Unless you have hiked a route before, the similarities between life and hiking are quite interchangeable. In both scenarios, one has an idea of where one is going, but ultimately, the true picture will only be painted once one arrives at said destination. I recently hiked up ‘Elephants Eye Cave’ and it prompted me to think about the ways in which something as basic as a hike, has many hidden life lessons in the climb. We are all only human and therefore will never be able to move mountains. However, I do believe that these few valuable enlightenment's which I found along the way, will make you appreciate the climb much more.
Despite there being a dedicated path with footprints from previous hikers, there were times when I needed to deter from the forged path which was slippery and muddy due to the rain which had fallen the night before, to prevent myself from falling or injuring myself. Similarly, sometimes in life, we need to re-route, jump over chaos and negativity, leap across murkiness or merely choose another path which is better suited to get us to our intended destination. I find so much comfort in knowing that I do not have to continue walking the same path I find my myself on if I am unhappy or in discomfort. There is so much power in choice and our ability to re-direct our every move. I believe that this principle can be applied to every sphere of our life, from relationships, to business, to finance, there is always room for re-routing, shifting, growing and change.
The footprints left behind by others, can often be the deciding factor of where you should step next. I will almost always choose a path or trail, based on how many people have gone ahead of me. I know, I know, everyone who loves literature will be unimpressed with me for not honouring Robert Frost and his approach on taking ‘The Road Not Taken’-bear with me, I am going somewhere with this. Every footprint represents somebody gaining experience, perspective and wisdom with every step they have taken, leaving an invisible helping hand behind. Likewise, when it comes to our lives, we were not designed to do life alone. People who have gone before you and I are able to act as a sounding board and compass, directing us with information they have learnt along their journey, equipping us with a better understanding and tools to overcome the cliffs and obstructions we may encounter along the way. Never underestimate the intrinsic value of another human being extending a helping hand- literally or through intellect and teachings.
So often on hikes, we are immensely focused on the steps we are taking to get to the top, that we forget to look up and notice the breath-taking, magnificent and humbling beauty that surrounds us. I wonder if the same could be said for your life currently? Are you in a posture of continually looking downwards, tracing and planning your next steps towards the future, forgetting and neglecting to appreciate and acknowledge the beauty which is presently right in front of you? Perhaps this beauty comes in the form of your wife, husband, partner, children, family, friends or even your career. When last have you raised your head from tracing your steps to appreciate the present gifts? I last hiked ‘Elephant’s Eye’ with my Father when I was in my early teens and one of the greatest feelings that overcame me while I was up there without him by my side, was the wish and regret of not appreciating his presence more when he was next to me. What a sad thought it is, that only later in life do we realise the magnitude of our present-day treasures.
We live in a society where technology encourages us to move in haste and we seem to lack the ability to be ‘still’, always preoccupied by what I like to call ‘noise’. I describe noise to be everything which we feel is important but is just taking up unnecessary space and time i.e.; social media is a good example of this. It is no wonder then that we mistake slowing down or stopping as a sign of weakness. This posture of angst and haste has allowed us to mistake slowing down or stopping briefly as a sign of weakness or defeat. May I just encourage you to not be afraid to stop and rest? As with hiking a mountain, the path will still be there once you get up and continue your journey. However, the same can’t necessarily be said for your health, well-being, state of mind and relationships. Re-energize and then continue the trek!
Life does have a direct correlation to climbing- sometimes it is relatively easy and other times very difficult. Either way, wherever we find ourselves in the journey, I do think that it is important to continually scope out the beauty in the process.
Written by: Christel Weinert (firstname.lastname@example.org)
31st May 2018