Zen, is it for me?BlogHiking December 3, 2023
A snowy hike in Upton
This is the last time I’ll write about my feet. I promise. I’m sick of them and you are too, I’m sure. But my feet, their pain and healing have provided a lot of lessons and they continue to – so one more post today. I hiked yesterday in a beautiful part of Maine to a magical spot that I haven’t visited in a number of years. The last time I hiked there was with Alicia Heyburn and that was her very first outing with the LAC so you can all imagine how long ago that was! My feet ached for most of the hike, every step was a reminder that I am not fully healed. My stress and anxiety about this is rising because in very early February I along with a small group of women from Maine will head to South America for an intense multi-day hiking trip in Patagonia. If I’m not pain-free, this will be a tough, tough endeavor for me. This is why I’m obsessing about the healing process.
Last night I chatted with my friend and hiking partner, Anne Henshaw who said, take a break, baby your feet, pull back on your activity and let them rest. Oh, this is hard, I thought to myself. I’ve been hiking twice a week and strength training twice a week, plus dog walking in the woods and I love all of that and it makes me happy as well as makes me strong and in shape for my trip. To give it up, even for a short time, makes my heart beat faster and not in a good way. But another friend talked to me about incorporating Zen into my life. I have a general sense of what Zen means, but to be certain, I just googled it: a state of calm attentiveness in which one’s actions are guided by intuition rather than by conscious effort. Hmm… this sounds like it lines up with what Anne was recommending, but it’s far from my natural inclination. I do try and listen to my intuition and I’ve been working on that over the past few years, but there are some blind spots for me and pushing through hard stuff is most often my way, not softening in the face of the challenge. Here is a fork in the path and the decision is mine. Which do I choose?
If you’re interested in the hike I did yesterday, you can read about it here. I hiked to the falls, a bit past, then turned around and followed the Appalachian Trail for a way, but not all the way to the Bald Pate summit. If you do follow the AT (it’s blazed white), you’ll need to cross a wide river, which was doable yesterday because the water was partially frozen, otherwise I would have gotten my feet wet.