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.
Share the post on your social media. Write in to share your experience and thoughts.
OR write in if you have questions or just want to say Hello!