Wander With Me

I’ve always been a deep thinker.  When I was just a kid and trying to be one,  I was often deeply disturbed by questions related to reality, time, perception and context.

My friend Bonnie and I played in our neighborhood every afternoon.  Frequently our “play” involved a walk around the block..our claim for independence in a way that satisfied both of us and our parents as well.  She was my best friend.  We were in fourth grade.

That's Bonnie on the left and me on the right. If I'm not mistaken we were watching Scooby Doo on a Saturday morning.

The conversation would go a little something like this:

Me:  So…if God has always been here, then there is no “before.  Time just goes on and on.  You know…like the sky.  There is no beginning or end.

Bonnie:  I guess so.

Bonnie kicks a rock or two or skips a few steps. She daintily performs a perfect pirouette.  I continue walking to nowhere in particular, my brow wrinkled, signifying a brain on warp speed.

Me:  Does that mean we were always here?  Were we somewhere before we got here and are we going somewhere after we leave?

Bonnie:  Don’t know.

Bonnie stops for a second, places her knapsack on the ground.  She picks up an acorn and throws it into someone’s yard. She waits to hear it land.

We walk for a number of paces before another question emerges.

Me:  So…why is the sky blue?  I mean of all the colors in the universe, why was blue the color picked for the sky?  It could’ve been orange, green or red, but it’s blue.  Why is it blue, you think?

Bonnie:  No idea, Molly.

There is a centipede on the ground—a big furry thing.  I step over it.  Bonnie slows to observe.  She stops, picks up a stick and prods the fuzzy body a bit, watching it roll.

Molly:  Do you ever hear a conversation in your head? Like your mom is saying something but it’s not her voice.  You know something like, “you should clean your room now because if you don’t it means you are lazy”?

Bonnie:  Not sure, Mol.

Bonnie opens her knapsack and pulls out what resembles a cookie, although it appears to have been knocked around a bit by the other items adjacent to it.  She takes a bite and tosses the remaining bit in another front yard.

Molly:  Do you ever think it’s weird that our heart beats without our having to do anything about it.  I mean, when was the last time you had to remember to breathe?  Do you ever wonder about that and think its kinda cool?

Bonnie:  Mmmm.  Never thought about that.

Bonnie stops and places her hand on her chest, cocks her head to one side and looks as if she is listening to something.

Bonnie :  Cool.  Anyway, I gotta go!

She shrugs her shoulders, laughs out loud and runs a beeline for home.

When I turned fourteen, I went into neuron overload.  I couldn’t seem to keep up with all the questions and keen observations.  Being a teenager is tough as it is trying to maneuver through what feels like thousands and thousands of pieces of incoming data, but add to it, this constant and never ending conversation with myself about the bigness of the universe, life, purpose…MY purpose…and you end up with a very, very tired (sometimes anxious) girl.  I had a really hard time just observing…I had to always give what I observed some kind of meaning.

To deal with these demanding dendrites, I discovered two very distinct and opposing coping mechanisms.

Running

My Mom got sober in 1970. Not shortly after, she started running. She would launch out of the house, the screen door slamming behind her, feet to follow on the gravel pathway just outside. One hour later she would come back, perspiring, red-faced and happy. She was literally transforming before my very eyes.

My mom was tall, svelte and quite elegant. She was captain of the basketball team and Homecoming Queen. She went to Smith College and shortly after, met my father. He drove onto campus, one fall day, in a baby blue convertible and the rest was history.

Mary still is the most authentic woman I’ve ever known. In March of 1970, she hit bottom. It took a couple of tries before sobriety “stuck” but once it did, she became a tremendous advocate for women struggling to get sober. She started working at a local Alcohol Treatment facility and sponsored dozens of women in a 12-step program. She wrote poetry, read poetry and even had a number of her poems published. She competed in many local 5k’s, winning her age group. She started running longer distances and competed in a number of 10k’s, 15k’s and even one half-marathon.

