Everybody has a story. Some stories are BIG and others are smaller, some are shared and others are kept silent – some are often buried. My story started many years ago when I realized that there was an entirely different world to the one that was taught to me in school and at home. From that point on, my inquisitive nature sent me on an adventure of discovery through many interesting (and some pretty funky) concepts and schools of thought. Having an open mind and a bit of courage allowed me to experience many new things and, fast forwarding to April 2018, I had a wonderful opportunity to join a spiritual / mediation / yoga group on a trek in Nepal – the Poon Hill Trek, listed at 3210 meters above sea level.
Thank goodness I had the sense to ask the organizer if he thought I could make the trip in view of my 58 years of age and the fact that I had not exercised in eight years (oof!) Turns out we had different definitions for the words “don’t worry, all you need is a moderate level of fitness,” lol, so I eagerly signed up. Day 2 of 6 arrived and after about 100 steps, I grabbed on to one of the few trees around and asked, dizzy and out of breath, “so, how many more of these steps do we have to climb? Well, there are THREE THOUSAND steps in all, so only 2900 left. The next step (pun intended) in my journey started at that moment.
Looking back, I’m not sure how I initially thought I would get to 3,210 meters above the sea, but climbing 3000 uneven high steps cut in rock was not included in my plethora of imagined scenarios. I spent the rest of the morning climbing in anger and resentment. So much for appearing “spiritual and serene.” As they say, “if you can’t Zen in chaos, you’re not Zenning at all” and so, I was not Zenning at all… But more importantly, where did this anger and resentment come from all of a sudden? As it turns out, I had lots of time for introspection – LOTS. In fact, 2900 steps worth of time. However, I cannot claim that I had everything resolved – emotionally – by the time I reached the lunch spot, at the top of the, um, lovely steps. Nope, not even close. It’s not with great pride that I will admit that I looked more like a heavy breathing, messy, exhausted, annoyed, and not very Zen out-of-shape middle-aged woman. Thankfully, the group was kind and offered me some inspirational and encouraging words. It was clear that I had a long way to go…
That very afternoon, I realized through in-depth contemplation that sadly, my anger and resentment had been age-related. And, if I was going to be completely honest with myself, I had to admit that this had been an issue for some time but I had conveniently buried it, making the occasional joke about my age as if I was taking it all lightly. Not so. I spent the afternoon walking through this amazing forest (no more steps, yay!), letting my tears mix with the rain that had started falling in the timely manner Mother Nature usually delivers. It was becoming evident to me that I needed to finally accept that I was no longer 20, 30 or even 40 years old any more which undeniably affected my physical body and altered the super human abilities I had grown accustomed to. OK, maybe not super human but that’s what they felt like in my now distant memory of the times I had been in great shape, able to climb mountains and keep up with the “young-uns.”
I also realized that, while I cannot do anything about my age, I can certainly do something about my fitness level (and attitude) but had neglected that too. All these thoughts were swirling in my head while I was doing my best to remain “present.” I had started practicing mindfulness some months earlier and was determined to be in the moment – in the “Now” – as much as possible, and so I made a point to be grateful for this experience and accept that this was exactly what I needed and where I should be, at that time in my life. It is difficult to express the joy and serenity that such an awareness brings. This is the very awareness I aim to share with others and the 3000 Steps provided me the confidence to start my Life Coaching career in full.
TLDR: In short, perception is everything and it can most certainly change your life, depending on which side you choose to dwell. I chose the positive side and started to actively practice life coaching through “3000 Steps.” Of course, I could have condensed the story to “I climbed 3000 Steps and hiked for six days while completely out of shape. The Nepal trek was very challenging, but it gave me a chance to deal with some issues and realize that I was now ready to activate my new career.” I hope you join me on my path by Gently Walking With Me towards achieving YOUR goals.
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