Little Steps: Day 33 – The Trail Provides

Woah. 1 month down already? How did that happen?!

I had an epic hike Wednesday. And I knew what I wanted to write about. I started to write. But was too exhausted.

And then I had another amazing hike Thursday. And I knew what I wanted to write about. I didnt even attempt to start writing. I was too exhausted.

They say that the trail provides. When you are in desperate need of a moral boost, a water source, an energy recharge, the trail will provide.

And they aren’t wrong. Each and every hike I have gone on thus far, has provided my soul with the exact thing/feeling/boost/etc that I didnt know I needed, until it appeared.

I went on 1 hike last week. And then we thought B broke her tibia. So my energy was redirected.

I spent a week falling back in to the comfortably uncomfortable cycle of comfort.

Where I expended as little energy as possible. My little steps turned in to no steps. My motivation crumbled.

In the past, I did not even recognize that it was happening. Until months have gone by. I dont realize that my oxygen mask has been hanging on by a thread, until the moment before I lose consciousness.

And then I add another tally mark to my failed attempts, hang my head down, and do my best to just survive.

Which has brought us to this moment.

Why I am on this self love journey.Why I am taking little steps to my summit, my Nome.

I have already went head to head with my Cycle of guilt, especially mothering guilt. I faced that monster. And it hasnt made an appearance since.

Today’s showdown: me v. Cycle of comfort.

We all have our own comfort levels. A place where we feel the most at ease. Where we know life is easy. When we can just let go.

For me, my comfort place, is sitting on our couch, my feet up, my heated blanket on, curled on to my left side with one hand under my ear, the other on my phone, while the noise of a TV show is on in the background.

When I just need to chill, I head there.

When I am stressed, I head there.

When I dont want to do what I am supposed to be doing (housework, chores, scout leader stuff, etc), I head there.

Sometimes I wear my sweatshirt for an extra layer of warmth.

Sometimes I keep my shoes on. Just because.

But in that spot, I know I am safe.

Maybe too safe.

That spot, on the couch, has become my bubble.

I talked to my counselor about that this week. How I feel like I have lost the motivation to continue with my hikes.

How I have started thinking that I could just stop hiking, and then wake up on the 12th of Sept and hit the ground running. Or rather, hiking.

I told him that it is still important to me. But I just dont have the passion right now. And I dont want this to be another failed attempt. But here I am. I would rather lay down, then expend energy.

He congratulated me for recognizing I am in the middle of the Cycle of Comfort. That this is a sign of progress and growth. And that it is time for my to break the cycle.

He told me to park a little farther at the store. Or walk to the mailbox. Or get up at work and walk a little more. Or around the block. Just spend 5 minutes, walking.

Of course, the next day, Day 31, I took a little step. And then another. And another. Until I took 4.6 miles worth of little steps.

I just kept walking. That’s all my mind wanted to do.

One foot in front of the other.I invited little songs.

Little mantras to repeat.

To the beat of my heart and the pace of my steps.

To keep my mind off the pain. To keep my momentum.

Going downhills, I repeated: soft knees. Sturdy feet. Breathe. Pelvis tucked. Back round. Breathe. Shoulders down. Head up. Breathe. Soft knees, sturdy feet, pelvis tucked, back round, shoulders down, head up, breathe.

Over and over again.

Going uphills, I chanted: soft feet, sturdy knees, breathe. Pelvis tucked, core tight, breathe. Shoulders back, chin up, breathe.

Over and over again.

I died. Well almost. I tried calculating what the best angle or path would be if I were to roll up into a ball and fling myself off like a hamster must do at the top of the stairs.

I have wanted to do this route for a couple weeks. I have had this route planned for a couple weeks. I saw the elevation graph.

I knew it was going to be intense.But it is one thing for your brain to translate an elevation graph into an image.

It is another thing for your feet to actually experience that elevation graph.

But.

I did it.

I made it to the top. I stopped 5000 times. But I did it.

I reached a summit. I crawled straight uphill. And I skipped downhill on a euphoric high so high, that I could taste the rainbow……

I didnt know I needed that summit. Until I ended my hike. It was exactly what I needed, to remind me why I am taking little steps.

But that wasnt the only thing the trail provided this week.

The trail provided me the boost I needed to weaken my Cycle of Comfort.

But the trail also allowed me to forget my 1 year anniversary of my life changing surgery last year.

Had it not been for the trail, I would have remembered that yesterday, I almost lost my life a year ago.

Instead, I was hiking on a trail that gave me confidence. I struggled the day before. The hills killed me.

Even though I drove home with an insane amount of euphoria rushing through my veins.

But yesterday, I took that weakness, and I turned it into a strength.Wednesday, I learned how I needed to hike up a hill, and not die.

Wednesday, I had to swallow vomit. I finally caught my breath at mile 4.6.

Wednesday, I had to dig deep to a level I did not know existed.

And yesterday, Thursday, I used that new strength to get me up the hills.

1 year ago yesterday, I almost died.

1 year ago today, I made a promise to myself, to never let fear hold me back.

As I walk on a narrow muddy trail, with a steep downhill to my side, it is that promise, that stops fear in its track.

My couch, my bubble, is where my fear holds me captive.

And by remembering that promise, by acknowledging and then pushing fear aside, the Cycle of Comfort will be dismantled.

The trail provides. The universe provides. The promise provides.

You just have to be ready to experience what is being provided.

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