In everything I do, I strive for deepening my sensory and spiritual experience. I’m pretty sure you do too!
I’ve picked up on some techniques from John Muir Laws (his real name!) through his Laws Guide to Nature Journaling. Two years ago, I launched a program at the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Visitor Center to provide a platform to practice what I’m learning.
Notice and Wonder is now a frequent listing in the Park’s Interpretive Schedule. In it, I offer five simple techniques to
- observe more closely,
- remember what we see, and
- stimulate questions for further consideration.
Visitors love the deepening experience! And, I get to enjoy a couple hours of pure delight doing it, fulfilling my mission of enticing people to come outside and invigorate our hearts and minds, deepening our connection with nature and ourselves.
One of my challenges with Nature Journaling is having supplies on hand when I’m out. Cumbersome notebooks and pencils get left behind! As a backpacker, all of my gear has to be lightweight! I’m happy to report that on this week’s trip to Big Sur I had something that worked! A tiny bag with tiny pencils and a stack of tiny papers to draw and paint on. Oh, and one fine ink pen!
The tiny papers limited my focus to a small part of the expansive landscape to focus my attention. John Muir Laws calls this a landscapito.
I’m so impressed with myself for doing ten landscapitos on the trip! Here are two favs:
These tiny watercolors are valuable, not for what they are, but for what they do for me: deepen my observation, strengthen my body memory of my nature experience, and stimulate questions to consider!
What practices for deepening do you have? If there’s one you teach & want to share, by all means tell me about it!
If there’s a practice you wish you were doing more, tell me that too! We can support each other in doing it!
And, here’s another question! If I offered a virtual week of sharing Nature Journaling techniques with supplies included, coaching and support, would you consider it? Reply to this email and say yes or no!
To your deepening!
January 31, 2018
My Super Blue Blood Moon experience today filled my senses with awe and my soul with awakening! A few days ago I realized that the view I would get from my employee housing here at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park would limit my experience to just the beginning of the totality phase of the eclipse. “That’s not good enough!” I declared. As a creator of fulfillment (in difference to a settler for whatever comes), I asked, “Where can I go to get the fullest eclipse experience? I need to be able to see the horizon!” Where better to see the western horizon than the west coast!
I proposed to my partner, John, “How about if we camp on Tuesday night at one of our State Beaches? That way, we could get to see the most of the eclipse!” To my surprise, at least to the surprise of my Old Story that “John never wants to do my ideas” he said “Sure. That sounds good!”
The timing was perfect because Tuesday and Wednesday are our days off. I complicated things, however, by agreeing to do programs at the Visitor Center on both Tuesday morning and Wednesday evening. (Would someone please remind me next time I schedule my month that even though I love doing programs, skipping days off is a great way to burn out!) Anyway, we arrived at our campsite at San Elijo State Beach, about two hours from home, just after dark, with the almost full moon beaming down on us. We took a walk on the beach in the bright moonlight and set the alarm for 3:30 a.m.
To my delight, I could see the beginning of the partial eclipse through the van window! I could take my time getting up out of the warm covers and heading back out to the beach. At 4:00 a.m. we grabbed our lawn chairs and returned to the beach. That’s when the feeling that this, indeed, could be a moment of completion and new beginning, stirred for me. As we walked in the soft red dark of the total eclipse, I stretched into boldly communicating my sense that this moment could provide a “new light” on our relationship.
You might recall that last week I wrote of our 10th anniversary of completing the Appalachian Trail and how it was marked by John declaring that he thought breaking up was our best strategy for going forward. All week, in true Satori fashion, I noticed the beliefs that were coming up. I played a Satori Game that invited me to stop feeding my Old Story of fear of closeness, being invisible, and keeping my light to myself.
“John,” I said, as we picked our way across the smooth stones in the sand, “I want to start being more open with you about how I’m really feeling and what I’m thinking and doing. I want to let you in on what I’m doing in my business and to put energy into creating a summer occupation that really does fulfill both of us!” You see, earlier that morning we had a strained conversation about what John wants to do this summer. The result was a brand new Visioning Brainstorm Map of all the ideas that we had. He has some pretty exciting ideas! I realized that there really are several alternatives to my idea of returning to Virginia for another season of Ridgerunning, which John isn’t thrilled about.
As the moonlight returned, I had a palpable feeling that my new beginning could truly start now! My boldness, openness, and authentic sharing actually felt pretty good. The “cleansed and resurfaced” moon was a metaphor for my own overshadowing and refreshing of behaviors and beliefs.
I would like to report that everything has gone smoothly and we are both now talking freely, creatively, and joyfully about bold, fresh choices and that would be false. We did keep talking most of the day, with one bout of tenseness when he accused me of stifling his expression of feelings. I was able to sincerely listen, affirming my commitment to visioning a mutually fulfilling summer.
