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! ⁣

Unstuckified Retreat⁣.

Faces of ladies at the retreat.
Joyous retreat faces.

6 January, 1999. Inverness.

When I sit at my computer and think about how to ‘market’ my work, my energy dries up. Instead I want to be ⁣outside moving. Or I want to be connecting with someone in the real world. Or ideally both. ⁣

So instead I time travel…. to Monday 25th May 2020. It’s the last day of the Unstuckified Retreat. ⁣

I’m sitting in the first floor lounge of Forse House in Caithness. Sunshine’s pouring through the large window panes and soon we will be outside on the big lawn. ⁣

I see the faces of 12 women. We’re sharing brunch before we part. As I gaze at their faces and hear the background music of chatter I feel waves of joy and pride wash over me. Then waves of connection and love.⁣

Each of these women have trusted their intuition, and Lindsay and I, enough to come here on retreat. ⁣Amidst their busy lives they’ve chosen to pause and to let go of control for a few days. ⁣

They’ve worked with me on questioning unhelpful thoughts and clarifying their values. They’ve mapped out how they can live more in alignment with their values. We’ve dreamed together and shared our visions. We’ve stretched and moved our bodies on yoga mats and outdoors in the house grounds. ⁣

Each of us came with own story and each of us leaves with maps for new ones. ⁣

It feels real and messy and exciting and there’s no where I’d rather be and on one I’d be rather be doing it with.⁣

My Unstuckified Retreat runs from 22 to 25th May in Caithness. Are you one of the 12 faces at the brunch? I hope so!  More details here.

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. ⁣

It Takes a Village. Pacific Crest Trail Preparation Blog No. 2

On the 1st July this year, I’m leaving the UK to head off for a massive adventure. It’s just over 3 months away and time seems to be passing very quickly.

Last month I decided to start a monthly Pacific Crest Trail Preparation blog, with hope that it will be of interest and also that I’ll find some accountability in the telling, to help me get my laid back arse into gear.

(If you missed it you can read my February one HERE).

This is to be a real life, non sugar coated, telling of how I feel as I prepare for something that scares the life out of me! (Today’s blog is pretty tame – talk of pants and bras is as ‘real’ as I go. Next month’s might get more interesting!)

I’ve named this blog “It Takes a Village” as that’s what I’ve learned and felt this month. I’ve felt an unexpected, and therefore all the more precious, sense of interest, care and kindness and assistance. Continue reading

“I’m doomed. I’ve lost my tent”. Limbic Lies Part 2

Read Part 1 here: ‘Limbic Lies – why my brain tells me I can’t navigate

“Crap. It should be here.

 Where is it?

 How long have I got before the cold kicks in?

 Why isn’t it here?”

This is the story that my ego and pride didn’t want to tell you. But in the telling, I hope I hope to convey something useful about how to soothe a stressed mind.

It’s the story of how on a dark, wet winters night, I lost my tent in a remote wild Highland glen.

Story 1 – Are you sitting comfortably?

It’s a windy Saturday night evening, unseasonally mild for February. At 600 meters of elevation there’s a fierce south westerly. I’ve found shelter for my tent behind a grassy knoll, near a Loch with a view out onto the ‘witches hat’-like peak of Sgurr Mor.

I’m here to test out my new super light-weight tent that I’ve bought for my Pacific Crest Trail adventure. But I’m also here because I’ve felt a familiar pull to wild camp alone again. The winter’s felt long and I’ve missed camping out.

I’m in the Fannichs, a mountainous area West of Inverness, on the Ullapool road. I’ve pitched my tent with no problems. It’s only 6pm and darkness has just descended. I decide to practice some night navigation before bunkering down for the night. I noticed an enticing small hill near me as I pitched my tent. Continue reading