Off & Running
a Blog of Life on the Run


Yesterday, I took a walk. A long, peaceful walk on a rocky path in a field staring at the foothills of the Rockies. 

Three dogs, two humans. 
Life has been so foggy lately. I sought clarity. 

While on my Live Your Brand Tour last year, I met Jonathon Stalls in Denver and had a chance to interview him. He had noticed what I was up to on Twitter and reached out. After hearing his story of walking across the United States in 8 months and his plans for sharing walking with others through his company, Walk2Connect, I knew I had met someone on my wavelength. We stayed in touch and when I headed out here again for my best friend's wedding, I asked him to go for a walk. Jonathon's connection to things around him along with his intensity balanced with a quiet peace drove me to need this time with him. As a runner, I'm not good at walking, but I knew I had to slow down.

As we headed for the place we would walk, lightening struck and the clouds rumbled. Walking toward the foothills and the dark clouds, I started feeling my shoulders drop and tension disappearing. The smell of blue sage, the panting of puppies following behind, and the light rain starting to fall - that's where happiness can be found.

Walking and talking for a few hours, sharing life, stories, hopes, dreams, and laughter. Two people getting deeper into life and love than anything you could have over a drink or coffee. Moving with the land, watching the storm roll in, and finding the sun again gave us the time to question, wonder, advise, give pieces of ourselves to whatever lies ahead.

We found a rope swing hanging over a stream. I had to remind myself not to be such an adult and stop worrying about what could happen and enjoy. After seeing his joy swinging back and forth while his dog tried to get him down, I stepped in and started swinging. All I can think about is that carefree feeling of childhood and I want to go back to that rope swing and do it again.

Shortly after swinging, we found street art on a fence inside the sprawling dog park. IWLYF - all I could think of was "I will lick your face," only to be told later it was "I will love you forever." I like what I came up with better. It fits better into a dog park and basically says the same thing.

Toward the end of our walk, Jonathon asked me to walk ahead of him for about ten minutes and just be quiet. He would hang back and let me reflect and be at peace, but when I felt the need, he told me to open my arms and welcome whatever needed to come in. Those ten minutes started off with my mind bouncing, before a song Jonathon sang earlier in the walk started running through my head - "Home is wherever I'm with you." I realized just how much I feel at home wherever I go. Denver feels like home. DC feels like home. WNY feels like home. California feels like home. Wandering feels like home. My puppies are my home. I opened my arms wide and the wind started blowing through me. It felt like nothing I'd ever experienced. Home.

We started talking about wandering and how it felt more normal and at home than just being in one place. It reminded me of his time walking The Way of St. James AKA El Camino de Santiago - a spiritual journey through Spain. His eyes got wide and he said he knew just what I needed to do. He challenged me to mark off my September (35 days total) 2014 and plan to take the journey. It would give me a year to plan for my time away and I couldn't possibly not do it. Although my heart did a nervous flip, I accepted the challenge and now have someone to keep me accountable. 

As I was doing my devotions this morning (I'm on Day 20 of the Draw the Circle Prayer Challenge), it talked about how there would never be a right time to do something and how we would never be ready for it. Go. Set. Ready. We have to take the first step and allow God to reveal the next step. God gives us just enough revelation, grace, and strength so we can live in daily dependence on Him. Our failure to act on what He is calling us to do is an act of disobedience. Faith is not faith until it is acted on. It's time for me to stop living day to day and get out to do the things God wants me to do. 

Taking this first step of reaching out to Jonathon for an afternoon walk led me to a second step of preparing for a quiet walking journey a year from now. Mental self care is so important to our growth and it's one of the things I've neglected the most. The peace I found yesterday and the quietness I still hold onto is exactly what I've been praying for. Thank you, Jonathon, for the journey you've taken so that I am able to be challenged to continue my own.

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