Posted in Friendship, Hiking

Canto Nova

The preludes to this post can be found here and here.

Eventually Kyle returned to let me know what he had come up with as far as a trail-name was concerned. It had proven to be a challenge for obvious reasons mentioned before, trying to name someone you haven’t even met yet. My blog name played a role, as well as other bits and pieces that allowed glimpses of who I was as a person. The amount of time, thoroughness, awareness and attention to detail, blew me away and I was in awe. And still, I don’t think neither one of us could have known how much this name would grow, and what meaning it would take on. A meaning away from the trail as most of these transitions happened in my personal, day to day life. It simply evolved and became more and more fitting as time went on. It was always awesome, from the very beginning, but if I look back to the creation until the current times…by God, it’s quite a ride, and Kyle must have sensed something I didn’t even know the extent of back then.

Kyle chose two words.

Canto: A Italien word that stands for a section, a division of a large poem. Derived from canere which means to sing it can also stand for a song. (Rhapsody Boheme – Bohemian Rhapsody)

The second word was Novus: Which stands for new and bright.

I changed Novus into Nova which is the female version of Novus that can also mean bright star. In astronomy it’s a star that shows a sudden increase in brightness and slowly returns to its original state over a few month. The Native American meaning is “Chases Butterfly”.

Both words were a fit and Canto Nova was born. I felt much like embarking on a few new chapters (sections, division) of my poem (my life). I was in the process of writing a few new ones. A bright new future perhaps, as it required to go through pain and change. Metamorphosis to change from a caterpillar (what was my current condition) into a butterfly (which was my aspiring state). I had goals and dreams, I was “chasing my butterfly” to change my stars. But how would I explain this in a brief reply if someone asked me what my trail-name meant!

Today, in brief I would tell you that metaphorically my trail name means “Chapters of a new Dawn”. We constantly write our own history. The chapters and divisions we add to our life’s poem are up to us and nobody ever said that it was easy. Just looking at the caterpillars violent struggle, we see that beautiful things can come from adversity and pain. That is if we can see the beauty and the lesson that comes with such experiences, vs letting them define us into bitterness. The choice is always ours, so think about what you want to add to your poem. Will it be dark poetry or will you sing and chase your own butterfly?

Don’t forget to look and support Kyle Rohrig on Amazon. Three books are available for your reading pleasure, and make also a great gift for any nature fanatic and anymore daring to dream big.

Lost on the Appalachian Trail

Hear the Challenge

Racing Winter on the Pacific Crest Trail

Thank you kindly. Enjoy!

Posted in Friendship, Hiking, Life

The quest for a Trail-Name

The prelude to this post can be found here

There is a special lingo amongst hikers and it is tradition that every thru hiker is given a trail-name. It’s a name that is made up of the tendencies, behaviors and character traits for each said individual. At other times it is simply appearance that can do you in, and the process can get quite creative. It’s not always an easy feat when it comes to the choosing, or the introduction of your trail-name, and how you got it.

My friend Kyle’s trail-name for instance is “Mayor” or “The Mayor” because of the care for his friends and people. Setting up campfires on trail, soon to be joined by other hikers, he provides and takes care of his people after a long day on the trail, hopefully much like any mayor would do. In his private life, he inspires and motivates people to just “Go for it”, and to pursue anything that sets their soul on fire. He demonstrates a great example for any aspiring dreamer who is looking to change their stars, by giving them the know how that it can be done, if only they find the courage to take the leap. Making a difference has become a full time job these days. So it is no wonder that his name fits like a glove, with Kyle bestowing great honor onto it, on and off the trail.

Katana, his loyal Shiba Inu trail-mate’s has a hiking name as well. The famous Catfox she is, named after her Fox like appearance. It’s funny to think that some people actually believed that she is a real fox. There is a story or two about it in his book “Lost on the Appalachian Trail” where it was believed that the little Catfox was actually a Russian fox. Good times for sure, and one of my favorite parts and laugh out loud moment.

