One priority of my life is hiking. I have completed several long distance hikes including The Appalachian Trail-2,0127, The Camino-502, and now the North Country Trail-4,600 miles. In 2007 I had spinal stenosis which caused severe pain and aching in the calves and thigh muscles of my legs. I hiked a total of six miles in all of 2017. In November I had back surgery which immediately brought relief.
I have been asking myself what will define my life in 2018. I have come up with several things. One of them will be the completion of a draft manuscript of my original Appalachian hike. Toward that end I hope to share short sections of this draft in the Founders Corner of our Business Connect Web site at www.Businessconnectworld.com. Here is the first one.
The search for my Soul: Hiking in the wilderness day after day seduces one into a new world reality; A new awareness of how the world exists soon becomes self-evident. It exists alongside of but also is part of our experiences, independent of our realities, and yet real.
Recently I purchased some hives and have become a bee keeper. The more I study and learn the more there is to learn. It is a world where so many unanswered questions exist. It is a reality that is magic, real, almost beyond my comprehension yet I benefit from this world. There are so many things yet to discoverer and understand. The awareness of my ignorance has become increasingly evident in my mind…in so many areas of my life.
One of these areas is that of my soul. There is the intersection of the spirit, physical, and emotions but I do not believe the combination of those three attributes are in fact my soul. They are my conscious outward expression of my soul. Lou, do you know Lou? For the most part, I do not even know my soul because I believe it can only be identified in solitude, in stillness. I would like my soul to lead my flesh, not have my flesh leads my soul.
It is easy to be inundated with advertising, people’s opinions, even influenced by my own voice until you become still enough to know otherwise. Stillness speaks. It is an awareness of your own presence. It is also an awareness of a spiritual presence…or lack thereof, and hence a need to be filled. It is this aloneness that I most value when I am hiking, the removal of the distractions, to commune with myself.
In my daily life I find satisfaction in accomplishment, in staying busy, going from task to task. I have found it almost impossible to budget quiet meditation time into my life because my lifestyle prevents me from doing so. I must be struck by illness or an accident unless I intentionally make time to hike…alone. When I lose touch with myself I embrace the world, creating dissatisfaction, that I am not enough, that I must have more, do more, look better, accomplish more, make more money, be bigger, better, smarter, stronger, younger!
There is an element of living in the present but that is not what I am talking about. It is not just hearing the song bird, the fragrance of a blooming flower, the laugher of an infant. Rather it is an awareness of the mystery or holiness of my presence itself. That is a world of infinite discovery.
The question I ask is “Who am I?” Is my conscious self, different than myself? What difference does it make when the Bible says I am created in the image of God? How does becoming aware of a God presence make a difference in my life journey? I seek to be renewed and I think hiking is the way God answers that for me: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” Ezekiel 36: 26-27.
“If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk.” Raymond Inmom (Internet: The Quote Garden)