Be Quiet (and breathe)
“I didn’t get eaten by a bear” selfie
I’m a hiker. And not because I’m a super can’t-NOT-work-out kind of person but because I know exercise is good for me, and hiking is like walking and getting to check out nature while you’re at it. Win win.
If I’m not hiking with a friend, I usually have my ear buds firmly in place and am either blasting music or my latest favorite podcast (This American Life anyone?). A while back, I had the good fortune to be hiking in Telluride Colorado. If you haven’t been there, it’s the cutest little quaint town in a box canyon that hosts SEVERAL festivals all year long. So, although it’s a small town, it was bustling with thousands of people.
Taking the word of a charming local I met, I started up a mountain I was assured would be peaceful and not crowded. I was happily heaving uphill and relishing the fact I’d not seen a soul in the last 45 minutes, when it dawned on me… I had not seen ONE person in almost an hour. I was suddenly EXTREMELY aware of Mother Nature and all that surrounded me. I’m a California girl and I’ve been on hikes where I’ve seen snakes and coyotes but I’m usually near other people when I see these things and, you know, safety in numbers and all that. But I was in Colorado, where there are BEARS. I realized I should take my ear buds out and be on the listen for anything while I was hiking from here on out.
It was extremely quiet. More quiet than I can ever remember experiencing during daylight. At first I was uncomfortable. The silence made my mind louder. I started thinking of all my to-do’s and wondering about my future and quite honestly, I kind of started to panic a little. I stopped for a minute, took some deep breaths (which is no small feat at 10,000 feet above sea level) and started to relax.
I continued up to the top of the mountain, took my “I didn’t get eaten by a bear” selfie, and headed back to town the way I’d come. By the time I was hiking down the mountain, I’d become used to the silence and felt like it was a friend I was going to miss when I got back into town.
I’ve since begun to meditate. There was (and still sometimes is) a similar experience to my Telluride one, in that my mind wanders and sometimes it’s louder than the silence but when I breathe, it helps. And I’ve come to enjoy my new friend.
What do you do to be quiet? The more tips the merrier. Tell me on my Facebook page!