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Reflections on the power of rest and regeneration - on my three weeks hike through the Alps.

I had planned again to start the day early, but when my alarm rang at 5:30 my body just refused to get up. A part of myself told me very clearly to take a day of rest.

I had expanded my physical limits during the last six days, and needed a day to replenish my empty batteries. The next stage of the hike would lead to 1200 m altitude and the weather forecast said 33 degrees.

Yet I struggled for two hours to take the decision: Finally, the bible quote came to my mind: God had built Earth, Animal world and humans within 6 days, and at the 7th day s/he saw it was good. So s/he rested. And so should you.

I’ve been hiking now for 6 days, so I thankfully followed the advice and prescribed myself a “do-nothing” day and just stayed where I was. However, the idea of rest still gives me a fear of boredom, a question how to spend 16 hours of a day with “doing nothing”…

And the relieving insight, now that it’s already evening: 16 hours filled with laying at the river, looking at the movements and colours of water, arranging small stone towers, eating ice cream and the obligatory bread with cheese, reading, thinking, communicating with my inner world and dreams: It’s a huge gift to take time for these soul-nourishing “non-activities”.

It felt like soothing myself from inside out, releasing pain and sadness I had still carried around with me, and making space for dreams and intuitions to arise.

As I sat at the rocks and looked into the turquoise waters, I saw a beautiful trout, swimming up the stream and standing in the current, gracefully dancing with it. Fish – the symbol of the unconscious realms. Just one fish, which I watched for half an hour, and while I watched, some deep insights arose from my depths – about the directions I wish to follow in my life.

When suddenly two German tourists arrived, who threw their half-smoked cigarettes into the water and then cast their fishing rods to catch “my” trout – the only one around – I felt an outburst of anger.

And profound helplessness – how could I protect life and its natural beauty in a culture that doesn’t teach people to see the deeper layer behind the living world? What should I say to someone for whom a fish is just a fish? How can I meet the carelessness with which nature is used and abused?

I do eat fish from time to time. I even catched some in a net in a Norwegian lake. Nothing against fishing. IF there is an awareness about natures need to regenerate, if there is care and a sense of the value of all living beings, which is so much greater than the money or short good taste or excitement that people take of it.

I gathered my courage and told the couple to at least stop throwing their trash into the river. Even though I am not good at expressing my anger or disagreement towards strangers, I told myself it’s my freedom and my duty to speak up on behalf of nature.

May we care for our own regeneration as for the regeneration of the world around us. May we take time to communicate with it on deeper levels, keeping the respectful distance and carefulness that is needed for true connection and for regeneration.

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