taking flight

9729782699_315eb00182_b” Until one is committed, there is hesitancy. The chance to draw back concerning all acts of initiative(and creation) there is one elementary truth, that ignorance of which kills endless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits, oneself, then Providence moves also. 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 ones favor all manor of unforeseen incidental meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin now.” von Goethe IMG_1908I found myself sitting at the ocean most mornings since I have been here in Santa Cruz. Yesterday, the walls I had built around my heart in these 2 short weeks, came tumbling down. I was reading a book entitled,”When Things Fall Apart,” by Pema Chodron. A lovely Buddhist book about life and some ways to deal with difficult times. I had been reading the book for a number of days, but yesterdays reading touched me deeply. She spoke about the need for compassion for self, before we can feel it for others. Tears fell. I have always said that my greatest wish was that I could inspire others through my path. How could I do that if I couldn’t care about myself? The anger I felt towards my body, dissipated. The space it created in my heart has allowed me to feel again. This morning, the pain in my body has dissipated. I am committed. I am taking flight. Because , as John Muir so profoundly stated,”for going out, I found I was really going in.”

During this morning of awareness I thought of family and friends going through difficult times. I connected with a few, either through conversation, words, or prayer. I told them I truly cared, and if I could take some of their pain I would so that they could be free.

I realized I had built fairly significant walls around myself. I didn’t even look at the ocean the first few days I was home. I didnt want to see people and have them question me about my hike. I felt so defeated. But as a dear friend said, “Grasshopper, don’t feel defeated, the mountain doesn’t feel victorious .”

DSCN2069These walls I erected shut people out. I created a deep sense of loneliness. However, until yesterday I couldn’t even see my part. These self imposed walls created such suffering. I shut out people who were new in my life. They wanted to get to know me. The problem was, I couldn’t understand why. I pushed them away. A few, who I got in, just a little bit, I eventually turned them away too. Please know, I am sorry. It wasn’t you. It was me.

IMG_05249729234903_3fe56bdd04_b9729170559_033345b988_bI spoke with my mentor Tatu Jo the same day. I told him my plan to hike southbound. He adamantly proclaimed,” No! why aren’t you listening to me?”Well, I wasn’t listening because I couldn’t hear anything. But his suggestion was to start from where I left off. He said my hike would be so much more gratifying. He suggested I walk as far as I could and if weather holds I may be able to continue my thru hike. If not jump to Canada and walk south. I am so grateful to him for his support thru my craziness. He has so much wisdom in regards to the trail and life. I agreed , it was the very best plan.

DSC04536The Sierra Mountains reside in my heart. While walking the JMT last year I experienced such a spiritual connection and I look forward to those moments of exquisite connection . I will embrace it fully.

I am getting a ride to the trailhead from a dear friend David. Another friend also offered. I have such deep gratitude. It isn’t a short drive. I am touched. A friend in the hiking community Christy “Rockin” Rosander asked if she could join as her hike in Oregon and Washington had to be postponed a bit due to weather. She is very experienced and I look forward to hiking with her for a few weeks, or however long she will stay with me until she hops north. I just hope I don’t hold her back too much. It will only take me a couple days to get my strength back and I should be as good as new!!

summit“We can use everything that happens to us as a way to waking up.” Pema Chodron

I walk on, With Love

 

 

 

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a white butterfly in my garden

ImageAfter two and one half weeks of rest, I will be getting back on the trail. I am giddy with excitement. Not expectation, but yearning to be back inside of natures home. The four walls which surround me have been stifling. Looking out I see houses, I hear cars, and I feel trapped in a reality that no longer serves me, nor do I serve it. My heart yearns to be out where the words and actions of others don’t hurt me. For, it is in nature that I can understand more readily  the fluctuations of life. The simple act of walking allows me to let go and not hold on, to that which creates tears in my heart. The physical exhaustion of the trail contributes to the wholeness I feel out there. I know I am alive, and I am surrounded by life, not by cement and exhaust and walls. I am free to be me.  I know I can’t always be on the trail and I have recognized the fact that I will relocate to a place nearer the mountains, once this walk is over. The ocean has always given so much to me. I find her waters though have gotten crowded. Crowded with people. Crowded with the ill effects of over-population.I will always come back to the ocean for healing and for remembering. So many of my loved ones that are now gone are an integral part of the oceans waters, and I find such peace knowing they are there.

ImageI have pondered many hours these past couple of weeks as to why I am here? Why was I forced off the trail, when I was so happy out there? I don’t know if I have an answer. I don’t know if even there is an answer. I do know, that perhaps, I was called home for a reality check. Perhaps I needed to be here, in order to be there. Meaning, I was doing a lot of thinking while on the trail about my home, my friends, my family and possibilities. I feel now, when I get back on the trail, I will be, on the trail. I had a teacher in Bali once who remarked on my many mishaps while there. She said, “Laura, while you were running, you weren’t running and while you were walking along the waters edge, you were elsewhere; be, where you are.” So perhaps, it was  just another lesson of returning to the moment.

