their “freedom” to do what they wanted on the trail, including burning their plastic hotdog wrapper, chopping saplings for an all-day fire with a machete, playing loud music at the shelter, setting up their tent inside the shelter, and bragging about their free stay at the church hostel in the next town since church people “wouldn’t take a hiker’s last food money.”

Although I made brief attempts at “authority of the resource” conversation about each topic, my statemebts were met with vociferous argument and judgement:
“Everyone else burns their trash! I’m not going to pack mine out either!”

“I have blisters from hacking wood all day! We took a zero day to dry out our wet gear, and want to keep the bugs away!”

“Do you suppose anyone will mind if we set up our tent inside the shelter?”

Enough. Sometimes creating community at a shelter can wait for another day, another group. I feel sad, and wonder if I’ve let the bullies win, but proud of myself for offering the chance for discussion.

Perhaps I provided some food for thought without confrontation. Mostly, I felt sure that I can choose to move on from an undesirable situation, no explanation needed. That’s a useful trail skill, I believe.



June 8, 2016
We camped in the vicinity of Pass Mtn which was just north of Thornton Gap, Luray, VA.

Our camp was off the trail on a bed of moss between rocks, a surprisingly good find! I sat on a rock away from the tarp, painting as the sun set, feeling grateful to have this centering, fulfilling experience in which to pour the tensions of the day.


June 15, 2016
Harpers Ferry, WV.



My heart sings reaching the ATC headquarters with “Hiker John”, free to share the classic hiker photo.

I look back in the archives and find my solo photo,




Back then, in October, 2007, I felt awesome having walked over half of the trail. But, I wasn’t ready to claim that I had found a hiking partner. My husband was still at home in Georgia. I believed that the world of the trail and the world of home were separate.¬† What a journey of inner exploration, radical forgiveness, and outward change it’s been during the time between these photos.

I now know and experience that there is one world, one of joyous prosperity that blends walking with working, partnership and fulfillment.

Today I celebrate and acknowledge the journey undertaken to unite those worlds.

My heart sings!

Inner Journey

June 8 and 9, 2016
What a beautiful place to be while disappointed! The Skyland Lodge room we had was perfect for our night off the trail! We had mailed our first food drop there, so it was a good place to rent a room, you know, with a bed and bath and clean towels, all that good stuff!


Really incredible view from the room, especially watching  the storm move across the Shenandoah Valley!

Dinner at the restaurant included trout, asparagus salad, and a big side order of fries! Even my gluten-free preference was accommodated.

We washed our clothes, took baths – and showers too – sorted the food in our maildrop.

These are all parts of what I call The Outer Journey.

Within and underneath, an Inner Journey was brewing! And this, my friends, is the stuff of journeying that provides the threads of a radiantly fulfilling journey – if the threads are tended and woven carefully. If not, the journey could unravel!

Read on for my latest Inner Journey story.

Scene One:The Disapointment

One of my Facebok messages contains the news that my mentor didn’t have time to take me on as a regular client. I had thought that getting her help with digital tasks that are no match for my smartphone was just a message away! I was wrong! Bam. Door shut! Let down! (Just like other times in my life – which clued me in that this was a new version of my life’s Old Story).

Scene Two: The Shutdown

So what do I do? Take action to feel powerful. I drop my membership in her coaching club. Tough, eh? That will show HER! I also stop talking with my partner, you know, because I would have to explain why I did an irrational thing (and mostly, because I might start FEELING – Noooo! I just have to feel right!)

Scene Three: Underway

In the morning, John is mystified by my behavior, thinking I was mad at him, and of course he can’t figure out why!

Meanwhile, it’s time to check out from our marvelous room and start walking. The Outer Journey must go on!

The rhythm of walking, the fresh air, and the soothing green scenery support the Inner Journey perfectly. I walk. John asks me questions.

Scene Four: Breakthrough

I parry his questions, staying on the surface. He peels the layers. No, I’m not mad at him. He misunderstood my comment about his being “just” my hiking partner. My armour is thinning. “So, what happened?” he asks.

It’s a good thing I’m walking in front so he can’t see the tears welling up and over as the story tumbles out and my real feelings of sadness come to the surface.

“That’s what this is about? I had no idea.” He stops. “Let me hug you.”

Scene Five: Shift Happens

This general flow of an Inner Journey play, from upset, resistance, giving in to telling the story, feelings my feelings has one more scene. And that’s

Scene Six: Scenic View


Once I allow those feelings and start to see that what happened COULD be an opportunity for me to learn and grow, all sorts of ideas flow! That’s what happened today! I realized that her saying No to my original plan forced me to create a new plan.

As it often happens, the ideas I’m having now about opening HeartSinging Walk Community, my Inner Journey project for this walk, will make the project way better! I feel free and energized! My, the forest is amazing! What! We’ve walked five miles in 2 1/2 hours?!!! This Inner Journey thing really works!!

The end

Well, not really the end of the day. We walked 8 more miles in the beautiful Shanandoah Park. We met a dozen other hikers today, including a guy from San Diego who has walked a route across San Diego County from the Pacific Ocean to the Salton Sea. That’s where WE live in the winter! He enjoyed the company of other seasoned hikers.

