Love thy self

In a world that works on the principle of copying in the name of inspiration. Where we are scared to walk our own path. I see a lot of people around me whining, struggling and making themselves miserable for money, power and so on. Giving away their peace of mind and running behind something that is meaningless at times, with a short site for life, losing faith in everything and running like robots towards an endless road of misery. Not only do we lose faith in the journey eventually we lose faith in ourselves. We start believing in the surrounding and external factors that can only pose pressure for what they want for us. We fail to remember that they can suggest but, in the end, it’s our journey and only we can visualize our end. Nothing else other than our own self can stop us from achieving our goals/ dreams. Breaking the barriers, believing in ourselves is the first step towards our goal. A goal doesn’t always have to be fancy like climbing a mount Everest or so on. It could be as simple as making healthy dinner for ourselves each day or losing that one extra pound.

I strongly believe that life is never too easy and it has already set up its mind to showcase us as heroes but, it depends on us and matter of time to work towards it. We are all embarking on the hero’s journey to some extent or another. We generally forget that each one of us is a hero of our own story, struggling and finding our own way. The hero’s journey is a mythic, universal story of transformation and awakening. It is full of challenges and tests. It is the path towards true self, one that if ventured successfully, will inevitably bring good deeds back to us. But there are things to be aware of when we want to live our dreams. There are major challenges that show up as obstacles and resistance.

Parents, society, peers tell us it is impossible to have what we really want. This is the first and biggest obstacle. If I can’t believe I can have what I want, or let myself dream it, then I certainly won’t pursue it. Paulo Coelho says: “We learn from childhood onward that everything we want to do is impossible. There comes a time when our personal calling is so deeply buried in our souls as to be invisible.”

As young kids sitting by a canteen, we may want to pursue dance as career or photography as a career but, due to the external forces, we fail to see our future and bury ourselves in the rat race. Believing in what we want is possible. It is possible because it is a deep desire that has arisen within us. Know that we deserve to have what we really want. This way our self-esteem and self- respect also will grow. We will certainly only do things that will help these grow in the journey. It could be that heart’s true desire which springs from the deep desire of the Universe. If this is true, then the Universe will conspire to make it happen, though there may be severe tests and challenges along the way. It will ultimately test our strength and resolve. I sound like Shahrukh Khan don’t I? But, this is certainly true.

Paulo Coelho writes in Alchemist, “We know what we want to do, but are afraid of hurting those around us by abandoning everything in order to pursue our dream.” We are so attached to the people we love, we cannot leave them or disappoint them to pursue our own calling. We see pursuing our life’s dream and providing love for others as mutually exclusive, instead of seeing them both a reflection of a greater whole.

Being in pursuit of what we love should not diminish our connection and love with others. In fact, it enhances it. our true friends and loved ones should support us in our highest path. They should always be there for us, and by living our true path, we will have more to offer them. Anyone who abandons us in search of our true path may have done so because of their own fears, needs, and insecurities. “Love” that keeps us from our own dreams, is not true love.

The talk about personal challenges and love relatable to what Viktor Frankl talks about pain, anguish, suffering, but that’s not all that it is about; it is also about dealing with these problems as it talks about how the writer was able to survive the Holocaust. The first part of the book describes the many problems that the prisoners had to face at the hands of the Germans, and how they had to avoid death, from being sent instantly to the gas chambers to succumbing to the extreme cold weather. This part describes ‘what’ happened to the prisoners. The second part of the book focuses on ‘how’ the prisoners were able to survive. This is the inspirational part of the book that shows that if someone facing such precarious conditions as being in a Nazi concentration camp can survive, then people who have many minor problems to deal with should not have to try so hard. So, hardship is part of legends journey. We only look at stories of success of a person and do not focus on the journey. If we do then we will realize that nothing comes easy in life.

The second obstacle is the is fear of being defeated along the way is the biggest problem we need to overcome. We are afraid of failure. We put so much into following our own life path, by taking an enormous leap of faith, it becomes increasingly difficult to pretend that it wasn’t a big deal that we didn’t achieve it. We fear to look bad. We don’t understand that defeat is part of the path. Often, the further we are along our path, the more difficult it can be. We will face setbacks and failures. You will not know which way to turn. At some point, we will think the journey wasn’t worth making. This is part of the journey. We must remember that whatever anyone else thinks doesn’t matter. Not even our best friends. We should give ourselves permission to fail. The more we do, the closer we are to succeed. While success is subjective, some us want power, others want money and most just want to live a satisfied life.

When we persevere and overcome defeats, it is certainly worth it, because we are filled with a greater sense of self and purpose. With so many people around us who have not realized their dreams, sometimes we feel guilty of having realized our path. So many people do not live in pursuit of deeper meaning and dreams. Why should I? I do not feel worthy of really achieving my dreams and therefore will often stop short of realizing it. I must see myself as worthy of accomplishing my dreams. Again, if I can envision it, why would it not be mine for the taking? When my dreams are closest to me, they will often feel most far.

The last stretch towards our dream will seem most difficult. It will test our inner sense of worth, perseverance, and faith. We so deeply crave and want acceptance, that we are willing to hold ourselves back to “be” with others. Things did not work out for others, why should they work out for me? I do not want to separate from the pack or allow myself to soar higher. “Who am I?” I ask. Instead, we should ask ourselves: “Who am I not?” Something all of us should certainly remember is what I choose to do has nothing to do with others. When I follow what I love, I should allow myself to be transformed in the struggle of my journey. I become the hero of my story, but I must give myself permission to discover my own inner excellence and channel it deeply and freely. This certainly gives us the courage to walk away from the pack and walk in a direction that we are meant to be walking.