In 1974, I joined her on one of her early morning runs. I was 14. She was 52. The sun was not yet up. The screen door screeched “good morning”, our feet hit the gravel and we were soon journeying through our neighborhood. I ran one block with her–about a mile. We didn’t say a word. Our feet rhythmically hit the hard cement in unison, our breath in and out—mantra like–the crisp edge to approaching autumn filling our lungs. I had never experienced anything quite like it…the quiet, the fellowship, the power.

I started running regularly with my Mom. The one-mile block grew into two blocks and then three. Eventually we were running eight, nine and ten miles together, usually first thing in the morning. And no matter how crazy my “other life” got (high school, college, my 20’s) meeting my mom for that early morning run was a welcoming sanctuary, where mother-daughter became woman-woman…where I felt connected, loved and could quiet the constant questioning, searching, needing for purpose, meaning, love.  It was as if, the needing for purpose went away and the purpose just came.

And so I ran to quiet the noise, the talk and the constant mental wanderings.  During my runs I would inevitably come to a state of nothingness, presence, being.  I couldn’t yet articulate its quieting effects, but I knew that running did something…something I was not yet aware of…but something really good.

Alcohol:

In 1976, I took my first drink

BAM…the noise went away.  The conversations subsided.  The quiet, while only temporary and “fake” would come.  My need to understand, to seek purpose, to have a greater connection simply slipped away.  When I was under the influence of alcohol, of course only a temporary fix, I was able to find some peace of mind…the profound nature of my essence was hushed away and I was simple, numb, something I was not born to be.  Seventeen years later, I was jobless, homeless and emotionally dying.

On July 6th, 1993. I hit bottom. I was empty, silent and deafened by the cycle of shame that now ruled the conversations occurring each morning. I placed a last-ditch call to my sister. “Help me.  Please somebody, anybody! I can be no longer…”

My sister had heard this from me many times and, as always, she was patient: “Molly, just sleep on it. Promise me that you will just sleep on it–see how you feel in the morning.  Honey, this too shall pass.”

I hung up the phone, curled up on the couch and lay there in the despair, in the silence and the darkness of my depressed brain, and knew that nothing short of a miracle would pull me out of that wished-for sleep.

The following evening, July 7th, somehow, I dragged myself out the door and by rote hit the pavement for a run. The air was electric with a coming thunderstorm, the wind blowing the leaves of the trees upside down and causing the dirt on the street to swirl up. Rounding the last corner of a six-mile run onto East Boulevard, I was on the last stretch of road toward the apartment where I was staying. Everything was in sync, my breathing, the float of my steps on the pavement, my relaxed arms, my speed–and as I approached the intersection of Kenilworth and East Boulevard I moved to a space of total effortlessness and breathlessness, overcome with the moment.

Something was happening–something so real, so raw, so momentous, it forced me to stop dead in my tracks at that intersection. The sounds of the city floated to the background, the street disappeared, and like tunnel vision I became fixated on the way the sun filtered through the leaves on the trees. casting the most distinct shadows on the pavement at my feet. I could hear my breathing, my heartbeat in my ears; feel the sweat flowing across my temples and down my back and chest; a surge of strength , power, presence lit me up–and in that instant my life changed. Call it what you want, but the darkness of the shame I had hidden away inside was warmed by a light of such power that for that moment I just was: silent, present, pure, worthwhile and nothing.

I wasn’t a woman, a runner, a troubled person.  I wasn’t old, young, an alcoholic.  I just was…nothing.  No longer seeking.  No longer wondering.  I was.  I was nothing.

What was different about this experience was my awareness of its occurrence.  The years of running prior to this day had always left me with a feeling of power, strength and being, but I had never been able to articulate why.  For the first time, I was conscious of this state of nothingness.  I was free of definitions, stereotypes, cultural and societal expectations and in that moment the meaning, purpose, answers to all my questions and the core of all my conversations become crystal clear.  These conversations don’t really exist.  They are not me.  These conversations are nothing until I declare them as something.

