I walked up a mountain today.
It’s crazy how when things are quiet around me, my inner voice speaks so clearly. It’s difficult in this world to be a highly sensitive person. I am over stimulated so easily and so often that my body has created an unhealthy rhythm of shutting down as soon as it feels overwhelmed. I’ve unconsciously learned to close off and build barriers in attempts to protect myself. Because when I’m in the presence of others, I’m so empathic to their emotions, that everything they are holding just comes flooding into my body. I have no shield, no filter.
And you can imagine that when you put stuff where it doesn’t belong, the container becomes compromised. My own needs, my own wants, become smothered beneath a blanket of other people’s desires. It isn’t that I lose my ability to speak up, it’s that I lose my way entirely.
So while it isn’t possible for me to run away from society and live alone in the woods, it is imperative, that on the daily, I disconnect from everyone and everything around me, and drop into the outdoors, even if it is just for 15 minutes. Because it is in the sounds behind the silence where my channels clear and I become again, recognizable to myself.
So anyways, about that hike up the mountain. I just really wanted to get to the top. That was my only intention. I knew not the trails or paths that would lead me there, nor frankly was I concerned, as long as I was led up.
At first I tried to stay amongst the trees, which offered shade and safety from the mid-day heat. But I found myself just traversing back and forth, sometimes up and sometimes down. While it was beyond beautiful, the route was proving to be a slow boat to China.
It didn’t take me long to realize that if I wanted to get up the hill within a reasonable time frame, I was going to have to work a little harder. So I left my sun shield and ventured out into the open fields. The trail I found was wide, dusty, and slippery with rocks. The incline was steep which caused my breath to be labored and I was quickly hot and exhausted. But determined I was, so I continued. And after shedding mass amounts of salty sweat and several stops for water later, my goal to the top was accomplished! But not without two defining Aha moments.
The first came during my hike up the hill. Multiple times after I decided to endure the direct, yet more difficult path, the alluring side paths into the woods tormented my every step. Eventually I convinced myself that they may possibly lead up and I turned to take the trail to my right. As luck would have it, the magical tree trail descended towards town. I laughed to myself because this is so definitive of my behavior. Constantly losing focus and so easily distracted by the mystery and wonder of what ‘could be’ down a different road. While most of me wanted to run into the forest to find fairies and lay in fields of giant dandelions, I knew I needed turn back around. I had made a promise to get to the top and I needed to follow through on that commitment. Not because it even mattered what was at the top, but because the magic that occurs when we follow through far exceeds the fleeting moments of pleasurable distractions. And really, it is through the accomplishments of our hard work that allows our play to be so enjoyable.
I turned back from those trees, retraced my steps, and with my eyes on the prize (the peak of the incline) I persevered forward. It wasn’t long before I reached what I thought was the top and had my second laughable Aha moment.
Just as I came abreast the peak, what should appear on the other side but more mountains. Of course right? Because as the saying goes, really it isn't about the destination, it's about the life journey. And it’s never ending. There will always be another hill to climb and another valley to cross. So I didn’t allow myself to feel defeated. I said instead, “Good job, you did it! And it’s okay that the climb isn’t over, but let's save those hills for another day.”
“Because the trees are longing to whisper the secrets of the wind to you now. And the dancing fairies have already begun their light show in the shadows. And the birds are singing in the hopes that you will be listening enough to understand their songs.”
So back down the hill I went, with a full heart and a clear head.
To the sideways paths that lead nowhere but everywhere all at the same time.