Sunrise Beauty

October 31, 2017

John and I have watched the sunrise together for 18 consecutive days! I had requested of him that we do something special and unique together, something that sets our partnership apart and becomes a sort of ritual. He suggested observing the sunrise together first on October 14, my second day back at work in the Visitor Center here in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in southern California. That’s an easy thing to do where we live in employee housing. Just a fifty-yard walk from our house we can get an expansive view of the horizon!  We’ve discovered that the sunrise is unique every day!  The colors and clouds play with each other differently in combinations and patterns that astound us anew each day. We’ve also noticed that the effects of the sunrise, light playing on the east facing mountains, varies markedly as well! The mountains just west of our house catch the magenta pink glow of the first light. We have to watch carefully, though, because sometimes the pink begins a partial minute before the sun shines above the horizon. Sometimes, it appears at exactly the same time.  One morning, the flat brown hue lingered, as if the glow just didn’t get turned on! read more

Reality busts my S.T.O.R.Y.

October 25, 2017

I got it today how my S.T.O.R.Y. Sustained Tale Of Repressed Yearning) becomes my reality even when the facts fail to support it.

It’s going on 3 p.m. and I’m writing. Not just am I writing, but I’m sitting next to a luxurious pool where Marilyn Monroe stayed. And, I have the whole thing to myself! I have the rest of the day to do my work that three hours ago I was convinced would be sabotaged by someone else. Actually, that someone is doing my laundry, having said “Take your time. What you’re doing is important.” read more

“How do I DO That?”

October 24, 2017

Now I know  what to DO when I feel emotions rising and my flight response flaring. I’m still practicing, but each time I try it, something shifts inside and I am more and more able to CHOOSE my response and more quickly feel peaceful in many situations.

I helped a friend today get an experience of that knot of frustration in her chest “just melt”.  I remember one of my first times realizing that I could change my perception of others by DOING something  besides stuffing my feelings, disregarding my view, or lying to myself that I didn’t feel how I felt or think what I thought. read more

Reflections on “Me Too”

October 18, 2017

My heart goes out to the women who have bravely posted “Me Too” in the Facebook campaign to show our widespread experience of sexual assault. I’m one of the lucky ones whose rape left just a black eye, a sore knee, and a short-lived uneasiness being home alone. Yes, being assaulted by a home invader who punched me in the face, pushed me outside, threw me to the ground and raped me from behind was the scariest and most brutal thing that has ever happened to me. That was the only black eye I’ve ever had. read more

Journey Photos

October 17, 2017

Days in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park begin with radiant sunrises in a huge sky. Mountain vistas, rocky routes, and rare oases delight my senses and exercise my body! Here are a few photos from my first week here at my fun job as Park Interpretive  Specialist.

Today, my ardent fan, a regular Junior Ranger, came in to see if I’m back. He has come to most of the Saturday Junior Ranger sessions for the past three years! Our most common activity has been to head out the door and climb a kid-sized mountain we call “Junior Ranger Mountain”. I count this as one of my best contributions to the Park and to the local community!  read more

Winter Home

October 11, 2017

Nomadic lifestyle,  my habit since April 2103 when I sold my house, continues this year with my return to California for my winter seasonal job. This is my fourth year at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park working in a position I love! I create and offer programs for park visitors of all ages. Since my life’s purpose is to entice others to come outside and reconnect with Nature, doing that for my living makes my heart sing!

It’s been a good fit for me at this park because my supervisor likes my sensory approach to programs. My primary theme is to encourage visitors to explore the desert with all their senses and discover what’s there that delights, intrigues, and inspires them. This seems so important to me in the desert because the desert environment is largely unfamiliar and misunderstood! My goal is to let the desert itself arouse wonder, curiousity, awe, and respect. So far, I get affirmative feedback from participants as they search for all the colors of the rainbow in the garden, walk silently across the playa at dusk, watch the full moon rise, or sing Animal Songs.  read more

Negative

October 7, 2017

A new hiker posted a question about how to respond to her family’s discouraging comments about her dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail. 

Here’s a view to add to the mix. I’ve discovered that others mirror my subconscious beliefs coming to the surface to be challenged and transformed. Fears, doubts, and limiting beliefs that I may have deep down or that I’m pretending I don’t have, but really I do, get brought up by others. The more I’m willing to touch into those “negative” beliefs and transform them with experience and inner strength and clarity, the less others are needed to mirror them. Make sense? Now that I’ve walked 10,000 miles, “negative” comments are easy to respond to with stories of my own experience to affirm or deny the fears and concerns. read more

PCT Anniversary

Pacific Crest Trail 9 Years Ago

October 6, 2017

 On this day in 2008, as I reached the northern terminus of the PCT, I declared, "Now I know I can do anything I set out to do. What I want to do is earn my living hiking." Nine years later, I have worked 7 summer seasons as a ridgerunner for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, three winter seasons as a program specialist at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, a CA park on the PCT, and created a coaching business, Forgiveness Walks, that specializes in helping women clear their path to walking into their own dreams. Just like walking from the southern border to the northern border, there have been ups and downs, unexpected choices, surprising supporters, and benefits from having a clear focus to manifest the journey. I am heartily grateful to acknowledge that fulfillment is evident! The journey continues!! Thanks for being on it with me!!!

Read my Pacific Crest Trail journal here:http://trailjournals.com/mssnglnk

 

Old House New Life

October 6, 2017

I’m walking past the house that used to be home. My heart and mind are doing flips between explaining the facts and feeling the feelings! The fact is that I sold it and moved away four years ago! It’s a different color and the spiral garden is now monotonous grass. My house no longer exists there! My feet and soul tug me toward the driveway, my body memory strong. Striding along the street stirs familiar patterns and memories of walks away from the house in search of a new, unknown life on trails expressing my authentic profession.  read more

Baby Backpacking and a Story

October 4, 2017

I took my 9-month old grandson to the start of the Appalachian Trail Approach! So cute and filled with promise! Then, his mom and I walked up to a heartsinging favorite, the Len Foote Hike Inn! The Hike Inn is a backcountry inn accessible only by a five-mile path up a mountain in North Georgia. I’ve stayed there many times, mostly with a complementary stay as a volunteer. It feels like home to me, so in a way, I was welcoming my family to my home!

My heart sang too as I supported Jessica, Felix’s mom, in her own accomplishment of carrying her son up the mountain.  We bonded as mother and daughter. “We could make this an annual event!” she mused. Sounds good to me! Felix was in good spirits for the journey and the favorite among the other guests, of course. Jessica felt proud to hear that babies are rare visitors to the Hike Inn. read more