Saturday, October 30, 2010

Wild Banshee Round Up

This is not a blog about hiking, so it doesn’t really count. (I know I promised to write about my over night hike…like anyone cares…but I am seriously lacking inspiration)  I was visiting my friend Gail yesterday and sharing some thoughts and she asked me to post them, so I figured why not. 

I was sharing with her about my “break through”—for as long as I can remember I was trying to control my emotions, believing my thoughts would then change, only to recently discover that I had to control my thoughts first in order to gain control over my emotions.  I was feeling so confident and victorious when I shared that with Gail, but not so much anymore.  It’s not that I don’t think the Holy Spirit is teaching me and guiding me in changing and gaining advantage over my wretched thought life…but I don’t think I can count on my emotions to be so easily tamed.  Not that controlling my thoughts is easy…it’s harder than I ever imagined!  I’ve never paid that much attention to them—they just run around my head like wild banshees, and I always figured they weren’t doing anyone any real harm. 

Now that I’m noticing the things I think (egad, they can be dreadful)
I’m realizing how hard it is to ‘take captive’ these messed up thoughts and get them under control.  I’m giving these thoughts constantly to God and asking Him to change them, and I am seeing some real change and it’s getting a little easier. (I told Gail I would picture a wild horse, and then Jesus would be riding it and calming it down and getting it under control…maybe that’s a little weird but it does really comfort me)  Only problem…even so, my emotions have taken a total nose-dive.  I really thought if I could gain victory over my thoughts, I would have victory over my emotions as well.  I’m quite discouraged…and trying so hard to ignore the emotions and still keep my thoughts in check.  But when my emotions are bad, my thoughts are even worse and even harder to quiet down.  But I have to keep having faith that God is capable of changing me, and I have to be patient and continue to trust.  So here is my list I use to assist me in my prayers when my mind is being so unruly…it’s five ‘surrenders’ and five ‘helps’.  (I do them on both my hands…it just helps me remember them)
1)      I surrender my mind and will to you, and trust you are able to subdue them.
2)      I surrender my need for approval and praise from others, and trust that only you deserve praise.
3)      I surrender my desire to change others, and trust in your power to change them.
4)      I surrender my despair over my powerlessness to change myself, and trust in your power to save me.
5)      I surrender my thoughts of judgment towards others, and trust in your judgments.
6)      Help me accept your grace and see value in myself.
7)      Help me give the same grace to others, and see them as valuable.
8)      Help me think on things that are lovely.
9)      Help me accept suffering and not grumble.
10)  Help me believe you can do all things.

There are so many more I could add if I only had more fingers!  I hope anyone reading this is helped by it…I hope my daughter reads it and makes her own. (“Help me not worry about money and trust you can take care of me”…actually that’s one I really should add myself!)  And Gail, if your reading…thank you for being such an encouragement and listening to me ramble. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Not Just Whistling Dixie

So, I’ve decided to write a little about Phyllis and our one hike together.  Phyllis is one of those people who continually shocks me with her life stories, mostly because I’m so apt to categorize her in my ‘mom box’.  (in other words, I think she’s spent her life changing diapers and cleaning toilets like me, with no great stories to tell except those that involve poop)  And she always just nonchalantly throws these bits of information about herself out there like it’s nothing much to talk about… “oh yeah, I backpacked through Australia”, or “well, when I was nine months pregnant I caught a 265 pound halibut”…that type of thing. So of course I was excited to go on a hike with her in hopes of hearing one of these offhand stories come leaking out. 

We chose Anderson Lake trail, a five-mile hike up in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.  This was back in 2008, when I was even more clueless about hiking than I am now, but I did at least have a description of this trial.  What I didn’t realize is that a description is not super helpful if snow is covering everything.  (who would of thought there would be snow in the middle of July?  Ummm…apparently smart hikers who know to check trail updates do, but I was quite surprised) Fortunately Phyllis was cool as a cucumber and comfortable just sort of ‘feeling it out’, which we did and eventually found our way ok.

