Hiking to Heal – The Beginning

Childhood-memories-1979

A rare photo of me with my brothers as children. 1979

As it says on my header, this blog is about “Survival stories of a directionally-challenged hiking hermit.” Although it comes rather late in the piece, this is actually my very first tale of survival. It is the one that began my life-long passion for the outdoors.

There are many reasons why I enjoy hiking. I often write about it being my escape from city living. This is not the complete picture though. The natural world is like an addiction for me. It’s been that way since I was a young child.

No-one has a perfect childhood and mine certainly had its challenges. I was the eldest of three children. My parents were intelligent and creative people but life circumstances contributed to them not being able to parent very effectively. One had an alcohol addiction and the other had a serious mental illness. We moved often. Life was unpredictable, chaotic and at times terrifying. There was violence. There were various kinds of abuse. It is something that many children experience and because they have little or no choice but to stay in their situation, they develop ways of coping. Some ways of coping are healthier and more successful than others.

When I see homeless teenagers and drug addicted adults on the street, my immediate reaction is to think, “That could have been me.” Why didn’t I end up there? It wasn’t because I was a stronger person or in some way special. I was just very fortunate that I had productive ways of coping and other supports available to me. One of these was exploring the natural world. I also had access to education and the magic of libraries. Since I was a good student, school was often my sanctuary and I had a few teachers who encouraged and inspired me. Many times I was able to escape outdoors or into the world of books to take my mind away from the dramas at home.

Dragonfly

The natural world was extremely soothing and my curious mind loved exploring the biological puzzles around me. I didn’t escape with alcohol or other drugs because nature was my drug. It often gave me the highs and the comfort that I needed. It wasn’t perfect though. A traumatic childhood can leave you with emotional scars and limps that are invisible to the world.  Perhaps if people could see them, as they can see a deformed leg or a missing hand, they would understand better. Some abused children are experts at hiding behind perfect smiling facades.

I still use hiking in the natural world as an escape and to soothe my mind. This is another reason why I am so passionate about making green spaces available to kids in the city. I cannot imagine how I would have coped without outdoor sanctuaries. Living in a built up area with no safe place to escape to would have made my life much more difficult. If I couldn’t read well and school was just another challenge rather than a joy, life would have been even harder. This is why I am also passionate about literacy. It opens doors for children who are in the same position as I was. Access to nature and  a good education – they are two of the reasons I am not in the gutter.

Why choose to share these personal details on a hiking blog? I often read articles about the benefits of walking. It increases physical fitness, creative thought and job productivity. It can also give a sense of satisfaction as a person conquers a challenging environment. For many people though, it’s also a way of coping with mental pain. It can be a way to deal with grief. I  grieve for the parents that alcohol addiction and mental illness stole from us. I grieve for the lives they took from my parents. I grieve for the grandparents they took from my children. And I grieve for the talent that alcohol and mental illness stole from the world.

Hiking can be about healing. Nature can offer  unconditional comfort in a world that these days often wants payment for any service rendered. It may not be able to erase the past but for some people it can help to lessen the pain. I’m very thankful that I had access to this “drug” while I was growing up. It was an addiction that served me well.

flower

57 thoughts on “Hiking to Heal – The Beginning

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this. You are right about the healing sanctuary nature provides. Thank you for putting your experiences into such eloquent and blameless words. That has certainly given me something to think about.
    (and that pic from 1979… You can’t be much older than me! You have a wise, calm air, what a gift. Xxx)
    Xxx

    • Thank you! I was planning to write a standard hiking post this week but a few things happened to make me feel unsettled. I felt compelled to write a more personal post because I know a few friends who are suffering in silence. I’m glad there was something in my words that spoke to you. Believe me it has taken many, many years to reach the point of some acceptance. There has been a lot of anger and blame along the way. I am not especially wise and calm at all. I’m often more like the duck that on the surface is gliding along smoothly but underneath the water, her legs are paddling like crazy. You are so kind to call me wise and calm though. I’m glad that at least my writing comes across that way! I greatly admire your ability to be able to mother 4 children on your own after very difficult circumstances. You should be giving yourself credit, inspirational woman. X
      “Honor yourself for all the ways you learned to take care of yourself during your abuse ~”
      ― Jeanne McElvaney, Spirit Unbroken: Abby’s Story

