What If?

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?

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.
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:


  •  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!



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.


My ex, three sons and baby grandson all got together  this weekend – on the opposite shore of the country. I wasn’t there – and shouldn’t have been. At least, that’s what my current S.T.O.R.Y. (Sustained Tale Of Repressed Yearning) supports.

What a perfect situation for the steps of Radical Forgiveness: allowing my feelings to arise,

noticing my judgements, loving myself for having them, and being open to a new perspective.

That new perspective was suggested in a Satori Game that I played with a client a few days before the family visit.

Notice the beliefs shown in the photo. It was those New Stories that opened my eyes and heart, though!

Do you have an Old Story to tell? I’m here to listen! Schedule a 20-minute complementary Storytelling Session and feel lighter right away as I witness and validate your story! Click the link and choose a time that works for you.


OR write it out and email it to me.