Ahhh…to stay in such a state would be a luxury.  I’m here to admit, though, that I am back at it again in full force!  If I’m completely honest with you, if I take a few minutes and consciously listen, there’s still a lot of talking going on inside my head.(Thankfully not as much.) So much so that I even have conversations about the conversations.  “You should be past this by now.”  “Aren’t you through with all of this negative self-talk?”  “Why can’t you be at peace and just get over all this thinking?”

I’ve done a lot of awareness work over the last seventeen years.  A LOT! This has included trying a number of very interesting additional coping mechanisms to quiet the incessant chatter.  I’ve been through personal enrichment courses, run triathlons, journaled, read books, written books, “gone” vegetarian, made love, not-made-love, cut my hair off, worn only cotton fabrics, hired a guru, meditated, remained silent for two weeks, went braless and make-up-less,  prayed. chanted and practiced yoga…and yet, while not as demanding or loud, the conversation in there keeps on keeping on.

It seems to me that every one of these techniques brought me closer to detaching from the chatter and just observing it.  When I embrace the talk and see it for what it is, rather than fight it, I move to this higher state of nothingness.  When I run, when I write, when I meditate, when I disconnect from and observe the conversations, they no longer rule or define me…they just become nothing.  And it is from this state of their nothingness, that I can create meaning, purpose and some sense of Divinity.

Which leads me to now…right this minute, while I write.  Go with me on this.  I’m beginning to wonder if this state of nothingness that I experience when I write, might be something you and I could share.  Perhaps the space to which I travel when I write, particularly about the children in my life, might provide a sanctuary of sorts for you:  an opportunity to become “nothing” with me…an opportunity to explore our nothingness and joyfully move into the space of our something…that which we choose to be…not that which we feel we must be.

What might reveal itself to all of us if I, as best I can, share the nothingness joy of being…jump in with wild abandon, ride with it recklessly and uninhibitedly, joyfully bring it up from inside to out and have some fun.  Conquer…no that’s old language…”love on” this space with one another and in the process evolve a little more and maybe just maybe…if we are lucky live more frequently in the space of joy and wonder where children live so uninhibitedly and unabashedly!    What will I learn?  How will my awareness grow and evolve?

And so my friends, here is my invitation (and challenge) to you:  Come along with me.  I don’t want to do this alone.  Join me. Come on!  Every once in a while, I will share a story or experience which has wandered in and out of my life and my life’s work, on this blog and we can share the perspectives/answers/questions that arise from that experience.  If you want to share the experience in person, rather than “electronically” read “What I do.”  Let’s celebrate our connectedness and delight in our differences.

We can wander through the big, little, weird, fun, rich profound and beautifully simple questions about and observations of ourselves and the world around us, together, each of us pondering, exploring and joyfully sharing what comes up for us.  Who knows what will happen?  Who knows what will show up, manifest, and reveal itself?  Who knows?  Can we ride to a state of nothingness together?  Will the power of the Divine become that obvious?

Molly:  So, Bonnie.  What do you think would happen if I put all these questions, conversations, debates and thoughts that I share with you every day on our walk around the block, down on paper?  What might reveal itself?  What will show up if I set them all free?  Set myself free?   What will happen to you?  What might happen for you?

Bonnie:  I dunno, Molly.

Molly:  Wanna find out?

Bonnie:  Sure.

Bonnie picks up a stick and traces a parallel path on the ground beside her as we join hands and walk home together.

39 Responses to Wander With Me

  1. JM says:

    I wonder, as you wander through this observational year, if you might find acceptance rather than nothingness … acceptance that your core self isn’t meant for peace, quiet and divinity but for thoughts, words, chatter, an evolution of ideas, interests, roles, passions, goals, and journeys toward the beginning … where you find yourself, as you have always been and will always be.

