By Heather Lee Farrell

My story began with a journey into the unknown…

Fall began with how my vision might unfold, where exploration would take me, and how it would bring me home. I had work to do, ideas to explore, and adventures to create.

My path would unfold, but life provided something entirely different.

Instead, I experienced severe physical trauma that fall.  I embarked on unknown timelines of healing and recovery, surgery and procedures, adjunct medical issues, and therapeutic work.

On That Fall day, my path suddenly diverged from all I knew and instantly became unforged. At that moment, my life changed in ways I wasn’t aware of until years later.

Instead, I faced daily recovery, pain, isolation, and sustaining the intense focus needed to heal optimally while feeling unwell and fatigued.

The long-term recovery had stripped my life bare; only essentials remained.

I was forced to abruptly let go of what my life was and might have been. And let it be what it was. I longed for other, mourned what was left behind, and let go of.

trail sign on colorado trail

At first, I found it daunting to accept that I was still living my life during all this time. I fought it. Then trying to accept it, I liberated myself a bit each time. Repeating that process over and over.

I came to know it was not lost time. I was not going to get back to it. I hadn’t paused. I was not taking a break from my life. It was not a battle to be won or lost. And it was not karma.

Surgery, recovery, and discomfort were my life.

I entered another realm— being unwell and cared for.  Overlooked and thought of as less than by some. I was often a silent observer, as I could not speak well for almost three years.

Before, I had given and guided healthcare, wellness, breath, movement, and nature for many. Now, I was being taken care of. I was receiving. I was being guided.

I learned that these many years of unwellness, surgery, and recovery might be worth more than all the health and wellness education I have walked through over the years. And I will have a more profound practice scope and understanding than I ever imagined.

I had boxes and drawers full of X-Rays, CT-Scan and MRI reports, medical assessments, and records, before and after images, insurance documents, and medical bills. One summer day, they all burned in a glorious Fire ceremony of moving onward. At that burning, I had no idea how many more years of surgery would come.

I was repeatedly told that I wouldn’t heal fully functional and wouldn’t be able to do this or do that. I decided I would be.

I decided everything was figureoutable.

Through that, I learned that I was enough. Good enough. Okay enough.  Even when being unwell and needing so much help. I could be well while being unwell.

I discovered the demand and toil of recovery and healing. Sometimes, despite actions, desires, or pleading, each was out of my control. At other times, I profoundly impacted my healing.

I learned that healing, change, and recovery are not linear. It is dynamic, with peaks and valleys. Sometimes the best work being done in the valley, so you briefly flow over the peak.

I decided that if a solution was even remotely possible, it was no longer a problem.

Over and over, I painfully faced sadness, frustration, fear, and uncertainty. I tried to surrender to what was happening. I longed to find opportunity in obstacle after obstacle. I tried over and over. Each time becoming a bit more resilient. Coming to Know it would pass, no matter how long it felt.

I worked at visualizing myself healing and moving on.

After I healed from yet another significant procedure in late summer, roughly four years after it all began, I longed to be in nature and wilderness.

Before my accident, being in the wilderness was my norm. I had created my life, so I was in high mountains often. I even lived at the bottom of one.

Since my accident, I have watched the mountains from my window, wondering how they are doing. 

I decided to walk back into my body and the world. I was still figuring out mobility, balance, gait, and other issues. I knew I might have more procedures and healing to come. At that time, I just knew it was not over yet.

What I was thinking of doing seemed impossible but felt normal.

For me, the wilderness was the perfect place to begin transitioning away from full-time recovery.  The idea sounded mad and too soon to some, including several of my healthcare practitioners.

These exceptional practitioners who helped me also told me I would never heal fully. They told me I would have body pain for the rest of my life.  They told me I might never eat normally again, open my mouth much or speak properly.

Our opinions differed.

Despite that, I went, and the hardest part was taking my first step. When I did that, I left behind what had been, stepping over a threshold into what was possible. I knew I might fail, but also that even if I failed, I had already won.

For this pilgrimage, I chose a high-altitude route that traversed the Continental Divide Route and Colorado Trail, trekking at an average elevation of 10,500ft. I walked my first 80 miles with a friend. I then soloed the rest with support from my spouse Christopher, pausing for breaks to rest, check-in, and care for my health needs.

Then, after more recovery and procedures, I returned the following year to try and solo all 500 miles of my route.

I was told not to go. I almost quit many times, but somehow, I found the resolve to tread onward. Pausing and caring for myself, learning to walk again functionally, and working with body issues, pain, and balance.

It was incredibly challenging. At the same time, it was exactly what I needed.

The mountains took me in and showed me the way, even though they took my breath away over and over.

It felt like an act of devotion honoring where I had been and where I was headed.

I walked into the mountains broken, healing, and recovering. I walked out, remade, restored, and ready for what would come.
This is my story…

These poems,  stories, and writings are my offerings. So, join me as I share this unfolding, unwinding, and reforging. These are my words of truth.  Today, I begin again.

In gratitude,
Heather's Signature

Books by Heather Lee Farrell

Book Cover for Walking Into the Wild

Walking into Wild

Walking into Wild is my story of loving the land and walking along the 500-mile Colorado Trail after healing fully functional from almost 4 years of surgery & procedure, healing & recovery due to a traumatic injury… Returning to the world through the wilderness. My book includes original artwork and poetry woven into the story of my trek. 

Check back for more!

Book Cover for Today I Begin Again

Today, I Begin Again

Fall began with ideas of how my vision might unfold, where exploration and travels would take me, and how they would bring me home. I had ideas, creative intentions, community to be part of, work to do, and adventures to create.

My path would unfold with life providing something entirely different. These poems and writings are my offerings as I move along that path.  I will share with you this unfolding, unwinding, and reforging. These are my words of truth.  Poem Art, Prose, and Poems.

Check back for more!
I Stood in Silence: Spoken Word Poetry

Poetry Chapbook: I Stood in Silence

Coming Soon…

These are poems that have traveled to you from wilderness areas I spent time in and experiences I have had.

After, experiencing a severe traumatic injury, I began doing creative work almost in devotion.  My body had set in motion the need for new stories when my accident disrupted my old stories. I gave myself back a voice through creative works. These words helped me transform years of recovering from traumatic injury into something more and meaningful to me; I share them with you…

Do you like to listen to poetry? Soon, you will be able to purchase I Stood in Silence, a spoken word poetry album, here .