Around this time a year ago I walked up my first mountain – Mount Snowdon in Wales – with the hubby. I’d always dreamt of walking up either Mt Kilamanjaro or Mt Kinabalu in Borneo – in fact we were close to going to Borneo for our honeymoon 11 years ago. Neither ever happened (I never put in the work to get fit enough) but my mountain dream remained so we decided to go for something a bit closer to home for our 10 year anniversary. It was hard work – even though it was actually probably the fittest I’ve ever been, which isn’t saying much – but worth every step for the glorious views and sense of achievement.
Little did I know that three months later, after physically and emotionally exhausting myself, I would literally collapse with Chronic Fatigue and Anxiety (due to my over-stressed nervous system) which I now know I’ve had in a mild form since Glandular Fever when I was 17. Or that a year later I would barely be able to walk down the road, let alone up a mountain.
But this year I’ve just had another ‘first’ experience. A little more sedate this time though – I spent the weekend with a group of (wonderful) people I’d never met before on a Yoga, Meditation and Shamanic Journeying retreat. I slept on my own in an Airstream caravan under the trees in the retreat’s beautiful setting in the Kent countryside and joined in the communal meditation and as much as I could manage of the yoga sessions each morning. It was a blissful couple of days that left me feeling inspired, more at peace with myself, full of strength and confidence and a far greater belief in myself and my ability to heal my body. I had some real lightbulb moments as well and can hardly believe that in two days I could learn so much about myself.
Feeling a connection to the magnificence of nature, from the majesty of the Welsh mountain last year to the delicate blue mayflies dancing around Kent’s River Darent last weekend, always leaves me feeling grounded and joyful. And giving my mind the space and time to really relax allowed it to step away from the daily noise, which is when the mind can nourish itself and deeper feelings and emotions get the chance to emerge. Like the sun emerging from behind a cloud, those feelings were always there, hidden behind the constant chatter of your mind.
That’s why meditation is so powerful. And you don’t need to go on a special retreat to do it. I’ve been meditating daily for about six months now, to help calm my over-wrought nervous system and quieten my over-working mind. It’s become a part of me now.
So looking back over this last tumultuous year, would i change it if I could? Part of me screams ‘YES! In a heartbeat’ but there’s a larger part of me now that says ‘No, I wouldn’t change a thing.’ I have learnt, and am still learning, so much about myself. I wouldn’t want to go back to the stressed out person doing everything at a hundred miles an hour. Thanks to the last nine months I’ve found out that a simpler life, that’s more true to who I really am, is what I’ve craved. I may be finding it out the hard way, but it’s true that you appreciate far more the things you’ve had to work for than those that come easily.
So if, at the moment, you feel like your life is a mountain you’ll never be able to climb, just keep putting one foot in front of the other and trust that you have it within yourself to get there, if you put in the work.
“Never regret a day in your life. Good days bring happiness, bad days bring experience, worst days bring lessons and best days give memories.”