  2. Writing can be healing too. Especially when no one around you has time to listen to all the words you would like to say.
    I also agree that getting out and exploring nature helps a person know who they are in this world. Being able to read opens the mind to endless possibilities. Combine the two and – as you know – you can accomplish what ever you set your mind to.
    Support along the way helps, of course. I remember my teachers for their strengths and how they encouraged me in my school years. I was very rarely in trouble at school, so I guess that’s not hard. At home I was in trouble as often as not for something or other, though at the time it felt like ‘always’, but that’s how I learnt right from wrong growing up. I remember thinking once how tired I was at always being in trouble and I had to make more of an effort to a) watch myself and b) watch my older sister and never do whatever it was she did that got her into trouble. Which seemed to be a lot.
    These days I live a couple of thousand kilometres and two states away from family so it’s got to be something pretty drastic that I do to get into trouble (unintentionally, anyway). You know that old saying about distance making the heart grow fonder? Well, I was at the point where I didn’t really need that, but I guess every bit helps.
    The benefits of bushwalking – or even spending time in your own garden or a park – cannot be overstated. I mostly use bushwalking to take my mind off the humdrum of everyday issues and to remind myself of what’s important in life. Then I share it with whomever cares to read my blog.
    : )

    • Yes, you are certainly right about writing being healing! It was also one of my escapes. Being able to express myself in a safe way on paper when there was no-one else to talk to made a huge difference. In my situation we had to keep everything secret and that adds to the stress. Writing certainly still helps me today.
      Ah, yes, “distance makes the heart grow fonder.” I can certainly relate to that one too. Just because people are blood relatives doesn’t mean they get on well together! We choose friends, but we don’t have much choice with relatives.
      It can be hard being a child and feeling like your behaviour is constantly under the microscope. Being criticised constantly is pretty draining and can make a person very nervous! People can feel like they never do anything right.
      Bushwalking is certainly beneficial for many reasons. I don’t know what I’d do if it wasn’t available to me. I feel for those people who have mobility issues and have limited access to outdoor activities. It must be very difficult for them.
      Thanks for reading and adding your valuable input, Dayna! 🙂

      • Your past has made you the person you are today, and because you have been able to absorb the negative as well as the positive aspects of life, I suggest it’s made you a better person for it.
        Many people don’t have ways to escape, or means to support themselves – emotionally, physically, financially, whatever the case – and can’t use their experiences to generate empathy or compassion for others. It’s probably a lot more complicated that that; I’m not a psychologist. But the feeling you can escape, even if you know you have to go back, is a theme in many stories. It doesn’t have to be fiction like Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden, they can be real life stories. From ‘The One Hour Lunch Break In The Park’ to very dark stories people like Rose Batty has both lived and heard.
        Like you, like Rose, some people find themselves strong enough to use their past to make themselves better than they thought possible.

        • Thanks Dayna. It’s true that I am who I am because of my past experiences. Having been in a difficult situation does help you to be open to what others may be feeling. I see people and wonder what their real story is beneath the surface or behind their smile. People hide pain in many ways. Being a voice for people who can’t speak out due to fear or other reasons, such as what Rosie Batty is doing, is a wonderful way to make your own experiences mean something and create change so that others can be helped. It’s a great way to turn a negative into something positive. Guilt and shame stops many doing this though and indeed has made me reticent in the past about sharing anything. There is a fear of negative consequences and also guilt about saying anything that could seem disrespectful about a parent. There is a fear of being judged somehow.
          Yes, most times escapes such as hiking are only temporary measures but enough to help a person feel strong enough to keep carrying on. Respite care available for a parent who has a disabled child or caring for an elderly relative is a good example. They know they will have to keep doing the same job, but a break gives them enough relief to keep going.
          Thanks for your thoughtful and wise comments, Dayna, and also for encouraging me. I was nervous about this post and held back a great deal. I appreciate your kind words. 🙂

