November 29, 2011

I Still Pray

I still pray.

Not in the way I used to pray, nor with an obligation.

My prayers now are more like thoughts, a communing with my heart, asking it how it feels and what it needs. Then asking the universe from time to time for something special, just so I know I'm present. I don't necessarily ask for anything specific; but rather, an unexpected connection of some sort. The "answer" then comes in the form of an animal, a song, an email, a person I meet. Serendipity.

When certain people come to my mind, I often "pray." I wish them well, at least most of them.

I thought of an old Way song today. Part of the words go, "Sometimes, I forget that I've been given, my life's dream." It's easy to forget, when things move too fast.

November 26, 2011

Soul Holes


For years before I left The Way, I was a self-help book junkie. I enjoyed most every book I read.

One of the qualities (to me) of a good self-help book is the author's own story. Whether or not their story directly applies to my situation is often irrelevant to me. I enjoy the inspiration, the tenacity of the human soul, to overcome and to endure...even to endure the mundane.

For years before I left The Way, I journaled and journaled and journaled and journaled. I have at least 14(?) "books" I've written, penned in shorthand and longhand.

For five years before I left The Way, I sat with a mental health therapist, one a psychologist and then another with their masters in counseling. I'd often read aloud from my journals.

All three activities led to me eventually leaving The Way: reading, journaling, therapy.

Which were most influential? I do not know. Cognitive behavioral therapy approaches were a main help in learning to think more objectively. Learning about emotional and verbal abuse (and then recognizing that such was used in The Way) was a main contributor.

If anyone reads my health story, they will learn how I turned to journaling, why I devoured books, and why I sought help from a psychologist.

None of the reasons (on the surface) had anything to do with my involvement with The Way.

The reasons had everything to do with chronic illness, which I learned was in large part (for me) due to my emotional health. I then discovered that my emotional and mental health was, at least partly and I surmise a main part, due to Way indoctrination and the suppression of my own heart in order to conform to what I had indoctrinated myself to believe.

These discoveries all helped me exit The Way. Helped me to again get in touch with my heart. Helped me to see more clearly.

None of these discoveries had anything to do with "cult-recovery" from anyone in the cult-recovery field nor from reading anything in regard to "cult-recovery." I never sought professional cult-recovery help until after harmful experiences within an anti-Way group which I jumped into after leaving The Way. (My experience with the "cult-recovery" counselor ended up one of the most emotionally harmful experiences I've had. My experiences with the other mental health counselors whom I mention in my fourth paragraph above have been and still are helpful, not harmful.)

A year or so before I left The Way, I lived with a vast large hole in my soul. Almost every morning I'd awake crying. This vast dearth of life in my soul was a major theme in my journaling at that time.

After leaving The Way and getting some footing, I came to the conclusion that the emptiness (at least in part) was a result of trying to live with a standard of indoctrination that I no longer believed, but felt obligated to.

My catalyst to finally make the exit from The Way was a statement my then 15-year old son made to me. Prior to his statement, I was already prepared to leave; I'd been doing homework trying to decide who I could trust if I ever made the move to step outside my 28-year loyalty to The Way, outside the one place I had believed for decades that taught the unadulterated "truth."

Lately, I've felt a similar emptiness inside that I experienced before I left The Way. The current emptiness is not near as large as what I experienced back in 2004, a year before I left The Way in 2005. I've pondered as to why the current emptiness? Have I been trying to live by a standard that I no longer believe? Have I again gotten away from my heart? If so, how did that happen? Where is my heart now? Has the area of "cult-recovery" which I became involved with (on a small scale) had similar outcomes as my involvement in The Way?

The current emptiness is a small hole. God forbid I allow it to grow large.


Part of what prompted the above blog post is a review written by Monica Pignotti, PhD, of the film Martha Marcy May Marlene: Martha Marcy May Marlene: An Echo of Therapy Myths?

Two statements by Pignotti that really caught my attention are: "Confusion and struggling to make sense of unusual experiences is part of the human condition, not a mental disorder." And, "This brings us to an even larger issue, which is the medicalization and pathologizing of human experience and suffering."


November 24, 2011

Worse than The Way

I awake each morning. Another day. I usually awake depressed these days. Been that way most days the past year plus...depressed or anxious.

Lately, just depressed.

Not a deep depression, but rather low level. I'm still able to get up and get going. I've experienced debilitating depression in the past. I'm thankful that seldom arises anymore.

Since the public lies stated by my ex-therapist back in August and September, I've felt ostracized. After all, who wants to associate with someone like he describes...a terroristic, sadistic, cyber-stalking harasser who is crazy as a shithouse rat. Just a few of his choice words for me.

I feel tainted. Hm, similar to when I left The Way Corps, twice. I lived with that shame for decades. Rightly so, I AWOLed my posts both times.

This time, in feeling tainted, I didn't leave my posts. Rather, I spoke up.

As I pondered character assassination the other week wondering if I had engaged in such by bringing forth part of my story regarding my ex-therapist, it dawned on me that in order to assassinate a person's character, that person has to have the character to assassinate.

If one speaks the truth, with facts to corroborate that truth, it's not character assassination; it's character exposure.

My ex-therapist piled on lie after lie about me publicly. Some have believed him; they no longer communicate with me. To them, I became a non-person...or a manipulative tool....or a sociopath. They believe his lies, none of which he can back by fact. It is simply his word. He lied about others too.

Perhaps I should memoir more about the events. Pick up the keyboard and continue Freedom Trek, which will eventually lead into the GreaseSpot scandal and the Knapp scandal.