    Not nothing. Not too much. Too little. Too distracted, burdened by boxes, labels, intent on meaning with a name, definition and clear articulation (complete with directions for the next evolution would be nice, right 🙂

    Just like the celestial revolutions, a God of no beginnings or endings … but a life that offers the gifts of introspection, exploration, communication, joy, despair, spirit, relationships … and choices, to decide if nothingness in the moments is something that can be corralled for a “golden-ticket” kind of thought-stopping-peace-driving “finish” to the story of Molly and her many questions.

    Or, if the moments are golden opportunities, invitations, maybe, to consider embracing the marvelously curious seeker with acceptance of all her parts, including those that insist on wondering and wandering … and persist toward meaning.

    Maybe it all means this is who and how you were meant to be, and that is an excellent, accceptable, exciting and ultimately peaceful person willing and able to share it all with the rest of us. I look forward to thinking about the things on your mind this year!

  2. Dawn says:

    I LOVE this. You know one of my favorite parts? I love that you started in February- not pressured by the convention of starting on 1Jan for a year-long project- jumping in head-first in Feb and sharing your heart- I love it. Sharing your heart is really the only thing that can disarm the angriest, saddest, hopeless-est person you will meet each day. And it’s really not so hard, it just takes stepping out of yourself long enough to share. Thank-you for sharing with us and showing us how to share with others!!

  3. BB says:

    I read this and had to stop a few times to reflect and think, and quiet my own voices. I use to think it was a curse, but I realize it is a gift. A raw gift, almost like a loved one giving you a dull, jagged rock with dirt all over it and a ring with a setting. “what do I do with this?” you chip at it, shape it, buff it, clean it, polish it, and when it is ready you set it on that ring and fuse it so it will never fall out. This diamond ring I just described would have been ok if you got it as a finished gift and admired by some, but if everyone knew you personally created it, how many more people would take notice and appreciate it. I always thought I was alone with my high RPM brain, and for so long I tried to tune it out or at best filter it. But I am now realizing I need to catch some of the stuff knocking around in there and then put action to it, share it, write it, meditate on it and then move on it. You talked about connections, this is one of my connections that keeps Brining me back to this place. Thank you – BB

  4. Emily says:

    my mind is very different. i can have a sudden idea and be thinking about it so much, i get in trouble at school. but when i finally get a chance to share it or write it down, i get distracted then i cant remember exactly what i was thinking of i can remember tidits but not the whole thing. its like knowing one verse of your favorite song but no the chorus. and then, when i get back to the classroom i suddenly remember, and get so excited. then i forget again. i think i only get my very best creative ideas or stories when im bored or tired or i saw/ heard something i cant stop thinking about (which usually effects my dreams at night [can be good or bad, just depends])

    also, Bonnie sounds kind of like the exact opposite of the way your mind works, you had such deep, impossible questions and she just said: i dunno.
    i just think thats kinda funny (but in a confusing way)

  5. Martha says:

    Very refreshing.. Many times I have wanted to thank you for your thoughts and inspirations. I too, have been on a journey over the last year, which brought me to the yoga studio. I was a dancer in my past, and college, marriage and motherhood all entwined with the voices you speak of needed to be quieted down. I began running, and was actively involved in my son’s PTA.. I was asked to be a running buddy, and that is how I came to know you. The last two years I found solitude in the gym and yoga studio, I am a better person than I was a year ago. My journey unfolds before my eyes, January was a month of risks, some challenging, some inspiring, even life changing…

    I think we ask questions and we seek answers because we want to grow, we want to become the best well rounded person possible. But personal growth comes when we least expect it, and when we open our hearts it changes our lives. I will embrace February with an open heart. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Lisa Hodges says:

    Molly, I’m so glad I stumbled on this yesterday and am joining this before you have ventured on too far! I think you have hit on a very important concept here. For at least 15 – 20 years we have been told that we need to turn off all the voices and enter in to a quiet place where we can be with God, or focus, or meditate or pray or whatever. I always felt like such a loser because I couldn’t get the voices and the noise to be still and concerned if I would EVER be able to pray or connect to God or . . . Running for me (or walking lately due to hamstring issue) has been the only time that the noise is managed — and where my best inspirations occur — when your arms and legs and pulse are in perfect rhythm. It’s the management of the chatter, the giving of a shape and a place to it that seems to be the key, and accepting that some of us just are tooled to be silent. . . Miss you and the GOTR world!