The time was shortly after Kyle had finished the Appalachian Trail, that he faced a tough time readjusting to conventional life and civilization. It was easy to miss the adventures of the trail, the scenic beauty, the camaraderie and the simplicity of life. Less was more and the trail had always provided, while being the perfect teacher putting into perspective how little we truly need to be happy.

I was motivated more then ever to somehow find a way to hit the trail and to make my own memories, but there were still quite a few logistics to be worked out such as financing it and the question about my health. In my dreams I was chasing a feeling, a lifestyle of slowing down and truly living. I knew too well about the feelings of grounding with Mother Nature, to hear her heartbeat and to sigh in amazement of all wonders big and small. One day like so many others, I was wondering what my trail-name might be. Who would name me, how would and could they name me, based on what. What if I never made it due to my health to hit the trail in a long distance thru hike, and why was it so important for me to have a trail- name, I pondered. The thought of how it would come to pass was quite entertaining, and then the lightbulb moment came. The crazy idea to ask for Kyle’s input was born. I valued his perception and perhaps thinking of a name for me could distract him from the real life blues. It was almost like an impossible request, since we had never met in person, and still I asked him. It was a inquiry for a trail-name prior to even attempting a thru hike, was a bit like jumping the gun, but it held great significance for me. All there was, were snippets on Facebook, Instagram and the blog that entailed glimpses of my life. What a way to get to know someone. Still he agreed, being the person he is, a person unable to say no to a fellow dreamer.

Weeks went by and Kyle was very thorough. He analyzed from the little he knew and was dedicated to find something that would be fitting. We lost touch during those weeks, but I was hoping that my crazy task/request somehow managed to distract him from the reality check of life. My hope was that it would free his mind, ease what he was dealing with, and put him back in touch with what he loved. The trail…

Please don’t forget to support him on Amazon, Facebook or at Kyle has written three books so far and each one is simply astonishing.

Thank you very much and stay tuned for the reveal of a very special trail-name. My very own…♥️

Posted in Friendship, Inspiration

Higher power

I had a “date” with my girlfriend yesterday. Sadly, I was a little skeptical and worried. In all actuality, I wasn’t really looking forward to it, and I know the feeling was mutual as we both shared concerns. I ended up picking one of the two dates available that allowed less time together. Shame on me, but let me explain. This is not meant to point any finger, but bring attention to how easily life takes us onto different paths.

We’ve seen each other only a few times since I got to Germany, although we live close to each other. Being here for an extended lengths of time, you would think we would manage to spend a lot of time together, but it was as if we lived on different planets. We had nothing in common anymore, and there was little to agree on these days. It felt weird, considering we had been lifelong friends, but also lifelong friends that lived the majority of life apart from each other. How good did we really know each other during the occasional two week visit, every other year or so, sometimes much longer. And here too it became obvious, how surface interaction allowed us to know each other, while we truly didn’t know anything about each other anymore. Life had moved on, and life took us into different directions it seemed. There simply was too little, and not enough quality interaction.

Angie (my girlfriend) is a smart, very…very busy, successful woman, aggressive and rational. Everything is about common sense, with simple solutions and answers, but it wasn’t really the right time for me, and I was in need of other qualities, such as compassion and empathy. Feelings and emotions ruled the scene for me, something Angie couldn’t follow. Not because she was incapable of having feelings like this, but because she was an outsider looking in, unable to put herself into my shoes. In her eyes my situation required logical answers and she couldn’t follow what my hang up was. Fact was, that I wasn’t ready for it. There was so much to mend in my relationship with Mom, so much in need of fixing, so many opportunities that reached beyond the logical realm. She often drilled me with questions I had no answer to, and in response my frustration grew as I frantically tried to answer, not wanting to feel like an idiot. It became very stressful, and meeting would leave me exhausted and vulnerable. Of course was I searching for the same answers as well, but always ended up in the same vicious cycle. I knew that the path wasn’t ready to reveal itself, the time wasn’t right, but try to explain that to a fact driven, proof oriented person. It was always the same struggle, and despite of knowing that she meant well and was trying to help, there was a lack of understanding. I know she got frustrated with me, unable to grasp my indecisiveness or what I was considering, the decisions were as plain as day for her. It resulted in long breaks away from each other, and I think we were both ok with it. Angie continued to live her busy life running from deadline to deadline on five hours of sleep per night, everything was normal as it should be, like I wasn’t in Germany. For me, I was relieved not to be lectured or squeezed in amongst other activities and other friends that were basically strangers to me. It felt awkward and we know already how much I like to engage in small talk. It seemed like such a waste of time to me. Finally, I told her that I would love to have one on one time with her, her undivided attention and to call me when she could manage. It was the best thing I could do and honesty always wins, even if it’s hard or takes courage to pursue.