My choice of cult-recovery support was not well chosen. My anti-cult experiences ended up worse than The Way experiences. Perhaps that perspective will change over time.

Maybe not.

The other week I actually thought about returning to The Way. At least they didn't lie about me.

November 23, 2011

Fenced Spaces


White space.
Dark space.
Positive space.
Negative space.
Outer space.
Inner space.

So often, as I shut the door saying goodbye to the four-legged critter who looks at me with loving eyes, I wonder, "What do you think about; how do you feel; what do you do all day long, alone, awaiting your human companion to arrive home?"

I then think about the size of a dog or cat or lizard or bird brain. I imagine their brains are not as complex as us humans. Still, I think, animals feel emotions. I'm sure they do. Yet emotions may be more connected with the brain in the heart than the brain in the head.

Often, as I've closed the door and walked away, I've thought of how much animals sleep. Human babies sleep a lot, one reason being because they are growing at an enormous rate. All that growth needs rest. It's work.

An adult dog isn't still growing, yet it still sleeps often. I imagine alone in their space at home throughout the day, a dog sleeps a lot. They sleep a lot when their human companions are home too. I wonder why? Does a smaller brain need more rest?

This week, I sang and danced with little people; that is toddlers. I only teach preschool music on a substitute basis now. I go in for a couple hours to a daycare and the toddler classes come to the room where I am set up to explore music with them. Together we sing and dance and discover the magic of music and ourselves.

Yesterday, during one of my classes, the daycare center performed a fire drill. We all had to hurry outside to the playground. The toddlers were told by their daycare teachers (all of whom are awesome folks) to face the chain link fence. I decided to join the toddlers in facing the fence. It was a strange feeling, holding the fence by lacing my fingers through the wires like the toddlers were doing, looking through the chain links focusing beyond the steel wires to a field and a garden that lay outside the fenced playground of the daycare.

I thought of the lyrics to the cowboy song, "Don't Fence Me In."

I know the fence is there for safety.


After posting this blog piece, I ran across the following video.
May you sing like no one is listening
I wonder what that dog does when home alone. ;)

November 18, 2011

Trail Journal ~ 5/26/10 - 5/27/10


5/26/2010, Wednesday

8 miles. Half-mile past Turkey Pen Gap to about 1.5 miles from Wilbur Lake Road.

I camp as a lone human again. I'm smackdab beside the trail; my left front tent pole is right on the edge of the trail. It was either camp here or walk another 3 miles to Watauga Lake Shelter and get there around 9:30 PM or there abouts. Plus Watauga Shelter is near a road, not safe camping for lone women..and I've heard there is lots of bear activity at Watauga.

I picked up a dog today. Her name is Cyngie(?). She had followed some northbound thru hikers from Hampton, TN, up to Vandeventer. So now she is following me southbound. She's been with me about 2 miles.

The northbounders got Cyngie's owner's phone number from the vet number listed on Cyngie's dog tag. The owner's name is Mark. I had some cell service so I called him and let him know that Cyngie was with me. He said that she'd probably continue south at dark, heading home. I hope she doesn't. I like her company.

She snaps at the flies and bees. She is short. Reddish-brown. Gorgeous brown eyes. She has a collie look to her, mixed with cocker. She looks like a herding dog.

I'm sitting on a log. She is lying in front of my tent door.

I'm letting the underside of my tent fly dry.

Tomorrow, I'll hike about 5-3/4 miles to Highway 321. w00t!

Met a guy today from New Zealand, thru hiking. I was low on water because I missed the watering hole; he gave me some of his water.

The longest mile is the one before the shelter.
My body deserves all the nuture I can give it; it is my vehicle.

5/27/2010, Thursday

Made it to Watauga Lake at 321 around 5:30ish.

Hard hiking day. Hot. Heavy.

Texans gave me water at Wilbur Lake Road. Nice, because I was having to ration my water since I missed the hole.

Lots of gnats around the lake. Cyngey was at the lake too. I called Mark again and he was going to drive over and get her.

Cyngey left last night with Adam, a big dude who stopped at my tent at dusk. He'd hiked up from the road to check out the trail for his buddies coming down from Chicago. He spooked me because he didn't have on a backpack and I wasn't sure if he was being honest. Apparently, he was.

Son picked arrived shortly after I got to Watauga Lake. Ate at a local diner and son drove the couple hours home...back to electricity, running water, and flush toilets.


November 11, 2011

Re-post: ~How deep can you feel?~ Norm Strauss

Another favorite song.
Reminds me of discovery, of memoir.

To the journey...

"How Deep Can You Feel"
lyrics & music by
Norm Strauss

It's all in how you look at it,
she said,
as if there were a hundred ways to walk a high wire.
You wanna try to let it go,
close your eyes now and let your heart rule your head sometime.

Some folks dig for gold and only scratch the surface
But you saw somethin' more; it's makin' you nervous

How deep can you feel?
Can you really let this get to you?
How far can your soul go?
Can you really change your point of view?
Let the best of you become undone,
look past your logic and all that other noise...

You're always looking for the answers,
she said,
but sometimes it's all about the questioning.
You never seem to let it show;
that's alright 'cause I know
your heart is a deep, deep well.

Some folks dig for gold and only scratch the surface
But sometimes a mystery can have another purpose

How deep can you feel?
Can you really let this get to you?
How far can your soul go?
Can you really change your point of view?
Let the best of you become undone,
look past your logic and all that other noise....

When your stream becomes a raging river boy
When your gray becomes a deeper shade of blue
What will ya' do

Some folks dig for gold and only scratch the surface
But you saw somethin' more; it's makin' you nervous

How deep can you feel?
Can you really let this get to you?
How far can your soul go?
Can you really change your point of view?

