“Thousands of tired, nerve shaken, over civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity”. -John Muir
Still one of my all time favorite quotes and I never knew how much it would ring true for me. I never read it and I was well into my hiking days as I first came across it. It was the lightbulb coming on kind of moment that made me pause and planted a smile on my face, you know the one you get when all of a sudden things start to make sense and you finally learn as to why you feel a certain way.
My adventure started over ten years ago and my life revolved around a busy retail career, additional chores outside of it and trying to balance responsibilities which left little to no free time for anything else. I once heard somebody say that the higher you climb on the success ladder, the lonelier it gets. There was definitely truth in that statement and the growing demands of retail management left me nerve shaken and tired. I was so tired of being stuck in a rut with the same routine day in and day out that I knew nothing else to my life. Chasing my tail to accomplish my chores, the same fiasco each week with very little time to play. Eventually it was due to medical reasons that forced me to step back as my body went into protest telling me that enough was enough. And then it happened and my miracle unfolded right within my heart.
God saw my struggle and sent an angel my way who introduced me to the trail. Forcing myself through the pain something miraculous happened and I don’t remember if it happened immediately or if it took some time. It’s been over ten years and so many adventures happened since those initial hikes, but I remember the moment in such vivid detail as if it was just yesterday. It was one of the first hikes and as I sat there, feeling accomplished that I made it, (the trails where challenging for me at the time, not because of difficulty, but because I was out of shape and running around in a busy retail environment didn’t necessarily meant that I was physically fit) I was marveling in the beauty of the serene landscape that was lying at my feet. My eyes finally saw and then I felt it for the first time as with a deep sigh a feeling of tranquility took hold of my soul. My busy surroundings became very quiet, my mind was still to a point where there was only the sound of nature. Most people will struggle not to carry a single thought and may say that we always think about something. That the mind keeps us busy and prevents us from truly relaxing. There was nothing for me and my mind was at ease, only taking in that current, special moment. No thoughts of the past, no deadlines that had to be met in the future, nothing that kept me hostage in any kind of way. I had arrived and I was here to stay for awhile and ride the wave of this amazing feeling as long as daylight would permit me to do so.
The wind was swaying through the trees, the birds were chirping and communicating in a secret language understood only by those who could learn to listen. By the ones that could find peace and not take such simple pleasures for granted. The sun was kissing my skin with a warmth and love that made me feel fuzzy and content on the inside as I raised my face, eyes closed towards the ball of love high in the sky.
I was waking up (my first experience with spiritual awakening) to my life’s purpose and “My God” I thought, “How long have I been sleeping and wasting away years of the true meaning for my life”? Life as I knew it would never be the same and it is one of the best things that ever happened to me. Returning to the real world and running a busy retail store, I found myself left with craving that moment in nature. To feel it again and being alive instead of merely existing in this world. It was something so profound, a shift so immense, a calming effect of the highest magnitude, that it has become a priority in my life. Today, I no longer differentiate between my work life and my trail life as Mother Nature has become my real world. It’s a way of life balance for me and reconnecting with nature is an essential part to juggle the stresses life throws my way. I prioritize and simply find a way to set time aside, it is a must and a means to recharge my batteries to meet the demands of my work life. No excuses, just an essential as I fulfill that call with a sense of urgency and with the attitude of “If there is a will, there is a way” kind of mentality.
With millions of moments and memories to be grateful for, I continue to thank my angel for giving me my life back and helping me realize how lost I was. To help me get lost all over again but into the right direction this time and for helping me understand that getting lost never felt so right.