An unraveling of sorts

Reading all your e-mails and comments was hard. It was encouraging and affirming on so many levels but it was hard also.

Sharing my hurt opens the path for healing but also the chance for judgement, misunderstanding, and assumptions. The chance for more hurt. The worst part is that I know I have inflicted this type of hurt on other people in their own times of vulnerability. Unintentionally of course, in my self-righteousness ideas, answers, advice and more benignly, in my general enthusiasm for intentional, values-driven living.

It probably takes a certain amount of personal hurt for an ESTJ to be truly softened to the pain of other people. The compassion I feel for other people's suffering is a gift of my own suffering, and I don't mean that in any cliché kind of way. Some people need to feel hurt themselves in order to have empathy for others. I am one of those people.

I'm pretty vulnerable right now (duh) and in order to protect myself emotionally I'm filtering everything very carefully. I don't spend much time on the Internet these days. I have no desire. A new lovely habit in my life, a carry over from living six months mostly in the woods.

Wading through all your loving assurances and advice has taken me some time. And as soon as something starts to make me feel anxious, you'd be surprised how low that threshold is, I close the computer and make progress on the many projects going on around here. The completion of each one making me feel more at home, more at ease.

I feel incredibly blessed to be loved by so many people. I have friends across the globe. I have friends down the street. I have friends who hosted our family in their home as we thru-hiked the AT. I have extended family who have reached across the continent to love and relate, adding their prayers and"family history" insight to my struggles. I have the four people I share my days with who have been so generous in their love and understanding.

I feel so loved right now. This is a good place to be.

I feel incredibly blessed to be living in and caring for our friend's home. Given that I don't have my own home to return to after a life changing adventure, I see now this was the softest landing possible. Thank you Julie and Tony.

Whenever I share a vulnerability, or a dark place where I'm struggling I am tempted to qualify (I'm not "that" depressed), justify (it was "such and such" that caused this), and otherwise explain all the nuances of my tender heart.

As a thinker, trying to understand my feelings, digging down to the roots is something I need to do, something I am compelled to do. But teasing apart this convoluted, yet beautiful, ball of yarn that is my post-hike life will take time and requires the gentlest of touch. Yanking is not going to unravel those knots but careful diligence and time will.

An unraveling to sort things out.

I've started a little project, which is actually a large scale assessment of my life and plan of action for moving forward. Planning, acting, doing something about it makes me feel better and moves me in the direction of healing and resolution.

I had thought it would be cool to share the outline of that project here, she shall go forth and conquer, but it's an outline in progress, like life itself. And so I think my blogging time is better spent chronicling and sharing the individual pieces of that plan and then at a future point, weaving those threads together into the tapestry they have created.

(In organizational speak I am starting a new personal venture called Project: Home and Healing. Based on my aforementioned life assessment I am creating a three part strategy consisting of mental health work, a return to my roots, and a vision quest to, for lack of a better phrase, "figure things out". As the different pieces of this strategy, the colorful threads of yarn if you will, play out in my life I will share them here. And eventually, hopefully, I will publish the outline as a summary of action, the tapestry. Though the outline may publish itself simply as a list of posts. We'll see.)

I am doing what comes naturally to me, what I am strong at, and feel confident in: creating a structure to help me solve a problem. There are holes in the structure, it isn't complete yet, and it will evolve. Therefore I can't really write it out here. Nor do I want to, it's kind of personal.

But as the pieces of the structure come together, as I recognize and celebrate them, or struggle to build them, I want to share those here as part of my project.

That's the plan.

« Where I'm at
More than a fuzzy feeling »
  • Margo Burke (PrayerWalker)

    Margo Burke (PrayerWalker) on Oct. 6, 2014, 3:14 p.m.

    As a sojourner in 2013 on the AT, albeit for a much shorter journey, I understand. My return to the AT in September with the intent to become a section hiker only lasted 2 hours. At the base of Laurel Falls, I heard the still voice whispering that my solo journey on the AT was compete. The whisper came with the gift of peace to accept the finality of the journey. Julian of Norwich, an English mystic from the 14th century, wrote "God is more near to us than our own soul" and "in falling and rising we are ever preciously kept in one love." Trusting that during this time of transition, you will experience His love. P.S: I am an ENFJ and my husband of 44 years is an ITSJ; we've had a challenging and interesting life together. I have learned that our differences provide balance.


  • Marianna

    Marianna on Oct. 6, 2014, 8:50 p.m.

    Your honesty and openness is refreshing, Renee. You are in my thoughts and prayers as you navigate this time of transition. Peace and blessings. 


  • Catherine Forest

    Catherine Forest on Oct. 6, 2014, 10:15 p.m.

    Sweet Renee, I woke up thinking of you, a tight ball in my chest. A familiar friend: depression, anxiety, that thight ball of yarn that I might spend my life unraveling, giving it more attention in some period of my life, when the knots pull a little more on my heart. I am very vulnerable too right now and also chose to spend less time at the computer, more time in nature, more time alone (as much as this is possible while living in a bus...). What is hard when you chose to live a different life, to step off the beaten track is that you lose the right to find it hard, or dare complain about the obstacles related to your choices... So many people get it, but so many feel like we have attracted it to ourselves... We went looking for it. 

    Like you, I connect with the love and beauty around me, bathe myself in empathy and acceptance of that vulnerability, of the tears that keep coming... I owe this to myself. I am here holding you hand. We are many to walk a similar path. Thank you for sharing it here. Love, Catxx


  • heather

    heather on Oct. 7, 2014, 1:54 p.m.

    hey friend. i just wanted to stop in and wish you a great day. you remain in my thoughts and i wish i was closer so i could walk on that beach with you and talk for hours. xoxo


  • Carol

    Carol on Oct. 7, 2014, 7:49 p.m.

    Looking through your pictures brings such a feeling of peace and rejuvenation.  I always struggle with transition myself especially when more transition is on the horizon.  The un-knowing of it all is difficult.   Wishing you peace and healing!


  • Laura

    Laura on Oct. 14, 2014, 11:28 p.m.


    First time commenter here, but I've been reading your blogs for about two years.  I deeply admire you and the marvelous family you and your husband and God are building.

    I just wanted to let you know you will be in my prayers!


You can subscribe to comments on this article using this form.

If you have already commented on this article, you do not need to do this, as you were automatically subscribed.