A couple of weeks ago, I hiked Gros Piton, a mountain, on St Lucia. I’ve hiked mountains before, but I don’t think I’ve ever encountered one like this. Gros Piton was steep, rugged, un-groomed and of course, the weather was hot and humid!
We started out in a small village at the base of the mountain. As you start, you’re climbing over a few rocks and boulders, but it’s an easy hike for the first half of the mountain. The more you hike, though, the steeper and rougher the trail becomes. When you’re in the top quarter of the mountain, there are times it seems you’re hiking nearly straight up. You’re climbing up long stretches of rocks, and trails with steep switch-backs cut into the forest floor by thousands of hikers who were here before us.
By the first rest stop at about a quarter of the way up, I found myself with the last and slowest part of our group. I remember thinking at one point, why am I with this group as I can move much quicker than this? However, I quickly dismissed this thought as I knew I was right where I needed to be for some reason.
On the way down the mountain, our guide told us of all the people who start this hike, around half of them do not make it to the top. I knew at that moment had I attempted to muscle my way towards my goal, I would have been unlikely to reach the summit.
I also realized how much I was enjoying the journey because of the slower pace. I was savouring the journey I was on, both with the company of those around me and in the tropical forest, I found myself.
The mountain taught me something important on that day. I am so busy rushing around trying to muscle my way through life for the sake of reaching some goal. What I’ve come to see is to achieve my goals all I need to do is to slow down and savour the journey.
Thank you Gros Piton.
Thought of the week
As a society, we seem to measure our value based on how busy we are. Full calendars, long commutes, long working days and more. I get it, as I lived this way for much of my life.
What might be different if you measured your value based on the amount of time you take for yourself? To slow down and savour this journey called life?
It’s not hard to slow down. The next time you find yourself walking somewhere, regardless of where that might be, slow your pace by half. When you are walking at half the speed, slow your pace by half again. Then as you’re moving at this slower pace, take the time to notice how the world feels so different at this pace.
What might be possible when you have this much freedom?