I decided to have my silent
retreat mostly on foot. I read the 12-Hour Walk book in January, and I had committed myself to do it on June 2nd, but I already had scheduled to
have a silent retreat for the 2HC. So I combined the two.
The 12-Hour Walk is for this purpose:
you ready to live your best life? Are you looking to shift your mindset,
sharpen your edge, or get unstuck? Are you trying to feel better, find clarity
and make confident decisions that align with your values? Are excited for a new
Introducing The 12-Hour Walk. It’s a book and a
global movement, and you’re invited! I designed The 12-Hour Walk as a simple
one-day prescription to shed you of what’s holding you back so you can live
your best life. It’s a walking meditation to strengthen your mind. It’s 12
hours, outside, unplugged, walking, alone.I kept thinking of
have anything to solve though, and my life has been surprisingly light since I quit the university and just do spiritual direction and lead groups in spiritual
It was nice to be outside all day for 12 hours. I had no
agenda. The hardest thing was deciding what to bring with me on the journey. I
usually walk without a backpack, but I would be gone 12 hours and headed into
places with no water source. One of the “rules” for the 12-Hour Walk was to not
go into stores for water or food. So, I made lunch and carried snacks and water with
A big thing I was really
glad about was Vaseline for my feet. I reapplied it three times on the journey.
(I learned to do that on the Camino.) I also had lip balm for my lips. George encouraged me to bring my light biking shell, and I am so glad that I did because it stayed pretty cool until 2 pm. I took it off for a couple of hours, and then I had it on from 4-7:23 pm when I ended my walk. I must say that I expressed gratitude to God for many things in my life and thank God for George who encouraged me to take it.
I started out at 7:23 am (it took me 1 1/2 hours to pack up - I wish I would have done it the night before to get an earlier start).
I ran into the beginning of the high school traffic. I prayed for the students as I saw them racing in with their cars.
Then I walked to campus. It is so well maintained and most of the students were still asleep. I went into the Memorial Union for my first bathroom break, water refill, and stretching. Then I walked through the west side of campus.
I walked by my old neighborhood and prayed for the couple I used to live with. They are divorced now after 42 years of marriage, but they live in houses next to one another.
I walked through family housing where many of the international families live and prayed for them. I have so many memories of all these places I walked by. Most of them are so warm, and I lingered on those memories (as I am learning to do in my Life Model Works Course).
Then I made it on the Campus Way Bike path to the Irish Bend Covered Bridge. I rarely walk this. I am usually racing on it on my bike. It was nice to walk slowly and enjoy the fields with various domestic animals.
The thing that was most
instinctual for me is to pull my phone out to take
pictures. It was so good to not have that option so I
could just enjoy and relish the amazing views from this path - the hills and fields and animals, and before that, there were so many spring flowers blooming in the yards of houses I passed! It was good to just linger and look with my whole senses instead of breaking that up to fumble for my phone.
After this, I walked on the Midge Cramer Path to the Bald Hill Natural Area. Midge and Meg Cramer were dear friends. They are both gone. They were my landlords, and I smiled and laughed when I thought of Midge coming to bring me money for something once and, in front of my roommates, handing me money saying, "Thank you so much for last night, Carol. (Wink. Wink.)" He was just kidding around, but it shocked my roommates. I just laughed hysterically. I cherished these friends as I walked the path.
This natural area has many miles of trails (and the 12-Hour walk did not record any of them because they were off-road. Thus, why I really walked 26 and not 19 miles), and I explored the flat ones. I was not up for a walk up to the top. I started to because the view is amazing, but I knew I would be walking all day, and this would have tired me out very early. I stop at a little vista and sat on a bench and had my first of four Centering prayer times.
While I was supposed to be silent and not interact with any people, one of my dear friends walked along this path with her friend. I was not going to ignore her because we had not seen each other face-to-face for maybe two years. All that to say, I broke the silence rule. We talked about things very pertinent to things I have been pondering lately. They had just finished watching a lesson in Becoming What You Believe by Jamie and Donna Winship. So, we did talk about that. It was such an amazing conversation!
After walking back with them to their housing development, I walked to Starker Arts Park to have lunch and watch the fountain and ducks (and stretch and take an outhouse break).
Then I walked from there to Avery Park and sat in the Rose Garden which is not in full bloom but has lovely benches. I had another Centering Prayer time there.
I walked from the Rose Garden to the Mary's River bridge next to Hwy 99 and into the main homeless camp. One person walking in front of me dropped all of his things and started ranting and raving, waving his arms violently. I was a bit scared, but I prayed for him. So many of the homeless are mentally ill. I pray we can find compassionate solutions for them. I walked slowly until he stopped his rant, picked up his things, and went on his way.