So yesterday was the day, and Angie wanted me to decide on what we would do. A bit of a challenge for various reasons, but I managed to come up with an idea close to Mom where she would pick me up from. I had spent much time in the public this year and close by was a hedge labyrinth, a miniature golf with a Biergarten, and a giant bench I never got to sit on, but always wanted to. I took a chance and suggested a date with Nature, a place to become still. We walked the little distance to the bench and took our seat. It was already getting towards the end of the day, and shortly later we watched the sunset through two giant picture frames in front of the bench, framing the last light. We both loved it and felt at peace. It was relaxing enough that I started talking to Angie without feeling forced or pressured. To my surprise I blurted out what seemed like an idea about the future, of what was to come next. We talked for awhile, and Angie followed up by saying “Well, that sounds like something, like the start of plan, much better and it seems like you know what needs to be done next”. Indeed it felt like it, and a huge wave of relief rushed over me. Not that miraculously all my problems would be solved overnight, but because the vision had returned. I no longer felt alone and helpless in the matter, having to wait and bide my time. Enough developments had contributed, and the fog was finally lifting. The road once more became visible and I greeted it like and old friend. I saw all the obstacles still ahead of me, and yet I felt so much lighter. A huge weight had been lifted from me, at least for the time being in case the feeling wasn’t to last. There was plenty left to do, and nothing would be smooth, but the path appeared, clear as day and for the first time in a long while. Timing was once more working with me, giving me opportunities meant for me to grab.

We never played miniature golf that night, but sat in the Biergarten enjoying a drink for awhile longer. The conversation had shifted and this time it was Angie’s turn to confide and share some of her struggles. I no longer felt lectured, like the helpless, little, lost girl, and Angie gave me back the chance to share my perspective and offer advice. She allowed me to help her and a partnership was restored. It was a simple evening, yet it had a big impact, and it couldn’t have turned out any better. I truly look forward to our next time when we can make each other the priority again, away from outside distractions. Further, Angie is connected to someone who might be able to help with the RA. Nothing will happen immediately, but how wonderful is that? Just the opportunity alone is nothing short of another miracle.

Have you ever noticed that things always have a way to work out? They always do and all we have to do is believe and stay positive.

Posted in Blogging, Friendship

A story to tell

Thank WordPress, can you believe it’s been 3 years since I start blogging. I registered 3 years ago and then left it all sit for another year until I seriously started to but out regular content. It’s been such a neat ride since then and I am so happy about the friendships that were made here, visiting your blog, reading your story and learning what you wanted to convey.

I have learned that we all have a story to tell, a reason why we are here, and why we choose to blog and get our word out. It has been wonderful to share my experiences and knowledge, to learn from others and to be heard, to find validation in shared paths through life, to be a bigger or littler sister, and someone to lean on at times. To find shoulders to rest against when ones light is dim, to find new strengths and understanding.

Today on this blogversary of mine, I give thanks for all of you and for the story you share with me. Funny or painful, bits and pieces of our lives, never to be taken for granted, but valued and appreciated. Thank you for being a part of my journey and for everything you do. Hugs

Posted in Friendship, Inspiration

New day rising – giving thanks

Picture and quote by me.

