Monday, July 13, 2009

Trail Encounters

I was hiking one of my favorite trails last week on a bright, beautiful day. As I was coming back down the trail, after making it to the summit and soaking in the view, I was struck by the verbal encounters I had along the way.

"Is it worth it?" one woman asked me as her party passed me on their way up. "ABSOLUTELY!" I responded. My response to that particular question is always the same. While it is true that the view at the top is very nice, and a great reward for the trek up the trail, it is also worth it for the health benefits and the mental/emotional benefits of exercising and being out in nature!

"Are there many bees along the way?" one nervous woman asked me. "A saw a few... but it's not too bad," I replied. Is she allergic? Has she had bad 'bee encounters' on this trail before? I wondered how much anxiety she was feeling about bees and how much that might detract from her hiking pleasure.

"Beautiful day isn't it?" one man remarked as we brushed past each other. "Sure is!" I answered. Something about natural beauty (and good weather here in Seattle) makes us want to share it and revel in it with those around us.

I overheard one small boy, who was hiking with his mom and a couple other kids say, "I'm not even tired yet!!" I thought that was very cute, and I am inspired by the endless energy that children seem to have. I could borrow a little of that unbridled energy and enthusiasm!

I was very impressed with a family from Australia. A mom, dad and their two boys all had pretty large packs on their backs. Even though the boys were probably slightly pre-teen they were totally into the hiking experience. They all had tree and bird identification books and were excitedly trying to ID as many species as possible. They seemed truly intrigued and motivated to know the flora and fauna of the area in which they were hiking. I appreciate that level of 'engagement' with life!

You never know who you'll meet on the hiking trail, or in life. Each person I pass on the trail, whether they talk to me or not, is a possible 'example' of either what I want to do and be... or what I do not want to do and be. I look at each person as a potential teacher or role model - be it positive or negative.

Every encounter we have with other people can be useful to us on our journey of conscious evolution! As we endeavor to become more conscious, happier, better adjusted, more fulfilled and more at peace, those around us can be our greatest inspiration!

Who will you meet on the trail today? What impact will you invite them to have in how you live your life?