How deep can you feel?
Can you really let this get to you?
How far can your soul go?
Can you really change your point of view?

Let the best of you become undone,
look past your logic and all that other noise....

Trail Journal ~ 5/25/2010

5/25/2010, Tuesday

Double Springs Shelter to 1/2 mile past Turkey Pen Gap. 9.5 miles.

I camp alone tonight, 1/2 mile past Turkey Pen. 1-1/2 miles from a shelter and 1-1/2 miles from water.

Today I really enjoyed the pasture before Route 91. It was refreshing to be in the open light and out of the green tunnel.

1/2ish mile past 91, I found the orange box. Ice cold sodas and water. Candy bars and oatmeal cookies. And even a bag to leave the trash in. The box is stocked by a local church, more trail angels.

I was alone when I saw the box. Then, other hikers trickled by...ended up about 6 of us hanging around the box. Two thru-hiker guys stated a great line..."Smile quota up, mile quota down." It had become their thru-hike motto, in a sense. Instead of trying to chalk off umpteen miles a day, they'd decided to enjoy the trek. They only have another 1500(?) miles to go.

New plan:
~Wed: It's 5 miles to Vandeventer Shelter. Water is hell there. So I'll camel at the next water source and then decide at Vandeventer how far I'll go that night.
~Thurs: Hike to 321 at Watauga Lake in TN. Son will pick me up there. I'll just have to do Watauga to Dennis Cove sometime in the future. I've heard Pond Flats is really hard. I think I should do it with a lighter pack.

Some sort of really strange noise is happening in the woods. Doesn't sound like a deer snort. Raccoon? Bear?

Night, night.


November 10, 2011

Mr. and Ms. Fitz

I like assembling puzzles.

I sit for hours. Examining pieces - shapes, colors, pictures. I examine empty spaces. I lay a piece, it locks or not.

I look at the box cover as a guide. Often it helps, sometimes not.

The box cover. It's a representation of what the puzzle will look like after assembled. The puzzle too is a copy, a representation.

Pieces that fit.

I have felt, much of my entire life, like I don't fit.

Maybe it's because the places in which I've found myself are representations, covers. In other words, maybe those groups aren't authentic, at least for me. Behind the cover is something too dissimilar from what the cover depicts...and it makes me uncomfortable. Like, wearing clothes that don't fit; they are uncomfortable.

Do others feel that way?

I would think so, at least to some extent. And sometimes, something fits that later no longer fits. We change. The group changes.

I used to think that everyone felt they didn't fit, like I used to think that everyone felt neglected, or like I used to think that everyone hears a high pitch noise during silence. Those things have always been with me, so I thought they were with everyone. I just thought those was part of being human, being alive.

I have felt a connection among a certain gathering of poets, another certain gathering of writers, some artists, and hikers I meet along the trail.

Maybe those folks feel they don't "fit" either.

I guess that'd make us "misfits." Except the males; they'd be "misterfits."


Trail Journal ~ 5/23/2010 - 5/24/2010


5/23/10 - Sunday

Camping spot last night to Abington Gap (AG) Shelter. 5 miles. 3 hours, 9AM - Noon.

I've decided to stay here for the night. Let my stuff dry in the sun this afternoon. Water is probably 1/4 mile down a hill. No privy; I've gotten pretty adept at pooping in the woods.

I ate a hot lunch - Ramen (chicken flavor) with carrots and jerky. Supper was an apple, trail mix, and crackers.

People of the trail:
~Dude from Richmond. Met him at the AG Shelter.
~That local dude day-hiker found the speed hiker. Speed hiker's trail name is Galilee Man; he is from Galilee. I met him too, shook his hand. I can look him up on I've since learned he is hiking 14(?) hours a day, 6:30 AM to 8:30 PM. He left Georgia May 7th to arrive in Maine in July.
~Eddie from Lexington, NC. Thru-hiker. Lost his job so decided to hike.
~Ynot (Tony) from Minneapolis. Thru-hiker.
~3 dudes who I don't know their names. South Bounders.
~1 female with an accent.
~3 men at the AG Shelter. Section hikers. Great guys. Great help. All married with children. From Pennsylvania. Jim and Chris have grandchildren. Jim owns a grocery. Chris works in electronics. Frank is an engineer.

My current plan:
Mon: 8.5 miles to Double Springs Shelter
Tues: 8 miles to Iron Mountain Shelter
Wed: 13 miles to Watauga Lake Shelter
Thurs: 5 miles to Pond Flats
Fri: 6 miles to Dennis Cove

5/24/10, Monday

8.5 miles from Abington Gap to Double Springs. 5ish hours.

I'm tired. Well, my feet are so damn pooped, I don't even want to write.

I'm on a campsite above the shelter.

A trail angel left me bagels and an apple...just hanging on a log in a baggie. I'm a bit low on food, so that was cool.

~Met Stairway today. He lives on the trails. Goes south in the winter and north in the summer.
~Tonight I camp beside Whodat (Ryan) from Austin, TX, by way of New Orleans. Great guy. Concert and event planner. Thru-hiker unless he gets called for work.
~Met Waldo from Minneapolis and Duluth.
~Wonder passed by. Thru-hiker.
~Cliff is down in the shelter. Thru-hiker.

Plan change:
Tues: 10 miles to just past Turkey Gap to water source and camp site
Wed: 11 miles to Watauga Lake
Thurs: 5 miles to Pond Flats
Fir: 6 miles to Dennis cove


November 9, 2011

Trail Journal ~ 5/21/10 - 5/22/2010

5/21/2010, Friday

Zero miles today. At Hiker's Inn.

