What Three Days in the Wilderness Will Teach You About Life
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” ~ John Muir
Last weekend, I joined my brother and a few friends for an extended backpacking trip through the White Mountains of New Hampshire. This northern end of the famed Appalachian Trail running from Georgia to Maine was ablaze with fall colors and (quite) cool with fall weather. During three days we traveled over fifteen miles, up and down a number of peaks (the Wildcats and Carter Dome), across a few rivers swollen with recent rain, and even glimpsed moose.
We try to get a few trips under our belt each year. In a way, the mountains call you. The wilderness beckons you back to itself. While months and months may pass between visits, when you arrive and plunge deep into its heart it is like you never left. It’s a conversation between friends that you can pick up again and again. You are Nature and Nature is You.
This particular trip had me thinking about essentials. With all you need to survive (literally) stuffed into a thirty-plus-pound pack on your back, you begin to take stock of what is truly important and what is not.
As I hiked the well-worn paths of root and rock, these essentials became catalysts for bigger things. The wilderness opened up — from the deep blue skies above to the plush moss brimming with the previous nights rain below — and invited me to be still and listen to what it had to teach about what is most important in life:
- Warmth of body and spirit. Keeping our core from being cold and unpleasant. Radiating love and compassion; practicing tolerance and understanding; living deeply and with intent each day.
- Sharing what we have with others. This goes beyond your hiking buddies. The abundance in our lives does not have to be material or financial to make a difference. Time, skills and experience can be shared to create waves of change. And remember, other beings besides humans can benefit from this too.
- Impermanence is the only constant. Just like the fickleness of mountain weather, the fleeting nature of each moment and all that dwells in that moment is what we can rely on most. Mindfulness helps us make each of these moments count and embrace the beauty of change.
- Fortitude is more important than strength. Having the will to go on, to meet the challenge before you and see the path through is more important than how much baggage you can carry along the journey. In this regard, training our minds is just as important as training our bodies and we should take time to do so.
- With balance comes abundance. The mountain environment — largely untouched by human hands — is well-balanced. As a result, its ecosystem thrives. So too can it be within our own lives and personal “ecosystems” if we take the time and effort to establish and embrace such balance.
- Humans must be out of doors. We are One with Nature. And as such, we must regularly place ourselves in the palm of its Hand. We spend far too much time inside and away from the life-giving essence that being outside can bring. Opening our eyes to the amazing world outside our doors is one of the most important things we could ever do for ourselves.
I’m sure there are other lessons to be taught. All the more reason to get outside more, I suppose.
Has spending time in Nature helped you see Life differently? What lessons have you learned?
Thanks so much for spending some time with The New Pursuit. If you enjoyed this post and think others will too, I welcome you to share it via Twitter, Facebook or one of the other social media tools below. Subscribing to receive future posts is also great. While you’re here you may also enjoy these posts:
- 33 Simple Things to Get You Reconnected With Nature
- Meditation: The Awesome Power of Nature
- Life is Knocking: 9 Reasons Why We Should Answer the Call to Live Deeply