Take a hike …

Posted on December 13, 2010


Right now I’m writing a feature for Aquarius on hiking in the UAE. And with only a couple of days until I fly to Scotland, my very own adventure playground, I’m starting to twitch with excitement over the lovely long walks in Yellowcraig Woods, possibly the most beautiful woodland in the world (my family own this land but this doesn’t make me at all biased!!)

Walking (or running as often in my case) in Yellowcraigs, or any woods for that matter, is for me the epitome of calm and therapy. Whether down or high, confused or frustrated, a forage through the trees, a rustle through the brambles …. a battle (yes literally, in the Summer anyway) through the rhododendrons can keep me utterly content for hours.

But it’s not all fun and no work because I’ve decided there are some important life lessons to be learnt by wondering in woods … lessons I often need to remind myself in everyday life. Here they are:

Everything is perfect even when imperfect

There is no complaining. Everything is the way it is, and there is 100% acceptance between all things. When a rock gets lodged beneath a tree, the tree simple grows around it. At first the tree’s natural energy flow would have been disrupted but hey, it felt no animosity … it just continued to flourish the best way it knows how.

Likewise, when a tree falls causing it to block a path, we simply climb over it. We don’t get pissed off, we just accept it and happily go on our way.

I plan to remember this when getting the exact opposite of what I ordered, simply because of a language barrier. Don’t complain; instead accept, continue … and enjoy.

You always get through it, no matter what

When walking in the woods, we’ll always encounter rough areas where you have to be a little more careful. Sometimes you even lose your footing and fall. But we always seem to make it through, don’t we?

No matter how confused we feel about the next step, we just need to find a way to keep moving forward. Such is life. And things always fall work out in the end. Always.

I plan to remember this when having a crisis about my work-load or impending deadlines.

Go where your feet take you

One of the greatest things about wondering is just letting your body guide the direction. It’s very liberating to allow your feet to just follow the path they desire without thinking “is this right” or “maybe I should go this way”. And it reconnects us with our intuition. Our bodies are way smarter than we often give them credit for.

I plan to remember this when incessantly writing pros and cons lists or analysing scenarios to their death. Instead I’ll follow my intuition more.

Follow the path or don’t

When you follow your feet, sometimes it leads off the pre-existing path. This is ok … it’s good to shake up the expected and take a leap. Other times it’s better to stay on the path. The point is to learn how to listen to yourself and cultivate powerful instincts.

I plan to remember this when wondering why I personally always seem to opt for the most unconventional routes. Besides, even when I do take the paths previously untrodden, what’s the worst that can happen? I back track. No big deal. Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

Are you a leader or a follower?

If you walk the woods with someone, take note of how one of you always leads the way and another always falls behind. Which do you prefer? Sometimes it’s fun to choose the direction and see everything first. Other times, it’s refreshing to take a back seat and leave the decision-making to someone else.

I plan to remember this when always trying to take the lead and be a bossy boots. Note to self: we should never always be leaders or followers … depending on our skills for a given situation, one or the other role suits us best!

Pay attention to ourselves

Once I’m fully immersed in the woods and start feeling utterly peaceful, I love turning my attention inwards and feeling my breath, heartbeat and feet as they hit the ground. It can feel like an almost transcending experience that leads to real moments of clarity. I feel connected with nature, with myself, with my life purpose.

I plan to remember this when facing t-junctions. Instead of focusing on the great big road signs, intended for all,  I’ll look within and I’ll know which route is the right one for me.

Now that’s what I call taking a hike …



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