Have you ever done something that was wild, crazy, dangerous, bold and out of character, just to discover who you really are? This video was about a twenty-two year old girl named Cheryl Strayed who decided to walk the Pacific Crest Trial by herself with only a heavy back pack. She started from Mojave to Washington state. In this blog we are going to look at her challenges, her persistence, what her Definite Major Purpose was, her positive mental attitude, her plan of action, the masterminding with people, and what she learned by accomplishing the journey.
Cheryl’s challenges started with her perspective about the trip. Realizing that she had to walk 5 miles before she could set up her tent for the evening. After much effort she made it to her first stop and now had to put up her tent and make something to eat. Since she never had put up a tent before other than knowing how to put the poles in the right place to get the tent to pull up into a dome. This became a very frustrating but a rewarding experience. Her sleep was restful and her breakfast satisfied her hunger for the time being. She packed up and continued on with her journey. Her next challenge was removing her boot to massage her foot and the boot tumbled down the cliff and was not possible to retrieve. She lost her temper and threw her other boot down the slope. This deteriorate could have cause a normal person to go home but her persistence kicked in and she wrapped her feet with duck-tape and continued on. One of her big challenges was learning how to trust people along the way. Her first experience was with a farmer. She interrupted his plowing to asked him if he might have some food that he would be kind enough to share. He told her to wait and once he had finished this area, he would take her to his house. He did so but she was on her guard until she met his wife and experienced her hospitality by letting her shower & eat dinner with them. Her next experience was hitchhiking and being picked up by people who were doing drugs except for the driver. They took her to the village which helped her avoid the severe snow area. There she met a ranger who treated her with kindness, giving her food & some tea whereas the other gentlemen there got no special privileges. She had doubts whether his kindness was given with anticipation to get something from her in return. Another example of her challenges was running into two hunters that had run out of pure water to drink. She had just purified two bottles of water which she gave them in hopes that they would be on there way. They finally left and she exited that area quickly once she gathered more water. Each challenge taught her more persistence and determination that she was going to finish.
What was Cheryl’s definite major purpose in her journey? Her DMP was to walk 1000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. She was going to walk herself back to the woman that her mother thought she was. Her mother had died and her whole world crumbled at that time. She allowed men to have sex with her, she got pregnant, and was into drugs. She felt she had to dig herself out of the mess she was in. She felt she had to find herself again.
Cheryl’s positive mental attitude evolved through the journey. At first she reflected on everything that went wrong in her life, the doubts she had, the wrong choices that she made, the guilt she experienced, and the mistakes she was sorry for. At the end of the journey she acquired a positive mental attitude by realizing what the journey had shown her and the importance of forgiving herself, letting go of her past so that her new life could begin to grow.
Cheryl’s plan of action began by making a rash decision to embark on a challenging trek across the Pacific Crest Trail with absolutely no experience. She had a map, interactive guide book, backpack with supplies and a desire to do this adventure in three months.
Cheryl’s masterminding experience include three men and one woman who were vital for her journey. Paul (her ex-husband) helped her by encouraging letters along the journey with some money periodically. Amy was Cheryl’s best friend who would send her packages with supplies and boots. Greg was the first person she met along the trail. He was very positive, encouraging, and told her she could do this feat. He told her that the trail up the mountain had been snowed in and that there was no way she could get through the way she was heading. By taking a detour she could cut back to the trail once she past the snow blockage. She didn’t want to take the detour but realized that was the only option. Ed-was the guy at her first stop that befriended her and helped her to organize the backpack so that it wasn’t so heavy.
Lastly what were some of the things she learned by walking the trail. She realized that her mom gave up her power by doing what other people wanted her to do instead of doing what she wanted to do. She realized the importance of being a self-directive thinker. She had to live her life like she wanted not according to what others thought was best for her. She realized that problems don’t stay problems and that this too would pass. She had an opportunity to grieve her mother’s death and to acknowledge her pearls of wisdom by remembering what she had told her. “We’re always rich in love” and the importance of finding the best self”. She had a crying period. Being sorry for everything in her life that had gone wrong such as her drug habit and her sex relationships. She gave herself permission to let go of the past and move forward to new things in the future. Her journey helped her to see where she was going and experience self-discovery. The journey also developed tools for her to see people for who they are, develop better decision-making skills and cultivate persistence no matter what obstacle might come her way.
This video really was an eye opener and it just reinforced all the wonderful skills learned from the Master Key Experience. As Bob Moawad puts it so nicely, “The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on or blame. The gift is yours, it is an amazing journey and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.” Cheryl’s life began on the Pacific Crest Trail. Where does your life begin?