I’m on a journey. Self-growth and discovery nourish me and the desire to build a life rich with experience strengthen my resolve to press onward every day. I’m constantly learning and evolving.
When I cast my mind back, I can’t think of a defining moment that set me down the path to live an experience rich life. I’ve spent years moving from trail to trail, gripped by wanderlust. My legs and lungs have burned as I climbed steep slopes weighed down by the burdens of my gear and my thoughts. I often remember looking up from the switchbacks that seemed to disappear into the heavens and wanting to quit.
I sat on rocks and felt the weight of my personal failures. All the things from the past that I couldn’t control were ever present in my mind waiting to be pulled to the forefront and consume me at the slightest errant contemplation of their existence. In moments like this I knew I needed to look at what surrounded me. I needed to find the positive and smother the negative. I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but one day I lifted my eyes from the path I was on to look and instead I saw.
The brilliant white bark of the Ash trees against a backdrop on lichen covered stone sang to me. The past wasn’t in my control. Acknowledging my lack of control over the past didn’t immediately make the negative thoughts disappear, in fact, the acknowledgement startled me. The smells of pine were carried on the breeze which cooled my sweat-soaked brow and whispered hope into my ears. Beams of sunlight shone through the canopy of trees and glinted off the meandering stream nearby.
I came to the realization that I was on a path in life and it was beautiful, but it wasn’t the only path. I was weighed down with gear and thoughts that didn’t serve me. I carried extra supplies and heavy defense mechanisms in case I ran into extreme situations, but they sat unopened and unused in my pack for years.
I exhaled a tiny wisp of fear at my introspection and it was carried off by the pine-scented breeze. Anxiety coursed through me as I removed a few heavy items from my pack and let them go as well. The yellow leaves of the Ash trees danced, encouraging me to stand and continue onward.
Since then I have summited a few mountains and traversed the sandy floor of a few canyons. Eventually, over the course of many trails, I exhaled my final breath of attachment to the past. I haven’t forgotten the past, but it no longer cripples me as it once did.
Each path in life has a unique beauty and myriad of lessons for those who wish to see. I was humbled to learn that sight changes and only by detaching my sight from expectation could I truly see. The art of living in the now and thriving in experience is something I strive to master. I’d like to think I’m stumbling my way in the direction of mental freedom and finding joy in simplicity.
My current trail has led me to an open field of tall grasses with hints of paths in every direction. There isn’t a wrong choice as each trail will offer me lessons and promote growth. All that’s left for me to do now is choose.