  3. Hi Jane… I can totally relate to your story. I am still working on healing, making changes and developing better coping skills. For many years when I was employed and had good insurance I found professional therapy helpful. Now I read self-help books. I am determined to let go of the hurt and pain of the past. I love that you felt comfortable writing this piece. It takes great courage to own your life and make changes to be happy. I am really proud of you. 🙂 My goodness, 1979 was the year I graduated high school… and you can bet I got the hell outta Dodge as soon as I could!!

    • Hi Lori,
      Your last comment made me laugh! I know that feeling. I was glad to leave my little town for Uni as well.
      It does take a long time for the healing process to occur and people do it in different ways. I recently read science articles where they’ve found that actual brain changes occur in children who go through traumatic experiences such as abuse and this affects their overall coping mechanisms later in life. Rather than toughen them up, these experiences can make them more susceptible to stress later down the track. So it’s definitely important for people to feel they can seek support as adults. Unfortunately there is so much secrecy and shame that still exists that people don’t feel they can talk about it. That’s why I thought I would jump an and be honest. I wouldn’t necessarily say I felt comfortable publishing this though. I felt nervous. I always looked quite small for my age and that photo may make people think I am younger than I am. I’m actually in my 40s.
      Thanks for being proud of me and the other supportive comments, Lori. I really appreciate your kindness and honesty! 🙂

      • I am 53. I have made some very poor choices in life… I just didn’t grow up with good role models, and did not have a good sense of self. Family abuse, both physical and mental is tough to overcome. Most of my life I’ve operated in “survival” mode. But, I am responsible now to make changes. I own my life, and I want to be happy. Right now I’m reading the most powerful book I’ve read in a while, “The Untethered Soul; The Journey Beyond Yourself”, by Michael A. Singer. I highly recommend it! Just keep on keepin on… you’ll do well!

        • Thanks Lori. I also made some very poor choices. I’ve left out a lot of the “dirt” from the post to protect people. They still impact my life today. As you say, you tend to operate in survival mode. Yes, it’s hard to have a good sense of self. There can be feeling of being fragmented – splintered. But like you, I am still alive today and keen to “keep on keeping on.” Thanks for suggesting that book and I will definitely take a look. Thanks! 🙂

  4. What a heart rending story, you are so brave to share it. I shall read your blog with even more interest now I know more about where you have come from. Well done for coping so well, you are an example for others to follow.

    • Thank you for the kind comments, Susan. I hesitated about sharing such personal information. I’m relieved it didn’t turn readers off. I just wanted to make it easier for others to share their own stories as I know it can sometimes help. My experiences do contribute to who I am today. It is why I am passionate about literacy and having green spaces for people to be able to relax in. Thank you for your encouragement. It is most appreciated, Susan. 🙂

  5. A deep, thoughtful and brave piece. Hiking can make a huge difference to one’s mental wellbeing and even one’s quiescent level of happiness. Just being outside in nature produces this very tangible sense of feeling right.

    I took up hiking because I don’t really socialise very well – I guess my introverted characteristics get the better of me. Introversion creates a bit of a dichotomy – on one hand I enjoy being alone, but on the other, I dislike loneliness. Bizarre really. The walks that I do ‘cure me’ and connect me with nature and always seem bring an unfailing ear to ear grin as I take in the sights and sounds.

    I always arrive back from a walk fully recharged, refreshed and happy. Many of my work colleagues simply don’t understand how or why I get so energised when I get back after a walk and for them to pick up on this is a testament to how effective being in the great outdoors can be!