~Met McGiver (her trail name), a young lady from Atlanta.
~Met Sweet Tea (her trail name), 50ish years old, southern belle from Atlanta, I think. Her real name is Georgia. Her chihuahua's name is Taco and his trail name is Yellow Blazer. Taco wears a leopard skin coat and rides in Georgia's front hip pack, which is actually her crown from her backpack.
~Met Ward, a CPA, and Gail, a physical therapist turned massage therapist, and their dog Maggie. They are from Charlotte.
~Met Z, a sports psychologist, and his fiance.

5/22/2010, Saturday

Damascus to past Broken Back Trail. 5+ miles.

I got out of Damascus around noon and pitched my tent around 6:00 PM. I'm alone in the woods.

It rained the first two miles. Now, partly cloudy.

Met about six hikers today. All thru-hikers, all northbound.

Met one day-hiker looking for some dude trying to break the AT thru-hiker speed record. The guy trying to break the record started hiking May 7th.

My goal tomorrow: 10 miles to Low Gap.

I thought of Claire today.

I miss Hubby.


"Yertle the Turtle" by Dr. Suess

Thanks to my friend, April, for turning me on to Yertle the Turtle by one of my favorite authors, Dr. Suess.

On the far-away island of Sala-ma-Sond,
Yertle the Turtle was king of the pond.
A nice little pond. It was clean. It was neat.
The water was warm. There was plenty to eat.
The turtles had everything turtles might need.
And they were all happy. Quite happy indeed.

They were… until Yertle, the king of them all,
Decided the kingdom he ruled was too small.
“I’m ruler”, said Yertle, “of all that I see.
But I don’t see enough. That’s the trouble with me.
With this stone for a throne, I look down on my pond
But I cannot look down on the places beyond.
This throne that I sit on is too, too low down.
It ought to be higher!” he said with a frown.
“If I could sit high, how much greater I’d be!
What a king! I’d be ruler of all that I see!”

So Yertle the Turtle King, lifted his hand
And Yertle, the Turtle King, gave a command.
He ordered nine turtles to swim to his stone
And, using these turtles, he built a new throne.
He made each turtle stand on another one’s back
And he piled them all up in a nine-turtle stack.
And then Yertle climbed up. He sat down on the pile.
What a wonderful view! He could see ‘most a mile!

“All mine!” Yertle cried. “Oh, the things I now rule!
I’m the king of a cow! And I’m the king of a mule!
I’m the king of a house! And, what’s more, beyond that
I’m the king of a blueberry bush and a cat!
I’m Yertle the Turtle! Oh, marvelous me!
For I am the ruler of all that I see!”

And all through the morning, he sat up there high
Saying over and over, “A great king am I!”
Until ‘long about noon. Then he heard a faint sigh.
“What’s that?” snapped the king,and he looked down the stack.
And he saw, at the bottom, a turtle named Mack.
Just a part of his throne. And this plain little turtle
Looked up and he said, “Beg your pardon, King Yertle.
I’ve pains in my back and my shoulders and knees.
How long must we stand here, Your Majesty, please?”

“SILENCE!” the King of the Turtles barked back.
“I’m king, and you’re only a turtle named Mack.”

“You stay in your place while I sit here and rule.
I’m the king of a cow! And I’m the king of a mule!
I’m the king of a house! And a bush! And a cat!
But that isn’t all. I’ll do better than that!
My throne shall be higher!” his royal voice thundered,
“So pile up more turtles! I want ’bout two hundred!”

“Turtles! More turtles!” he bellowed and brayed.
And the turtles ‘way down in the pond were afraid.
They trembled. They shook. But they came. They obeyed.
From all over the pond, they came swimming by dozens.
Whole families of turtles, with uncles and cousins.
And all of them stepped on the head of poor Mack.
One after another, they climbed up the stack.

Then Yertle the Turtle was perched up so high,
He could see forty miles from his throne in the sky!
“Hooray!” shouted Yertle. “I’m the king of the trees!
I’m king of the birds! And I’m king of the bees!
I’m king of the butterflies! King of the air!
Ah, me! What a throne! What a wonderful chair!
I’m Yertle the Turtle! Oh, marvelous me!
For I am the ruler of all that I see!”

Then again, from below, in the great heavy stack,
Came a groan from that plain little turtle named Mack.
“Your Majesty, please… I don’t like to complain,
But down here below, we are feeling great pain.
I know, up on top you are seeing great sights,
But down here at the bottom we, too, should have rights.
We turtles can’t stand it. Our shells will all crack!
Besides, we need food. We are starving!” groaned Mack.

“You hush up your mouth!” howled the mighty King Yertle.
“You’ve no right to talk to the world’s highest turtle.
I rule from the clouds! Over land! Over sea!
There’s nothing, no, NOTHING, that’s higher than me!”

But, while he was shouting, he saw with surprise
That the moon of the evening was starting to rise
Up over his head in the darkening skies.
“What’s THAT?” snorted Yertle. “Say, what IS that thing
That dares to be higher than Yertle the King?
I shall not allow it! I’ll go higher still!
I’ll build my throne higher! I can and I will!
I’ll call some more turtles. I’ll stack ‘em to heaven!
I need ’bout five thousand, six hundred and seven!”

But, as Yertle, the Turtle King, lifted his hand
And started to order and give the command,
That plain little turtle below in the stack,
That plain little turtle whose name was just Mack,
Decided he’d taken enough. And he had.
And that plain little lad got a bit mad.
And that plain little Mack did a plain little thing.
He burped!
And his burp shook the throne of the king!

