I finished reading Cheryl Strayed’s Wild this morning.

I was struck by three lines on the last page, as she reminisced about that day she sat on the white bench at the end of her 1100 mile trek across the Pacific Crest Trail. “It was all unknown to me then… Everything except the fact that I didn’t have to know. That it was enough to trust that what I’d done was true. To understand its meaning without yet being able to say precisely what it was… It was my life — like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred.”

I feel like I am sitting on that white bench too, recovering from my trip through these last few weeks of my own life. I sense something monumental has shifted, and I find myself “knowing without being able to say precisely what it is.”

I took a one week journey with Cheryl Strayed, which started with Tiny Beautiful Things, and her advice “for love and life” as ‘Dear Sugar,’ and culminated at the end of her trek on the PCT in Wild.

I felt her compassion, her clarity, her intelligence, and her vulnerability through her masterful use of language. I walked the trail with her, remembering my own travels and experiences in the wilderness — the hardship and the tempering, and the forever changed appreciation of the mundane. I am left with a strong memory of “re-entry,” and wonder where I got that visceral experience in my own life, when I haven’t actually ever been backpacking for more than a few days. And yet I remember.

My week began with the understanding that I needed to draw a line in the sand. The full realization of my need to establish boundaries, and live from a place of confidence and clarity regarding my own value hit me suddenly. It took me a few days to understand what had happened and the rest of the week to “know that I don’t need to know” how my life has changed as a result. I just need to keep taking that next step on the journey that is my life.