  7. Lorie says:

    Any books you would recommend while on the journey?

    • The Untethered Soul…is amazing. I believe the author’s name is Michael Singer. I also like Marianne Williamson’s Return to Love. It is in this book the famous quote (often incorrectly credited to Nelson Mandela) can be found. That quote is still my favorite: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

      Anything by Gerald May. He has written many that I have enjoyed. The Dark Night of the Soul and Addiction and Grace.

      Come and See: The Transformation of Personal Prayer by David Keller is a book that launched me on this journey.

      Anyone else want to chime in here with their favorites?

  8. Lorie says:

    What an inspiring and challenging quote! I will be having surgery next week and am compiling a reading list…I will add some of these to my list. Thank you.

  9. Momadad says:

    I read your story and struggle and can relate. I have the same problem with all these questions and brain on constant overload. Trying as I write to figure a way to make it ok not to quest each day to answer them, to know nothing. I sometimes analyze things to the point I get bogged down and frankly very emotional, even on mere simple things. I too have that escape that you have beat and in this blog, I found the words I needed so much to read. People need to realize it is not all it seems, you may look at someone and think they have it all together, normal, even to the point of being a beautiful person on the outside, but behind the front some of us put on there is the questions and the constant agony of trying to figure out who we are and what we are and for some they have an escape that is secret that looking on the outside you would never know. I feel I have found a place to look for that here. Thank you for your words, they do mean so much more than a mere internet blog and maybe I can find something in this nothingness. Be here everday, searching for myself that I lost long ago, thank you. For I am both mom and dad, therefore I lost who I am, me, myself, and I hope to find it soon. I will run, maybe not public right now, but I will run just for myself starting today. I hope that is not too confusing Molly, I just read myself in your story.

  10. Melissa says:

    Ahhhhh…Molly Barker you were just what I needed this week!

    As a former (hopefully future too) GOTR coach, I have had this voice in my heart that would bring the story of Molly up every once in a while and I would remember the session I coached in Lansing and the awesome training you and your staff provided. What a great experience! Seeing my girls cross that finish line was AMAZING! Nothing can replicate that feeling, ever! I would say to myself, someday I’ll have more time and I can work on starting that here in my kids’ school. Then I would get busy again and the voice would get muted out by my daily life. And my 9yo daughter would comment about her body…”so and so is skinnier…Lyndsey says I am too skinny”…etc. I would always remind her how beautiful she was no matter what. But was I really helping her feel good about herself? Was I empowering her with the tools to feel amazing no matter what anyone did or didn’t say to her? And then I looked in the mirror. I was not helping set the example. I wasn’t exercising. I wasn’t eating healthy. I wasn’t being the mother she needed and could emulate.

    This past year for me has been one of the hardest years of my life. I single handedly mismanaged our finances and it resulted in a foreclosure, I was diagnosed with clinical depression and put on medication. I allowed that medication to numb me to what I really wanted in life. Me. Not this version of me who didn’t care anymore. Not the version who couldn’t feel anymore. This wasn’t me. And this was not the mother my children deserved.

    I am finally finding my way out of the fog that had settled around my heart. To honor myself and help regain my mental strength, I decided to set a goal to help motivate me (train for a half-marathon: Check!), find an outlet for that goal (Inaugural Indianapolis Women’s Half-Marathon: Check!), Register for said outlet (OMG! This benefits GOTR here in Indianapolis?!?!?! Yes! I knew there was some higher power working here. Registered: Check!)

