When on an adventure in nature, it is a wonderful feeling when you realize that you have stepped out of time. When you get to the point where you just are. Sometimes this is called “being in the moment.”
Nearly twenty years ago, as I was reinventing myself, I was going to stretch my comfort zone and go on a three-day solo backpacking trip. I wanted to go light so on the way I stopped by the army surplus store to pick up a poncho to fashion into a tent. This was one of my worst nights sleeping in nature. My inexperience led me to pick a bad site and set up a poor shelter.
The trip though yielded great knowledge. It was on this trip that I came to understand being in the moment. The words “you can never be lost if you have no place to be and no time to be there,” came into my mind. This simple revelation removed quite a bit of fear of being in nature, the fear of getting lost.
Fear is a powerful enemy. Once I thought I was lost and later found I really was not. My navigation skills were still rather green and I had been tracking an old trail. (On Boulder Mountain there are trails that are not traveled as much any more and they have become overgrown. A bit of a hobby of mine is to track these trails.) I lost the trail and started to doubt my navigation skills. At this point I could not make any sense of the map and the land. Fear and frustration started to creep into my mind. Fortunately it was getting late in the day. There was water nearby so I just made a bed and slept for the night. I woke up the next morning looked at the map and realized that I was exactly where I thought I was, however in my tired state the night before I could not see that. Since I did not feel the pressure of having a place to be or a time to be there, I was able to accept that I am where I am at this moment and was able to work with what was available to me.
I use this statement quite frequently when teaching navigation. The purpose being to allow students to relax about navigation and have fun with it. When we are not as worried about getting lost, we take our noses out of the map and notice were we are. This is when we start to appreciate our surroundings and gently slip into being in the moment. We also realize that where ever we are is where we are supposed to be.
Even if you do have a pick-up time and place for an adventure in nature, frustration about not being able to make the appointment often cripples us and creates more challenges. If we take the approach of accepting where we are at the moment and work with what we have available we are more likely to see things clearly and make better decisions.
Over time the statement took on a deeper meaning. I came to realize that the statement was also a metaphor for life. In life we have places to be – career objectives – and times to be there – by a certain age. Though goals are important to help us grow, goals can also keep us from seeing what is right in front of us. When we take our noses out of the map we have drawn for our lives – whether from our own imagination or from the mores that engulf us – we can begin to appreciate were we are in our lives today and we can realize that we are were we are supposed to be. Being in tune with our current lives allows us to see what is trying so desperately to get our attention, the person of your dreams the ideal career path or just about anything.
Take your head out of the map, enjoy the moment in nature, enjoy the moment in life, amazing things might happen!