    • Thank you, Rob, for your kind words and also for sharing your own reasons for hiking. Like you, I’m also an introvert who likes her space but I still feel lonely. It does make me feel a bit weird saying that but I’ve met quite a few people who feel the same way. I don’t feel so alone when I hike because nature is very soothing and walking itself has a calming rhythm to it. I totally agree with your words, “Just being outside in nature produces this very tangible sense of feeling right. ” It’s hard to explain the feeling but it’s just a sense of everything falling into place and thoughts no longer being so jumbled. It helps me gain perspective and feel at peace. That’s when my smiles become genuine.

      I would love to introduce more people to the benefits of walking in wild places. I think there are many stressed out people who would be greatly helped by some time away from the busy-ness of life.
      I hope hiking in nature continues to recharge you and give you happiness, Rob. Thanks again for sharing your own feelings so honestly. 🙂

  6. Thanks so much for sharing, Jane. Seems to be quite a common theme among outdoorsy folk (and writers too) that we all find it very healing. This was a beautiful post to read and I’m really enjoying getting to know you through your blog. Keep up the good work!

    Cheers
    Neil

    • Thanks Neil! It does indeed seem common for hikers and writers to find healing in this way. Many famous writers from the past used to walk the hills to gain inspiration and peace. Thank you for the lovely comments about the post and also for saying you are enjoying getting to know me. I am not quite sure if I actually know myself very well still. 🙂 I’m a little unpredictable with my posts and don’t really know where I am going with the blog so it’s nice to receive encouragement like this. Thanks for your continued support of my blog, Neil. I look forward to reading what you get up to this year and reading all the news you share from hiking in Australia and around the world. Have fun at Larapinta! Looks fantastic! 🙂

  7. Escaping into the wilderness has saved me from every dark place I have ever been in, including a bad marriage. It has always been my sanctuary. Thank you for sharing your very personal story.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your own experiences. I am really happy you’ve also found solace in the wilderness as well. It sounds like you’ve been through a really tough time in your life. Nature can certainly be a much needed sanctuary for so many people such as yourself. Thank you for reading and being kind enough to share your own experiences which encourages me and others. I hope you continue to find comfort in wild places. 🙂

    • Thanks, Jerry! I had planned a normal post but some things that happened during the week encouraged me to share something more of my own life. I hate that there are people out there having to cope on their own because they are too ashamed to seek help. When we are more open, it helps others to come forward. It’s not a taboo subject then. I’m not sure I am so brave, but thank you for saying that. You are very kind. Yes, nature can be the best remedy for so many things. I feel for the people who cannot access this comfort. Looking forward to writing a hiking post next that is not quite so serious now. Thanks for all your support and encouragement! I value it greatly. 🙂

  8. I liked this post Jane. I also find nature and walking very soothing. I suffer from anxiety which I manage by walking daily and scheduling plenty of time out in nature. Since we have moved back to the beach a few years ago my anxiety attacks have lessened and I put this down to the healing influence of nature on me.

    I like you have always been a big reader. As a kid my favourite books were the Famous Five series by Enid Blyton about kids going on adventures in nature – perfect for me!

    Reading and walking are the two activities that Harry and I engage in the most, parenting has been hard for me so I try to spend as much time as possible doing these things that calm and restore us both.

    Thanks for sharing your humanity in this post Jane.