And Yertle the Turtle, the king of the trees,
The king of the air and the birds and the bees,
The king of a house and a cow and a mule…
Well, that was the end of the Turtle King’s rule!
For Yertle, the King of all Sala-ma-Sond,
Fell off his high throne and fell Plunk! in the pond!

And today the great Yertle, that Marvelous he,
Is King of the Mud. That is all he can see.
And the turtles, of course… all the turtles are free
As turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be.

by Dr. Seuss

Trail Journal ~ 5/20/10

5/20/2010, Thursday

Saunders Shelter to Damascus, VA. About 8 miles. 8.25 hours. Arrived in Damascus at 5:30PM.

Wednesday night and Thursday morning:
At Saunders Shelter there was a man named Peter B., a lawyer for a group called ARC or Arc. It was once an acronym for Association for Retarded Citizens - an advocacy group. The group no longer calls itself that, but rather Arc.

Peter was with four young men, college age. Son got to hang with the college guys around the campfire.

All of them are section hiking.

The other man at the shelter was hiking solo. He's thru hiking. He retired on April 2 from the FAA and hit the trail on April 7. He reminded me of Bill P., the Reliv tennis dude.

Along the trail on Thursday, son and I met a dude who had thru hiked various trails seven different times, the AT more than once. He is an ultra-lite packer. Great guy. He talked with Son and I and told us about Ray Jardine. He encouraged Son to look into Ray's book. I think the name of it is Trail Life.

One statement the hiker dude stated was, "You pack your fears." What an awesome line. I'll never forget it, I don't think. My biggest fear? Medical stuff. The statement really got me to thinking.

I was beat by the time we got to Damascus. My feet were screaming from going downhill. I told Son I could get as far as the driveway at the Whistle Pig...and I dropped.

Son was great the whole hike. "Slack pack;" that is what I did. Son would get to a ridge and drop his pack and then come back to get my pack and take a load off Momma.

From Whistle Pig, Son hiked the rest of the way to the car which was parked at the Old Mill. He drove back, picked me up, and we went straight to Mt. Rogers Outfitters to get the fuel out of Peter B.'s car and then give it and Peter's car key to MRO.

By then it was 6:00. Time for me to find a place to stay. The 7-time thru-hiker dude had given me a map of Damascus. So I was already familiar with a few bed-downs.

MRO told me that "The Place," which is the Methodist Hostel, was closed due to electrical problems. So I found "The Hiker's Inn."

Owner of HI: "One bunk left."

Me: "How much?"

Owner: "$25.00

Me: "I'll take it. Where is the laundry mat?"

Owner: "I'll do your laundry for $4.00 a load."

I thought I'd found heaven.

Then the owner said, "I'm serving strawberry short cake tonight...with ice cream. Fresh strawberries. I made the angel food cake. You're welcome to join in."

And get this...she gives the hikers scrubs to wear while she washes our laundry.

Who is she? Suzanne, owner of The Hiker's Inn. And she is a fabric artist. How cool is that!

So now for writing. I'd much rather write streams of consciousness. Yet I feel I should record events.

Yes, events.

I met Damascus Dave. Great guy.
Learned of Trail Days.
Got my pack 12 pounds lighter and put my tent on top, inside.

Now, I'll make an envelope for Suzanne.


Trail Journal ~ 5/17/10 - 5/19/10


Grayson Highlands, VA, Massie Gap overnight parking to near Thomas Knob Shelter. 2.9 rugged miles. 45# pack. 4 hours.
Rain, off and on. Sixty degrees or so.
Wild ponies. About six thru-hikers. Loved it. I fell down once...haha.

I lie on my side in my tent. So why try to write straight across the page.
There, or rather here. This diagonal writing is much better.

A few thoughts tonight:
  ~I already miss Hubby. I love him so much but don't show him often enough.
  ~I'm thankful for Linda W. Had she not written me, I don't know if I'd be out from the controlling, godless indoctrination of The Way.
  ~Leaving a belief system is different from leaving a group.
  ~Alex. His tokens are buried not far from here. And now I hike with my son and I recall what Son said about the abortion.

5/18/2010, Tuesday

7.5 - 8 miles. Don't know the hours.
Hiked from a beyond the north side of Thomas Knob to right beyond Buzzard Rock.

Got wearied. Son encouraged. We are sleeping on the side of a hill, kind of.

Missing Hubby a lot. Talked to him 2 times today. Yay!

Still foggy, cold, rainy. Breaks of sunlight.

Elk Garden is beautiful. 1000s of yellow suzies with yellow eyes. Hundreds or 1000s of dandelions.

5/19/2010, Wednesday

11 - 12 miles. 11 hours.
Buzzard Rock to Saunders Shelter.

My feet are sore!

I made up a jingle today. Quads, Hamstrings, Trekking Poles, and Hip Flexors. It helped me use the right muscles and helped my stride.

That man from Austria was around again today. We saw him yesterday at the base of Whitetop Mountain. Saw him 2X today. Can't recall the 1st place; 2nd place was the Virginia Creeper Trail.

Tonight we sleep on flat ground. Yay!

It didn't rain today but is raining now, off and on. It was a great day...with no rain. Please make it so tomorrow.

  ~Grateful that I can feel pain
  ~Grateful I can walk
  ~Grateful I can smell
  ~Grateful I have arms that work


November 6, 2011

Victim is not a dirty word

I read about spiritual abuse...when a person's belief in God, about God, of God is used against them. The person's very core self becomes shattered; their foundation crumbles.

