I needed to get out.
I had spent the morning and afternoon by myself, trusting I was on the right path—meditating, doing yoga—but sometimes we just need to get ourselves out of the walls we live in, and get some fresh air to really realign.
As I began my run and hike, it occurred to me that each choice we make, no matter how small, is a question of what we are willing to give to achieve our desires.
Whether it’s a hike or the dreams we’re after, we have the choice of offering either more time or more energy to achieve them. In different moments, the scales shift, and the more conscious of those moments we are, the more we can see (and choose!) those fluctuations.
I ran joyfully. I felt the wind in my hair and at my face, felt my feet contact the earth and continued on, loving it. My muscles moved. My lungs, stomach and ribs expanded like an accordion. My heart was happy, my body was happy—but I was also getting hot.
I turned a corner, and with disappointment, I saw that the path stretched on in a straight shoot, hot and unshaded. I couldn’t see the end destination for the turn it made. I could continue running in the heat and without shade, which didn’t seem as fun, or I could slow down and remain in the heat, but take longer to get to the end of this portion.
I chose to continue giving my energy, keeping up the momentum.
As we pursue our various life goals, we can keep a soft focus at the forefront on the direction we are headed, and make decisions along the way to support that end result. If our focus is too hard, we’re putting pressure on ourselves and creating anxiety to achieve our goal. But if we ignore our goal entirely, how can we achieve it?
Examining what we have to offer now—our time and our energy—is an empowering experiment.
The unknown at the end of the path had, for a moment, scared me. I couldn’t see the end, and I wasn’t sure I was on the right track. The long stretch of unshaded path was less pleasant too. But I continued giving energy, so that I had to spend less time on it.
When I finally rounded the corner, I saw my destination—the top of a hill—above me. I wasn’t there yet, but the sight was beautiful, and I was now in shade. I was fine. I could just enjoy.
I scaled the hill upward in my tennis shoes. Dust and rocks slid, and my feet threatened to follow. I continued on, using a lot of energy. I stopped for a moment on a slightly flatter step, realizing then that I could ask myself: time or energy?
I saw a small path near my left foot. The first few meters were covered in dry grass—the kind that later becomes tumbleweeds. But just beyond that were trees, shade and a path that would lead me upward, like a backwards “C,” to the top rather than straight up. As I made the step onto that path—and stopped sliding—it was a decision in favor of time. I would spend more of it and save energy.
I glanced behind me and saw the distance I’d come. For a moment I was shocked. It was beautiful and scary—I was still at an incline, and a fear of heights jumped into my consciousness. But as I stepped over the grasses, I found some more stable ground and looked again with less fear.
To finish my climb up the hill, I switched once again to use more energy to make a steep incline. I had to look down at my feet a lot and grab hold of rocks with my hands more than once. I got a small cut on something microscopic that managed to draw blood, and a couple of scratches on my leg, but I was joyfully connected with my spirit, my physical experience.
I stood at the very top. I felt the cool breeze and reveled in it, breathing with it. I could see rolling hills, a few people speckled around and the city in various parts. In 80-something degree weather with a slight breeze, it was perfect.
I had achieved my goals: 1) To strengthen my connection with my self and higher power, and 2) To get to the top. I thanked God, the universe, Brahman, whatever energy exists within us and around us. I was grateful for the cool breeze, glorious sight and area of respite as a congratulatory gift.
Through awareness, we have choice. (I think of and love that Eve picked from the tree of knowledge, which led to free will). With every choice I made, it was personal, and there was no right answer. Or rather, my answers were right, because I chose.
I listened, and my inner self said it was wonderful to enjoy the break, but I needed to be on my way again soon or it would be more difficult to get down before sunset. I think when we let fatigue in, and allow time to be spent in a non-deliberate way, we lose the choice of using energy to help us. I don’t want to risk getting lost that way—I still plan on taking an unknown path down.
Author: Dominique Hinman
Image: Michelle Spencer/Unsplash
Editors: Catherine Monkman; Yoli Ramazzina