I recently was able to take some time off work and enjoy a wonderful vacation with my mom to Nova Scotia. Of course I was looking forward to a vacation, time away from the regular routines, new sights, good food and our regular outdoor adventures.
There is something about the sea air, sounds of water and being immersed in nature that calms the mind, frees the spirit and heals the body. I have always felt drawn to water and being surrounded by nature. So you will always find me pilgrimaging on vacations towards our many national parks and natural resources. This trip was no different. On many of our hikes, I found myself deep in thought pondering the various subjects. With every breath of fresh air, every new vista, and every challenging step I was witnessing; opened up a new thought, perspective, vision; and I decided it was time to actually listen.
These boots are made for walking
At one point after a long hike through a basic forest type area, I remember looking at my watch to see how far we had gone, and if we were close to the end. I wasn’t expecting much from the hike itself other than a work out. After all, with Cape Split, as with many other look out type trails, it was all about the final destination, right?
I reflected briefly on the accomplishment of reaching the destination, sure it was a solid hike and for me offered moments of challenge, but reaching the ‘summit’ was never in doubt. We headed out with plenty of time to take it as slow as necessary, take the breaks that we needed, enjoy the hike, take some pictures and connect with each other. There were people we saw along the path who literally ran past us in both directions. The objective was likely the workout, a challenging trail run. Our trek was slow by comparison, yet we would travel the exact same path, put in the same number of steps, reach the same destination. We encountered others along our path of various ages and varying physical condition and they too would travel the exact same path, put in the same number of steps, and reach (hopefully) the same destination. The destination was what made the hike worthwhile for most people. The vista absolutely stunning in its views that went on for miles in almost 360 degrees. And while my feet were tired and my knees were complaining from the challenging terrain, I was grateful. Grateful for the opportunity to have feet and a body that would allow me to participate fully in this journey. The reward for the achievement arguably one of Canada’s best views available, but that isn’t what was the true reward for me on this day. The real prize was held in all the individual moments along the way. I came back to how truly lucky I am. In a quiet moment while sitting down in the grass to watch the grass blowing in the wind, listening to the water and the waves below, deeply breathing in the fresh sea air, feeling the warm sun on my face. Turning my attention back to look at my feet in my hiking shoes ~ I thought it’s amazing where my feet have taken me.
“Oh the places you will go.” – Dr.Seus
In this moment, on this path I gained a new perspective as to the true places I have gone. Yes, I have been fortunate enough to visit various destinations in our beautiful country where my feet have carried me through forest, mountains and rivers. A deeper understanding still of the places in time to which I have been a part of. These moments of time, and life experiences which unfold and those we work to create should all be recognized and many celebrated.
And so, I gently remind myself to just slow down or be still, be quiet and truly reflect and listen. To continue to forge my own unique path, and not worry about the length of time it takes to ‘arrive’. To celebrate the milestones as precious moments along the way. To find inspiration in something as simple as a pair of hiking shoes and the feet within them, and the thought of where they might take me next.
My hilltop epiphany helped me to gain further clarity beyond where I had been, and where I was going but also in part led me to these/my three simple truths:
I require regular ‘grounding’
For me this is simply an opportunity to connect with nature. To re-centre or realign to my true north (self)
I need to connect with nature regularly and often. The required dosage may change pending my current state and needs. Sometimes it is as simple as a 15-minute walk in the woods, other times I need full immersion.
Everything you need comes to you in quiet and stillness – so take the time to stop and listen
This is about more than slowing down to enjoy being in the present, though that in itself is a daily reminder for me. It is about acknowledging and being grateful for each day, the interactions and opportunities that have presented themselves.
While listening it is OK to filter out the negative self-talk or “inside head voice” that seems to have a louder voice and whose opinion seems to steer us off course. Being aware of this internal ‘presence’, acknowledging it and then letting it go to truly be present is vital. This is something I will be working on for a while.
- Be courageous, dare to ask the universe and put your dreams and goals out there
While the universe may or may not always be listening ~ remember you are.
Write it down. Journal daily. This will allow your true passion, dreams and creative ideas a safe place to grow.
Share with a mentor, coach or tribe member. Sometimes we just need to verbalize our thoughts, to truly give them shape. To own them fully. And to be accountable for their vision and mission.
My feet have hiked many a trail with family, friends and even alone, and they have many miles yet to traverse. I don’t know where I am going yet, but I am going to enjoy every single step and make a difference along the way.
Each of our life journeys are made up of simple moments. It is the culmination of these moments that will create your story. And over time your story develops into your legacy.
I encourage you all to live your legacy every day. It may be simpler than you think.