Cooking dinner on a vista point 15 miles north of our starting point on the outside and many vibrational levels higher on the inside, I feel blessed – radiantly fulfilled even!

In joy,

P.S. Does any of this Inner Journey story sound familiar? Please share! Just hit reply and tell your story! I’ll answer you back with some tips on how to weave your own radiantly fulfilling new story.

My favorite moment yesterday was meeting this amazing tree!

Can’t wait to hear a story from YOU!

Gollum Revealed

June 4, 2016
7 a.m. Fog. Ah! Sun breaks through and lights the tree trunks. A restful night opens to a birdsong morning.



12 p.m. Walking feels good! The trail through Shenandoah Park is gentle, though consistently up amd down. We cross the Skyline Drive every 2 or so miles! I want to call a woman I know who wants to walk just six miles a day to say, “You could do that here, no problem. If you have a car support person to meet you at road crossings, you could do this!”

3 p.m. Well, it’s been great all day, and I see in the guidebook that water and camping limitations mean that we can stop in a couple of miles or in as many as four miles. That gives us a short, easy day or a dubious and maybe long one. THAT’S where the day’s challenge begins!

After fairly calmly discussing it while we walk another mile, John says, “OK. How about if YOU pick the campsite for tonight? Wherever you want.”

That’s when Gollum, the two-faced creature from Lord of the Rings shows up – in my mind!

“He’s so nice, Precious! He’s taking care of you, just like he said. He respects you and means what he says, that you don’t have to get tired out. This can be easy!”

The camera turns to the other Gollum, “Don’t listen to him!!! He’s tricksy, Precious! You know you have to keep going, You have to prove that you never get tired! You’ll be sorry if you stop here!!!

Bing! Crystal clarity rings! This situation has nothing to do with John. It has nothing to do with John’s stamina or comparing it to mine. It has everything to do with my own perception of myself and that inner argument, that’s just like Gollum’s two-sided one.

This time, I realize that I don’t have to blame John or hold¬† him responsible for creating a situation that works for me – or doesn’t work for as if often the game I play. He’s absolutely giving me the responsibility for choosing.

So, THIS time, I’m choosing to stop at 4 p.m. in a sure campsite. I’ll sit in the woods and write. Cook dinner. Listen to the afternoon thunder rumble.

Stay tuned!

I have a great spot for balancing my Nonsenses. Ah! the vibrant color!


5:45 p.m. Thunderstorm! That rumbling blew into a downpour. Good thing that we were already set up with dinner cooked. Happy and dry, we can relax in the grand tarp and enjoy the rain.

A nice long sleep awaits!

In joy,



May 29, 2016
The green here in Montebello, Virginia, is vast and encompassing! Nonsenses immersion feels truly immersed, if that’s even a word.
Forest life is so incredibly lush and vibrant, water enabling uncountable broad leaves, ferns, mushrooms, and flowers to fill the landscape with a dense curtain of green. 

Vibrance abounds!

In joy,

Moving On


May 28, 2016
I guess “S” for “Sebastian” is what the feeling of movement made! John and I left the baby grandson in Charleston, SC late this morning – after just one more hour of babysitting so my son could mow the lawn. Mom was at “an appointment” that was revealed on FB as a hair salon visit. I love how they are being generous to themselves!!

As usual, my three-day visit gave me daily opportunities to have feelings and judgements bubble up, more chances to notice those beliefs and Old Stories that let me me separate from others.

After ten years of using the tools of Radical Forgiveness I can actually notice the feelings and judgements – and love myself for having them!  Yahoo!

I can now love myself for parenting MY way of doing the mothering myself, excluding my husband and other potential caretakers by doing 100% of the nursing, homemaking, and infant care. I can now love myself for being “right” about my way and then blaming my ex for being distant from the boys. I thank him for doing this healing dance with and for me!

I honor my children for choosing their own way of shared parenting and community-building so they can continue their own work while raising a wonderful child.

And now, I move on! I move on to express myself as a walking radical forgiveness coach!

I step joyfully and diligently into my job as host of HeartSinging Walk Community! Creating a space for courageous heartsingers  to design radiantly fulfilling walks of the Appalachian Trail.

Join me at Forgivenesswalks!

In joy,

Mississippi River Delta


May 23, 2016
This Nonsenses Immersion emerged over the miles between Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and beyond New Orleans.

Another city goes by without stopping to visit a friend. This time its Carla, an Appalachian Trail friend and coaching colleague. A hello text message suffices for this time. My life certainly has provided me with lots of friends! 

Color flows onto the paper between looks at the luminous NOLA. I reflect on Hurricane Katrina, the fury here 10+ years ago. I think about Maria Maria and her Katrina story that she shifted during a Forgiveness Walk in Atlanta in 2011. My work is valuable! It even touches this place with healing and forgiveness.
Forgiving Hurricane Katrina

A rainbow of wholeness, balance, and beauty imbues my reflection.

Nonsenses Immersion is one of the many tools we share in HeartSinging Walk Community where courageous heartsingers gather to create radiantly fulfilling walks of the Appalachian Trail.

Join us!

In joy,