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Gail Storey book cover

Lessons from the Pacific Crest Trail

I’m halfway through Gail Storey’s memoir, I Promise Not to Suffer: A Fool for Love Hikes the Pacific Crest Trail—in preparation for her upcoming Guac & Chips interview and Ripen Your Writing teleseminar—and I’m struck by the fact that every venture, even of the feet, is ultimately a cell-splitting journey of the self.

It makes sense, then, that the language stopping me in my tracks while navigating Gail’s endearingly gutsy narrative has illuminated my own interior journey since launching The Avocado Sisterhood a month ago.

“We’re not lost. We just don’t know where we are.” (29)

Being “lost” implies that all strategies for finding out, and for being found, have been exhausted. When “we just don’t know where we are,” we remain equipped/empowered to find out ourselves. This past month, I experienced moments of terror, sensed strictly in my body as if I were miles off-trail, without water and a compass, my survival instinct kicking in: What am I doing? Why am I doing this? Where is everybody? Where am I?

I had to put my feet somewhere. (60)

Okay. Here. Now. No turning back. Wouldn’t have done it any other way. Must. Trust. Self.

I was eroding into the landscape of myself. (57)

This is not about me.

I existed to listen, I was the listening. (124)

Who wants to belong to this sisterhood of writers, and why? What else can I do to serve them?

Let that self [my small, imagined self] die into love out here. (125)


I would be as my nature required. (130)


Hike your own hike. (122)

We each gotta do what we gotta do to stay true.

Gaze, rest, gaze. Rest, listen, rest. Listen, wait, listen. Gaze, listen, be. (123)

From stillness, find out and be found. Then move forward.

So, what lessons have you learned from the natural world (what place?) or from a book (what book?)? Share in the comment box below.

♀ ♀ ♀

Watch Gail’s fun, smart, heartful book trailer for I Promise Not to Suffer here:

Get the dial-in # for, or recording of, Gail’s FREE Guac & Chips interview (July 9) here:

Learn about and register for Gail’s Ripen Your Writing teleseminar (July 23)—“Your Lover, Parents, Kids, and Friends: Spill the Beans Without Wrecking Your Relationships”—here:


  1. Marjacado, So glad my book resonated with you in the creation of The Avocado Sisterhood! I’m beyond thrilled to be part of your exciting new programs! Very much looking forward to our interview on July 9, we’re gonna have so much fun! And I promise a worthwhile teleseminar on July 23.

  2. Marj-

    great question: So, what lessons have you learned from the natural world (what place?) or from a book (what book?)?

    I am in pretty deep with this new writing project I began in late January this year and it seems as if I am as lost in it as I am found and those conditions show up for me now in remarkable, uncanny experiences…I get signs I guess by way of dreams, totem animals and memories that encourage the creative process. Creating anything is humbling and a test of trust and faith that what we create is born out of the right intentions to know self. Deep woods for sure.

    Years ago you gifted me with a CD from David Whyte called “midlife and the Great Unknown” -such sustainable & timeless work in David’s work. Everytime I listen to it, it finds me wherever I am and each time I listen to it, I am amazed to realize the distance I have travelled. It brings me peace and durable assurance.

    Recently I came by another sustainable, time resistant quote by Russell Simmons who is a music entreprenuer and it has really served me well. Consider his insight:

    “Forget results you have no control over and that don’t bring happiness. Instead delve deep into your work until it becomes prayer.”

  3. Hey, Suzanne (Mogodia)–That’s exactly my experience when I listen to David Whyte; you’ve perfectly captured it: “it finds me wherever I am.” I’m similarly struck by your phrase “I am as lost in it as I am found”–particularly as a mantra for life. “Work as prayer,” too–such a humbling lens. Thank you.

    Here’s one for the Awesome Quote Swap:

    “Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.”

    ~Rainer Maria Rilke, LETTERS TO A YOUNG POET

  4. Heavy avocado shaped tears fall as I read these words…”waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage” and “Work as prayer” and all the others.
    Having many but nothing to add to the quote swap and only to ask in this moment, was the
    July 23rd event recorded so members can listen in since, I for one, was en route to Chicago and BlogHer where I met 5000 other women bloggers.
    I will poke around to see about the tele-seminar.

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