Life is Like Hiking
I commented to a friend one time that I kept tripping over rocks and roots while hiking. This was causing me to spend a lot of time looking down at my feet and not enjoying everything going on in nature. She told me to start lifting my feet a little higher as I walked. She told me it would feel awkward and uncomfortable at first, but I would get used it as time goes on. By lifting my feet just a little higher, I was able to step over the obstacles on the ground, instead of tripping over them. As I continue to work on remembering to lift my feet a little higher than normal, I was able to find enough comfort and confidence to begin looking up more. By consciously making changes to how I was walking, I created space for myself to truly see the world around me.
This experience popped into my head while on a walk last week. As I reflected on what my friend told me a few years back, I began to think about how there were similarities in hiking and life. What if life was like hiking? What if I just lifted my feet a little higher and focus on the bigger picture? What if you did too? What if, as a collective, we rose above what would normally trip us up and bring our awareness to our purpose, our gifts, and all that is good in the world? Imagine that …
A part of our life on earth is to face obstacles and learn to work through them. Of course there are some things in life you can’t simply “step over”, but we if we take the principles of the lesson – learning to become more aware of ourselves and surroundings, see the bigger picture, and enjoy the little moments – then we can truly begin to flow through life unhindered by that which surrounds us. As difficult situations arise, we can use this awareness to dive into ourselves and determine what it means to walk forward on our path while keeping our head up.
Another lesson I learned a few years back was that the hike was always, ALWAYS, worth it. Hikes can be tedious, difficult, unrelenting. But I have never been on a hike I regretted. Achieving my goal was far more important than dwelling on how difficult it may have been to get to the top. I have met some less than desirable parts of myself come out on the sides of mountains, in the deep woods, and near the water’s parts. I have had to commune with the frustration, annoyance, and sheer anger while hiking. And still, I was able to see what it feels like to get to the top and stay as long as I like. There has been nothing as sweet in life as the feeling of relief as you take your last step of incline and the landscape begins to even out.
And over time, I found that my eagerness to get to the top slowly turned to a mindful practice of enjoying each moment of the journey. I began to slow down and look around to see what wisdom nature might impart on me that day! To see the blue heron flying overhead or the deer cross in the distance is equally as important as the view at the top. Maybe even more important as they may have messages for you.
There are many lessons found in nature and hiking that are relatable to our everyday life.There may have been times I thought couldn’t make it to the top. But there was never a time that I turned around and went back. I persevered through what I thought may be impossible and proved to myself I could do it. The view is worth it. The lessons are added bonuses that I didn’t realize until way after the fact. What lessons have you learned from spending time in nature?
My hope for my self and all of you is that we may live our lives fully, embracing all that is placed in front of us, and enjoying all the beauty found all around us. May we open our hearts to the world while we continue on our journey of self-love and discovery. And may we forge ahead with compassion in our hearts, strength to keep walking our paths, and a willingness to learn, always.