As beautiful, peaceful, and relaxing as parks and the countryside can be, they don’t have the same energy as nature in the wilderness. There’s a quiet calm that goes deeper than just peaceful, something more primal, more fundamental, more inherently central to our nature and well-being. In short, it’s healing.
When I first started hiking in the Adirondack mountains, it was just to get away from the city. While Syracuse certainly wasn’t like New York or Boston, I found that stress and tension would build day by day. I loved the people, the parks, my work, the arts and so forth, but I would get increasingly “jangly” as the days worn on. I need to escape from time to time, and getting out for a day of hiking was just perfect. I’d come back, feeling relaxed and refreshed, ready to get tense and jangly all over again.
For vacations, which I loved to take in September—just past the busy tourist season, but before deer season got rolling—I’d take my German shepherd and my backpacking gear to the High Peaks for a few weeks. It was a lot of effort and exertion—and it was heaven. Just peace and quiet and nature. Then back to work to find two weeks of work piled high on my desk. Time for stress and jangliness again.
After a few years, my housemates in the city and I split up to follow our separate paths, and I moved out to the country. I secured my own three and a half acres—which I considered a palatial estate—and planted some 2,000 trees, now a forest, and eventually an orchard, berries, gardens, and vineyard. At first it was strange—it felt like going camping but never returning—but in time, I settled into my new environment nicely. With the quieter lifestyle, I slowed down a bit. I lost my kamikaze city driving “skills,” and instead of jumping with excitement when I saw deer, turkeys, raccoons and such, I slowed down and waited for them to get out of the road, a new driving hazard, a new skill to anticipate and watch for them.
Then one day I realized I had stopped running out to the mountains. I thought about it, and realized I no longer needed to “get away.” I *was* away! What was there to escape from? I was living the good life, right? But then I realized that, while not as pressing, life still had a way of accumulating. I no longer got jangly—but I did get a gradual load to carry around, at least in my head, and seemingly on my shoulders. A good friend and mentor encouraged me to start taking “Tim Days” once a week. I did. And what a difference. I still needed breaks—the contrast just wasn’t as stark as before.
But I noticed something else. As beautiful, peaceful, and relaxing as parks and the countryside can be, they don’t have the same energy as nature in the wilderness. There’s a quiet calm that goes deeper than just peaceful, something more primal, more fundamental, more inherently central to our nature and well-being. In short, it’s healing.
For the month of October, I invite you to join me for a daily blog series, “A Wilderness Hike,” where I’ll share some of my experiences, some of the insights into healing I’ve gained, and miscellaneous previews of my forthcoming book, “Getting Unstuck.” Much of this material was worked out while hiking through the Adirondack wilderness, and I’ll share more about how that process happens. You’ll also get to see some of my pictures from spectacular summits.
Additionally, a lot of people have asked me about taking healing clients on wilderness hikes. I hope you will all chime in with comments about how something like that might work, what you might like to see, what you or people you know might join. Let’s work out something really cool together.
So welcome – I thought I’d start this series with a photo of me and my husky, Shanti (Hindi for “Peace”), on the summit of Mt. Marcy at the end of August. Marcy is NY’s highest peak, at 5,344 feet. It’s a 15 mile hike round trip from the Adirondack lodge to the top – a long day!
Dig out your hiking boots, subscribe to my blog so you won’t forget to check in – and let the healing begin! Namaste, and Enjoy.
Are you interested in hearing more about Wilderness Hikes as projects evolve in the future? Let me know here, so I have a list of those interested ready to go, by clicking here (and page all the way down to click “Sign Up” at the bottom):
Join the “Wilderness Hike” list.
If you’d like to hear about my “Getting Unstuck” book as it gets closer to release, let me know by clicking here (and you’re welcome to do *both,* of course–page all the way down to click “Sign Up” at the bottom):
Join the “Getting Unstuck” list.
October 2012 is a series of daily posts about “A Wilderness Hike,” taking readers through the healing of wilderness experience and glimpses of my work at Kwan Yin Healing and of my book, “Getting Unstuck.”
You can read the series from the start via the links here:
Oct. 1: A Wilderness Hike
Oct. 2: The Sixth Hour
Oct. 3: Snowy Mountain
Oct. 4: Letting Go of Baggage–the Wilderness Way
Oct. 5: “Bear” the Thought
Oct. 6: Mountain. Buddha. Impermanence.
Oct. 7: The Rewards of Rain
Oct. 8: Finding the Keys
Oct. 9: “I’d love to, but times are bad.”
Oct. 10: Attracting the Law of Attraction
Oct. 11: We are not our thoughts
Oct. 12: Honesty, Forgiveness, Healing
Oct. 13: Getting Unstuck: Feeling Overwhelmed
Oct. 14: Money is remarkably easy to come by, if that’s all you want.
Oct. 15: To be Time Rich, Learn to Be
Oct. 16: Changing Thoughts for Changing Work
Oct. 17: Finding and Sharing your Gifts
Oct. 18: Do you want to be the boss? Be sure you want to run the show.
Oct. 19: Finding jobs within jobs
Oct. 20: Bright Mountain Dream
Oct. 21: Escape the Wilderness of Addictions
Oct. 22: The Importance of Spiritual Direction
Oct. 23: In Search of Enlightenment
Oct. 24: Relationship Thoughts from the Wilderness
Oct. 25: We learn in realtionships
Oct. 26: Chrysalis
Oct. 27: Self-Healing, part 1
Oct. 28: Self-Healing, part 2: Time for a new perspective
Oct. 29: Dix Mountain
Oct. 30: The Mist-Filled Path
Oct. 31: From Wilderness to Wondrousness