I have tried to sit and write so many times the past couple of weeks. The inspiration for writing wasn’t there. The noise cluttered my thoughts. The negative emotions surrounding me made it difficult to find that place within that creativity stirs. I went to the oceans edge almost daily to be calm and contemplative, but still, the words wouldn’t come.

ImageThere has been a white butterfly in my garden since I have been home. A constant companion in a lonely kind of a place. My daughters ,always in my heart bringing me joy. I am blessed for that. I have been riding my beach cruiser along the oceans edge, the wind off the ocean, the smiles of old friends, the conversations with those that have become enamored with my journey on the trail have given me joy.

When my body doesn’t perform as I hope, I get a little down. I get to a place of non-acceptance. Even, a little anger. But then I am reminded that it is such a minor situation in the grand picture. My dearest friend was diagnosed with Epilepsy. He can’t drive. He can’t surf. He can’t practice his martial art. His memory is dissipating. He is angry. His sense of who he is is diminishing as he must let others do what he was once able to do for himself. And, I am kept from him for reasons that are too difficult to explain. When we are able to see each other, I just tell him how much I love him. He tells me, how blessed I am to be following my heart. When I leave, I weep. I just have a back-ache, to keep me from doing what I want to be doing.

ImageI will meet WhyNot?! and Atlas in Sierra City. Whoohooo!!!! The three of us will be on the tails of Poco and Spirit who are down the line a bit. So many folks have caught up and I look forward to meeting new people out there. My hope is to get to Canada early September, and return to the Sierra’s and make-up the 400 miles I missed. Then, hopefully get back to Washington for the ALDHA gathering. Dreams. But without dreams, we wither. Without reaching we lose strength. Possibilities abound. I look forward to the starry skies to lull me to sleep. To the flowing waters to nourish me and cleanse my body. To the mountains to inspire me and give me hope. To the trail and all that awaits around the bend.

I walk on. With Love.

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a slight detour

IMG_0897As most of you know I am home due to an issue with my back. I am happy to say I received injections yesterday, and already I feel relief. My plan and hope is to be back on the trail in a week. This slight detour off the path, back to my hometown has been insightful for me in so many ways. Walking in my front door , especially these past ten years after being away from some time has always been a breath of fresh air. A peaceful welcoming into the space I have created for my daughters and I. This time though, was a little different. I haven’t quite identified the feeling as of yet. But I realized that home for me now, is not within these walls. The cliche, “home is where the heart is”, has a deep meaning for me. Home for me is where I feel the freedom to be me. Where I can feel a connection of something deeper than the love I felt for the place I rested my head at night for so many years.

Perhaps my journey into the mountains is a way of connecting into myself, without the confines set upon me here, in town. Granted, I set up my own prison walls. As my dearest friend Joey said,” like a caged bird, you finally took flight.” It is being out there, where the sounds I hear don’t infringe upon my peace, but only contribute to it, it is here I can connect with the feelings inside. Even the slight buzzing I hear in my home of some electrical nature interferes with my freedom. On the trail, the whispering of the wind upon my face, brings me joy. The rushing of the river, brings me awareness of the inevitability of change. The towering mountain peaks fill me with energy. Sun glistening off the snow is more splendid than any diamond upon a finger. Here at my home, in town, there is too much clutter to truly see, too much noise, to truly hear, and too much to truly feel.

I find the mountains to be a place of connecting with my spirituality. I was never totally sure what that meant. I went to church as a child, praying to God. When my late husband went through his 12 step program, I prayed to a Higher Power. These past years I have been studying Buddhism, praying. I was reading,” Running to the Mountain,” by Jon Katz. He said,”perhaps if spirituality could be more linked to the enjoyment of life, the fulfillment of a dream, adventure of change and growth, it might feel less remote.” This resonates with me. Spirituality is about connection to something big. Something huge. Something connecting self to that expansiveness. I am finding that. I am feeling that. I round a corner on the path, at times my heart fills with tears at the beauty. Other times a smile stays with me for miles. Other times I sit and weep, but as Katz says ,” loss and eventual renewal were not interruptions of life, they are life.” I weep not necessarily because I am sad, but perhaps more, because I am grateful. Grateful for all that has been, and all that will be.

DSCN2476Renewal is evident everywhere on the trail. The brilliant shades of green emerging from a wildfire that caused much destruction. The spring blossoms bursting through the areas once covered in snow. The young coyotes just born on the Oregon Trail. Hope. Life emerging everywhere around me. Those springs dry from the recent drought filling up with water as the snow begins to melt. Renewal within of hope for peace, with hope for the children, with hope for awareness of each other, and with hope for love again.

DSC04572 DSC04086 DSC04550“i am always glad to touch the living rock again and dip my head in the high mountain sky. …plain, sky, mountains ray beauty which you feel. You bathe in these spirit-beams turning round and round, as if warming at a campfire. Presently you lose consciousness of your own separate existence: you blend with the landscape, and become part and parcel of nature.” John Muir.

Yes.

Soon, I will walk on…..With Love

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