    • Hi Amanda,
      Thank you for sharing your own story about how nature helps you. I also suffer from anxiety so I can certainly relate to those feelings. That is another reason why I enjoy hiking too. It can be very calming and release a lot of tensions. Anxiety can be debilitating can’t it – often hitting you at times when it’s least convenient! The physical symptoms are very uncomfortable and it’s not something you can choose to just stop. I think the beach is a a good place to live to help though. I know that city living has been a struggle for me in that regard.
      Parenting is not an easy job, especially if a child sleeps poorly or there are other health or behavioural issues. Kids are not all the same – mine were completely different so what worked for one didn’t work for the others. I’m the kind of mum who feels very responsible and devoted and I can judge myself a little harshly if something doesn’t go well. We aren’t machines though and kids are pretty resilient. It sounds like what you are doing is great, Amanda. If you can find activities that help calm and restore you and that give you enjoyment, that’s a big plus. Reading and outdoor adventure seemed to be things that I could share with my kids too.
      Yes, adventure stories or books about other countries really inspired me to go and explore for myself.
      Thank you for your honesty about your own feelings, Amanda. That’s very brave of you and helps others too who may be struggling with the same issues to not feel so alone and also to find ideas to help themselves. Despite you finding parenting hard, from your blog it sounds to me like you have put in a great deal of effort into it and Harry is a lucky boy who will have some wonderful memories of his adventures with his mum and the books they shared. I think you are doing a fantastic job. Be kind to yourself. 🙂

      • Thanks for your kind words Jane. I think I manage pretty well too! I find when I reveal that I have anxiety to people they often reveal they have depression or anxiety also. I’m a big believer is lifting the stigma surrounding mental illness and if I can help others feel less alone in their battle then that can only be a good thing 🙂

  9. Hi Jane. Whilst I was reading your story, I was impressed by the way you made use of the positive influences and opportunities in your life. You were open to the healing power of nature and the inspiration provided by books. You blossomed with the attention and support offered by some of your teachers.

    And you have paid attention to the ongoing process of healing as an adult so you have not repeated the abuse in your own parenting.

    • Hi Margaret,
      Thank you for those positive words of encouragement. You are a wise, kind person and I really value your opinion. I felt a little vulnerable after I posted this but that is more to do with past fears about the possible negative consequences of speaking the truth. I have been really touched by the lovely supportive responses from reader friends, such as yourself. The kindness and acceptance of others also helps with the healing process. Thank you. 🙂

  10. Yesterday my Garden Gnome said to me “We all have disabilities. It’s just that in some people it is more obvious than in others”. Now, I’m sure he’s heard that from me in the past since I worked in the disability field for quite some time but I think it was great that he retained it because it is true. None of us is perfect. None of us is 100% what we think is the ideal. We all have some type of ‘disability’ that hinders our ability to function in the way that we would like. Like you, my childhood wasn’t perfect although I still have my parents. I think the fact you have survived and grown strong is a testament to the skills you developed in childhood and possibly in some small part to the lessons taught you by your parents.
    Bless you Jane. You are a beautiful soul.

    • Hi Suze,
      Yes, we all have our disabilities and none of us is perfect. In some people it’s much more obvious than in others. I talked about losing my parents in the figurative sense as in I lost the parents they could have been had not alcohol and severe mental illness affected them. They are still alive today and still afflicted by these issues. It has been sad to see them deteriorate. It does motivate me to try and stay as healthy as I can and seek support so my own children don’t have to watch it happen to me. The first thing I studied at Uni was social work which was inspired by my background. I think at the time though I was looking for a way to ‘fix” my family somehow as well as help others.

      • It’s hard to want to fix everyone Jane. I suffer from that as well. One of the hardest things I have ever had to do is step back and allow the people I love to live their own lives. I do feel your pain.

    • I accidentally pressed send when I wasn’t finished the comment! Thanks for reading, Suze, and for your wise words of experience. Thanks also for the lovely support and words of encouragement! You are a beautiful soul, Suze. 🙂

  11. Well written Jane and I’m so glad you had the opportunity to commune with Nature and read. I did not come from an abusive family, but a very dysfunctional one indeed. There certainly was no expressed love or affection (only constant criticism and threats of punishment, sometimes carried out). Lack of love is cruel in itself. Constant arguments, nastiness and overly strict parents do not make for a happy childhood.

    But, we 3 children were lucky to have parents who placed great importance on reading and education and for this I am eternally grateful.

