I went hiking this past Friday. It was my first time hiking alone. I think I’m at a place where I’m able to truly appreciate it. And I did.
Every moment of it, from choosing the trail to driving back home, felt so perfect.
A couple weeks ago, I had been searching for a trail. There are approximately a million trails in southern California. I had a hard time settling on one. I was considering all the factors, such as distance from home, difficulty level, closeness to the ocean, etc. EVERYTHING. And I couldn’t decide. So I stopped.
Then Friday morning, I opened my browser, came across a particular trail I had skimmed during my previous search on SocalHiker.com, and decided on it. Easiest decision ever.
I got my shit together aka water, pen, and journal, and headed out.
The moment I got on the trail, I felt fully present. It was as if it had been waiting for me. Seriously.
Disclaimer – This part might be kinda weird/woo-woo/out there for some of you and I totally get that. I’m just discovering different parts of my human experience and I feel safe enough to share it and let it be received the way people want to. Onward, ho.
Somehow, I started a conversation with… nothing and everything haha. At first it was just a thought that continued to flow and then I felt like I was having a full-on conversation with… Mother Earth. Hahahaha. I have to laugh because that sounds so hippie and kumbaya to me still. Anyway, I got into it. I let my mind wander – that’s what I’d come to do.
The feeling that I got was a kindly grandmotherly vibe. Like the willow tree in Pocahontas. She was so full and gentle and accepting of me.
I immediately felt and heard myself take the role of a child in the conversation. I’m not sure why but I didn’t resist or question. Mostly because it felt good. I felt that being on the trail, surrounded by nature, so constant, so vast, so present, made me sense my humanity. I felt so beautifully and completely human – not just physically, but emotionally and even spiritually.
Being there in that moment, feeling my muscles tense and carry me, sensing the clarity and quiet within, made me welcome and appreciate the grandeur of my surroundings. It was like… everything just fit. Everything was the way it was supposed to be. I can’t say that this feeling only happens when surrounded by nature… but I think being in nature sort of opened me up to the experience easily.
Somewhere in the beginning of the trail, I sensed myself being asked, What’s the rush? What’s the hurry?
That made me laugh because I tend to move quickly, especially with physical activity. I feel like working and sweating is always/usually part of hiking and exercise in general, and I enjoy it. But I remembered I came with the purpose of just being and I couldn’t do that if I was trying and pushing.
So I slowed down to a pace that was initially uncomfortable for me. It sort of guided me to drop my agenda and expectations. I had carved out the time and space for me to be here and it felt like Mother Earth (hahah again) was keeping tabs on me, reminding me of what I actually want for myself, not simply doing what I do by default.
I gladly accepted the reminder.
Slowing down also helped me remember to breathe too. As I soaked in the vastness of the limitless sky, the presence of the sun on my shoulders, the crunching beneath my shoes, sweat materializing and lazily rolling down my back, I couldn’t help but breathe deeply, as if to make that moment a part of my body, a part of my physical being.
I became aware that nothing was compartmentalized. My emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical capacities were melded in this experience – or rather, I became aware that they were one through this experience.
I have more to share on this so I’m spreading them out over a couple posts. Hope you enjoyed! Also, a thought crossed my mind just now – for anyone wondering… I was completely 100% sober during this hike haha!