Thursday, November 13, 2014

2014 Gratitude Festival Day #12: Cheryl Strayed

Last night, along with an auditorium full of like minded people, I attended a lecture given by Cheryl Strayed, celebrated author of "WILD: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail." This inspiring memoir is one of the texts I devoured this summer as part of my personal walk about and quickly became a new favorite. Not only did I enjoy her writing style but this raw, honest and meaningful account of her personal grief journey provided another example of how authenticity requires us to willingly walk into the unknown...come what may. Her experience has been made into a movie staring Reese Witherspoon opening this December and I have a feeling it’s going to be a good one. Below are some of my notes from tonight followed by one of my favorite passages from her book WILD. Should you want or need a new favorite, I recommend you check this out. Grateful I got to hear her speak...I knew she and I would become BFFs. Grateful for her insights and personal courage to blindly walk into the unknown and do a hard thing. Grateful for my ability to was a hard one skill and something I am forever grateful for.
Quotes & Notes from her lecture:
"How is it...that we bare the things we can not bare? "
"I had to let my body carry the weight."
"What does it feel like to lose an essential person?"
"Why has our society made grief a private solo experience?"
"What is fierce maternal love? How does it happen? How do you develop it?"
"We continue to discover new layers of our lives"
"In the movie of my life...I was in the drivers seat."
From the book:
"The clamor of 'What have I gotten myself into?' was a mighty shout. It could not be drowned out. The only possible distraction was my vigilant search for rattlesnakes. I expected one around every bend, ready to strike. The landscape was made for them, it seemed. And also for mountain lions and wilderness-savvy serial killers.
But I wasn't thinking of them.
It was a deal I'd made with myself months before and the only thing that allowed me to hike alone. I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me. Insisting on this story was a form of mind control, but for the most part, it worked. Every time I heard a sound of unknown origin or felt something horrible cohering in my imagination, I pushed it away. I simply did not let myself become afraid. Fear begets fear. Power begets power. I willed myself to beget power. And it wasn't long before I actually wasn't afraid." - Cheryl Strayed, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

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