In the middle of Window Rock I entered New Mexico – my third state to walk in to! And I felt proud. More than anything, I realized just how much I have changed, learned and grown. It seems each stretch has had its own topic.
When I first started out in Los Angeles, it was simply the excitement of the start. I met amazing, fun and inspiring people who were so supportive and got me off to an incredible start. I was high on the excitement, on the walk, and on finally having foot on trail. The more serious walk started in Palmdale when I fell so silly in-love with a guy. Yes, it was head over heels in teenage love, and sure we had fun while I visited him. All too soon I was back on The Trail – as I had to be. And it wasn’t long until I was deep in the Mojave Desert. This stretch became about Love, forgiveness, but even stronger, about Self Respect. The guy I fell in-love with wasn’t treating me right, and for the first time ever I realized how important Self Respect is in relationships. The Walk, The Desert, The Earth under me each day and The Sky above me every night all conspired to give me a major doze of Self Respect. I didn’t know it at the time, but the gift I took from this stretch wasn’t forgiveness – rather it was a whole new understanding of my value as a human being. And so I arrived in AZ.
The next stretch in Arizona I ended up staying with Mary and Ed in Mojave Valley for several weeks. Staying with Ed and Mary were relatively close quarters, something I have always before either feared or been overwhelmed by. Now, I enjoyed it. When I started to walk I was quickly into a very conservative part of AZ. This stretch became about opening myself up to meeting new people. I wanted music, people around me, noise, a drink or two of wine and simply to meet people. Where in the past venues with music and a lot going on would quickly overwhelm my ability to process what was happening, now I was able to relax in to this experience and just enjoy it. I tended to stop at little bar’s or other places along the way and I enjoyed it.
Then came The Grand Canyon – with its immense beauty and incredible pride of accomplishment. I had made it to the Grand Canyon! Yes, I walked it. And I was catapulted to Flagstaff.
Flagstaff was an experience all it’s own. I learned so much about the current environmental fights, the struggles of our Indigenous population. More than anything I connected with a whole new community and had my heart touched like I wasn’t prepared for. For the first time ever I considered not living in California or even near an ocean – rather I started to realize that the community spirit I saw in Flagstaff was a gift all its own.
From Flagstaff I moved into The Navajo Nation. The experiences I had so loved in Flagstaff of community continued through The Nation, and every day my heart was touched by the people and by the land. I fell even deeper in-love with this stretch, feeling every day and every step as a very special blessing. The stretch from Indian Wells to Burnside my personal values and desires came under a sharp microscope. It was clear to me that now I want very different things in life and in love. I was not, am not and will never again be the same person. My focus shifted to be so much more service oriented, but most important financial fears and desires started to melt away. Things that would in the past have made me freeze in terror became minor, and my plans and day dreams were nowhere near the same as before.
As I have continued into New Mexico I still feel the shift in my values and day dreams, but now there is an even bigger focus on anxieties and fears simply melting away. I feel a new sense of myself, my presence in this world and my desires to contribute to the world I live in.
Overall I have also learned something very important. I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). This is a lifetime diagnosis, and my worst symptoms of this disorder are: unmanageable periods, obesity and depression. All of these symptoms can be managed with a LOT of exercise and healthy foods. PCOS will never go away, and I will always have some of those symptoms, but they sure do get better with the exercise.