I remember the first time I dipped my toe in an alpine lake.
I was 9, and just climbed my first mountain with my Brother and Dad. It was an excruciating 8 mile hike up. My little legs had to work twice as hard to keep up with them.
When I saw that lake I really just wanted to sit down and put my cramped feet in the water to cool them off. I had no idea how it was going to change my life.
On the way up, there were times I just sat on the trail in exhaustion and tears wanting so much to go home. But I had no way of even getting back to our campsite.
So my only choice was to keep moving up the mountain.
I thought I’d never make it. I just wanted the earth to swallow me, so the pain and exhaustion would go away.
Step by labored step, I kept walking.
Until finally I looked up and saw beauty before me like I’d never seen. The colors of an alpine lake contrasted by the rocks and green around it are surreal. It was a blue that I’d never seen before.
Then I sat down at the water’s edge and slowly peeled off my sweaty socks and dirty shoes. I dipped my right toe in the water, and it stung a little but I put my whole foot right back in. The feeling of that snow cold water, and the quiet of the lake seemed to break through all the pain in my body, all my fears of not being able to make it up.the mountain. I knew then there would be many more alpine lakes in my future.
It was like it broke through everything in me that said “I can’t ” and I knew in that moment I could do whatever I set my mind to.
It’s one of the reasons I love going backpacking each month. To push my physical and mental limits. And remind myself there’s no limits.
But do you have to backpack to find that?
One of my clients finds it in painting, or riding her bike 10 miles.
It’s just a matter of finding that thing that is just you, your mind and body, that gets you back to the basics, to our cavewoman experience.
It’s about pushing yourself mentally or physically not to achieve an outcome but for the sheer pleasure of doing the thing, of challenging yourself.
Do you have something that you like to do just for the challenge, just to push your body or mind, or to remind yourself how capable you are?
What is it? I’d love to hear.
And if you don’t what could it be? What’s something you loved to do as a child, that you could take up again?
What is that for you?