“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

Forest Comfort

September 29, 2017

Walking in my childhood forest in Ohio, I feel a grounding comfort. The tree canopy embraces me. The pillared trunks emulate steadfast structure. The deep, firm soil supports me. I think ahead to my imminent relocation to the southern California desert. It’s a study in contrast!

Don’t get me wrong, I have loved living in the desert for the past three winters! The comfortable temperature range, the sun, the rainbows, the wide open sky, the surprisingly diverse vegetation and persistent flowering, the dramatic bare rock that makes geology obvious. It’s just that it’s so different from the familiar, homelike feeling of a temperate forest! read more

Listening

September 28, 2017

What’s showing up in your Inner Journey this week?

I’ve been focusing on giving myself permission to paint illustrations for a story that came to me. It’s helping that I joined Laura West’s 30-Day Passion Project group for support and accountability. It’s interesting to me that it feels selfish for me to devote time to my painting! However, when I do, I feel more generous toward others, more efficient on other projects, less attracted to unhealthy food, more appreciative of others’ work, more supported by others, even more connected to and helpful to others, and just plain happy! read more