Lessons Learned on the Trails Part 1
The forest offers space. Space to breathe, to ponder, to be. It reminds us of the circle of life and death; as decaying logs provide home for a new generation of trees. The moss, a blanket of life, reminding us to rest and lay still. The wind reminds us to listen, as she plays her tune through the branches and leaves, stirring up mischief, reminding us to play. Puddles of mud force us to balance, to tune into our bodies, lest we slip. The incline teaches us pace, the decline reminding us to slow down.
The trails offer space to be present, and we as hikers, must learn to accept that space. The trails are a way to force ourselves into the present moment, we’re forced to listen to our bodies, to take stalk of what's around us, to be in the moment.
Being on the trails comes with being honest with ourselves. If we’re not, we run the risk of injuring ourselves. Being honest means tuning into your body, and learning to listen to it. Resting when she needs, and not beating her up for it.
One of the agreements I have with those I hike with, is that we utilize our voice and ask for what we need, and the rest of the group holds the space. That means, if you need a break, it is your responsibility to let us know, so that we can all rest with you. When I created this agreement, I knew it had the potential of being challenging, regardless of which side someone was on. I know how hard it is for women to ask for what they need, because they don’t want to be a burden.
This agreement finally came into play last week. We were on our first hike that involved a significant elevation gain, starting with a steady decline and finishing with the incline. As we travelled down the trail, I could sense a shift in the energy; I had a feeling the other women were thinking about the trek back up this hill. I knew I needed to remind them of our agreement, and their responsibility to voice their needs. One of my amazing clients voiced her concern about the trek back, so I reminded her that she needed to let us know if she needed a break, so that we could hold the space for her. She became emotional, and I realized just how important that agreement was.
Having that agreement meant that she had to step into the present moment and accept exactly where she was, and accept the help that was being offered. It meant that we were able to share a very emotional moment together, without judgement or shame. It meant that we were able to be human, with other humans.
It was a beautiful moment and a spectacular hike. It turns out that the fear of trekking back up to our cars was unnecessary. We went up with zero breaks, holding a steady conversation throughout. We celebrated and we all left feeling lifted up, fulfilled.
The trails will challenge you, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Mother Nature will force you to step outside your comfort zone by getting out of your head and into your body. Tuning into her needs and honouring them. Mother Nature will hold the space for you, honouring your present moment, forcing you to honour yourself.