Nov 162013

IMG_0213What was THAT all about? I mean, WHY?? Was I “looking for myself”? No, I was mostly looking for water, a flat place to camp, that guy with the sexy accent, and for creative variations of the lyrics to “Tom’s Diner”. Was I looking to commune with God? No, we’re good, but God was thumping me on the head repeatedly at the most unexpected moments, pretty annoying really. A tree-hugging thing? Health? I don’t know. I really don’t know. And that’s my answer no matter how much I probe/am probed. The best and only reason I can come up with is that I was impelled. I was committed beyond logic or reason. As a matter of fact, the only other endeavor in life I can remember being that committed to was being a mother and I had biology on my side for that one. But regardless of losing touch of the initial reason(s) for beginning that hike, I have to say I left it surely enlightened. Or something. I blossomed into 3 major insights that I am currently aware of, though I am sure more will be revealed as time goes on and my aches and exhaustion aren’t commanding my attention.

One is, that people are awesome. People step outside of themselves to be extraordinary when the time and setting is right. They are funny, resourceful, happy, intelligent, sexy even with desert boogers hanging out of their noses, connected to a spiritual reality without pomp, strong, and ripe and raw for communing. They don’t need to be avoided.

Secondly, I’m NOT handicapped. Most people don’t need to walk across the United States to be sure of that, but I did. As a matter of fact, not only am I not handicapped (from the stroke last year), but I dare say my body thrives on outrageous exertion. I’m really going to throw it out there and say that I’m pretty sure ALL human bodies thrive on outrageous exertion. We’re programmed for it. We need it. Or we start creating abstract problems to simulate the stress.

Mostly, I really got the bit about saying “yes” and surrender. Amazing developments really do create themselves when you can step over fear and resistances to what is being presented to you. Relax into everything. And don’t think it’s up to you to work anything out. I learned how incredibly effective it is to be distracted and let something more intelligent than me do its work. The more I would try for a particular outcome or way of being with life, the more it would elude me. I learned to sit down and eat my beans so to speak.

All in all, I had an incredible time. I had FUN and also seem to have had my soul scrubbed raw and clean. I’m incredibly refreshed, renewed, open, sensitive, and enthused about life in front of me. I feel way more in touch with who I am and what I want in life, having been deprogrammed and taken out of the societal groove enough to get some vision. I like dirt, cold, bugs, and sweat now, and would comfortably sit down absolutely anywhere. Would I recommend this to you? No.

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  4 Responses to “Why Yes, I AM Enlightened Now – The PCT 2013 Wrap-Up”

  1. Well that’s a pisser, guess I better scrub my plans for 2014. Me thinks you speak from the heart with gratitude, but not willing to share the trail, too late, already hooked. Great post!

  2. What did I learn from hiking? I learned that “you can’t hike any faster than your own pace.” As in hiking as well as life, expecting yourself to be faster or somehow better is detrimental. If you set unreasonable standards for yourself, you’ll fail to meet them and feel bad. You are precisely who you happen to be, not who you imagine yourself to me. So get comfortable with “you.”

    I also learned that “people come and go” in hiking and in life. There aren’t any guarantees that you’ll see someone on the trail, in the next town, or ever for the rest of your hike. And this isn’t a bad thing. We are together today, but who knows what tomorrow will bring? When you never know who your friends will be tomorrow, it makes the friends you have today even more special.

    And lastly, it’s important to remember (in hiking as in life) that “life always happens.” That is, regardless of your decisions, the eventual outcome is that you continue to live your life. I never caught up to the people I started with, but if I had I wouldn’t have met the people I finished with. We can regret our choices and wish to change them, but that would mean giving up the things we’ve gained and the friends we’ve met because of them.

    Oh, and “the best part of hiking is not hiking.” – Me

  3. Nice commentary, what a journey! Funny how when we push ourselves outrageously, whether physically or creatively…we seem to thrive. I love the bit about saying ‘Yes’ to surrender and distraction. So glad you had this experience K and that you shared it with us all!

  4. Thank you for all of your thoughts and the occasional picture. I wonder if the souls who walked/paddled/sailed thousands upon thousands of miles in the early eons of hominid travel are still with us in the form of folks like yourself, still moving forward for the sake of the joy of moving forward, even if the quest for the next meal takes the form of a bounce box instead of a flint arrow through a caribou’s heart, or happening across a trail-magic buffet instead of scaring a bear off of a fresh kill. Of course, i suppose that’s a rather silly observation to make to someone who is a self-described New Nomad.

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