Dream Operation Just Start

You know those dreams?  The big kind that get in your craw and stay with you for years.  It’s the dream you have that once you get there you will have lived a big part of your life purpose.  Mine has been to walk some long distance as a fundraising vehicle for pediatric cancer and caregiver support.  When I was in greater physical shape and less realistic, I envisioned walking the length of the entire United States.  Dream version 2.0 is walking across Washington State.

This kind of “big risk” dream takes planning and overcoming internal obstacles, and the motivation ebbs and flows.  I decided to write down my list of speed bumps and how I intend to overcome them.

  • I’m out of shape and can’t do this.
  • I need logistical support I don’t have to accomplish this dream safely.
  • I need to be assured significant financial contributions to make this walk feasible and profitable for my cause.
  • I’m a single parent.  How can I possibly take this dream on now?

How to overcome them is Operation Just Start.  It’s a simple strategy.  Just start on any piece of the dream.

Yesterday was my first day in 21 with a break from desk work, and I walked 8 miles in perfect temperature sun.  I just started!   I currently weigh more than I did at 9 months pregnant years ago, so I envisioned this sign attached to me for a long distance journey:


I have a lifelong pattern of being confronted with bumper stickers that reflect what I need.  The one in front of me halfway through my 8 miles was “Enjoy Being.”  That says it all!  Self talk “fat woman walking” is now officially replaced with:

Enjoy Being.

Actually, the best thing about being a hefty woman trying to be athletic is no heckles from drivers or creepy men slowing down in cars, both of which happened when I was shapely in a different way.

People I have never met are inspired by my child’s story of survival (and countless others) enough to run 100 miles.

Skagit Justice UltraRunners newest member

They helped reignite my dormant dream.  The way that things go around and come around, they happen to train a lot at a spot I wrote a poem (below) about 20 years ago when I lived nearby.  Each will be doing separate 100-mile journeys.  At end of September, my daughter and I will be at Lake Padden at the final leg of the 100 for Shannon to cheer him on.

Lake Padden Spring

The salmon-berry blossom has arrived

like an obstinate star-petaled rose.

Skunk cabbage megaphones announce

their yellow swampy smell.

Lady finger and licorice ferns

unbend spines in slow-motion yoga;

fourteen human days to straighten

a single frond.

Winter-brown Equisetum brushes stand

ready to paint this season’s green-tiered bristles.

Guards survey the territory stock still,

orange-bellied half-moons suspended

from their witch-broom backs.

A blond-haired child begs his mother

to keep pushing the tire swing chains

so he can spin in the gyroscope of spring.

A girl shouts, raises an arm

sending all the ducks skidding

over the water, back where they belong.

Wind pushes clouds and waves–

water changes, pressure changes

April showers.  Even the mowing

machine has its green hair swept away.


About Erin W

A sensitive plant, bamboo strong.
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4 Responses to Dream Operation Just Start

  1. Sharon says:

    Awesome, Erin! I’ve held onto one of those deep dreams for nearly two decades now, but the past year taught me something incredible: that perfect self-expression can occur through another vehicle, but only if you can, however heartbreakingly, release the other vehicle you kept clinging to as if your soul-life depended on it. Alas, our souls are greater than ourselves, our little minds; they’re like water trying to find its way toward becoming a spring – it’ll have find a way out of the ground eventually so that it can make manifest its expression of “spring”-ness, and there might be more than one opening. Here’s to finding our way, sister, however different that way might measure up to our expectations about what ought! Sending love and hugs and 3 cheers to you!

    • Erin W says:

      Thanks Sharon. I appreciate your wisdom and depth of understanding soul sister! Water is a great image for the expression of dreams that often morph into something we least expected. Hugs back at you and cheers to your dreams!

  2. Shannon Pinnell says:

    Erin I loved reading your Story. I have been trying to put the right words down but I keep hitting back space. But what I was trying to say was A big congrats for getting your dream back out front. I’m really excited for you. And when you decide its time to walk across the county,state or country I would love to walk a piece of that you.

    • Erin W says:

      Thanks for the offer of future support. I can’t believe you did 50 in one slog already! I know what I felt like after 25, which is my lifetime longest stretch at one time, and I can’t imagine doubling that, let along quadrupling. I have a sister Shannon, so maybe I could start gathering all the Shannons to join me?

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