    Today I registered as a SoleMate and feel more energy flowing through me than I have in a really long time. So thank you Molly! Thank you for finding the strength and having the vision for GOTR! Thank you for the amazing work you do on a daily basis! Thank you for putting yourself out there, this blog is GREAT! Thank you for being you. Nothingness and all.

    With much love and respect,
    Melissa DalCorobbo

  11. Melissa says:

    Wow! I am truly inspired. Your blog is bookmarked on my browser as I will definitely be visiting often. Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability, it’s such a breath of fresh air (on a long run :).

  12. Nicole says:

    Molly, what a wonder that I have found your blog.

    I stumbled upon your site after doing a GOTR event with my niece. I did not know about the organization before she joined, and after reading about it I am inspired and excited that there is such a meaningful place for girls this age. Thank you for all that you do.

    I began reading and have been mesmerized by your words. I have been particularly struck by “coincidences” and “hugs”. I had to stop reading momentarily due to the fog of tears covering my eyes.

    I have two young children, the joys of my life. As any parent knows, this is the most challenging and rewarding quest anyone can embark upon. I have however, been struggling with other challenges as well. I sometimes think they have cropped up in the last two years, but deep down I believe they were there all along.

    I have been battling mild depression, which I have thankfully been able to manage (not beat) with talk therapy, support of true friends, and yes… running. I believe to my core that making healthy choices – working out almost every day, eating right – have been life-saving for me. At times, literally.

    I have also been experiencing some challenges in my marriage. They are deep, emotional, core issues. I believe that these things were always there – or more accurately NOT there – since the beginning. This will be a long haul, I’m sure.

    But something has caused me to grow and (begin to) discover myself. Me. Not the Mom, wife, sister, daughter… just me. I have been challenged, scared, and excited. I have looked not just at myself, but into myself. I am discovering my faith, which has been incredibly exciting. I have discovered what unconditional love really means. I challenge myself every day to see the world the way I WANT to see the world – as peaceful, beautiful, energizing. I am on a life-long journey to finally find peace in my heart. And what a journey it will be…

    So Molly, thank you for this. From the “coincidence” that I found your blog to the “hug” I feel from you and other posters every time I read… I will be here often – laughing, crying, and discovering.

  13. erin cramer says:

    Every time I read your words I think, “Wow!” Just…wow! You leave me breathless. Speechless. Overwhelmed. There is no doubt my life crossing yours via GOT was indeed the answer to my request and I am so thankful for that. And for you.

  14. Bonnie says:

    Yes, the “Bonnie” of the story here 😉 Mol, you’re an engaging writer, and such an inspiration to many. Memory is such a funny thing…I remember our “roles” with each other almost the opposite of your recollections, with me posing the incessant questions! One thing I remember being impressed by about you even as a child was your patience (which I didn’t share but of which I was the frequent beneficiary). Love you! (By the way, the pic is from a weekend we spent with my mom on her friend’s boat.)

  15. Lisa Side says:

    Someone like NPR or TIME should write a story about how you, Molly, have not only channeled your own struggle and insights into an amazing program to build girls’ self esteem but are also transforming the lives of the grown ups who become GOTR coaches.

    There is an “adult box” just like there is a “girl box”. The difference is that in the “adult box” instead of the negative data coming in from others and gradually settling in, it has been settled and self-perpetuated over years. It’s who we’ve become, and until a voice like your awakens us to the prospect of getting out of it, we’re stuck and perhaps with or without realizing it – wandering through a life of “nothingness.”

    At least, that is my story. And I must say that after all these years your voice, the incentive to run, and the call to rescue girls from the box before it closes in over their heads has cut through the clutter of my negative self talk and inspired me to say to myself “yeah, I am wonderful just as I am, and I’m going to give my best self to these girls….”

