Wednesday, April 8, 2015

On Walking, Death and Resurrection

This week, during my travels from Cincinnati to Rochester, I listened to a book on tape of Wild by Cheryl Strayed.  I have read the book and I have watched the movie.  In my third encounter with her words, I am struck by her message being a universal message of death and rebirth.  Of death and resurrection. 

She is a person who rose from the depths of her human condition.  She rose from the death of her mother.  The loss of a father she never had.  Her own human failings as she ended a marriage, lived a life of drugs and sexual promiscuity to fill a void she alone could not fill.   Her emptiness was filled as she walked the PCT along the coast of California through Oregon till she finally ended her journey at the Bridge of the Gods along the Willamette entering into the state of Washington.  She walked and allowed nature to fill her.   She walked and created a space to mourn and let go.   She walked and discovered the reservoir within.   She walked and discovered the kindness of others.  She walked and was changed.  

Like Cheryl, I find that as I attune myself to myself and the world around me, I have a choice to welcome birth, death and rebirth and let them guide me in my own journey.   Sometimes attuning takes action.  Sometimes it takes allowing.   There are certain ways of being present that open me to this movement within.  They have become tenants that I hold to and believe are secrets to a life well lived.   Below are some actions and allowings that open me to allowing of the birth, death and resurrection process that opens and heals.   I take action and allow action to take place in me.   
  •         I am open to welcome nature and the natural.  My life sometimes is too fast paced and full of concrete and computers.  Nature heals.  The sounds of waves meeting the sand, wind dancing with the leaves in a forest.  Birds chirping to greet me in the morning hours.  The smell of pine on a carpet of fir needles.  Newly blooming crocuses.   Nature slows me down and allows me to find a center.  My center.  The center.   Create in me a space where I welcome nature in to show me who I am.

  •       I am open to create a space to be with my feelings.   One thing I know—if I squelch the sadness in me, I also deaden the joy.  Feelings are a part of me that make me fully human.  Too often I create barriers to feel fully.  Afraid that those feelings will overwhelm me.  Today I stop and put my hand on my heart and my gut and simply say to myself, “What are you feeling?  What do you need?”  In this space I mourn and let it wash over me.  I feel resentment and let it wash over me.  I feel anger and let it wash over me.  And I feel contentment and let it wash over me.  And excitement.  And happiness.  This action connects me to my varied feelings—all giving me information to live a life of fullness.  Listening to my feelings in all of their melodies, discordance, and harmonies opens me to rebirth and deep joy.   My feelings are my sisters.   Create in me a space where I listen to feelings and honor them as guides.
  •         I am open to living in a space that acknowledges that I am enough.  My reservoir runs deep and is connected to a grace that runs deeper still.  I have been given what I need to make a rich and full life.   I am enough.  I know this most deeply in moments of centering and stillness.   I know this in prayer.  Create in me a still space that fully embraces “I am enough.
  •       I am open to the kindness of others.  I am an “I can do it!” kind of woman.  Which can create a crust that does not let others in.  When I create a space for kindness softness happens.  Create in me a space that allows kindness to be given.  That allows me to soften to the good.
Much like that of Cheryl Strayed, my journey is one of discovery.  Action and Allowing, hand-in-hand, walk with me on my path toward self-discovery and fulfillment.  We are greeted by moments of birth,  moments of death and moments of resurrection.  With an open heart, in the walking, with my companions, I am changed. 


  1. i am so glad you are writing and sharing your spiritual journey. I read the book Wild and saw the movie. Out bishop used the story in a sermon recently in a similar way to your response. We must fully enter the death to get to the resurrection. I relate to your tenants as well. Nature grounds me. As we get older, we should realize that we are enough and be willing to share that with others. Blessings abound.

  2. Wow, this is really beautiful, Deborah! I just watched Wild this past weekend. I read the book when Oprah first picked it for her 2.0 Book Club. Even through Cheryl's pain and destructive behaviors, she experienced redemption. Your tenants are lessons to all of us, and keys to a joyful life. I'm SO happy you've joined our #spiritualjourney community!

  3. Thank you for your beautiful reflection, Deborah! I agree with your tenants, and especially enjoy letting God wash over me through Nature - it is when I feel centered to hear Him, accept Him, and enjoy Him. This was such a wonderful post to read this morning!