You remember Wild, with the author’s amazing trek and heart-breaking backstory, right? This isn’t that. Although there is some wandering around that leads to recovery and redemption. And hiking did happen along the way.
This could be A Million Little Pieces, but it’s not. This story is actually all true.
Might even be Mommy Dearest, but thankfully, it’s not even close. For this story is told with heart and sensitivity. In fact, Walker is really about one woman’s spiritual journey to open her heart and develop compassion. Through it all, her own gumption would be her steady companion.
The title of Walker evolved from a line in a poem: “There is no road, walker, // you make the road by walking.” This phrase captures the narrative of Jill Loree’s life on many levels.
It starts out with a young girl raised in a singing Lutheran family where things looked good on the outside. But inside, Jill Loree was struggling. Later, she would “trudge the dreary road of destiny,” as the AA Big Book puts it, getting sober at 26 and picking up only one white chip. That’s not nothing, considering that most of Jill Loree’s childhood memories are infused with her father’s drinking. Her mother, on the other hand, had a controlling, co-dependent streak that wouldn’t end. Sounds dreary indeed, right?
In Walker, however, Jill Loree artfully lifts the story out of the ditch and finds the grace weaving between the lines. Merging in poetry—her own, her sons’ and even her Dad’s—adds heart, depth and levity to the telling. Her gentle wit and brisk writing pace keeps things moving. True to the title, there’s no need to sit and stew in misery.
Yes, hard things happened along the way, but there was also delight. Jill Loree was a working mom who bumped up against a few bricks but managed to flow around most of them. In the end, her career in advertising and the corporate world would prove both challenging and rewarding; her role as a mother would both exhaust and fulfill her.
Practically from the get-go, a spiritual message gets laid down, and it grows sturdier as the journey unfolds. From a youth spent singing in a church choir, through those atheistic years of alcoholism, and onto the great discovery of a transformational path called Pathwork, her spiritual life has been a tenacious wildflower that keeps blooming with each new season, and thriving.
Today, Jill Loree’s spiritual path is filled with the light of Christ, which is what she has discovered emerges from the core of one’s being after clearing away the detritus accumulated in youth. Just as the Pathwork Guide said it would. That’s the deeper message she is now passionate about sharing, and which shines through in this warm telling of the story of her life.
From PROVERBS AND TINY SONGS
You walking, your footsteps are
the road, and nothing else;
there is no road, walker,
you make the road by walking.
By walking you make the road,
and when you look backward,
you see the path that you
never will step on again.
Walker, there is no road,
Only wind-trails in the sea.
– By Antonio Machado (1875–1939), translated by Robert Bly
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About the Author
A neatnik with a ready sense of humor, Jill Loree’s first job as a root-beer-stand carhop in Northern Wisconsin was an early sign that things could only get better. She would go on to throw pizzas and bartend while in college, before discovering that the sweet spot of her 30-year sales-and-marketing career would be in business-to-business advertising. A true Gemini with a degree in Chemistry and a flair for writing, she enjoys the challenge of thinking creatively about scientific topics. Her brain fires on both the left and right sides. That said, her real passion in life has been her spiritual path. Raised in the Lutheran faith, she became a more deeply spiritual person in the rooms of AA, a spiritual recovery program, starting in 1989. In 1997, she was introduced to the wisdom of the Pathwork, which she describes as “having walked through the doorway of a fourth step and found the whole library.” She completed four years of Pathwork Helpership training in 2007 followed by four years of apprenticing and discernment before stepping into her full Helpership in 2011. She has been a teacher in the Transformation Program offered at Sevenoaks Retreat Center in Madison, Virginia, operated by Mid-Atlantic Pathwork, where she also led marketing activities for over two years and served on the Board of Trustees. In 2012, Jill completed four years of kabbalah training in a course called the Soul’s Journey, achieving certification for hands-on healing using the energies embodied in the tree of life. Not bad for a former pom-pom squad captain who once played Dolly in Hello Dolly! She is now the proud mom to two adult children, Charlie and Jackson, who were born and raised in Atlanta. Having grown weary of borrowing other people’s last names, Jill now happily uses her middle name as her last – it’s pronounced la-REE. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, writing, yoga and hiking, especially in the mountains of Virginia. As she turns the corner onto the back nine of her life, she has consciously decoupled from the corporate world and is now dedicating her life to working with others in spiritual self-discovery. Catch up with Jill at www.phoenesse.com.