In spiritual abuse, like any abuse, trust is deeply violated...especially trust in one's core self which became lost or buried or replaced somewhere along the way.

Imagine, after experiencing the core self being shattered, that the victim, who knows not who or what to trust, seeks (ever so timidly) sources for help, sources that proclaim they understand and offer healing and support. The person seeking help tests the waters of trusting a source.

It's a huge step to trust. But, trust they decide to do.

Imagine these sources, who are supposed to help, turning around and wielding similar soul daggers as the initial abuse. The source, who was to be trusted, violates (yet again) the person who came (while most likely trembling with fear over whom to trust) to the source for help. Somehow the source or sources that are supposed to be of help, forget(?) or have forgotten(?) what it is like to be the one whose core self has been shattered.

Which is worse? The initial abuse, or the re-abuses by the so-called support systems or even professionals?

It happens. I've read peoples' stories where it has happened. I never imagined I'd be one of those stories.

It is no small thing.

I don't feel much trust these days. My heart is a bit crustier. I'm kneading it, with hopes it will rise.

November 5, 2011

I pen in Gregg

When journaling and in notes to myself, I draw words in Gregg shorthand mixed with longhand.

I wonder how many folks pen in Gregg?

Below is the text of and a photo from part of a recent journal entry...from between the Moleskine cover.

Friday, 11/04/11
Starbucks - Reynolda Road 3:00 PM

'Tis a cloudy fall day. Sleepy day. Not sure what I have to write today, what I have to come off my fingertips....these letters and words to draw.

I like thinking of writing as drawing letters. I mean like art...I draw.

I like taking time to draw them legibly.

Sometimes when I write, I write too fast and even I can't read my own handwriting.

Maybe I'll take a photo of this page of my handwritten journal.

I could even give a little lesson in Gregg shorthand. Hmmm...that is an idea.


Photo of the above journal entry:

Read more about Gregg shorthand here: Gregg Shorthand Alphabet

The text to the left states:

My name is Carol.
This is a snippet photo of Gregg shorthand.
My name is Carol.
What is your name?

More mistruths, half-truths, un-truths

I doubt any readers of toss & ripple are much interested in my continuing to address some of Knapp's statements that he posted on the internet in August and September, 2011.

However, these additional snippets where I address some of Knapp's statements that were not addressed in my initial response page may continue to come off my keyboard. Some may accuse me of just keeping the crap Knapp stated alive. So be it. For me, it is still alive. That will not always be the case.

If Knapp would take reasonable and responsible accountability for any of his words and actions, I perhaps wouldn't feel as strongly about posting my responses.

So, skip this blog piece if you're not interested.



Another of Knapp's August, 2011, online statements is that within days of our split in August, 2010, I published online that I was considering taking legal action against him.

He provided no evidence in his accusation. So I'm not sure what he is referring to.

The closest I came to what Knapp may have interpreted as me considering taking legal action, was in a rant I wrote (in which I mentioned no names) on August 12, 2010, and posted on my blog. (Knapp cut me off on August 2, 2010.) Perhaps Knapp interprets me stating that "I'd like to hang the ("jerk") guy out to dry" as a legal threat.

Following is the quote from that 'rant.' The rant can be read in its entirety here: August 12, 2010 ~ 2:45 AM Rant. (And yes, I was peeved when I wrote it. The context of the piece explains why I was angry.)

I could take this dude to the cleaners if I choose. JERK!!

But...that's not my style. Yet after getting the email tonight from an innocent person in no way involved in the situation and not knowing anything really other than I'm gone...after getting that email that asks me one simple question, I'd like to hang the ("jerk") guy out to dry.

[end quote]

Within a coupleish weeks I took that rant offline and put it in draft and posted it again in June, 2011, when I was bringing forth things I had written in private or with pseudonyms.

In his August, 2011, online postings Knapp states I was selective in the emails I sent with my complaint to NY. I guess I was; I figured NY didn't need the 100+ email exchanges that happened during the conflict between Knapp and Lema, most of those emails being between Knapp and Lema. I sent the state email exchanges I thought pertinent to the complaint and I offered to send all email exchanges if need be.

In his August, 2011, online postings Knapp also stated that he consulted with supervision regarding our dual relationship, specifically that of my volunteering on his projects. I question if he did and wonder if he brought up the other dualities (that of friendship and role reversal). But perhaps he did, putting his slant on each duality.

I question if Knapp ever consulted anyone legally or professionally regarding any of this drama. Perhaps he did, again giving his slant of what happened without any evidence, other than his word. Or perhaps he selectively chose emails (which he accuses me of) and perhaps selectively chose paragraphs of my public writings as evidence of his slant. Similar to what he did in his August, 2011, postings in which he chose a few paragraphs from what I'd written within a couple days after his actions in August, 2010. (Again, no names were revealed.) Knapp dismisses or ignores that I later state in that same online thread (Again, at that time, names were not revealed.) that after other information about Knapp was forth coming indicating his treatment toward me was perhaps a pattern and after having consulted for weeks with a psychologist whose been practicing for decades, that I had filed a formal complaint; thus my interpretation of events had changed.

In his August, 2011, online postings Knapp also stated that Jim [last name excluded] told Knapp that someone was pouring over emails with me showing me how Knapp had manipulated me. Someone later asked Jim about that and according to Jim, Jim never stated that to Knapp. It's another thing that Knapp apparently made up or twisted or something. Plus, as stated in my address to Knapp's allegations and accusations, I and the person who supposedly was pouring over emails with me never directly communicated about any of this until after Knapp's defamatory postings at the end of August, 2011. To this day, that person and I have never poured over Knapp's emails.