I took the bicycle to see Mom yesterday. We spent much of the afternoon out on the patio, in the wheelchair and with a blanket draped around Mom. The breeze would kick up from time to time, and I didn’t want her to get sick. She is more sensitive these days and had a runny nose for weeks now. I can tell that she likes it out there, and who wouldn’t if you are confined to the same four walls, day in and day out. I hope to take her to the “Brothaus” (Breadhouse) later this week for a little escape away. Mom looked like a “cool cat” wearing my mirrored hiking sunglasses to shield her eyes from the sensitivity of bright light. Except for the sliding down the bridge of her nose part when she dropped her gaze. Yep, I do have a bigger head then she does, and I’m referring to it size wise. 😉

I haven’t ridden the bike in three weeks or so, and it was a nice day to give it a go. I was worried, given that recently I can’t make it through the day without my dose of Advil, but I went ahead anyways. God knows that I don’t like to take pills, but I try to take comfort in knowing they are probably much less dangerous then the list of side effects the harsh RA meds hold. I just had to get a feel and know, and the end result was that I should have listened to my intuition. I hurt more today, but in places that weren’t sore prior to the ride. So who knows. The pain travels and never stays too long in one place. I am taking it easy today, but unfortunately it also means taking a break from Mom. While I have no problem utilizing my time away, I know she is bored without me and had come to appreciate my company a great deal. I don’t mind spending the day with her, doing a little blog work while she naps, having coffee with her and most importantly “Just be there” for her.

I woke up to a beautiful sunrise, a golden sky that would soon give way to much gloomier shades of gray. Shortly afterwards I recognized the sound of water dripping into the metal rain barrel at the corner of my window. In silence, I was lying there listening to the rhythmic splatter of water against metal. Bliss…Could it get any better? Indeed it could, and I was about to find out. A text message came in from my friend “White Crane”, another Blogger I encountered here on WordPress. We have barely kept in touch since my journey to Germany, but sometimes an individual crosses your path, you remain connected with regardless of how many times and how often you talk. “White Crane” is such a person. I am lucky to have found some of my closest friends here on WordPress or other social media platforms. I have to say that WordPress has balanced the scale with female sisters, instead of only male brothers. Not sure why the majority has always been male friends, and why I had to throw this in here, but so it was, until now. Strangely, there are a few friends I have never met, but would trust my life to. And strangely enough, we don’t talk on a regular basis. Yet it changes nothing about what we feel about each other, about being there for the other one in a heartbeat. Somewhere along the lines of knowing each other, we have, and we have been there for each other in a crucial time, when it mattered, when we needed someone to hold onto, someone that allowed us to be vulnerable, and someone who nurtured us during that time. It was then that these bonds were created, to be connected forever, and to walk the path of life together I sharing our life experiences and finding understanding. I’m a lucky woman to have people like these in my life, and today and always, I thank you and recognize you for the important role that you have and continue to play in my life. My friend base is small, but mighty and I love you all.

White Crane got his name from studying martial arts, the art of the crane, a personal style of fighting if I’m not wrong. He always says I have the strengths and style of a tiger, and to this day it is what he calls me. I would say he has much of that strengths himself, and has overcome tremendous deals of adversities in past years, but of course that is only my personal view and how I see him. I like to remind him as often as possible, and just the other day a special sister was wishing me that I would see myself through the eyes she sees me. It leads me to believe that we are always our toughest critic, and don’t always see the magic we weave each day. That we take things about ourselves for granted or as a given, and it takes others that remind us how rare and special we truly are. I have long made it my goal to pass on such kindness, to have a nice word for a struggling soul, or to just make someone’s day, and to me it is part of being an empath and someone who goes beyond the surface layers.

My day started with “White Crane” telling me that he has beaten cancer, and is cancer free. It was amazing news to start my day, and I was so happy for him. Just recently he had crossed my mind, as I was thinking to check up on him. In all honesty, I have to admit that I was never really worried about him. I knew he would be ok, and that he would beat this. I can’t tell you why and how, I just knew. More then once I reminded him to keep fighting and that “THIS” was not his time. That he wasn’t going to go like this, and definitely not now. I cared and worried about what he had to endure, the pain of it and being scared, but being terminally ill was never a worry. I knew he’d be cured. There was just too much left to do, too much history to write, and today I am celebrating a new start, a new beginning for a great friend and his daughter “Little Coyote” who already lost her sick Mom, but luckily has Dad hanging around for much, much longer.

