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Posted: Mar 16, 2010 07:39

Soltreks: A Women's Journey
Barbara Robertson

March 16, 2010

When I first learned of the opportunity to do a Soltreks Women's Trek, I saw it as the answer to my prayers. I was feeling increasingly overwhelmed by the stressful situations in my life, at home, and at work. My life felt chaotic; I was sad, angry, disconnected, moving from reaction to reaction like being tossed about on the waves, becoming fearful that I would just sink under. I felt sure that Lorri's wise approach to working on emotional challenges would help me sort out the various parts of what was going on, and help me see clearly what I might be needing to do and what I might need from others in my life.

At first on the trek, I was content just to focus on the physical experience of hiking and camping. I was hesitant to go too deeply into my feelings because it seemed like such a tangled mess in there. The first thing that helped was looking at my negative self-talk and realizing how much there is and how actively it has been aroused in my present circumstances. But what awoke my emotions most was, after all, doing the artwork. First was the Mandala; showing how much of a barrier I felt between myself and others and between my outward self and my inner feelings. It was a good start just to say how much I didn't want to go there.

Then came the climb to the sacred place at the top of the ridge. A wonderful lesson in finding the way a few steps at a time, seeing how it goes as it unfolds instead of anticipating some catastrophic outcome and becoming too fearful to move. I think that experience will resonate with me for a long time to come; capped by the memory of emerging into that airy, sunny, holy place at the crest, guarded all around by the stunning rock formations. I felt truly blessed and rewarded for my efforts by just being able to exist in that space for a few moments.

Then the artwork brought me to a doorway that gave into my hidden feelings of frustration, loss, being overwhelmed and feeling pulled in so many directions at once, and emptied out, more and more brittle, with less and less to give to any part of my life. With more work, talking and processing, listening to others and receiving their support, I began to create a vision of how I might work to shape my life into something more whole, more healthy, and most importantly, more sustaining and sustainable.

I felt both strengthened and humbled by this experience. I am hopeful of forming a stronger and more loving relationship with my husband, a closer relationship with my older daughter, and of forming clearer and firmer boundaries in my relationship with my younger daughter. I am hopeful of reawakening the impulse to create images in artwork and to carve out a place in my life where that impulse can flower into a beautiful garden.

I look forward to returning to my family and to my friends who have helped sustain me through these past many years, and who somehow, miraculously, feel the same way about me. That is how it should be.

I'm so grateful to the Soltreks staff and the other woman on this trek for being there with me, making this experience so rich and full of wonder


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