As I stated (in tears and distress) via Skype to someone who contacted me in July, 2011, about their Knapp experience, "I wish John had never put me in this situation." The situation of having to make the god-awful choice of reporting him or not, and then the god-awful choice of going public or not.

At this point, after I've heard, read, and seen lie after lie without any apparent regard from Knapp for the people whom he has left in his small wake, I think the man has no conscience.

...And that is my current opinion. It will take a lot to convince me otherwise.

To be continued (perhaps) snippets and bits....

November 4, 2011

Continuing to address some statements: DID, not dissociation

I doubt any readers of toss & ripple are much interested in my continuing to address some of Knapp's statements that he posted on the internet in August and September, 2011.

However, these additional snippets where I address some of Knapp's statements that were not addressed in my initial response page may continue to come off my keyboard. Some may accuse me of just keeping the crap Knapp stated alive. So be it. For me, it is still alive. That will not always be the case.

If Knapp would take reasonable and responsible accountability for any of his words and actions, I perhaps wouldn't feel as strongly about posting my responses.

So, skip this blog piece if you're not interested.



Another false (or at least mistaken) statement by John Knapp follows. Perhaps John just got mixed up, or perhaps Doug shared with him that it was simple dissociation that I stated was one of John's diagnoses in my conversation with Doug. Regardless, that's not what I shared with Doug.

Knapp's statement on his Facebook page thread about me, a thread which he has since apparently deleted, was:
Weirdly enough, one of the complaints Carol Welch leveled against me to Doug Mesner, one of my board of directors, was that I suffered from dissociation and depression. To which Doug sagely replied, "I know. We've talked about it a couple times." Apparently Carol Welch expected him to be shocked, shocked to hear I was human.

No, that's not what I told Doug Mesner.

In my phone conversation with Doug around March, 2011, I asked Doug if he knew that Knapp had been diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder (DID). DID is different from simple dissociation and is controversial as a diagnosis. DID used to be called multiple personality disorder.

Doug responded that he knew John had trouble in the past with dissociation. I shared that this diagnosis was current, at least as of June, 2010, and that it was dissociative identity disorder; not dissociation. Doug and I did not belabor the subject in our conversation.

To my recollection, Knapp's DID diagnosis was the only diagnosis I shared with Doug; the other challenges Knapp mentions online (depression, et al) that Knapp is challenged with were not pertinent in my conversation with Doug.

My conversation with Doug was not a gossip session. I shared what I did with Doug because Doug was a co-founder of the CHSCA and is involved with research regarding false memory syndrome and the like. I thought Doug should be (or at least would want to be) informed about what Knapp shared with me regarding Knapp's DID diagnosis.

As stated in "My statements addressing John M. Knapp's allegations & accusations," I never publicly stated anything about Knapp's DID diagnosis until after Knapp brought it up on the internet. Prior to that, for various reasons, I shared privately with a few certain parties Knapp's DID diagnosis that he shared with me via email on June 10, 2010. I never took it lightly when I revealed that to anyone.

Added note: Doug Mesner resigned from the CHSCA in September, 2011.

Play: A Deep Subject

A journal entry from 4/21/2003

Learning to play again is foundational to experiencing the fullness of life.

What is play? Freedom. Freedom of expression. Freedom of movement. Freedom of thought. Swings and creeks. Daisies. Bracelets in the sun.

Play has no time boundaries. Play has no schedule. Play flows and ripples like a creek with various dips, turns, waterfalls, and rate of flow. Sometimes it flows quickly and then gently slows into a quiet, relaxing swimming hole. Continue down the creek and the flow picks up speed again. Play is not stagnant. Play is open to unlimited possibilities.

Play is a child's work, a child's occupation. It is a child's calling and vocation. Play develops neural circuitry within that child's system that is crucial to the mental, emotional, and physical health and wellness of that child. I believe in neurogenesis. I learn to play again, my system will respond with the genesis of youthful, exuberant, fresh, joyous, satisfied, stimulating, flexible, intuitive neural circuitry. is a deep subject.

I posted the above after reading a Huffington Post article. I was reminded to do at least one fun thing every day.

BTW: I was still in The Way when I wrote the above in my private journal. It may seem small, yet it contributed to my process of finally leaving The Way, in October, 2005.

November 2, 2011

Ducks waddle and quack like ducks

Again, I was re-reading some of Knapp's previous postings on the CHSCA website from the end of August, 2011. Postings he is, apparently, trying to now hide? Postings only accessible now through a certain ISP address and possibly via cache.

I can see why anyone would want those diatribes hidden from easily accessible public view. In one of the pieces he really attempts to degrade a peer in the social work field. It's just downright sick. Low, low, low. (Got to thinking later that "peer" really isn't the right word; the person Knapp disparages has their PhD in social work and abides by a decent code of ethics.)

Amidst his diatribes he states that what I have published on toss & ripple regarding my experience with him is only a little snippet of what I've written for public eyes in the past year (from August, 2010, through August, 2011). He insinuates that he has some proof of this via Google Reader.

It's another false accusation. There aren't all these other places online where I have posted my experience.

There's my blog here, toss & ripple, which is the main place. I came forward with Knapp's name in March, 2011, on this blog.

At that time, in March, 2011, I began the thread on Friend's Chat ModernChat. I also came forward, expressing my opinion, on Mesner's now deleted blog post announcing the CHSCA. I think I posted 2(?) comments with Doug there.

In March, 2011, I came forward with Knapp's name on a mental health forum discussion board where I had previously posted about my initial experience very anonymously in August, 2010, when I was trying to figure out if what had happened was unethical and qualified as therapy abuse.

