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!


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Solo Success

May 11, 2017

Tonight I took a solo adventure! I rode the bike to Borrego Palm Canyon trailhead at dusk. I noticed the upper theatre light on and rode up to turn it off. While sitting quietly on the table there I heard a sound. “A bullfrog?” I wondered. That didn’t seem right. 

Just then, I heard another sound – rocks falling. That could only mean bighorn sheep on the mountainside. Yes! There was a sheep moving across the slope. A second one moved behind it! The croaking sound came again. It was the sheep grunting!

I watched til I could only hear and not see the sheep as the light faded. I resolved to stay out until the moon rose, another thirty minutes longer.

And there it was, a red moon just above the horizon! I rode back home in the dark, cool air sweeping my bare arms. “I’m just getting the rhythm of being solo, and now I only have five more days!” I thought. 

This is a good place for me! I enjoy choosing my activities freely. I like having my stuff spread out on the kit hen table! I choose partnership that feels as free as solo, and even better than solo! 

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.

Flexibility

May 1, 2017

I notice this morning that my awareness of my body and my quandary about physical fitness and energy occur as my authentic life. Preparing to participate in Steve’s memorial service amid the Park community occur as tangential occupation. My view is that the Park community is a superficial one, where I act, not where I share deeply, live authentically, reveal my true feelings, forge nourishing friendships. I have integrated Kathy’s admonishment that I shun the Park community as clients, revealing only my skills and interests in park interpretation, not Radical Forgiveness. So, I haven’t. And, just as in other times and venues, my full expression is diluted, and I keep my relationships shallow and pleasant. I go to the memorial as a support person, an observer. 

I wonder now, having observed this, if I’m making it up that authentic sharing of my worldview and feelings is prohibited. Maybe it would actually be better to share space for Satori or painting or Touch for Health. Saying “yes” to that conjurs up a list of “yeah buts”. Hmm. That’s a good clue that the construct could just be mine, keeping me safe!

Later- guess what? I felt integral, connected, understood, and vital to the Park community, notably Eli’s family. Nobody knew how to be, how to understand. All of us are baffled, saddened, mystified by Steve’s passing! I’m right there in the group with everyone else!

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.”

Desert Sage

April 25, 2017

Solo, walking resolutely toward Maidenhair Falls, desert wanderer interrupts my inner conversation about how to entice others to desert enlightenment. 

His words blend with and expand my own with refreshing validation and nourishment!

“Between the context of stillness and the occurrence of thought the noticing is the knowing.” Unknown

“I love the crunch of walking in the desert. Enjoy the crunch!” Thomas

I did notice the crunch and not I ed that I don’t enjoy it because it sound a noisy and disruptive to me. I’ll consider it.

I let myself stop to sketch a couple of times, and thoroughly enjoyed my personal pace. I loved my solo walk!



At Home

April 24, 2017

He says, “I feel at home where you are with me.” I cringe. I’ve written this year about feeling empty of myself when we are together. My reply, “I feel at home where I am, too.”

What an irony! “At home” in myself feels so different from “at home” together. Yes, when we’re together, it’s familiar, as I’ve described. I stop talking and sharing. I defer to his preferences. I watch separate entertainment. I go to gatherings he chooses – mostly. I put aside preferred energy-shifting tools. “At home” in myself enjoys indulging in my kids, classical music, slow contemplative walks, especially at sunrise, allowing Forgivenesswalks to form.

Being together feels safe, physically expanding, logically sustaining, but not fulfilling, not “heartsinging.”

What would being in partnership that fulfills both of us look like? I immediately argue that it can’t be done! “Our preferences are not additive!” I balk. I am not interested in marathon driving, end-to-end mountain climbing, drinking alcohol, working year-round seasonal jobs, hanging out with vociferous complainers, avoiding deep consideration of philosophical nuances of life.

I scoff at his likelihood of journaling and drawing, painting, singing, playing Satori, examining emotions, working together as entrepreneurs, exploring energy medicine and balancing, committing to regenerative food habits, talking about spirituality, politics, money and finances! Could he possibly be “At home” with those activities?

Who is the woman he names as me with whom he is at home? Have I become someone who isn’t really me with whom he feels at home? Did I vacate myself to become that person who means “home” to him and “not home” to me?

Whoops! That would be my own creation!!!

Later-

I took a solo adventure. I rode the bike he left to a nearby canyon and walked slowly. I stopped often, I sketched a tree. I turned around before it got hot. No summit. Not “just one more bend”.

 I rode out and to the post office to mail my sister’s copy of energy balancing back to her. I had made a copy for myself. I got back home by 11a.m. just as the wind gusts started. I feasted on stocked up food.

Solo Begins

April 21, 2017

Yesterday evening, I enjoyed the luxury of solo after completing Be Crepuscular. I felt bonded with the participants and fulfilled by a leisurely walk home. Visiting Duane, camphost, lost its charm when he started complaining that no ranger had said goodbye to the others who had left.  Time for solo!

Today starts my 40-day solo journey! Feeling eager, sleepy. I started with one round of Chakra Chant. I’m planning to ride my bike to the VC. Today’s question is “What are the practices that would be fulfilling during my solo journey?” Painting, morning riding, conscious eating, energy balancing, satori, journaling, visiting…

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!