Alan Watts encourages us, “To follow your own weird… and thus be odd in the service of God.”

So I should let myself fly. Be a weird. And let my brain loose to dream big!

TREKKING MORE THAN JUST A HOBBY

Traveling, in general, is becoming a trend among youngsters. As cities have turned into concrete jungles and have no space or time for emotions,  which in turn affects our personal time and does not provide any time for reflection. We are caught in a loop that is vicious where our lives are running at an accelerated speed.  Each one of us is part of a rat race that has no end. We never seem to reach the peak of our materialistic desires. We are turning ourselves into robots that have no time to think or display any form of emotions. So, to avoid an early crash in life, we need to slow down and do something where we stand outside the loop and observe the daily circus as an outsider. Many people find various ways to this for examples: some people find solace in sports, some find peace and calm in cooking. But, the one that provides an opportunity to think and bring profound changes in ourselves is through traveling, to be more specific through trekking or hiking.

Each time you travel, you are stretching your boundary, you will get out of your comfort zone and experience something new. Each time you travel you will discover something new about your self.

Yes, most often these days trekking has become more than just a call from the forest.  Let me tell you a short verse of my conversation with a cab driver I met today who say, I was so happy traveling for the past 10 days and as soon I saw the traffic signal close to the city all my happiness was lost in a second. This is the situation world over, where people are split between what they want to do versus what they are asked to do.  Thus, to gain balance and disconnect from the monotony of routine one chooses to travel. People take short trips to a nearby hill or a mysterious forest in search of peace. Also, people list traveling as one of their hobbies to be more specific trekking as their hobby. backpacking also is another trend that is catching up.

So, what is trekking? Trekking is to go on a long laborious journey, typically on foot. Generally, in trekking, there are no means of transport available. It is usually walking on uncharted paths for a number of hours or days, in challenging conditions which are likely to be hilly or mountainous but, it is not necessarily mountaineering. So, how is trekking different from hiking?

Hiking is also a walking activity- outdoors; here they walk surrounded by beautiful natural environments on pre-charted paths called trails. We can either go on day hikes or day hikes or both. Now, that we have established the difference we can talk about the other aspects of trekking. Well, do note that a lot of others terms are used to refer to these activities also; both the above-mentioned terms could be used interchangeably.

Why does one need to try trekking or hiking or any of these outdoor activities? Does it have any benefit at all or does it just seem cool? Well, personally I feel and know lots of benefits. Firstly, I think the most important advantage is respecting the rules of nature. We learn to co-exist in harmony. The next thing is in the ever growing fast pace we fail to appreciate the small things in life and run behind materialistic things. Trekking is a very nice way to gain spiritual harmony. This, in turn, helps us become humble and learn to live in accord with nature. As a result, stress reduces and at the same time, we get an opportunity to marvel at enchanting vistas of nature. Secondly, we can test our physical and mental endurance. Though there are lots of outbound activities that will provide you the thrill and excitement, trekking helps in the whole body workout which successively improves health significantly. During trekking, the body is constantly on the move due to which the muscles get stretched, like when a trekker tries to cross a lake or climb a mountain. There will be lots of time when you want to give up and that is when you’re your mental stamina is tested. Finally, when the trekker heads home for the night after completing the trekking expedition, he/she will carry along a newfound energy and peace of mind.

Trekking connects us with exotic wildlife which is an exciting part of itself. Wildlife watching is again an excellent activity to do during trekking as it gives a great chance to expand one’s knowledge about the habitat of the wildlife, their diet, and behavior. Another addition to the excitement is photography. Many photography enthusiasts travel to various destinations to stuff their soul and cameras with stunning natural beauty and tranquil locations.

Another advantage is trekking provides an opportunity to meet new people which in turn decreases the cultural and language barriers. It connects everyone to one language and one culture called nature. Trekking is generally undertaken in serene and tranquil places that are away from the noise and pollution, these words are synonyms to cities. Trekking destinations are generally free from anthropogenic pollutions and also are serene which give travelers memorable experiences.

I have stated so many advantages and I have been thinking really hard but, I could not come up with any disadvantage. I could be biased, as I personally enjoy outbound activities thus write to me if you come across any disadvantages of the outbound activities.

Generally, the world over trekkers follows a leave no trace policy to reduce the impact of their presence. A number of hikers or trekkers over years on the same trail can cause unexpected damage to the environment such as wood depletion, wood fires. Fecal matter and non-biodegradable materials can contaminate the watershed. Some trekkers have complained that pole use leaves a visible impact on the surrounding trail, poking visible holes in the ground and damaging adjacent vegetation. Apart of these significant things that a traveler can be groomed, a large number of travelers thinks drinking, bonfire along with listening to loud music in the middle of the forest like in movie adds value to the experience. But, think about it can’t you listen to music and drink on the terrace of your house? The whole point of trekking is to add value to mind, body, and soul and not intrude with nature and disrespect it.

Hence, trekking is positively meant for all those people who just love to spend time outdoors witnessing the many magnificent facets of nature. One of the great things about this particular activity is that it provides an enchanting experience to those who want to enjoy the calmness and serenity provided by the environment. The luxuriant green landscapes, beautiful backdrops, and clear blue waters will even draw the attention of the unwilling individuals to embark on a people to travel.

 

” I was born to live on the hills, or beachside or bury my self deep in some forest. The city just keeps me occupied.”