    Nature is a great healer and there’s no better drug for my 33 year battle with chronic debilitating pain & fatigue. I was never properly diagnosed until about 9 years ago and of course finally gained the courage to quit working with no way to support myself.

    I finally have the chance to be Me (with no undercurrent of stress or criticism staining my day).

    It’s easy to fall victim to drugs, alcohol or abuse, but hard to find the strength to pick oneself up and create happiness, joy and a successful life.

    I congratulate you on your strength and courage.
    You deserve all that you have created for yourself (and more).

    • Hi Vicki!
      Thank you so much for sharing your own story and also for your wonderful words of support. Abuse can include neglect (a lack of love and affection) constant criticism and threats. You certainly did live in a dysfunctional family and that must have been extremely difficult for you. I’m very sorry you had to experience that. All children deserve to feel loved, supported, nourished and secure.
      I’m so glad that at least your reading and education were encouraged. I found books to be a great escape and a comfort to me.
      How difficult it must have been to live with undiagnosed chronic debilitating pain for all those years. I am glad you were able to find the courage to quit work. It must have been extremely daunting not knowing how things would pan out financially.
      How wonderful that you now finally have the chance to be yourself without all that other stress. You sound like you are a very strong and brave woman to have made it to this position and I wish you every happiness. I am very much enjoying your wonderful photography and hope that continues to give you much joy. Thank you for reading, sharing and giving me such kind support, Vikki. 🙂

  12. Striking, how similarly nature saved us both. I admire what you are doing with it, advocating for green spaces. My motive for painting, beyond my own healing, is to reach out to others who need nature and perhaps don’t know it yet.

    • Thank you, Melissa. I am sure there are many people out there who would benefit from having more contact with nature. Even a psychologist I knew spent years counselling people but only just discovered the joys of bushwalking and the therapeutic effects on her own coping mechanisms. I’m assuming that she will pass this on to her clients now. I think we can get overwhelmed by modern life and grief and lose touch with the healing power of being surrounded by the natural world. I’m sure your paintings will introduce and inspire many people to seek solace, healing and joy from nature. Thank you for reading and for commenting! It is lovely to hear about your own experiences. I’m glad that nature had such a positive effect on you too. 🙂

    • Thank you! I’m glad you also find nature to be an escape and soothing. It is certainly a wonderful form of therapy for so many people. I’m happy that you could relate to my story. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. 🙂

  13. Thank you for posting about this. I also use hiking and nature as medicine, and as a way to escape the scars of growing up with a schizophrenic parent. Peace to you. 🌸

    • Thank you for your kind comments. I’m glad you got something from my thoughts. I also grew up with a parent who had schizophrenia. It made life extremely unpredictable and frightening and I still struggle with the scars. Mental illness is of course not the parent’s fault but that doesn’t make it any easier for a developing young children to cope with, does it. I wish you much joy in the future and hope that hiking and nature continue to help in your healing and comfort. Peace to you too. 🙂

  14. You write so perceptively and honestly of your childhood that anyone who can’t relate to it must have had that perfect childhood that “no one has.” To have come out of it with head on straight and heart in right place is a beautiful hike indeed!

    • Thank you sincerely for those kind words of encouragement. They mean a great deal to me. It is sometimes difficult to know how much personal detail to share with the world, but I hoped this might resonate with others and explain why literacy and keeping green spaces available are so important to me.
      I’m a little behind in reading blogs lately as I’ve still been unwell so I apologise if I am not up to date on yours. I will catch up soon, I hope.
      Have a wonderful weekend. 🙂

    • Thanks , Vicki. Occasionally the shots work out for me. I admire your wonderful photography and would love to be able to do the great urban black and white shots especially! 🙂

      • And I love your nature photography. What marvellously sharp focus you get.
        I suppose I am breathing too hard to achieve that outdoors and get too much ‘hand-shake’.

