“Hiking is a spiritual experience.”
~Two Chairs, AT thru-hiker, class of 2017
I’m a personal growth junkie. Now I’m hooked on long distance hiking because of it’s transformative powers. I learned so much on my hike. So many of my own personal speed bumps—the issues that surface again and again for me throughout my life and often cause me to stumble and retreat into habitual responses—rose up again and again as I walked. Like my issues with abundance.
It demanded attention. And love.
In the beginning, I hiked around a tramily of twelve who called themselves the Dirty Dozen. I first met them at the first shelter north of Bland, Virginia. What I didn’t know at the time is that first shelters outside of resupply towns are notoriously crowded. There were probably 40 people camped there and I pitched my tent in the middle of the Dirty Dozen not knowing I crashed their community.
It all worked out.
They never met a stranger and before long we were all telling stories around a campfire that Yukon Cornelius and Skank Bone built. Busdriver offered me half a sandwich and Misguided Gus texted me a coupon for 30 percent off our brand of trail runners. They were a great group of hikers.
But when they landed for the night, the twelve of them filled up shelters and campsites and hostels.
And it triggered my beliefs around lack and not enough.
We hiked at roughly the same pace, so I spent more than a few nights in their company, leapfrogging them, and the other dozens of hikers on the trail, throughout the day.
Every day, I found myself worrying about where I would sleep that night. Would I get a campsite? Would there be enough space in the shelter? Would there be a bunk at the hostel?
The worry harshed my hiking buzz.
And the worry was always unfounded.
Because I learned that the trail always accommodates. It somehow absorbs all the hikers and makes room for everyone.
Sleeping arrangements always worked out and they worked out even better when I reminded myself to trust in the choreography of the universe.
I’ll admit I never trusted 100%. Old patterns run deep. Limiting beliefs are entrenched.
But extended hiking gave me an opportunity to work with the new belief that there is enough, that the universe will provide. Every day gave me an opportunity to choose the experience of abundance over lack. Every day I got to see what it was like to have everything work out.
Repetition breeds familiarity and familiarity is a great place to start to change limiting beliefs, to teach my subconscious mind that this new thing, having enough, is safe.
Hiking provides that daily repetition, that minute by minute chance to become familiar with a new way of being in the world.
Hiking gave me the space to notice what needs transforming and to choose to walk a path that’s different from the unconscious path I’d been walking for so long.
Hiking helped me gently open to the possibility that change just might be a good thing.