When I wake up too early, and I can’t shake my mind from racing, thinking about something I wrote in the e-mail, a problem at work, a situation that my kids are going through, and I fret and worry and fret and worry – I know there’s only one way to break the cycle.
Take a hike.
I choose one of many familiar trails close to my home in West Virginia or Eastern Kentucky. My husband and I lace up our hiking shoes, throw water and protein bars into the backpack and drive to the trailhead.
The first mile is agony. My mind won’t stop. I should be working. I should be cleaning the house. I should be writing. I should be off this trail and doing other things. When will it be over? Can I walk any faster to get this over faster? What if we just turn around and go back now?
My mind is still going in the second mile, but the landscape starts to break through. What should we do about paying for our vacation? What about the car repairs? I should be home finishing that budget for work. Ooooh… isn’t that a beautiful flower…?
By the third mile the beauty of nature takes over. The pines across the lake look like lace, flittering in the breeze. The stream whispers reassuring words in its happy bubbles. The mud squishes and squirts, making me smile. The butterflies dance.
And by the fourth mile, I remember all I have forgotten. The world is a beautiful and loving place. Everything happens for a reason and in perfect order. I am a loved child of the universe. God is in everything, including me.
By the fifth mile, I have my answers. I have my peace.
Our fears can glob up our mind and disconnect us from peace. Fortunately, it has never left us. Peace is not something we need to achieve, we just need to make a choice to see it. Nature gives us a loud and clear message that the peace we seek, the connectedness we crave, is always there, for our choosing. In its presence, fear cannot exist.
“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