I walked along the river to Riverfront Park and then to the library for stretching, bathroom, and water. Then I walked through campus and stopped at an enclosed area near the Milam building (home of the Nutrition Department I was a part of for my bachelor's).
Then it was on to Good Samaritan Episcopal Church and its large labyrinth. The one I usually walk to is very close to my house and very
small. I walked it slowly, pondering. God
spoke sweet things. I rested in the middle and had another time of Centering. (This church used to be open 24 hours a day when I was in college, and I would often go there in the middle of the night to pray. One time I prayed for rapture before a biochemistry test.)
He had no agenda for me. So we really did hang out together
all day outside.
I also walk and expressed
gratitude for so many things. If there was one theme on the walk is that I am
grateful for the journey of joy he has had me on. I sang Michael Card's song:
There is a
joy in the journey
There's a light that we shed on the way
There is a wonder and
wildness to life
And freedom for those who obey.
This is my favorite song of all time. Life has been wonderful for me. It really has.
Oh, I did encounter one
other homeless man when I walked to Cloverland Park on 29th Street. He had lost his phone. He was in a wheelchair, and it was
hard for him to wheel himself out there to look for it under the tree that he had slept under the night
before. So, I did break my silence a bit so I could help him find his phone. In the end, he found it in his bag. He was so sweet, and we did chat a bit. Not sorry for breaking the silence then either.
From Cloverland Park, I went to Timberhill Fitness Club. (I am still a teacher there, but I have no time even to sub these days.)
I took the Betty Griffiths Trail and stopped and rested there for a bit until the blooming Scotch Broom made my allergies go berserk. The last time I was back there was after the fire many years ago. So, I got lost when I went off that trail and into a trail along the creek. I kept hearing God say, “Not all who
wander are lost.” I decided to just enjoy the journey and not assume I was
lost. It was a long time in a thick forest with blackberry vines clogging the
trails. I got a bit scratched up and started to get a bit scared (cougars have
been spotted in the area), but at one point, I sat on a log that had fallen across
the trail and just drank in the beauty (and silence) all around me.
It took me a while to get
out of the forest, but I eventually made it. I walked up to the other labyrinth
I usually walk and sat down up at hospital hill overlooking fields. It was
such a beautiful day with the best weather (the high 60s). I rounded around the hill and through the schoolyard and back to my door.
I walked 26 miles in 12 hours. I didn’t solve any
problems, but I loved the agenda-less day. I felt like I was good about stopping, resting, eating, hydrating, stretching, and Centering.
It has been a very good
year. And the 2HC has been especially sweet for me. I said to my group at the beginning of the year that I had "come into my own," and Dano asked me what that meant.
I mean that I feel like I am right where I am supposed to be, doing exactly what God has called me to do. Doing is coming out of being. (It helps that I teach on it all the time.) I feel rested and refreshed and so blessed with all the people in my life who love me, and I love. I am not scared anymore.
But coming into my own means that I feel confident (but not cocky about my calling). I am living in a nice Enneagram Harmony as a
Loving (Type Two)
Learning (Type Five)
Leader (Type Eight)
Loving (Type Two)
Visionary (Type Five)
Revolutionary (Type Eight) - the one I struggle with the most because I have to be assertive, and I told Jesus I was not a revolutionary, and he said, "I am, and you're yoked to me."
I have a dream job.
Spiritual Direction with people I adore
Leading Five Groups:
- Contemplative Cohort (35-42yo) of international workers
- 2nd Half of Life Spiritual Formation groups of international workers
- Renovare Spiritual Formation Book Club of community leaders,
- Supervising new spiritual directors (most working with international workers)
- Silent/Centering Prayer for Order of the Mustard Seed
What I do is better than eating
chocolate. I feel God’s presence and pleasure as I do it. I know I am not doing
The whole walk was a joy, pleased to be with my lover.
The only thing I felt sure He wanted was for George and me to go on a vacation, just the two of us. We have
scheduled something with our kids, but we keep putting off having a vacation
for just the two of us. We did Groundwork in Northern Cyprus, the Camino in
Spain, and the 24-7 International Gathering in Belfast last year, but they were all with
our community. I felt very specifically that it was not ministry related. Just for fun. Something we haven’t done since
November of 2019.
I came home and read
Scripture. I have been reading the Old Testament prophets, and I just see God’s
constant love for His people. I slept like a ROCK after my day and so glad I