“Our overall approach to life is mirrored in how we handle our daily activities, whether it’s climbing a mountain, filing paperwork, eating dinner with our families, or driving in traffic. Each of these activities provide us a glimpse of who we are and how we approach life.”-Candace Thoth
8/23/13 -Pali Lookout (Forgive me, I didn’t take photos during the hike but I thought this one would be a nice substitute)
After a five-hour hiking excursion on Saturday, I walked away physically exhausted but incredibly stimulated by how much I learned about myself. The hike was on Tantalus, which overlooks the entire city of Honolulu. I have previously driven up Tantalus but had never hiked it so I was excited to see how my experience would differ.
One hour into the hike, I was still incredibly pumped. We stumbled upon a bamboo forest which was absolutely beautiful; seemingly from a dream. We were walking along a smooth dirt path while being serenaded by birds and engulfed in the sweet aroma produced by beautiful flowers. As we continued, it began to rain, which felt like a refreshing mist, a kiss from the sky. This part of the hike was incredibly pleasant and peaceful.
As we continued hiking along, the path seemed to become more dangerous and less clear. The smooth dirt path became overrun by trees and bushes whose growth would not be stopped. Rocks substituted dirt making the path seem more like a hop-and-skip exercise. At first, I found myself enjoying the transition of the path but as we climbed higher and the path became increasingly narrow, fear heightened. I looked down and saw that I could easily fall to my death because there was nothing to break the fall for hundreds of feet nor was there a railing for support. The path was so narrow that two people could not walk side-by-side. I found anger rising towards my friend for bringing us on such a path since we were novices but underneath that anger was intense fear. What if we fall? What if we get stuck out here? Do wild boars hurt people? The mind-chatter was endless. Once the path got challenging, I had a strong desire to give up and turn back but something inside of me would not let that happen. We continued.
After we worked through the difficult parts of the path, I felt accomplished and was incredibly proud that I pushed myself to great lengths. I was surprisingly ready for more. I was comforted by the people of all ages that I passed on the path, which strangely served as an indication that I would be safe. I smiled at the other hikers and even began skipping around, I was excited. My excitement actually blinded me from the fact that we were lost.
Gradually, my excitement wore down as I began to consciously realize that we had no idea where we were. We had maps, but they didn’t seem to provide much guidance. Panic began to rise but I chose to remain as calm as possible because I was aware that panicking would not be helpful and I had little energy left. I chose to think about how sometimes, not having an endpoint serves us better and can help us enjoy the journey instead of simply focusing on the destination. I was able to appreciate the experience of being lost until it became apparent that I was running out of important safety items (e.g., water, etc). Fortunately, we made it back to the car safely but anxiety and anger still lingered. Due to these emotions and an effort to address how we got to such a point, my friends and I discussed our rules for future hikes to prevent certain situations from happening again.
This hike taught me a great deal about myself and I liken the path to the life journey. Here we are on the path of life. We do not know exactly how we got here or where we are on this path. There is much uncertainty on this life journey especially in regards to the future/outcome. There are maps, but they are maps of other people’s paths which are not always applicable to our own. Furthermore, along the hike/life journey there are many twists, turns, challenges, and pleasantries yet how we choose to experience them is entirely up to us.
After my hike, the following questions were raised in my mind and I thought sharing them would be helpful. All of these questions are self-reflective and may be informative:
What is your reaction when you feel lost? How do you handle challenging situations? What motivates you to work through your challenges? How do you experience pleasantries in life? What is your approach to meeting your goals? Do you take time to enjoy the scenery/pleasantries along your journey or do you strictly plan to meet a certain destination and disregard all experiences until you reach it? What happens when you meet your goals? I encourage you to ask yourself these questions and more, an invitation to self-exploration. I hope you enjoy your journey inward!
Mahalo for reading! Wishing you infinite peace!