“Beyond the mountains, there are mountains again.” ~ Haitian proverb
For the past four years I have taken a summer hiatus from my ordinary life as mom, teacher, wife, and friend to backpack into the wilderness with my sister-in-law. We have scaled magnificent mountains, reconnected with each other and nature, and seen the beautiful, rugged scenery in which I feel blessed to have as my playground in the great state of Montana.
Every year, I have noticed my mindset at the beginning of our journey. I felt daunted by the thoughts of leaving my responsibilities behind, even for a few days. A bit of guilt ensued, even though my kids were well taken care of at a camp they thoroughly enjoyed. In my minds’ eye, achieving MORE at home while the kids were gone would be more beneficial than taking time out for myself to tromp around the woods.
In fact, this past summer, I almost cancelled on my sister-in-law. But she is a planner! And she easily guilted me back into our original trip plan. I am oh-so-glad she did.
There was something magical about taking the first few steps on that trip. As we started walking up the trail, gaining altitude, the scenery around us transformed with every audible crunch underneath our hiking boots. My spirit started to transform as well. Slowly, with the weight of a pack upon my shoulders, I felt the weight of responsibility shed and my step become lighter. My mind was alchemizing from GUILT to GREAT!
For two days we were transported physically and spiritually into vast terrain and micro-climates. At one time in the trip we passed through Ptarmigan Tunnel, a rock tunnel built in the 1930s, which literally opens the door to a completely different world of red rock and mountain lakes on the other side. The view was breathtaking.
The irony of this tunnel is not lost on me, months later. So many times in my life I am hesitant to take that first step up the mountain, or through that new tunnel. Either guilt, fear, negative mind chatter, or the comfort of familiar habits (even bad habits) limit my ability to be my greater self! But when I think of all the mountains I have climbed, and the lessons I have learned each time I initially started on the new journey, I recognize that we all face a new mountain, small foothills, little bumps along life’s highway.….every day.
The key to living in the GREAT is to turn off the left-sided linear and logical brain we live in too frequently, even for a while each day. By connecting with nature, each other, positive emotions, and our right-sided, creative brain we can begin to appreciate the small pleasures and simple things in life.
May you all be In Harmony by living GREAT:)
by Jen Slayden