9th Jan 2020, Inverness (46 days since PCT). ⁣

I’m like a small nervous bird – feeling twitchy and flighty. It’s so tempting to fly away to somewhere warm and new and exciting. ⁣

And yet I’m here with my flock. And my beautiful nest. ⁣

And I know this is my place for now. ⁣

This is where I can do work that gives me meaning and where I can be with my ‘home people’. This is where I choose to live my values whilst still dreaming and reaching beyond what is. ⁣

This last week I noticed myself think hundreds of chaotic thoughts about what’s next. And I’ve over heard my fast chatter about all my ideas. ⁣

In this moment I’m hugely energised and excited as messy ideas are beginning to take more solid form. ⁣

But other ideas will just be that – ideas. We can’t do ‘all the things’, some ideas are just distractions that are fun to explore. And I trust, in time, my values and intuition will guide me. ⁣

Suffering comes if I judge myself in this process but peace comes when I accept its inevitable messiness.⁣

It’s okay to sit with not knowing and with uncomfortable feelings. It’s more than okay, it’s necessary. ⁣

These chilly, ‘weathery’, short days of winter have much beauty, as does this messy business of living a good life. ⁣

And this little bird isn’t flying anywhere any time soon! ⁣

‘Befriending my⁣ Mind’⁣

My niece and sister sharing a hug.

1 Jan 2020.

After an unexpectedly ‘eventful’ new years eve, I awoke on the 1st of January not feeling as peace filled as I’d hoped. Rather I felt discombobulated with the familiar shadow of self doubt clouding my mind. The voice that judges me and tells me I’ve messed up. ⁣

One of the great things about hiking the PCT was that I became more conscious of my mind and I worked to befriend it. I got pretty good at calling myself out on my own BS. ⁣

So I politely disagreed with my 1st of January shadowy chat. It sounds kinda cheesy but I want to be a best friend to myself. The kind of friend who gets it, who laughs at and loves me regardless of my mess ups. ⁣

The rest of the day was well spent at my parent’s house with my sisters, nieces and nephew. We shared delicious food, chat and sat around as the kids got sillier and crankier. ⁣

But there was no rush, nothing else that needed to be done and nowhere else to be. ⁣

In bed that night I reflected at the ease and peacefulness I feel when I spend time with my parents. It’s hasn’t always been like this but it’s been there for the last couple of years. There’s a calmness in their home that radiates from them. And when I’m in right relationship with both myself and time I can feel and receive it. ⁣

The thing I want to pursue most this year is the peaceful calmness that comes from being in right relationship with self and with time, regardless of where I am or what is happening. ⁣

What feeling are you seeking this year? If you don’t know, I’d love to help with my 9th Feb ‘Goals with Heart workshop’ in Inverness. If you know how you want to feel but can’t feel it I can help at my May retreat, my Women’s Wellbeing Treks for Wellbeing or one to one counselling.

Wishing you a calm peacefulness whatever stories your mind is telling you just now. ⁣

No pressure – it’s only new year’s eve!

Me & my sunglasses on the PCT, 1999.

Inverness, 31 Dec, 1999

No pressure – it’s only new year’s eve!
As a child I loved New Years day. But as an adult, until recently, I used to dread it. The day would start with promise and end with tears of disappointment – or intense hang over – or both!

New Year’s Eve so often ends in disaster because of the pressure we put on ourselves. “The promise of a magical night,

of new beginnings,

of some kind of rebirth at the strike of midnight.

But the reality is that midnight on New Year’s Eve is just another midnight.

The passing of time holds no transformative power over your career potential,

your love life,

or your character.

But it is this hope of something magical that dooms us for disappointment” (Metro article 31.12.19). On social media at present people are trying to sum up their last 10 years – often impressive list of trophies and achievements. Yet many of us don’t feel we measure up.

And add to this the illusion of this new decade that we are about to enter. And all the promise it brings.

It’s no wonder so many people will seek to get out of their heads tonight.

For me it’s too much.

It’s just a change in the date.

We are made of the same stuff and are living with the same circumstances.

We don’t need to stack on the pressure to prove we’ve mattered over the last 10 years.

We don’t need to post photos to show that we’ve aged well. Or hide photos that suggest otherwise.

Nor do we need to whack on a tonne of goals for the next 10 years.

I believe we are all enough, regardless of what we have or haven’t achieved.

Letting go of the illusion of control and chipping away at the old ego changes everything.

I’m looking forward to dinner with friends and then some live music – but it’s very likely I’ll sneak off to bed before midnight. No one will care and I’ve nothing to prove.

I’m grateful for the love of family, friends, health and knowing I’m enough. And it’s my hope that you can rest at the end of this year knowing and feeling this too.

‘Re-habiting my home life.

Life After Trail – day 36. Inverness, 30 Dec, 1999⁣.

The end of the Trail. Time to rehabit my old life.

