pre-race jitters

“Keep knocking and the joy inside will eventually open window and look out to see whose there.” Rumi

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My purple zpack arc blast awaits.The contents soon to be added, currently sitting a little haphazardly around the pack.  Re-supply boxes are stacked, semi-packed and nearly ready to be shipped.  All identified by purple duct tape decorated with silly little owls. Six medium sized USPS boxes containing fuchsia colored Brooks Cascadia’s size 11, 2 pairs mens black 100% nylon socks, (per the strong recommendation of Tatu Jo) and lidocaine patch (in the event I have back pain) taped up and ready to go.Clothes neatly laid out in preparation for take-off.

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Starting to feel a bit apprehensive. Well, maybe not apprehensive. Kind-of wondering what to do with myself. I need to get the truck smogged. I want to pick up some healing stones to give to Joey before I leave. I really need to pack my pack. But I am stuck. Sitting here drinking a chai, feet propped up and well…I guess I am resting!! What I am really thinking is,”oh my god..I am really gonna do this! I am really gonna hike the Pacific Crest Trail! This is awesome shit!!” As my friend WhyNot!? just said to me…” it’s healthy to feel apprehensive right now…its important to feel respect for this journey.” I remember back when one of my daughters was learning to surf. I mentioned to a friend about her fear. He said it is good to have healthy fear (respect) for something like the ocean. I suppose it is the same for the trail. There is a lot of unknown out there. Even though its been hiked for many, many years, each year; each day is a little bit different. 

It’s kinda like pre race jitters. I have certainly had my share of those. I remember so clearly. Walking up to that starting block. Stepping up. Shaking the kinks out of my arms and legs. Awaiting that starting blast. Fear and expectation as I am standing on block #4. One of the faster blocks. The gun goes off. I dive. Did I false start? No. Go. Hard. Swim.  But this isn’t a race. It won’t be over in a couple minutes. I am not 12 years old. I am 57. I can do this.summit

The aches and pains have begun to pop up. The low back starting to ache. A bruise on the bottom of my foot. A cavity I think needs repair. Cookies. I will make my favorite Paleo chocolate chip cookie recipe. This will take some time. Prepare. Bake. Eat. Procrastinate.

I have been down to the ocean three times already today. Breathing in the oceans swell. Letting it fill me with powerful energy. A black crow visited me again this morning. This time I got her crowing on my smartphone. Perhaps I can interpret it. I have been told to listen deeply. I think I will carry it with me. I believe perhaps she is one of my spirit animals. She has crossed my path 6-7 times in the past week. I am listening.IMG_2130

Deep sigh. What haven’t I done? Should I re-evaluate the contents that will soon fill my pack. Has the base weight risen due to panic packing? They say we pack our fears. I believe this. I have added an extra beanie. Then removed it. The  zpack mittens have entered and exited my pack many times over the past couple days. The pink  long sleeve zip-up ice-breaker is sitting on the edge of the table. In or out? Orthotics,  tyvek, extra leggings, camp sandals, umbrella….ahhhhh!!!! Here I go again. Questioning myself. 

It is not the critic who counts; not the one who points out how the strong stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the one who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again; who knows great enthusiasm and great devotion; who spends him/herself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he/she fails at least fails while daring greatly, so that his/her place shall never be with this timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.” Theodore Rossevelt

and another challenging moment

 

 

 

 

 

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contemplation, wonder and curiosity

“Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans; that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic and power in it.”Goethe

IMG_0897I find myself back again  at these inspiring words of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. How many times in life do we allow a dream to diminish and fade, soon perhaps to be replaced by another, and then another. How many times have I in the span of my life come up with these magnificent plans, only to be disregarded because of fear?That fear resulting from ignorance. That ignorance arising out of inability to believe in self. How many times have I semi-committed and found some far-fetched excuse as to why it couldn’t possibly work ?

It almost happened when I re-discovered hiking. I searched for excuses. I searched for reasons I couldn’t possibly hike long distance. Something happened out there though. I think it was probably on the passes along the John Muir Trail. It was magic. A very raw, deep emotion came forth. At the top of each pass tears would form. Not just one tear falling from my face. But, a river of tears streaming down.  I remember thinking as the tears were falling that I was actually nurturing the earth. A man, who became a dear friend, that I was hiking with very gently questioned why? Why the tears? What are you thinking? I had no thought. Perhaps it was spiritual. Perhaps it was elation. Perhaps it was bliss.

