If you’ve ever walked the seaside path by Nelson Park in Plymouth you may have seen them—smooth beach stones inscribed with letters and inspiring words. They are the markers of one local woman’s mission to inspire people to think more positively, find their footing in life and foster a sense of resiliency—one step at a time.
Several years ago, author and life coach Anne Barry Jolles was going through a tough time and started taking walks to clear her head. With her son stationed in Afghanistan, Jolles found herself consumed by worry. Over time, she came up with the idea for a Grace Trail, a walking journey of self-reflection, with each letter of the word “grace” representing a step in the process.
Grace is an acronym for the words Gratitude, Release, Acceptance, Challenge and Embrace. Jolles created the original Grace Trail near her home in Plymouth, leaving large beach stones painted with the letters G, R, A, C and E at certain points on the path as well as a map for people to follow. After several of the large stones got stolen, she started writing inspiring words on small rocks and left small piles along the path. Each letter corresponds to a question, such as “What am I grateful for?” and “What do I need to release, or let go of?” Jolles posted trail maps around town and on her website, and also showed people how they could walk the trail anywhere they were by simply asking the questions.
“I hope that there can be Grace Trails all over the country,” says Jolles, “to help lighten people’s load, elevate their heart and find their footing in this crazy world.” Jolles recently came out with a book called “Grace Trail, Find Your Footing and Move Toward the Life You Were Meant to Live,” which explores the concept of grace and guides readers on their own walk of self-discovery. The books are sold at Three Daughters Jewelry in Plymouth and online.