Tonight I send a howl across the night sky, for all coyotes to carry a hug across the miles, to run wild and free my friends.

Posted in Friendship

A special surprise

A special surprise came in the mail from my dear Fairy Sister who sent me a new hat. We share a passion for hats, and like she says, everybody should have a power hat. I have a few I think, but this one is special to me for obvious reasons. What a sweet gesture it was for her to think of me and brighten my day. Thank you so so much, you are amazing. If you have not explored her blog, please visit Roda and be amazed by her many talents.

Today was filled with errands and tasks and I got to check a few more things off of my list. I even got a hold of Mom this morning for the first time since November of last year. It was a slightly below average conversation and she told me not to come and to hold off for a little while. Typical….Too late for that. She didn’t volunteered it, but I know that her legs are open again and bandaged, and most likely she will be in the hospital again once I arrive and she knows it. She might even lose her leg until then if she is not careful. Of course I’m concerned, but it’s also out of my control. She was grumpy on the phone, already got upset at me, yelled and hung up the phone. The hanging might have been an accident as she got herself worked up over…I can’t even remember, but I got her back on the line. The yelling is a different story and surely was no accident. For the first time today, I already had to stand up for myself in a long line of incidents that will surely follow, and I asked her not to yell at me. My hearing is just fine. She stopped….for now…

Other than that I got my hair cut today, smog’ed the car and paid for registration, paid bills, did laundry and got a few things ready for Germany, called and initiated my 401K payout amongst other chores and didn’t get to write much. It seems like there is no time for anything these days now, as I try to take care of myself too so I don’t wear myself out. Tonight, I keep yawning and yawning, usually a sign for when I get sick and all I can do is keep my fingers crossed that I just need some sleep.

Posted in Friendship, Spirituality

Total Eclipse of the Heart

With the solar eclipse yesterday and a wonderful personal message from my dear fairy sister Roda, I felt poetic and wrote a little poem that I would like to dedicate to her. Before I start gushing my feelings, I hope you already know her name well, but just in case you haven’t stopped by her blog….yet….what….why not…please make sure you do and be prepared to be emerged in love and kindness. She is one of a kind, a person that has touched my heart too numerous times to keep track. She has also managed to move me to tears of joy over the past couple of weeks. Not once, but several times. At first I thought that I might have turned into an emotional mess, but secondly, I realized that it was her kindness and going out of her way, her thinking of me and surprising me in a variety of ways, that made me feel special and what touched me so deeply. Roda has nominated me for several awards, of which I fell short of answering some. In the end I hope I always find a way to show my appreciation for those kind thoughts and give back proper credit and love in return.

Awhile ago, Roda sent me a book, a book for women, women on their journey of enlightenment and realization. It was a book that confirmed what I already knew, but it was also a book that gave me the reassurance that I was not alone. It’s kind of neat to read and recognize the things you have encountered yourself, even though every journey is very unique and personal. Along the way you also find a common threat that binds all those beautiful spirits together as one. I wasn’t going crazy just yet, and in all actuality I never really believed that I was. I think it’s normal to find yourself alone sometimes as these things are hard to explain and to relate to from others who are still asleep. 

Roda and I connected long before the book arrived and I often have to smile when I wander over to her blog. I’m reminded of how similar we are in our beliefs, our love for the simple things and the beauty that is all around and perhaps even in our journey of having experienced similar catalysts. There is an intuition that is guided and she is magically gifted to drop in whenever I need it the most, whether I know it or not. And often I don’t know until a act of kindness reaches me and allows the tears to fall freely in the most grateful and humbling of ways. Bits and pieces from the poem I wrote are inspired from Roda’s message “Total eclipse of the heart” and the book she has sent me. 