        My shots from the rarely used tripod are a bit better though. Same if I’m standing on my balcony and can steady my elbow/shoulder against a post.

        • Yes, I find I really need to rest my camera on something or I need to lean against something to steady myself. I am much better taking shots at the beginning of a walk. By the end I am usually too shaky and wobbly-legged and puffed. I take 100s of bad shots on walks. About 1/20 are ok. 🙂

          • Ditto to all those bad shots on walks.
            Sometimes I share them if they illustrate the story. Sometimes I’m too embarrassed.
            I’m better at the beginning of a walk too.
            I said we’d be good walking partners. 😉
            Shame I can’t carry more weight outdoors. I’ve even put my backpack away and gone back to an over the shoulder type travel pack and with my camera bag on the other shoulder, I am evenly weighed down, but it’s getting harder and harder. See the HCM Specialist Cardio. again on Monday so we’ll see what he thinks. In the meantime, have a great weekend 🙂

  15. Thanks for sharing your story, Jane. I thought for quite a while about what you wrote before I decided to come back and make a comment. I did not know this history of yours before I started reading your blog. I like your blog because you are capable of finding the miraculous beauty of life. You are a beautiful person because you can celebrate the beauty around you and inside you.
    My husband and I suffer physical pain because of an emotional trauma. We lost a son 8 years ago and it took a kinesiologist to explain to us that our physical ailments are a result of our emotional trauma (not always but for us it is part of the problem) I know you have mentioned some medical ailments also. So I have been doing some research and found the Emotional Freedom Technique. You can look it up. I have not brought myself to try it yet. I guess sometimes it seems easier to hold on to the suffering but thousands have tried it and healed themselves. They also have practitioners maybe in your city. You can look it up on their website. Any way, blessings to you !!

    • Thank you for your very kind words and also sharing the very sad experience of the loss of your son. It is good of you to offer suggestions to help me and I appreciate your thoughtful reply. I am quite sure that some of my ailments are exacerbated by past trauma and also continued stress as I still have contact with some relatives from my past. It is difficult to move on completely when you are still exposed to certain behaviours. Other ailments are the result of very poor genes inherited from my parents and also my parents and my own exposure to poisons used on orchards (the chemicals used in Vietnam to defoliate jungles which were sold off to Australian farmers) and also the poison, Torden, that my father used to kill trees. Both these were very nasty and can cause cell mutations. I have many sensitivities which are likely to be from the effects of these poisons. My recent illness that involved a swollen red face and fevers turned out to be a severe reaction to paralysis tick bites on my head. It can be difficult to sort out ailments that are from deep rooted emotional causes and those caused from biology. It’s wonderful that we can find practitioners willing to look at both areas and treat the whole person, rather than just from a medical/drug approach. Thanks for taking the time to write such a thoughtful and caring response. I’m so sorry about your son dying. It is a heavy loss indeed and can be made even worse by the circumstances involved. I’m glad you’ve found some answers for your ailments and I hope that you are able to find peace and better health in the future. Blessings to you also. xx

  16. Hi Jane, thanks so much for your lovely reply the other day. I’m still going through your older posts and loving this piece about hiking and nature. This is a topic I wanted to write about, why I like to hike but just couldn’t find the right words and it is frustrating because my words don’t justify that deep emotions I have about hiking and nature. You are right about the healing and describe it so well. When hiking and nature is combined with solitude, it is such a beautiful moving moment, it could make me cry… I’m just being sentimental 🙂

    • Hi,
      Sorry I am so late replying to your comment. It got lost in spam. Thank you very much for your heartfelt words. I am so glad that you enjoyed the post and it spoke to you in some way. It can be difficult to find the words to adequately describe how one feels about certain special things in life. Sometimes words don’t actually express it completely. Sometimes that is when music or art can work better. I hope you continue to enjoy writing and hiking and enjoying all the wonderful benefits of nature. Very best wishes, Jane. 🙂

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