Yesterday I pulled to the side of the road near our place, parked my car, and entered a trail that’s not marked. I have seen a few cars parked there many times for over a year. I normally won’t take a hike unless it is a defined trail. But, yesterday I was in dire destitution to get lost in nature. I needed to find the way back to a place of serenity. I needed the grounding that arrives after a hike. I absolutely craved to go within and rip out the things that were dragging me down. I had been feeling “off” for days. I don’t do well in that place of uncertainty. Memories are tiny pictures that need alteration at times. I can choose to delete them but I need to find a space alone to do it. These mountains are my healing space.
There is magic in exploring the wilderness of the unknown. Slipping into the thickness of shrubs, trees, and moss is mystical and breathtaking. The smell of decomposed soil is enticing. Climbing over rocks, boulders, creeks, and huge fallen trees makes for a childlike environment. A non-defined path is a maze to me that whispers to be discovered. There is nothing else like it in a metaphysical sense.
Unfortunately, these mountains have a way of twisting and turning anyone with the best possible sense of direction. The more you trek into the woods the less perception of direction is available. I just put on my IPOD and walked. I had no clue where I was going. All that was guiding me were worn out paths that seemed to deviate in many areas. Upward and onward! I wasn’t worried about coming back. I only wanted to move forward. In a metaphorically sense I needed to get lost in the wilderness of my mind.
It wasn’t until 45 minutes later that I realized that I had no recollection of where I had entered. I couldn’t see where I would end either. The thickness of the forest embraced me. I reached a meadow, and a nook, a hollow square opening that must’ve been part of a well at some point. I felt like I was in another world. I stood there for a few minutes trying to gather my breath and figure out my way back home. I was lost. I threw my hands in the air, stared at the thickness of the trees and admitted that I had no clue of where I was going. “Sometimes, you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, and sometimes, in the middle of nowhere you find yourself.”
Every turn and trail I took allowed me to move inward. If the worst possible scenario was that I was truly lost in the woods, then I knew I was okay. My home was only a few miles from there. I understand completely why people take walks to gather their thoughts, to regain clarity. As you walk the only thing available is you for the taking. The only thing that matters is the present moment. Things get put in perspective. Moments get highlighted. You can’t solve anything, yet everything gets diluted and distributed to a place of peace. This is why I hike. Emotions come up and outward. Sweat allows for everything to be purged. It is the only form of validating my truth. Any issues that need addressing get my full attention. I breathe and exhale the smell of the forest. I am guided by a Divine energy. Being lost is sometimes the only way to find myself. When the world gets crazy on the outside I need the woods to call me inward. I need to know I can recover from hurt, rejection, failure, traumas, stupidity and an array of human emotions. I hike and with my own guidance find the place of purpose. Nature is my form of retreat. I have no other way of explaining it. I find God in those moments. I am cradled by the hand of assurance. It is in those moments that I feel the existence of me more valuable than any other time. I get connected to a higher self. Ego gets checked and kicked out of the trail. Surrendering and letting go are the catalyst for healing.
Somehow, somewhere, I was able to find a clearing. I came upon the beauty of mountain ranges. I knew where I was. I wasn’t far from home. My exploration took me to a place of certainty. Sweaty, thirsty, and hungry I was able to find me once again.
“When looking for the path of peace one comes to realize that peace is the path.” Each turn in the wilderness allows me to come to a place of Spirit. This doesn’t work for everyone. The forest does this to me. To others it is the beach, gardening, fishing, etc. I have found that there is nothing else in the world that grounds me like hiking in these majestic mountains. I hope and pray that everyone finds an outlet to get lost in…whether it is yoga, meditating, reading, writing, or anything that separates the mind from the stress of everyday. This is my wish for you! And once you find it, never let it go…!