“Let go of certainty. The opposite isn’t uncertainty. It’s openness, curiosity and a willingness to embrace paradox, rather than choose up sides. The ultimate challenge is to accept ourselves exactly as we are, but never stop trying to learn and grow.” Tony Schwartz
In the days leading up to my departure to Europe, I started this blog to capture the time before the beginning of my hike.
Of course, I had these writing ideas but it never turns out to be what you think. Read on.
I’ve finished work for the next five weeks, all nicely negotiated into my contract. I’m down to the smaller logistics before I fly out. My mind is full of last minute tasks but experience shows some of those will fall away as I let go.
The house is quiet. The fridge emptied and Summer is off on a very long doggy date. The kids are happily with their father in Japan. We are a family that seems to like a bit of travel.
Right now, it seems surreal I have created this next adventure for myself.
The seed was planted two years ago when I was solo hiking the Alta Via 1 in the Dolomites. Another hiker at the refugio was chatting about this epic hike she had heard of, but didn’t know the details.
As she spoke, I felt the yes move through my entire body, landing softly right in the centre of my heart. I knew right then, in the middle of the Italian mountains, that I was coming back to do that hike.
I guess you would call that setting an intention.
That left me tracking down a hike my heart blatantly committed me to. Turned out to be the Walkers Haute Route, ranked in the top twenty of the world’s best hikes.
The trail starts in Chamonix, France and ends in Zermatt, Switzerland, and it’s 180kms in length crossing 11 mountain passes. By the end I will have climbed a total of 12,000 metres and descended another 10,000. Ouch.
A tad strenuous, a little mad, or a mighty undertaking. I type that laughing out loud. Take your pick. I don’t mind.
I will be as high as 3,000 meters. At that height your heart connects with how much there is to this life that remains unknown, and all the questions just fall away.
I wondered last time if this was what death would be like? Where all about you just is and it’s all okay, Mother Nature holding you in her embrace. I hope it is.
Back to this earthly plane, to bring this intention into reality, I added the plan. This included the timeline, saving, training and educating myself on the hike.
When your heart knows the way, you trust the calling.
Sometimes living wholeheartedly requires me to defy logic. My pre-frontal cortex does battle with it, and it goes like this, “what the hell GEORGINA are you doing?” This is followed by a whole series of inquiries, and a lot of raised eyebrows from others!
The executive functioning runs amok with trepidation, anxiety and all the things that could go wrong. Well that is its job, the inbuilt safety check.
I appreciate reasoning and sensibility, it creates a basis for making sure I do my preparation, but at some stage I have to depart from my thinking and be who I am.
Quite frankly, it can be a long way from your head to your heart.
Self-doubt has had its fair share of time in my life and I’m not prepared to give it much play these days.
Don’t get me wrong, my thinking has been screaming at me these last couple of weeks. I’ve felt so very raw and vulnerable knowing I’m about to push myself outside my comfort zone.
Although, that harsh voice would have once immobilised me by undermining my confidence to my very core, it has become just that. A voice. I acknowledge it’s there, playing the tape, but I tend to give it much less time.
For I know it’s not the truth about who I am.
The bigger voice now, which is ironically still and quiet, is based in strength, empowerment and boldness. If want to live from my heart this is the calm voice I embrace.
I am both terrified and excited.
I have first hand experience in what a long distance mountain hike can do.
And this is the part where my planned blog changes.
Thanks to my friend I was cycling with in the mountains of Annecy earlier this week, we were talking about the wilderness. She had just come off the trail from a multi day mountain hike. The word she used was recalibration to describe what happens, this includes the physical body, mind and of course, your soul. We agreed, there can be no other way.
With the sun warming our skin, our legs pedalling to keep pace with the bunch and the feeling of being free, she spontaneously takes our conversation in a different direction. She said, “G, I know you’ve had a tough time personally of late, and I want to say to you if you just keep getting on with your life, something will happen.”
Seems a pretty simple piece of advice, however I’ve never spoken to her about that ache. She just knew. Her timing was perfect, as was her intuition. Such wisdom is embodied in that for me.
Now the reason I write about my friend’s words, is that I had planned to blog about all the things I expected to happen to and for me on this hike.
Except now I’m not.
I had presumed to know based on past experience but I have no idea.
Well….I did actually just buy myself a leatherman knife in Chamonix in anticipation of celebrating the finish of my hike. As my hiker/cyclist friend says, “you need something to cut the cheese.”
Every adventure chick should have one.
This brings me to start of my hike. I’m publishing this blog on the eve of day one. In the morning, at 6am, I hike out for what will be a 21 kilometre day. Rest assured it’s probably the easiest part of the walk. A lovely way to ease in.
As the quote says at the start of my blog, I commit to letting go of certainty and open myself to curiosity, by embracing what the mountains reveal to me.
More importantly, as my friend said, “something will happen”, by living my life, and you know I’m going to blog about that!
In the mean time, where’s the cheese? A girl needs to use her knife.