Last night I set my alarm for 7.30am with every intention of walking up the mast hill for sunrise. ⁣

It’s 7:30am and it doesn’t feel like such a good idea. I’ve a sore throat, I’m tired, my mind seduces me with ALL the reasons to justify another lie in. ⁣

Now it’s after 10, I’m on the move but my mind isn’t happy. It wants me to be running – despite the fact that I’m not allowed to at the moment! Now it wants me to be working. A list of ‘shoulds’ floats through my mind’s eye. ⁣

But with each step my busy mind slows down. I notice the current pulling the water in the canal, I feel the smoothness of the muddy hill track. The bird song takes it’s place in the soundscape. ⁣

I see familiar faces. Iona and Derek from Parkrun cross over the pavement to chat. My speedy sister runs past. Half way up the hill I meet Ross running a Turkey Trott with his fire-brigade colleagues. ⁣

As I plod up the steep final section to the mast, a hardy mountain biker musters all of his power to make it to the top. Yet he still finds energy to greet me. ⁣

People often say they see me as a very motivated person. And that exercise habits must come easy to me. I wish that was true! Although nature and movement are my medicine I’ve struggled to get back to old habits. ⁣

Yet arriving home from this simple walk this morning, I feel quite changed. I’m inspired by the place and the people. ⁣

A habit starts with an intention followed by an action. Action is often met with internal resistance. Inertia doesn’t like to be challenged. But each day it gets easier. Especially when our habits are grounded in a commitment to living our values. ⁣

A walk up the mast in Inverness may not sound as sexy as walking through California on the PCT but for me it’s all part of the same thing. Its all made of the same stuff. Both are me trying to live out what I value. ⁣

So tomorrow at 7:30am? Hell yeah! ⁣

Ps. I wrote a haiku: ⁣

Despite snoozing alarm⁣
I’m still here walking self back⁣
to life, to noticing.⁣
Moving beyond body⁣
Into muddy field, ashen sky.⁣
The perfect wake up call. ⁣

Life After Trail : Day 19 – Dec 13, 2019⁣

‘Channeling My Sherona’s courage’.

Walking into the sunset in southern California, PCT

I’ve always avoided writing anything political on my social media as I worry what readers – including family members – with different political leanings, would think. I’ve worried it would affect my business. I’ve worried that I’d look stupid when I can’t argue back with people more articulate and confident than me. ⁣

This morning as I read all the depressing post election commentary I seek out thoughtful words from wise people I trust. I want to share their thoughts (and my own) on my personal Facebook page but my doubts cause me to hesitate. Yet I remembered that in my ‘post trail diary’ yesterday I wrote about what I can learn from my Trail Self. My PCT trail name was ‘My Sherona’ and I shared that I could learn a bit from her courage. ⁣

I checked I wasn’t writing for my own ego and then I channelled My Sherona by choosing action over safety. Below is what I shared. ⁣

– ⁣

I missed much of the pre election ugliness whilst on trail. Last night I watched in shock as the results came in. To be honest more long distance hiking feels very tempting this morning. ⁣

But I wanted to share some words from two thoughtful friends that lifted my heart on this heavy morning: ⁣

“Nothing this morning challenges my beliefs and values, a majority voice within a democracy doesn’t make it right. ⁣

And I also believe that ‘the moral arc of the universe is long and it bends towards justice’. ⁣

I’m not going to measure the rightness of the result on the strength of the pound, I want to know what it means to those with the least and the lowest, and only time will tell us that.” (Dave Steell)⁣

“Things are going to be very hard and will get even tougher.⁣

So it is up to us to create the kind of society we want to live in. We can do this regardless of and despite who holds political power. Those people come and go.” (Jill Rowe)⁣

Like most of my English, N. Irish and Welsh friends – Scotland didn’t vote for this. ⁣

SNP won 48 out of 59 seats. Interesting times north of the border. But sending love and care to my dear friends south of it.Life After Trail : Day 18 – Dec 12, 2019⁣

Life After Trail : Day 30 – Dec 24, 2019⁣

‘It doesn’t have to be tied up with a bow’.⁣

Seeking beauty outside my window.

A month has passed since reaching the official start/ finish monument of the Pacific Crest Trail. My average trail mileage was about 20 miles per day, today I’ve walked 2 miles at the most. ⁣

Whilst buying a couple of last minute gifts from TK Max, a friend called my name across the long queue. Her contact transformed me. I moved from feeling like a soulless consumer to feeling like a relatable human again. Desperate to hold this sense of contact I persuaded Katie to join me for a quick coffee in the cafe across the road. ⁣

I’m now alone nursing a second coffee gathering my thoughts. After having a fun but full on time since finishing the trail, I’ve now got to rest from physical activity with any impact for at least a month. (Don’t worry, I’m well, just recovering from something personal to me). ⁣

I’m someone who loves to move – both to be outside in nature and for the sake of moving. But I’m also someone who loves to be inside and cozy – reading, creating, just being. ⁣

After 5 months of living outdoors, circumstances are such that I’m going to be a home dwelling creature for a season. I’m almost uncomfortable at the thought of being too comfortable! It’s both scary and exciting. And all will be well. ⁣

On this eve of a day that has been built up by Hollywood and marketers et al to be the biggest, sparkliest and happiest.. it’s easy to believe that life needs to look or feel perfect – or even complete – tied up with a big bow. But beliefs about how things ‘should’ be take us away from what is. ⁣

My wish is to find a quiet contentment in the simplicity of the beauty outside my window and the gift of being with big and little people whom I love very much. This is more than enough.