Hiking is so symbolic of everyday life; you are alone but together, you have control with tools but no control of the elements, and most of all, its mind over matter. The days post my first real climb I contemplated things I needed to take from this experience. As it turns out, the silent contemplation reinforced a few essential life lessons.
Here are thirteen lessons that we use in everyday life which came handy going up the trail:
1. Everything lies within you: There I was, at the top of the mountain, and I realized, it’s still me, if I loved myself before, I did too now. If I had doubted my skills before, I did too now. If I was angry with someone before, I still felt the anger. Changing locations, changing jobs, cutting ties will not release the limitations, doubts, or fear that is with you. The only way to change how you feel and think, is to work on the inside. Because you carry your angels and demons within you.
2. Purpose and knowing why, will take you over: When climbing got difficult, I thought of the videos that were promised to loved ones. We had talked about what it will be like and thinking of how fun it would be tell this as my story helped me take the next step when my legs wouldn’t move. Purpose and the why is the thing that will motivate you when it gets tough, it will help push you over when you hit the wall. You MUST have a strong reason for doing whatever you set out to do.
3. Pace is everything and its individual: Elephants travel slow but great distances. Since I am not a regular climber, I knew this was going to a challenge. I took a clue from the elephants and took small steps, I set that pace and it worked! I didn’t let others that were quicker than me or the ones that kept passing me, discourage me. To reach your goal and make real your vision, you need to find a pace. Whatever the pace, it's individual, it’s unique and is suited for you. Don’t let the pace of others discourage or distract you form your path.
4. Numbers are overrated: The youngest person on the hike that day (apart from the two-year carried by a father), was a six-year-old. And he beat most of us to the top. Age, your size, how long you’ve been doing it, how much money you have to invest – matter lesser than you think. Numbers are overrated.
5. The body is your most precious assets: You will not achieve anything you set out to unless your physical self cooperates. The body houses the soul, it's the connection to the divine. It’s a self-healing machine, highly complex and intelligent. The mind functions based on the health of the body. It’s your most precious asset.
6. Be humble, Ask questions: Sure, we had a map but there were people on the trail who had done the trail before, asking them about the terrain, what to expect, which parts to look out for, the breaks that were needed, etc helped us. Use the experience that surrounds you. Be humble. You don’t have to know everything. There is always space to learn.
7. Others will have what you need: The backpacks that we carried were packed in such a way that my stuff was in my husband’s bag and vice-versa. Every time we needed something, it was easy to reach out and get it instead of unloading, removing all the straps and what not. In life, know that you don’t need to ‘carry’ everything, others will have skills that you need and you will have skills that someone wants. Partner with, help and support people around you.
8. If there is an Up, there will be a down: While climbing up, we ached for the 'down' trails or at least the 'flat' trials. When we walked through an especially steep up-trail, we knew that the down or flat trail was just around the corner. Life has its ebb’s and flows. Nothing is permanent. There are peaks and valleys, lose not the heart to move forward.
9. Take in the views: The goal of the hike was to reach the top. It wasn’t, however, to race to the top. We regularly spent time stopping and admiring the changing views, the natural beauty that lay before us when we changed our line of sight just a bit. There is nothing like eating a regular banana at 5000ft and spectacular valley views. Goals are important but don’t forget to make some memories of the journey.
10. Pay forward your success: As we continued the climb, we were continuously cheered on by the people that were on their way down from the peak. The ‘good job’, ‘almost there’, ‘it’s worth the view I promise’, you’re gonna love’, ‘don’t stop’… they don’t know it, but it made all the difference for novices like us, especially the last hour when it was the steepest. Every time we’d pass kids, we’d give them a high five. If you are working it, or have worked it, it matters not; Pass on generosity, kindness, affection.
11. Burdens are generally unseen: Two hours into the climb, I caught myself thinking about the backpack and how I would like NOT to have it! It was getting heavier as time went on. I started to notice other groups, parents with kids, adults with older parents; in both cases, one was carrying ALL the stuff for the other. And they were right there, with me, on the same trail, dealing with the same challenges. Each of us has our burdens, and every one of them is valid. But we never know how much more the other is dealing with.
12. Rejuvenation and Self Care: When we made it to the peak, we took our time, everybody did. We ate, hydrated, and rested our feet. It is a necessary step to regain strength for the climb down, which is not easy unlike what you might think. So in life, tending to yourself, finding space to nourish your needs is a necessity for long-term success.
13. Contemplation and Self-reflection: This first climb taught us a lot, we learned a lot about the tools, techniques, timings and patterns to make a successful hike. My husband and I talked about changes we can make before the next one. A lot of folks got a small notepad, sat alone in different sections and just took in the view. Silent contemplation, self-refection should be a part of everyday life. Learn from each experience, find connections in interactions, listen to the inner guidance, and apply the knowledge gained in one area to another. Each is meant to help you evolve, if you let it.
I hope this resonates with you. I had a fabulous break and feel completely aligned and centered. Let me invite you to share a few of our personal memories on the Facebook page.
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Hello! Seekers, Travelers, Energy workers and fellow Spiritualists...
I am all for discovering and creating a path that leads to great inner connections, spiritually guided decisions and empowering individuals with tools so that they wield their own cosmic wisdom.
That's what I see myself doing for the rest of my life.
As result, I continuously seek ways to either find or create platforms that allow us to reach our highest possibility; it matters not if your expansion focus is materialistic, emotional, health or spiritual.
The common thread is that everyone wants to achieve their version of success in a state of joy, with ease and feeling fulfilled. And that comes with finding your purpose, staying aligned with source and finding a like-minded community.
In that spirit here are a few (but not limited) ways to engage and benefit from our connection that you may have missed. (some at no charge; some paid for).
