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Hiking, a wonderful experience for Soul and Sole

Hiking, a wonderful experience for Soul and Sole

The morning of 4th July 2021 6:20 am, changed something in me forever. Rekindled my love for nature after ages. My first hike in 8 years amidst the arid scrub forest of Asola Wildlife Sanctuary which includes abandoned Asola Bhatti Mines and few water bodies. It can be rightly termed as Green lung & carbon sink for Delhi. Hard to believe that a gigantic metropolis, home to 30 million peeps has such a amazing ecological surprise in its lap. No wonder it’s a hotspot for trail runners/walkers/cyclists and nature enthusiasts.

The Sanctuary is located on Southern Ridge, the northern terminal of Aravalli Hills, one of the oldest mountain systems of the world. Biodiversity significance of Ridge lies in its merger with IndoGangetic plains.(Fun fact shared by our Charismatic Guide Chetan Sehgal aka Mr. Bean 🙂 )

The early morning silence was broken, with Dr. Arvinder and my non-stop chatter, getting ready for trail walk with our gracious host Chetan. We had no idea what was in store for us. After ages I was not apprehensive about a physical taxing excursion. I was not worried about how my back will hold? Will I be able to endure what Chetan had planned for us? I am an over-thinker and No.1 Worrier in the world 😉 The excitement was palpable. Our big smiling faces throughout the trail walk were testimony to this.

We started our trail walk at 6:20am with Chetan guiding us through the trail and sharing his stories sprinkled with anecdotes. I was star struck and lapped everything that was shared.

After a few hundred meters of walking, things started becoming interesting. The route took us through thorny jungles, mud trails, pot holes, craters giving me the feel of the Moon 😉 We also saw Camels, cows, dogs, pugmarks on the way. So much for the wildlife 🙂 We had to ascend and descend at some places.

We walked at a comfortable pace which of course for our tall host was just too slow. Hats off to Chetan for his patience. We (rather I decided) that we should return after 9000 steps. Lake was nowhere in sight and I played it safe in calling it off after 9000 steps. I was drenched in sweat and sun had started to blaze in all its glory by this time.

While returning we rested for a few minutes, sat on primitive rocks with me munching on dairy milk giving much needed rest to my feet. A fun video was shot at my expense which was later on circulated in Run & Bee group much to my embarrassment.

The return journey predictably seemed long and far but at the end, despite the general tiredness, we had a thoroughly enjoyable time and felt as if my soul had cleansed after ages and my inner batteries were fully charged to take on life when I end my much needed thinking week break on the coming week and get back to my daily grind.

So what did I learn from today’s trail besides being a I’ll be sad that how much all these years I missed on living life the way it should be lived. Time to make amends and reclaim what I missed. Today I promised myself that this trail walk will not be one off. It’s going to be a start to many more. Age is just a number. Better late than never.

Sharing few learnings:

1.Research is discovering all the different ways nature benefits our well-being, health, and relationships. The hike was a wonderful experience for my soul and sole. It helped me connect with my deeper self.

2.It taught me to be curious about the world around me. Brought a sense of overwhelming happiness. I discovered that I had a unique connection to the outside world. Somewhere as I was growing old I had lost that connection. I traded playtime with shopping trips to malls, restaurants and movies. As I became financially independent I learned what it meant to be truly busy-further taking me away from the natural, relaxed rhythm of nature. And this continued over the years till I became totally disconnected from nature and self.

It’s comforting to know that I am not alone. However this is a serious problem. Connecting with Mother Earth can be such a crucial part of our overall health. Spending time in nature gives us the opportunity to slow down, connect with self, pause and remember what’s important. Nature quietens up the inner chatter of mind, opens heart and invites ease into our bodies.

3.By taking on this challenge and moving out of my comfort zone I had a great sense of self-confidence and there was a sense of accomplishment. For a person who has been struggling with back pain for a decade this was a big victory for me.

4.Being in nature for 180 minutes during the walk, I could feel the positive impact on my brain, body, feelings and thoughts. It produced cascades of positive emotions and calmed my agitated mind. It helped me heal and reduce the anxiety which I was feeling since the tsunami of 2nd wave hit us.

5.It helped me cultivate greater openness, connection, generosity and resilience.

6.Though I was not alone in this trail walk, it was still one of the most intense intimate experiences. Wonderful way to rediscover harmony and peace of mind.

7.Although we did not reach the lake which was our target, I don’t regret that I gave in after 9000 steps. It was not a competition or target. It was all about soaking in the experience.

8.The beauty of silence, looking and observing small details around me,losing myself in the magnificent scenery, trying to engrave and soak everything in my memory was worth the sweat.

9.The hike was more than an outdoor experience. It was a philosophy and a medicine to heal the heart.

10.As we waded through the sanctuary it was like I was making a journey inside myself.

You have to experience this to understand the most profound concept of Buddhism, Oneness of Life and Environment. Realize that nature is not just something on the outside in our environment, but a part of our very being. Our body is made up of all the same elements, minerals and energy that makes up the planet. We are in tune with how the planet goes about each day, and we can see this in our body’s natural circadian rhythm for example.

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