Walked to Symposium, post walk wrap-up

At a space of 2 weeks and much consideration, I am finally getting around to this entry. My pause has been in no small part due to the recognition that the walk—for listening to, practicing, and sharing love—is not over. The fact that I have been selling a house, attending a funeral and a grieving mother/friend, selling at Marketplace, teaching 4 classes first session, and 7 second session of Symposium may have affected my speed, too. I think, almost a week after session 2, that I am starting to catch up with the rest of my world. 

On Wednesday, August 31, one day ahead of schedule, I arrived in Laytonville.  Resting on the curb outside of Geiger’s, I was met by encouragers, questioners, and supporters of all types and offered campsites for the following two nights. 

The morning of session 1, Day 1, was glorious. At 8am it wasn’t too hot, but was clearly gearing up to be. I was accompanied by Kelly and Mira for the first mile (plus)—a new friend with her baby daughter in a backpack. 

I got my moment of celebrity during session 1, which also trailed over into session 2—occasionally bordering on silly. 

For example: my sister Kerin and I signed up to use her car for the marketplace shuttle on Sunday, as cancellations had left Symposium short a truck. On the first run in I was driving in a full load, including a class teacher in the passenger seat. Passing the kitchen, I was appropriately challenged by RTF for driving a personal vehicle on site. 

My passenger leaned out the window and called back, “It’s okay. It’s Dakota!”

Ha, ha – Wrong answer! 

Both sessions of Symposium, after our long hiatus, were predictably and wonderfully profound. Kerin and I taught a transformational writing class that will continue and grow into a series of anthologies titled, Women Gone Wild, Women Gone Wise: Stories of Transformation.  If you are interested in being part of the process and/or publication, please contact Dakota: dakota@upunityproject.org. 

I also lead a Vipassana/Insight meditation group in the mornings of both sessions and am available to guide anyone interested in this practice. And, of course, session 2 had the Miso Magik class (which will be repeated at Terri’s place later this year for more relaxed and accessible sharing)!

My sister and I attended a Death workshop lead by Michelle Vesser, which was powerfully healing for me in regard to Cedar’s recent suicide. It also offered me tools to receive my friend’s grief and support her as she came to CA for her son’s funeral in between sessions. 

I was able to celebrate my new status as a crone for the first time. I felt qualified this time, after the walk. I connected with women and girls of all ages in a way (due to mommy fatigue and lower confidence) that I never did before.

Congratulations to our sons who graduated the circle of women this go-round. May you bring  healing to the world of men that spills over to lift us all!

I continue to reflect on the effects this walk has had on me, as well as the response it has elicited in the world. 

The two biggest effects are these:

Trust. This is a big word for me—probably the single most healing quality I strive/practice for. I find no value in trusting that this or that will happen, that people will behave in a particular way, or even trusting God to give me my ego’s desire. Real Trust is open-ended. It is a present tense quality of receiving gratefully whatever life brings—of understanding all that is generously and specifically gifted with my own growth/healing/enlightenment in mind. I can be bound by fear, anger, doubt, shame, pain, or, with Trust, I can use these states to enact deep transformation of the mind, leaving me happy and healthy. 

Offering. One women en route on Hwy 1 turned her car around and parked waiting for me. “I saw your sign and knew you must be doing something amazing”, she said when I reached her. 

Many people told me I had inspired them. Inspired them how? I wondered. I’m going to assume I didn’t inspire them to rob a bank or shoot up a school. 

Someone asked me during my walk, “So what is it exactly that you are giving the world through this walking? How is that of service?”

Right. Inquiring minds want to know! 

There are lots of people wandering the highways of this country. Most are not taking very good care of themselves (by my standards). Many are looking down, or ranting off into space, with shaky connection to our common experience. They seem to feel powerless in the face of traumatic events, addiction, and an inability to protect their bodies from the elements or their own abuses. 

When I see someone in such a state, my habitual reaction might be fear. I don’t know what’s going on with them, but they seem to need something of me. I don’t know what that something is, but if I haven’t learned to love myself yet, I probably don’t have it to give.

In contrast, when I am walking along the road, clearly happy, smiling, waving, making eye contact, I am not asking for anything. I am offering. I am offering unconditional love. And considering the number of faces that light up and respond in kind, I know that my intentions are recognized as such. 

In such a materialistic world, unconditional love might seem a cheap gift. However, it is currently in cripplingly short supply, and it has a power to heal beyond measure. If all I am doing is offering unconditional love to random strangers, this is an effort well spent. 

I intend to keep walking and writing (the writing is another way to do the same thing). My recent hero Peace Pilgrim is similarly, considerably posthumously, inspiring me as well. 

I will walk to Symposium again, and any of you who wanted to join me this time will have another opportunity. I will also be starting an independent blog of this walking adventure—to Death Valley, Big Sur and beyond. I am happy to connect and converse with you all and am so very grateful for all the generous love and support I have received! 

Vive la evolución!