Head down, push through, suck it up, nose to the grind, no pain no gain… Yep those are the thoughts running through my mind as I climb a gorgeous rainforest mountain trail in St Maarten. And if it wasn’t enough that I was thinking those thoughts, I could actually hear the words coming out of my mouth as I attempted to motivate my two girls. Motivation they did not need as they were both all smiles. But as the words escaped my lips, I remember, that yes that is how I have thought my way through most of my life, but not how I choose/want to live my life anymore. It is time to free myself from my stinkin thinkin.
Yes my muscles were starting to ache and I could feel the burn. Yes I had pools of sweat building in many unwanted spots on my body. My breathing was laboured and my thirst increasing with no water to be had. I had the wrong shoes on so found myself slipping down the steep rocks easily and was developing a few bruises that would later serve as a reminder of my poor choice in shoes. BUT as soon as I lifted my head I was taken aback by the beauty in front of me and had the sudden realization that I had forgotten why I was doing the climb in the first place.
I am an over achiever by practice and in my life that trait has often served me well. But here I was in the middle of a gorgeous rainforest, on a magnificiant and challenging trail, with a view of the clear blue caribean ocean, surrounded by the rich sounds of the tropical birds and a constant refreshing cool breeze. And here I was more focused on the thought of completing the climb rather than enjoying the climb. Ugggg…. there it was again… thinking rather than feeling my experience…. focusing more on the arbratry goal I had set rather than the journey. This day, this hike, this experience – a metaphor / an example / a reminder – that I have learned and desire so much more for my life than to simply do; I want fee, I want to experience … I want to be!
With this realization came a change in my pace – I slowed down to enjoy the sounds, smells, and touch of all that surrounded me. I found the balance between watching my step and truly seeing my journey. The goal of completing a certain distance, within a certain amount of time, was pushed out of my mind and the experience of the moment came to life.
Everything about the experience transformed immediately when my perspective changed.
The pools of sweat became the wonderful reminder of how blessed I was to be somewhere hot, sunny and tropical. The muscle ache and burn became my reminder of how blessed I am to physically be able to do this (when just 5 years ago I thought I had MS and these types of experience would have been long gone for me). My laboured breath became my blessed reminder of gratitude for the lush rainforest I was being embraced by. My thirst highened my awareness of my bodies ability to talk to me. The bruises would be my reminder that I get to make my choices in life, but I do not get to choose the consquences. I felt overwhelming joy at the realization that: my two amazing daughters were all smiles as this was their first rainforest experience; that we once again had the privledge of sharing this type of experience with my dad; and that when the hike was complete my mother and brother would be waiting with enthusaism to hear of our tails …
I can think of many times in my life where putting my head down and pushing through was the only motivation I had to keep me going. I know there will still times in my life and value in that strategy. But for the most part being fully engaged in what task I am doing at hand and alive in the moment is becoming more and more of a blessed practice for me. The gap between who I am and who I want to be is closing. And I am catching that stinkin thinkin a little quicker each day. It is truly a wonderful life!
@ Kathy Bazinet 2014