My celebration of this amazing moon event climaxed with a lighthearted program with 57 visitors for the purpose of watching the magnificent moon rise! The moon’s confident, fresh countenace illuminated my soul with my clear purpose of enticing others to come outside and feel their connection with Earth and Spirit. Many participants thanked me for a fun and informative event. “I loved listening to you!” one woman said.
I’m up late, still buzzing from the inner stirring from this dance with the Moon!
What I’m taking into my sleep – if I can get to sleep – is
“What if this boldness, clarity, and fresh illumination can light up a thrilling adventure? What if this summer can truly be the summer that I magnify the dream I conceived ten years ago when I finished not just the Appalachian Trail but the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) as well? What if my declaration to earn my living hiking that spurred me on at the northern terminus of the PCT is ready to take on a fresh glow this summer?”
One of John’s ideas is to return to the Pacific Crest Trail and walk the northern half. What if I co-created that with him? What if everything I’ve done in the past nine years to build Forgiveness Walks could be unleashed and offered to generate the funds and the community to support this walk? What if it’s time to fulfill a new version of “hiking for my living?” That thought thrills me, like the returning light of the Moon. What if I let this light shine?
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:
Click on this link for my album of photos from my week in the Mt Rogers, VA High Country from August 3 – 7, 2017:
August 2, 2017
I got up early this morning eager to meet Janet for a Satori game. It’s quiet, unbusy, and energetically unfettered at this time of day at the Konnarock Basecamp.
My blue puffy jacket keeps the slight chill away from my body. Ginger tea wakes up my belly. Ready.
“I need to pass on the game,” she greets me. “I just need to sit quietly. I hope that’s ok.”
“No.” I respond frankly, then move on quietly into the community kitchen. Inside I fume, “Of course I get stood up! Most people are afraid to get real! She’s just afraid to be with her own life. Afraid to move through her story! And just yesterday she told me how she feels lighter from playing last week. Dang!”
Uh. Hold on here, Regina. Could there be something here for me? Ten years into Radical Forgiveness could open space for me, perhaps. Yes. It does. Guess what? I have this chance to use the tools myself.
The words I’ve been learning and practicing with other courageous souls flood my mind.
Real. Real. I wanna be real. I play Karen Taylor Good’s song by that name.
Janet is my healing angel.
This is happening for me and not to me.
I can play Satori solo! Plenty of my own stories to shift.
And, as always, the cards and moves I picked were perfect! Pretty much reflecting what I said above.
Finishing off my game with Karen Taylor Good’s Perfect Work of Art.
“My block of stone is made of fear and doubt, but the real me is crying to come out.”
Thanks, Janet, for motivating me to get up early today and play Satori! It was perfect for me!
Day One, 63 Days of Gratitude
July 14, 2017
My birthday yesterday reminded me of my blessings, so many blessings for my 63 years on Earth that I can write one, at least one, every day for all my years so far!
My first is gratitude that I have lived long enough to raise my three children to have their own children! Those two boys are the best! They bring the best out in their parents, too! I am grateful to have the vitality to be here to watch them, to visit them, and to receive their greetings!
July 9, 2017
My bear bag got stuck! It’s only happened one other time I can remember, but this time it was with my fancy-dancy hang where I pull the bag out from the tree trunk! When I tried to lower the bag down from the branch, it wouldn’t move!!! Yikes! What to do? I ended up getting it down by repeatedly jerking the rope, pulling up slightly. Each time it would drop just a little until it came down close enough to reach. What I concluded was that the bag was too light to overcome the friction from the rope pulled through the caribiner. Since this was my last morning out, my bag was almost empty and weighed just a pound or two. Here’s a video of that special hang, which usually works great! Just keep it heavy enough to get down!
May 28, 2017
I am grateful to my coaches, mentors, and teachers for helping me create Forgivenesswalks!
Laura West Center for Joyful Business
Ilona Dolinska-Reiser Wealth Skills
Thea Sheldon www.theasheldon.com
Bill Baren www.billbaren.com
Landmark Forum http://www.landmarkworldwide.com/
Ellen Britt http://pinkcoattails.com/
Marnie Marcus http://marniemarcus.com/unplugged/marketing-consultant/
Julie Ann Turner http://consciousshift.me/
Brenda Cobb and Jane Holmes The Living Foods Institute
Debbie Unterman http://www.debbieunterman.com/
Christina Hills Website Creation Workshop
Mary Canane http://www.marycanane.com/
Jennifer Urezzio Soul Language
Maritza Parra https://maritzaparra.com/
David Perdew https://mynams.com/