Our only point of real panic was when we heard what sounded exactly like someone blowing a whistle, which was the oddest thing to be hearing out there in the middle of nowhere.  We couldn’t figure out why anyone would be blowing a whistle, unless they were trying to call for help.  We were searching for the source of the sound, (the thought of coming across some bear maimed body was really staring to make my stomach turn), when the whistling culprit finally came into view.  I knew what a marmot was because we came across them often when we used to camp at Lake Chelan (I’ll confess I thought it was a beaver when I first saw one—until I noticed it had no tail) but I had never heard one whistle!  So now I know there is such a thing as a ‘whistling marmot’, and if you like a little trivia it’s rumored that is how the town of Whistler in B.C. got it’s name. 

But anyway, back to our hike.  After this little scare of having to possibly rescue someone, one of Phyllis’ “Are you serious?” stories started spilling out.  She told me of a friend of hers who was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and decided to take a little ‘short cut’ that was off the main trail.  This person starting seeing scattered hiking equipment (a sure sign someone had taken a spill) when they stumbled upon this person.  Except this person was now just bones.  Yes—bones!  That’s where I say, “Are you serious?” and yes, Phyllis was not just trying to spook me with some forest ghost story.  She told me of how the fallen hiker had wrote a ‘last will and testament’ explaining how he had broken his leg so badly he couldn’t move, and because he was off trail nobody had come across him to send for help.  The note went on to add if the person who eventually came across his remains would please contact his family so they could know what had happened to him and give him a proper burial—which of course is what Phyllis’ friend did. 

Now I ask you, what kind of crazy fool, after hearing that tale, then becomes interested in a multi-week hike alone in the wilderness?  Realizing this is quite possibly the time when the seed was planted in my brain makes me wonder—do I have some sort of weird death wish?  I have to conclude that on some deep level I very well may, especially when I recall an exchange with my friend Hilary when we were talking about my Appalachian plan.  She asked me, “Aren’t you afraid of being eaten by a bear?” to which I replied, “It beats getting cancer and suffering for months, possibly years, and then dying. How long can it take to get eaten by a bear?”  So, these are the ghastly thoughts I was so eager to share…next posting will be on a lighter note, as I finally describe my overnight hike—with tales of fart filled tents and illegal fires.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Congratulations...You've Conceived!

I know I keep talking about this “one night” backpacking trip like it’s such a big deal, but let me try to explain why.  It’s easy for me to talk big about doing these 50 days of hiking, only because I have 7 or 8 years before it actually becomes a reality. (if it ever does, I don’t want to sound too presumptuous.  I’ll explain why I’m not sure about the 7 or 8 years later)

In your first month of pregnancy your not too nervous about that delivery room, because it’s still so far off it does not even seem real.  Except, (in staying with this analogy) before this one night hike I was only considering having a baby.  Thinking about getting pregnant is a lot different than actually getting pregnant, right? (or as Mel would say, “eh?” —she actually thinks that sounds cooler…Canadians.)  So, to me, this “first time” over nighter was like getting pregnant. (sorry if that’s taking the analogy too far…but Mel was very gentle ;)  I really didn’t know if I would come away from the experience and never want to backpack again. (I do have some back issues, and seriously wondered if a heavy backpack would cause a bad flare up)  But finishing that two-day hike, even as tame as it was, (not nearly extreme enough for Mel) gave me permission to really believe “I can do this!”

So my eight years of pregnancy has begun!  My plan now is to increase my backpacking trips by one extra day per year, so that by the time I’m fifty I'll have at least a week on the trail under my belt.  Which brings me to explain my quandary over 7 or 8 years before I leave for the East Coast.  If I’m true to my ‘theme’ and do the 50 days in my 50th year, that means I should do the trip when I’m 49—because technically that is my 50th year of life. (think about it, when you turn one you have already lived a full year)  I like that idea, only because it means I get to do my trip sooner, and I’ll have one less year of wear and tear on this already starting to fall apart body.  (whoever said “40 is the new 30” has a personal trainer and a nutritionist…I don’t know how people used to feel when they were 40, but if it’s anything like me, I’m guessing they were also good friends with the ibuprofen bottle) 

But not waiting until my 50th birthday also feels a lot like jumping the gun and cheating.  Anyone reading this can go ahead and tell me their thoughts. (hitting the microphone… “is anybody out there”…the sound of crickets in background) So, next time I will actually write about my trumped up first overnight hike…(I know I’m dragging this out, but I’ll have the whole winter with nothing to talk about)…or maybe not.  I have some thoughts about my hike with Phyllis several years ago that I may need to express.  Stay tuned! (all my 0 followers!)