Before March, 2011? Knapp's name wasn't mentioned...unless I mentioned it on my now private blog, versions. To my recollection, that blog was never on search engines. I set that blog to completely private sometime in September, 2010, I think it was. If, in August, 2010, I mentioned Knapp's name on versions, I would have taken his name down very quickly. I was quite afraid to mention his name.

Even when I came forward with his name in March, 2011, I trembled. It wasn't an easy thing for me to do. And the decision to do so was soley mine.

So, just for the record, Knapp's insinuations of all the other many places where I supposedly exposed Knapp on the net, don't exist; and Knapp's statement that my sharings here on toss & ripple (as of the end of August, 2011) are only a tiny, little fraction of what I've publicly written, isn't true. In other words, what I've published on toss & ripple is the bulk.

The more I re-read and study this scenario and the events leading up to and surrounding it, the more the duck looks like a duck.

PS: Even if I had been loudly vocal across the net (which isn't the case), I haven't lied. I did speak up; but it was more a whisper, comparatively speaking. The person who really exposed Knapp on the internet, was Knapp himself.

PPS: A previous post that is similar to this one is Absurdity.

Collages and Newborns

Halloween night, 2011.

I sit at the round table, next to the glass window, at Starbucks, sipping the autumn special, a seasonal caramel Frappuccino dolloped with whipped cream. I usually don't get the whipped cream, but it is Halloween.

I place the large, leather, engraved handbag on the chair to my right. I don't carry and haven't carried a lady's handbag or purse for decades; I still don't. In this handbag are not the usual lady items of lipstick, powder, gloves, sanitary needs, tissue, cell phone, check books, billfold, hairbrush. In my handbag are a ruler, scissors, poster tape, scotch tape, two Moleskine journals, pencils, pens, erasers, notes to myself, a collage journal, magazines I'd grabbed from home - Mother Earth News, The Economist, Backpacker, Reader's Digest.

The leather handbag is new; it was a gift my husband recently brought me from one of his trips to Nicaragua. It was handcrafted by a native Nicaraguan; an act I cherish. Human hands have touched and carved the detail into the leather.

Hubby's native Nicaraguan friend suggested the bag, stating it was large enough for my laptop, though I don't carry my laptop in it. I carry my laptop in a black padded laptop case. I have attached to one the flexible laptop case handles a Seagram's Crown Royal burgundy cloth bag with a twined golden closure cord, and an old camera cover. The Seagram's bag holds the power cord for my laptop; the old camera cover holds my mouse.

This evening, I do not have my laptop; only the leather handbag.

I place the leather bag on the seat of the wooden chair beside me. I pull out the Sarah Breathnach discovery collage journal workbook. The day before, I grabbed it from the bedroom bookshelf wiping the dust bunnies off the top edge of the journal. I bought it sometime before 2005.

I open the journal and look in the workbook page pockets, discovering a few snippets of life hidden from over six years ago. I find a birthday card from Way leadership. I left The Way in October, 2005. My birthday is in April. There is no date on the card. The card states how wonderful I am, how much the senders love me and are thankful for my life, how much I mean to God and the Household. The words prick; my heart pangs. I breathe.

Do I keep the card?

I choose to toss it.

I place the Sarah Breathnach workbook on the round wooden table. I pull out the magazines and place them on the seat of the wooden chair beside my Nicaraguan leather handbag. I pull out my scissors and poster tape and pens and pencils.

I read a bit of Breathnach's words. But I don't want any instructions. I just want to cut and collage. I don't want a "theme" or purpose. I want to allow my fingers to do the walking, the pictures the my heart.

A full page Greyhound advertisement catches my eye. It has a retro look. No photos. All graphic comic style. I like the saying at the top: "Get out there. Drink deep from the road. Eat life raw."

I tear it out, trim the edges designing an in and out rolling curved border. With poster tape, I secure it to the journal page.

My fingers waltz, turning pages of magazines. I look. I feel. I tear. I cut. I tape.

Madonna with a guitar.
A human leg floor lamp wearing a high heel and a tasseled lamp shade.
Glass of milk.
Pitcher of milk.
"Got milk" advertisement.
"Simply perfect."
A yak.
A sheep.
Glass bottle of milk.
Milk mustache.

Milk? I rarely even drink milk.

The perfect food for the innocent new born.
Us humans call it "nursing."

Recall Carol, the feeling of letting down.
Recall that life totally dependent on you.
You, Carol, brought life into this world.
You nurtured that life.

How many hours did you spend with each babe as that babe suckled that life-giving touch, the sweet nourishment produced just for that life?
Each week or month, your body adapting production for what was needed specifically for that life at that time.

Your body took care of that.
The babe was the catalyst.
You simply cradled that life.
You, the mother...of that bundle of life.

I pause.

This is collage #1.

Empty Spaces

Alone at my keyboard. Wondering if and what to blog.

How many blogs are there on the net? Millions? Billions?

From time to time I think about the "air waves"...or whatever they're called. The information it travels from satellite through the atmosphere and onto our screens and speakers.

Are the waves really invisible? Or, some day, will humanoids invent a device that can visually detect these vibrations, or whatever they are, that carry this information silently, invisibly from earth to space to earth, bouncing around and back and forth.

I'm sure it would appear a scrambled mess. I wonder if there would be any empty space between all the information and communication streams and highways? Or would it look like the old-timey snow on the old TV screens? I wonder if all that information streaming and beaming all around us, invisible, night and day, I wonder if it somehow affects our physiological and emotional state, and that of other living creatures?

I hope we never loose our empty spaces....which I know aren't really empty.