Awakin Circle - Simply put, these evenings are about sharing.No teachers or gurus. People sit in silence for the first hour, engage in a circle of reflective sharing in the second hour, and conclude the night by receiving a delicious home-cooked meal.
Life & Inner Transformations - A closed Facebook group. This is an online study group for Yoga Sutras and will focus on Inner work, Spirituality, and Contemplating yogic wisdom. Help build this online community! (Search on FB and request to join)
Uncover Your Personal Value system (PDF workbook): An easy to use e-book which is an exercise to understand the deeper self. Follow the series of questions to identify your core values. Use these to set goals and make life decision which is aligned to the person you are.
Goal Tracking Made Easy (PDF workbook): Whether your goals are materialistic, spiritual or currently unknown, I believe this workbook will work for you. The four-part e-book includes tools to set goals, break it down and formats that increased focus and clarity that will help you track and achieve goals. There are exercises to get you aligned too.
Over the last few months, I have been thinking about what it means to be spiritual in this day and age: primarily because of the number of protests around the world. One cannot look online or TV or radio without hearing about how people world over are questioning, rising up and pushing for change. I can’t think of any country that doesn’t have an on-going mass movement.
There are a huge number of people in my circle who practice spirituality, alternative medicine and propagate new age philosophies that are meant to connect individuals with source energy. And each one of them has been affected by this very unusual rise in mass consciousness. As a result, their practices are ramped up; their blogs reflect support and their posts display energy words that are much needed by the folks that follow them online.
Being spiritual sometimes gets thought of as being a recluse, or distant, or behaving in a certain way. So what do we do when we are faced with challenges in our society, when our communities require support or we see the marginalized being tormented?
Spirituality and speaking up are not exclusive; it’s not one or the other. Spirituality does not mean speaking only positive words. We are once again at a time when the collective consciousnesses is ripe for an evolution, it is ready to expand, to learn more, to become more in the way it experiences things.
The new-age spiritualists are everywhere, they look and talk like everyone else but there are a few things they do more of; which is the path of the new age spiritualist:
The new age of spiritualism is no longer a passive, stand-alone path. It has become an active participatory series of actions. It is a symbol of the state of the collective consciousness, an awakened energy, on the move, ready to synchronize with the source.
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Negativity is a subject that is written about in many different ways. People I come across often tell me there are trying to manage negativity in their life or more so eliminate it completely.
Chances are you too, at some point, have read about or have been advised on this subject. And chances are it all alluded to, in some format or another, a 'keep it at bay' or 'a walk away from it' scenario.
However we choose to approach this subject in our lives, it's worth taking note of a couple of myths about negativity.
Myth 1: Negativity must be avoided at any cost: Whether it is negative people or negative situations, we must keep far away from it. When we see it, recognize it, we must run the other way.
Fact: Avoiding is another way of practicing resistance.
What we resist, persist. And avoiding negativity, when it finds you, could end up inviting more of the same into your life. Running from it or ignoring it serves no purpose. The other important thing to consider is whatever has shown up in your life, is a reflection of a question that you may have asked or a lesson that you need to learn. Situations that are less than ideal need not be public enemy No 1. Most people who have come out of less than ideal scenarios will tell you, that they actually found themselves, their purpose as a result of those experiences.
Myth 2: Distracting ourselves with positive actions will keep negative situations or negative people at bay: If we distract ourselves long enough with actions that make us happy in the present, we will remain in bliss.
Fact: Distractions only work in the short run.
Distractions are a great way to get the vibe up, get a change of pace, find temporary relief. All this should be done in the pursuit of building up the strength to deal with the real reason that's causing negativity. Like the first myth, the distraction will only get you so far, it won't help heal nor will it help neutralize the sub-conscious or limiting beliefs that are causing the negative experiences in your life.
Ask yourself, have you fallen for either of the myths? Have you tried to ignore, look away or distract yourself from less than ideal situations in the hopes that it will fix itself?
All the changes, fixes, upturns that need to happen, happen inside of you.
So ignoring, looking away or distracting yourself from doing the work, will only take you so far. At some point, you have to roll up your sleeves, acknowledge the energy and do the work!
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There was once a village that was known to have a transformational effect on any person that came to it. The center of that power was a lamp, that for all its power, was an ordinary looking copper lamp.
But any person that would stand in front of it and let the light from the lamp shine on them, they would experience instant transformation, clarity, and bliss. It was said that many seekers, travelers, pilgrims had looked upon that lamp and returned complete with the deepest knowledge of the cosmic workings.
This village, particularly this lamp was gaining popularity and much more started to travel to find this village.
One day a new traveler arrived in the village. Every person in the village knew why this person was here. They were happy to see another person on their to understand the cosmic workings.
The traveler happy and excited about the prospect of enlightenment and bliss about to be experienced started walking on the straight road.
Nearby he noticed a boy, playing along, blissful and happy. The traveler approached the boy and asked, 'How far, oh dear one, is the lamp of enlightenment?'
'5006 km', said the boy.
'Wow! That far? I thought I was in the right place, the right village', said a very confused traveler.
'Yes, it's 5006 km in the direction that you are going', said the boy. 'It's 6 km if you travel the other way.'
When we will it, we create it. When we think it, it comes forth. When we ask, we receive.
We soon tend to forget that the creation, the experience, and perceived reality lies within us. We get caught up with the external.
Each day we arrive in the village to achieve bliss, enlightenment, transformation and joy. And each day we start walking the 5006 km instead of the 6 km.
The experience and creation of today, now, wholly depends on 'The road (not) taken'. And that's a choice you make right now.
*The title is a play on the poem, 'The Road Not Taken' by Robert Frost.
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