Reflections from my three weeks hike through the Alps.
Sitting in front of a sweet little house with wide view over the hills and vineyards of the valley, having eaten the couscous salad and some chocolate cookies I brought with me, having walked just 3 hours in the morning, I feel a great calmness arising in me.
It’s a mixture of laziness, real mid-day tiredness, relieve, and trust.
I sit in the sun, with blue sky, while over the valley, maybe 20 km far away, thick clouds gather and thunder starts rolling. I feel safe here, in the distance, in the sun.
I’ve also felt safe this night, when I allowed myself to spend a good amount of money for a room in a nice farmhouse, knowing the weather forecast for that night was rain and thunderstorm -which indeed came, so loudly that it woke me up.
I felt safe this morning, starting my walk with a group of 6 Austrians – those tourists who booked everything already 3 months ago, including baggage transfer, and who I had made fun of silently when I read about these options before.
They were nice and welcoming towards me, but the “sports and fun” type of hikers, drinking beer and wine, chatting loudly, competing for the best jokes. When there was a moment of silence in the conversation, I could feel how they immediately got uncomfortable with it. They were irritated that I walk alone – isn’t it boring?
No, I am never bored in my own company. I do sometimes have fear of boredom when there is nothing to do, no place to reach, nothing to produce.
But as I noticed: I also have a big desire for such moments.
That’s why I said goodbye to the group soon and took on a much slower pace, stopping often to enjoy the silence, the views, pick some fruit and watch snails, birds, lizards.
But nonetheless, sitting here now, I feel how hard it is to relax into this inner and outer calmness. How there is an immediate urge to go on, walk on, read, write, analyse me, feel something intense, have a thrilling thought, experience adventure…
My state of peacefulness and the feeling of fullness – no need for anything – is a beautiful gift that is hard to receive.
Staying in this relaxedness is quite an effort for my nervous system, which is used to either too high or too low tension.
And also a challenge for my self-image: Relaxedness requires a certain basic feeling of safety, which is contrary to my romantic image of a completely independent and adventurous woman, a mixture of Jeanne d’Arc and Pocahontas, almost wolf-like, sneaking through the djungle, able to survive alone anywhere.
I am this woman, and I am not this woman. At the same time.
I am also the woman who enjoys a comfortable bed and a calm sleep, who wants to afford paying for good food and rest, who likes to stroll around in a relaxed and easy manner.
Being at peace with my own calmness, my satisfaction, my ripeness and abundance: That is what I also wish to cultivate.
Practicing to just hang around in the sun like a ripe fruit, doing nothing than waiting to be picked by someone or something who will be beautified and enlivened by the full taste.