Last Thursday morning, prior to a day out hiking, I saw a notification from Roda asking if a little magic had arrived. Full of excitement, eyes big and heart pounding like a little excited child, getting a surprise for the first time, I drove to the mailbox on my way into town. There I found a beautiful hand written card and everything was perfect before I even got to open it. From the cute flower stationary, to the ornate hand writing in calligraphy style, to the stamps of an airplane writing the word “Love” into the sky, I sat for a moment and held it in my hands as if it was the biggest treasure in a long time. And in that moment it was. I finally opened it and it was perfect once more as it read….

” All you need is faith, trust, and a little bit of pixie dust.” 

How perfect is that? I was touched beyond means and felt that she always understands me and my journey, even when words are absent or I haven’t really said much. There is a knowing without words, a respect for the journey and a special kind of bond. Roda took the initiative to draw my first oracle card which was “Metamorphosis” and the rest is really history. I feel that it was a spiritual act, a chance to connect on yet a deeper level. The wonderful mail accompanied me on my hike that day (and actually I had it with me for several days). It still is in plain sight and I see it every day as I smile and bit my dear fairy sister a beautiful day. Later on, card in hand, I read it aloud to another special friend I just had to share this treasure with. Only this time I could not finish without becoming very emotional and choking on my words. There was a release of some sort and the pain began to fall off. I realized how long I was required to have been so strong. How long I had fought to protect my heart. How long I endured deceit and insincerities, while all I ever hoped, was to contribute and find a way to be accepted. Even though I have achieved this milestone, life hasn’t always made it easy and at times it almost distorted my beliefs in humanity. I had come to accept that it was this way, almost as if I was undeserving of more. I know it sounds a bit like a self pity party, but that is not the intend as I never complained through the process of it all and I never gave up. Today I even believe that it was all necessary for my growth and that even the pain has a place throughout the journey. 

Roda’s kindness took me by surprise and released the so said pain of which I didn’t even realized that it was still tucked away somewhere deep inside. I’m not sure if there is more left, more that will come out another time, but my heart feels lighter. I continue to move forward, for myself and in the hope to show others who are struggling that anything is possible. I felt grateful and blessed by this random act of kindness and being bestowed such a wonderful gift. This blog has put me in touch with many wonderful people and I do know that kindness exists out there. You show me every day with your interest and feedback, through the bonds we have built and I’m forever grateful for YOU. Roda’s card was a gift to send me off to Germany and to wish me well with the toughness of everything that lies ahead. It was the kind thought and taking the time out of her own life to make someone else’s day that was worth more than it’s weight in gold to me. 

And then came yesterday, and a wonderful recorded message from Roda who believes we might have been woodland fairies in a prior life. She took the time to sent a personal thought and a surprise that stopped me once more in my tracks. I had just arrived at work as I listened to her video voice memo. Again I got emotional and a second release followed. Life is not always easy and sometimes it is complex. Sometimes we need a little help and a little nudge to keep us pushing forward and I could never put into words what these gestures have meant to me. They serve as a reminder that we all have the ability to do something special. For someone or something, and that we should do it more often. It often doesn’t take money or much effort, and even when time is scarce, all that truly is required, is for it to be important enough, and we will always find a way to prioritize what should matter the most. Thank you Roda for making me feel that I matter and for always being there. I could never thank you enough and you are truly one in a million.

Total Eclipse of the Heart (dedicated to my special Fairy sister Roda)

I trust my own darkness to reveal my truth.

To allow it to force me to pause and find my own matter in the grand scheme. 

To embrace the pain it might bring in times of darkness and to be patient as it gives way to the light that surely will follow.

I trust my own darkness to show me the way, to let it guide me without resistance and banish the mundane.

To look forward to the messages that it holds, and to feel excitement for the signs that confirm the right path for me.

I trust my own darkness to stretch me in ways sometimes unimaginable, to show me the lessons when I can’t see what’s next and to fill my heart with wonder and believe. Always….

I trust my own darkness…

Photo Credit: Unknown/Google and one of few pictures that are not my own.