    I’m sure I’m not the only one whose story is being reshaped by yours. And that, alone, is quite a story.

  16. Kris Pall says:

    I’m in!!! I’m in for the journey! I’ve known of you Molly for several years through my interest in and peripheral connection to Girls on the Run in Johnson County. I’ve followed you on Facebook and always enjoyed seeing your face and enlightenment in my Newsfeed. I’ve watched your TED talk and been inspired by you…but not until this MORNING did I connect with your blog. And I must say Molly, I believe I’ve had a similar experience to your intersection moment…as I read your words my computer screen brightened, my heart quickened and sounds muted…it became nothingness in my kitchen. Molly, I am 43 years old and in all of those years (which included therapy, medication for anxiety/depression, and LOW self-esteem) has anyone articulated what has plagued my whole life…incessant INNER chatter! Which seems so innocuous when you say it but it really is something that can make you feel like you’re mad…and can steal your self-worth because you question why you question!!! Anyway, thank you for taking that run that night and not giving in to the “sleep”. Thank you for being you and thank you for being brave enough to share your journey with the rest of us!!! I am grateful!

    On a side note, I moved from Johnson County, KS 9 months ago. I had actually applied for the Council Director position there and was heart broken when I didn’t get past the phone interview stage. Ironically, because of my husband’s job, I ended up moving about a year later and I said to myself, “it all turns out as it should, because I could not have done justice for GOTR with my leaving”. So I am now here in North Central Arkansas and no one has really even heard of GOTR and it is a place that would SO benefit from it…and so the stirrings have started in me…do I dare start a chapter here??? It’s a small town and I have questions as to whether or not I can do it (especially as a newbie) but GOTR has planted a seed in my heart and I look forward to understanding how that connection will grow!

    Warmly,

    Kris

  17. Wow, first of all this is such an inspiring story, and secondly you sound so much like me! I’m sitting here astounded, how can anyone else have experienced what I did and what I continue to experience. I’m not the only one in the universe like this? Maybe I’m not as different as I thought I was. I don’t know if you’ve taken the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, but you sound like an INFJ, which is what I am. I am looking forward to reading your blog and I know that Washington DC has a GOTR, and I am going to check out their website as well.

  18. I confess: I started reading this blog with an ulterior motive. I am in major wandering mode, seeking a job after hitting a dead end in a marvelous career journey of being an educator, committed to helping students achieve their goals and dreams. So……I decde to go to nothingness, stillness. I am open to the universe and type “nonprofit Charlotte” in a job search engine, and it leads me to a nothingness/everything job at GOTR. It is magic, and I apply. That leads me to search everything and everyone about GOTR, and it leads me to your blog and the call to wander with you as you wander into nothingness.

    I read your blog and remember my own sick and tired of being sick and tired with drinking in 1985, and I want to read more, everything, nothing about your journey. Then I get to your reading recommendations for wandering, and I go down to our library (yes….my husband built us a floor to ceiling library and spent years searching before he drove to Ohio to put the perfect rolling ladder on top of our car and bring it back to Charlotte to complete the library). I rolled along every section. I hadn’t done that in a long time. I wandered into nothingness and came to everything: Authors I love: Elizabeth Berg, Julia Glass, Ann Tyler, Carol Shields, Alice Hoffiman, Alice Monroe. Books in particular: Come and Go, Molly Snow by Mary Ann Taylor-Hall; A Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindberg. So many more. …..but by going up the library ladder and wandering into nothingness, I thought that nothingness is actually might be grace. Here’s what Anne Morrow Lindberg says about it:

    “ But I want first of all…to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact—to borrow from the language of the saints—to live in “in grace” as much of the time as possible. I am not using this term in a strictly theological sense. By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony. I am seeking perhaps what Socartes asked for in the prayer from the Phaedrus when he said, “May the outward and inward man [woman] be at one.” I would like to achieve a state of inner spiritual grace from which I could function and give as I was meant to in the eye of God.”

