Sunday, 31 August 2014

How much of it is in my mind

... and I've always struggled to be all here. It occurred to me that you must be very good at that: steadfastly seeing only what is in front of you, what needs to be done. I do wonder though - if my mind works a different way, is there also some reason for that?

From "A 500 Mile Solo Hike Put an End to my Loneliness":

Expectations certainly played a role. At home in Wyoming, I anticipated regular social interaction. So if someone turned down a dinner invitation, or I failed to make plans on a Saturday night, I felt lonely. Smiling selfies that friends posted on Facebook triggered a sense of envy. And when peers chattered about visits with their parents, the emptiness inside me ached. I wished I could show my mother the life I’d built for myself in Wyoming. I missed her stalwart encouragement, and the snail-mail cards she used to send just to say, “I love you.” I longed to go home to her at Christmas.

On the trail, it was different. I knew I was going to be alone; I wanted to be alone—I wanted space to hear myself think. I felt no pressure to make plans, and no self-pity about eating dinner by myself. On the contrary: I treasured the solitude. I woke up when I wanted to, took breaks when my blisters demanded, walked at my own pace, and camped when I was tired. In the mornings I woke between 5am and 6am and savored the silence as I watched the red glow of dawn inch its way over the horizon. And as I walked along alpine ridges, gazing at emerald valleys and elegant peaks, I marveled at having these enchanting places to myself.


But there was another reason our encounters were so fulfilling: distractions were nonexistent. There were no text messages or emails to interrupt us; no one was worrying about places they had to be, or things they had to do tomorrow. They weren’t preoccupied with people who weren’t there. Some hikers didn’t even bring their cell phones on the trail. We were there together, in the moment, fully engaged. And we listened—really listened—to what others had to say. These were true conversations.