One Legged Upward Bow over Mt. Baker, Anderson Butte, elevation 5420ft, photo taken by Douglas Fitchett
I woke on Hiking Morning with suffering. Having learned the evening prior that I was not going to be able to leave my house as planned for a hike to Park Butte due to unforeseen parenting responsibilities, I woke in a terrible mood. For the third weekend in a row, my plan to get into mountains, where I restore and rejuvenate most enjoyably, was thwarted. Instead, I'd be running my 13 year old ballerina back and forth to her dance classes. I wouldn't be finished till noon...much to late in the day to pull the trigger on an 8 mile, mountain hike.
So, initially, I threw my arms up in the air and mentally yelled "Fine! Nevermind, then!"
Attachment. Aversion. Suffering.
Once I had identified the three above mentioned factors, I asked myself how I could do this day with grace.
I knew I was attached to mountains. And even more attached to my plan to leave the house at 6am. I knew that I was mad as hell that my plan had fallen through and completely aversive to the change. I knew my resulting emotions were causing suffering. Not only to me but to my family who had to put up with my withdrawal and scowls.
I chose, right then, after identifying all those deletorious elements that I would move forward with grace. I would not attach to my "plan".
I made a new plan. I decided to leave when I was able. Noon. To choose a shorter trail that I could complete in the short time between noon and sunset. And I just went with it.
I arrived at the trail and immediately found patches of snow. At 3800 feet elevation, that's bearable. Add 1600 feet, though, and we are talking two feet of snow in places.
Doubt raised. Should I turn back? Should snow stop me? How could I have risen above such challenges as my morning had brought and falter now? I had even beaten the odds that the trail may be closed due to the government shutdown.
No. "Grace," I told myself. "Just soften your expectations, your attachment to what you think it 'should' be. Continue on with flexibility."
And I did. Even after having to navigate without a visible trail, encountering sleepy & irritated hornets in the tarn field, and battling colder temperatures than I was dressed for, I found myself right where I had intended.
On the top of a butte, giving Mt. Baker the eyeball, upside down in wheel pose.
Put your practice to the test. Practice. Off the mat. When you meet resistance, assess your attachments. Remove them. And change course a degree or two.
You may just end up where you intended. Or like me, in a whole new location, with just as nice of a view.