    So how do we get there, those of us whose minds never stop wandering?

    “You have to be available to the invisible voices that are swirling around you.” –George C Wolfe
    “If only we could pull out our brains and use only our eyes.” –Pablo Picasso
    “There is no theory. You have merely to listen.” –Claude Debussy
    “To be an artist means never to avert your eyes.” –Akira Kurosawa

  19. Ahhh – How am I just now seeing this?! As always, Molly, beautifully written and so insightful and of course inspiring. I am loving following along your DC Adventures! May you continue on your wander and grateful you take us all along 🙂 ❤ Love to you.

  20. katherinefabrizio says:

    Lovely- I too have found gifts in the “in-between spaces”. Most powerful for me is holding what might be otherwise regarded as problematic in the periphery of my awareness and then letting it become what it wants to become. It feels to me like a dance with the divine. I am a counselor and sometimes “hold” my clients pain or vulnerability compassionately in my mind/heart after a session and let whatever happens happen. Sometimes an insight or awareness or intervention comes to mind. Thank you for inviting a conversation this. Your writing is divine!

  21. Ken Powers says:

    Molly, I was directed to you by a GOTR organizer here in Massachusetts and I can tell you just by reading your story and this blog, my life is never going to be the same again. Questions … I’ve got a million of them. Some are abstract but a lot are concrete. I am a reporter, having been given the gift that is the ability to write. The profession has encouraged and intensified my need to know — everything. I go to a diner for breakfast with a friend and we sit at the counter. I wonder how many eggs they use a week, so I ask. How many pounds of potatoes? Ask. Bacon? Ask. Pancake batter? ask. Finally my friend says to me, “KP, why the f*** do you want to know all this? What difference does it make?” I look at him, pause and say. “I want to know because I don’t know. Maybe it will have no value at all. Maybe in 10 years I’ll buy a diner and knowing just this little bit about the business will give me a head start. But even if nothing comes of it, and that’s most likely what will happen, I’m learning something today that I didn’t know yesterday.” He looked at me like I was nuts (I get that look a lot). I’ve ALWAYS had questions. Thanks for letting me know that, even if it’s not normal, it’s OK. I have so, so much to share with you. Will write again later.

  22. Brian Miller says:

    The answers to your questions and more can be found here. http://christogenea.org/

    Only, you have to truly have an open mind and not the fake ‘open mind’ that liberals and libertarians share alike, which in truth is nothing more than conventional wisdom, and that in itself is pseudo-intellectualism. Only someone who is a Child of God can be this self-conscious and self-aware. The more you study, the more the blanks will fill themselves because ultimate truth is LOGICAL.

    The media, the educational system and organized religion are there to keep us off the track and constantly questioning everything and only finding more rabbit holes that leave us empty inside. I hope that this will be the final push that it takes to SEE what is really going on in this often seemingly insane world.

  23. Brian Miller says:

    The answers to your questions and more can be found here. http:// christogenea. org/

    Only, you have to truly have an open mind and not the fake ‘open mind’ that liberals and libertarians share alike, which in truth is nothing more than conventional wisdom, and that in itself is pseudo-intellectualism. Only someone who is a Child of God can be this self-conscious and self-aware. The more you study, the more the blanks will fill themselves because ultimate truth is LOGICAL.

    The media, the educational system and organized religion are there to keep us off the track and constantly questioning everything and only finding more rabbit holes that leave us empty inside. I hope that this will be the final push that it takes to SEE what is really going on in this often seemingly insane world.

    EDIT: It didn’t send earlier for some reason.

  24. Kathy says:

    Molly,
    Just heard you speak in Maumee, Ohio. And like the young girl you mentioned at the end of the evening – God brought us here to help each other unwrap ourselves.

    How do let others know they matter? There are all kinds of ways and when we do, we matter.

  25. Ben Foxworth says:

    Where is Bonnie now? Are you still in touch?

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