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Winds of Wyoming, Plains of Nebraska: A Journey of Gratitude

As I leave Boulder, the Rocky Mountain landscape takes over my side-view mirror and fills me with simple joy. How incredible that my side-view mirror can inspire me to appreciate what is ahead and be grateful for what I leave behind.

I am excited this morning!

I've made changes to my route so this meeting could happen. I will have the opportunity to face Judi and express my gratitude for her endless words of encouragement to keep writing and sharing.

Judi is another stranger in my life with whom Facebook has created a connection. From the very beginning of my journey, Judi's comments were full of love and appreciation for my honest sharing.

From Judi's latest post, I realized she was traveling to Colorado. I reached out to find out where she'd be, which is Fort Collins. A quick look at the map showed me that all I needed to do was head further north and then start my journey east. Yes, I am adding more mileage and time, but this is an opportunity I don't want to miss.

Judi can't believe I am making the effort. In many ways, she represents all the amazing women who have put me on this incredible journey of writing.

My path in life today as a writer is a result of the many loving and supportive comments I've received. I am profoundly grateful to each one of you.

My writing is my path to my spiritual journey today. Through my words, I am able to dive deeper into my true self.

Hugging Judi is a gift in my life!

My plan to stay only an hour is out the window. The moment we start talking, I want to know more about who Judi is as we connect effortlessly. We promised to keep in touch, as the little time we had was not enough.

Important note: I always reach out by phone before any new meeting. I take this extra step to ensure my intuition is right by hearing the voice behind the Facebook page.

It's time to get back on the road. Wyoming is my next state, the beginning of my flat landscape and my challenge with the wind.

I surprise myself, the mountain girl, as I find beauty and peace in the golden rolling hills of Wyoming. The wind, which makes my drive challenging, gives movement to the grass, enhancing my view.

Going north allows me to make two stops in Nebraska and break up my long drive. My first stop is Scotts Bluff National Monument. I take the short scenic route up the mountain to walk the North and South Overlook Trails.

The Ranger warned me about rattlesnakes. Rattlesnakes are high on my list of creatures to avoid in nature. I am happy to see a picture of them in a book, but that's it. The wind is so strong that I can't even hear my own footsteps or any rattlesnakes. I keep my eyes on the path while sneaking glances at the beautiful landscape and wildflowers around.

My next stop is Chimney Rock. Well, that was a bit of a disappointment. I thought I would see something much more grand.

It's time to move. I still need to cover more mileage today. In the next four days, I need to travel about 1,200 miles.

Since my magical time in The Needle District at Canyonlands National Park, I have experienced a beautiful shift within me.

I am freely melting into a deeper spiritual mindset. My pure love for the universe, myself, and others, which I feel in nature, is gaining deeper roots within me. I wish I could bottle that feeling of love and spread it into the world for everyone to experience.

This is the first time I am traveling through Nebraska, so I am unsure if this is what the Nebraska landscape is all about. However, I have only one word I associate with Nebraska now as I travel on I-80……Cows!!!!!

Thank you, Nebraska, for your plain and peaceful landscape. Now, I can concentrate on listening to more books as I drive and not be distracted by changes in my surroundings.

I find Buddhist teachings and philosophy a source of enrichment in my life. I can easily connect with their beliefs, and I am thirsty to know more. I am determined to make meditation a part of my life.

Listening to another book by Pema Chödrön is giving me this opportunity. This time, I am listening to a recording from a live conversation with Pema Chödrön at a retreat on the book Getting Unstuck.

Her wisdom is a gift in my life. But before I share some of my takeaways from her teachings, I need to find a place to call home tonight. I want to reach the town of North Platte. There's a Love's truck stop that could be a good option.

I went to wash up for the night in the bathroom. As I came out and examined my surroundings in more detail, I decided to move on. It's too noisy, and there are too many lights around. A quick look on Google Maps showed me that the next rest stop was twenty minutes away, so I need to hurry. It's already 8:50, and dark skies are about to take over the last daylight.

I don't feel comfortable pushing the envelope that close. If the rest stop is not what I am hoping for or if it's full, I am in a pickle. I prefer life on the sweet side.

Perfect! The rest area is quite full, but I found my spot. I chose to lock my doors and set up my “vanpartment” for the night from the inside.

Good morning, wind. You are still blasting your power on me. A morning walk with the cows behind the fence is a great start for another long day of driving. I have 400 miles to cover today.

I set my car to cruise control and let my thoughts take over...

We all wish we had the wisdom we earn today to guide us in our past challenges. My earned wisdom today is the result of my past struggles and painful experiences. Today, I am grateful for my rough past. Yes, I am using the word grateful. I would not be able to appreciate the beauty that is in my life today without the tough lessons—those hard times in my life provided me a window to learn and expand myself. They are what grant me my wisdom today.

Sometimes, looking back and wishing you could do things differently is painful; especially when it involves those most dear to you.

Pema Chödrön's teachings remind me of the importance of the middle path. For most of my life, I believed there was absolutely a right or wrong way to live. That belief motivated me to stay in my marriage for over 30 years.

Today, I can tell you I wish I could have considered the middle path when I was struggling with the trauma my ex created in my life. If I'd had that mindset, I would have been open to resolving my dying self while still doing the right thing for my boys. However, the idea of "the right thing" blinded my thinking.

Again, without that struggle to keep myself alive during my marriage, I would not be here today, open to expanding my wisdom.

Life is a journey on a path lined with wildflowers and thorns.

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