In 2013 I was barely able to walk to the end of the block or up a flight of stairs without feeling dizzy and exhausted. Now, 10 years later I recently completed a 4 day (total 64km) hike in the Baviaanskloof Mountains. And I felt so darn good! I came back on such a high and, as with other hikes I have done, it was a good time for reflection on my journey from fatigue to flow.
I happily led from behind with a party of beautiful hiking partners talking about life, love, sex, death, childhood wounds and more. My friend asked me about burnout and it struck me again that I had pretty much battled with low-grade burnout from 2004 (aged 26) until I was diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome in 2013. And it was just my default which I somehow maintained until I simply could not any more.
Fast-forward to now – through the healing process I was forced to take from fatigue to flow there’ve been a number of lessons I’ve learned along the way to support that journey. These lessons were beautifully parallel in the journey I took in the Baviaanskloof.
- There is no end destination to strive towards (this hike ended where it started). Life is about cycles with uphills and downhills and each part is very important to making you who you are. You cannot skip any of it and it’s a waste of time judging it as good or bad. The uphills are as necessary as the downhills in your ultimate growth and transformation. In every single moment and with every single step we have arrived exactly where we’re meant to be.
- It’s very important to make the journey your own. Not anyone else’s. People pleasing is not going to serve you (or others for that matter – as much as they may think it does). When I did a 5 day hike in 2007 I felt compelled to keep up with those in front. That was who I was – I strived, I pushed, I did things fast. I was not someone who lagged behind.
This time It was early on the 1st day when I felt the pace did not feel good for me. I felt I was having to put my down my head and march. That wasn’t why I was there. On this hike I was more than happy to lag behind. And I did. And it was amazing! I could pick up and examine beautifully coloured rocks, take in the breathtaking views, smell the flowers, take many photos, have some deep, connected conversations with my beautiful hiking buddies and I allowed myself to be held by the surroundings while breathing in the life force pulsing through the land.
- Release expectations and take it as it comes. It’s such a waste of energy to hold onto expectations that we have absolutely no control over. I battled with this one with regard to the weather. I always like to be prepared but I find I can worry unnecessarily like I worried about rain on the first day. And it did rain a bit. And it was fine! I then let go of further weather expectations as well as expectations about who would hike together, whether I’d have a hot shower at the end of the day or not, how long the hike would take, whether my shoes would be OK etc. It was far easier to just deal with it as it came up. And not much came up to deal with!
- Keep on tuning into the silence and stillness (divine masculine energy) and the lifeforce and nourishment of nature (divine feminine energy) to be rejuvenated and energised. I felt connection in so many ways. Being disconnected from the outside world and the vast silence and incredible open expanses forced us to know ourselves in connection to nature and our surroundings. The physical exertion forced us to know ourselves in connection to our bodies and to allow it all.
As I’ve worked with feeling more spiritually connected to life, nature and something greater I have found I am far more able to receive and be nourished by the lifeforce and abundance constantly available to us. When the going got tough I connected to the land and breathed in that lifeforce and feeling of being held and I felt the connection to my special hiking buddies in the ‘backup group’ and it fed me.
- Take time to laugh, play and be silly. I’m serious by nature and love a good, deep conversation but I felt light and silly at times on the hike. Maybe it was the open air and the vast freedom of it all. (And possibly having left all responsibilities at home for a while!!). There were also some women in our group that were just so hilarious and fun and there were many occasions that I laughed until I cried.
- Allow yourself to put down your responsibilities every now and then. It doesn’t serve you or anyone else when you’re constantly holding it all together with no time to recuperate and feed yourself.
There were probably more lessons. There were really so many but I don’t feel like going too much into my head about this experience that was really so much about the body and spirit.
Ultimately, what I received on the hike and what I hold true in life to support my health and wellbeing is to be held, be present, stay connected, listen to my body and experience the joy.
These are the lessons that I include in my coaching and I look forward to sharing these with you through my newsletters and in my upcoming new online self-study course, The Fatigue to Flow Evolution. It’s happening at it’s own pace (like the hike did!) but it’s coming along nicely and I can’t wait to share it soon……