“Footprints leading away from the scene” is a common phrase in “whodunits,” and it is perfect for describing what happens after we experience trauma since it is a normal human reaction to turn and walk away.

Walking away can take many forms.  For example, if you ask someone what type of leader they aspire to be, many will say they do not know what kind of leader they WANT to be, but they know what kind of leader they DO NOT want to be, based on their past experience.  Dysfunctional childhood refugees like me vow to parent our children differently than our parents raised us.  If we suffered deep heart wounds from the betrayal of a lover or friend, we tend to avoid close relationships.

Those painful experiences direct our steps and choices although they may have happened several decades ago when we were small children. 

I will never forget the time I told my daughter to change her outfit because her pants did not fit. With huge crocodile tears streaming down her face, she accused me of calling her “fat,” when I had been referring to the length of her pants.  To this day, her childhood memory is that I called her fat.

In some cases our inner child over-exaggerates past traumatic events and other times it thankfully erodes the details.  It is eye-opening when we discover that we have been running AWAY from our past instead of running TOWARDS the life that we crave.

Avoiding future exposure to a hurtful relationship is a powerful motive for guiding our footprints away from the scene of a traumatic event.  The Wilderness Walk illuminated that I am quite nimble when it comes to running from behavior that has previously wounded me.

We choose partners who are initially the opposite of the past loves who crushed our hearts.  However, we tend to subconsciously gravitate back to the conflict that mirrors our past dysfunctional relationships. We tell ourselves we are going to raise our children differently than we were raised.  Then we look back and realize that in some ways, we subconsciously treated our children like our parents treated us. If we do not make conscious choices about how we want to show up in the world, we tend to drift back into old, destructive patterns.

The Wilderness Walk used deep self-reflective techniques that enabled me to choose to live LIFE ON PURPOSE! 

I resisted journaling for over three decades.  It sounded like a great idea, but I could never stick with it.  However, journaling through The Wilderness Walk, I was able to tap into parts of me that I had shut down and hidden away. The key for me is to journal WITH PURPOSE!  Where am I struggling?  Where do I need to shut down my inner story teller?

Here are some journal prompts that stimulate ideas for living on purpose. Note: Write your answers in present tense.

  • If I were living a life of peace and joy, what would that look and feel like?
  • If my child and I had a loving, respectful relationship, what would that look and feel like?
  • At my retirement party, what do I want my employees to say about me?
  • When I find my soulmate who loves me with all his heart, what will that look and feel like?
  • If I lived a life that generated all the energy I need to do everything I want to do, what would that look and feel like?
  • If I treated myself like the wonderful, amazing person that I am, how would I take care of myself?

Choose a path where your footprints are leading TOWARDS the scene.  A scene where you choose to SURROUND YOURSELF ON PURPOSE with people that light you up.  Where you choose a life that fills you with ABSOLUTE JOY, POSSIBILITY and EXCITEMENT!


Mary ~Walker