I felt a deep transformation out there. I felt a connection with the mountains, the rivers and streams, the clean brisk air, and the energy of the wilderness.I was beginning to see new growth and rebirth all around me and it awakened hope from within. 

I find myself spending as much time as I can near the ocean, in these last days before I go.DSC02525 I have never spent so much time away from it as I will on this journey. I am curious about the time out there. How I will change, knowing that change is inevitable. I wonder if I will miss the strength and power I gain from the oceans magnificence? 

So many thoughts wandering in and out of my consciousness. What will happen here, at home, while I am gone? What changes will transpire? But, I find myself resonating with the words of Peter Bradley Adams in the following lyrics:

“Somewhere in this lonely world, there is a place I belong. I have seen its fields and streams; they have been revealed in my dreams. You see I can not settle down. There’s just too much left unfound. I keep drifting like a cloud on the wind. Loved ones and friends, lost along the way. I hope they have no ill words to say. Because I have cried so many tears , lost so many friends, throughout the years. I must keep traveling on, to find the place where I belong, and if I travel till I die, I will make my home somewhere in the sky. Because, I can not settle down. Like a cloud drifting on the wind.”

I am on the path I should be on and I am so stoked for this journey, this life and what it holds around the next corner. Bring it on!!!

 

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Pacific Crest Trail…Mexico to Canada 2014

A new chapter of my life is beginning. Every road I have walked, every person I have met, all the joys and sorrows, the loves shared and lost, the pain and the ecstasy; all of life’s moments have led me to this trailhead. From the boys in Charicot, Nepal to the outcast Balinese handicapped, and the Buddhist teachers on the hilltop over looking Kathmandhu to the Holy Man in the small village inland Bali, from Tatu Jo who has taught me so much about the trail to my little neighbor Mankala who proclaimed it would be so much easier to fly to Canada than walk, from my dearest friend Joey Thomas whose love has carried me through so much to the old fisherman on Maui who told me the key to happiness was fresh fish and massage daily, from the endless love of my daughters to the memory of my great love Michael, and from all my family and friends I have met on this journey thus far, I bow down. I have so much gratitude for all the wisdom shared. 

When I used to run a lot of miles the most common question asked was,”what are you training for?” My answer every time, was “life.” I feel like everything we do essentially is training for what comes next. That being said, I go back to my first thought of this blog, I am here, because I have been there.

I am drawn to the Pacific Crest Trail for many reasons. I think the main draw is the ability to delve into self, to see and understand my strengths and weaknesses; to be in the moment, and to try to understand the great lesson of impermanence; to face any demons and insecurities that may lie deep within, and to let go of story lines that have dominated my life. My friend Tatu Jo told me, “what you carry onto the trail with you in Mexico, you no longer carry once you arrive in Canada.”  I feel there is so much more to life. I feel there is so much more to me. The trail I believe, will give me insight. This journey won’t be easy. I know that. But life isn’t easy. I know I will face things never faced before. I know my mind will say,”NO!!!!”. I know my body will scream at me.I know I will be hungry and dirty and tired. I know I will be scared, and I know that I embrace this challenge with  all my heart. A reporter asked me if it was hard to leave what I knew for something I knew very little about. If it was hard to leave that which was comfortable and familiar. My answer was absolutely not. I don’t think we were put on this planet to engage with that which is easy. Our true nature evolves out of our ability to take on the challenges that are put in front of us. I have, in the past, become my story. It was easy. It wasn’t an easy story, but it was easier to be that which I knew, than to break away and to become that which I could be. I stayed with my story line because I was afraid to break free of the ties I bound myself with. Joey once told me he felt I was like a caged bird whom he was protecting, and someday I would feel my wings and I would fly. Life is about breaking free from those self imposed walls. Often times we don’t even know we are bound. But the moment the realization enters…”Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” Goethe

I begin this journey with so much love in my heart. I look forward to sharing it with you. My hope is to instill a little glimmer of possibility in you. That you can do that which you dream. I hope to bring a smile to your face. Follow me on this journey.It will be quite a ride!!!!IMG_0321