I spent last weekend with Oscar, Amy and Diego at their home in the mountains of Las Anonas, Guatemala. Their home is located within a beautiful compound and just behind their home are beautiful mountains, trees, and fields.
Late in the afternoon on Saturday, Diego and I decided to hike in the mountains behind their home. He had done it many times and called it a “small walk.” So we took off on a “small walk.” We climbed over and under several barbed wire fences and eventually found ourselves in the most beautiful pasture land and rolling hills that I have seen.
As we took a moment to take in the beautiful scenery, he pointed out to me where he had previously hiked. He pointed up to a mountain where there happened to be smoke about two-thirds of the way up the mountain and he said that once he had almost climbed that high. So we headed off in that direction.
Now the terrain was a mix of trees, open pasture and then a large section of brush. We hiked up navigating over dry stream beds, climbed over rocks, and danced around all types of thorned bushes. But through it all…it was straight up…like steep up!
Both of us realized just how bad we were out of shape as our hearts raced and we were gasping for our next breath. All the while continuing up and continuing to push our way through brush, thorns, and no visible path.
We finally reached a point to where Diego said, “Wow, I’ve never been up this far before!” So we took a moment to take in the view and then tried to decide our next move.
- Do we go down the same way we came up? That answer was no. We were not going to forge our way through all of that brush again.
- Do we make our way to the treeline and hope we can go down with less effort? We tried that and were soon faced with a large deep washout that was surrounded by brush.
- Do we continue to go up and then try to find a road or another way down? That sounded like a plan and so we continued up.
We finally reached and open field on the side of the mountain where people were working the soil planting corn. This is where the smoke was coming from that we had seen from the bottom of the mountain. We continued up to the top of the mountain. The view was spectacular, but it also proved to us that we were very far from where we had begun our hike.
We took a moment to consult Google Maps to get a look at where we were and the easiest way to get “home.” The sun was beginning to set behind the mountain, and soon it would be getting dark. I began to feel the tightening in my chest of the oncoming of some anxiety as I realized that our options to get home before dark were going to be limited to:
- Going back the way we came. Yuk.
- Hiking towards another mountain, thinking we would hit a road that would then take us back to Las Anonas.
I stood on top of this mountain and just looked at my options…none of them felt right. Then I did something random and completely by mistake…I walked about 10 feet to another area on the mountain…
What I saw in this new location was a clearing that led down the mountain to a treeline that would take us in the right direction…towards home. So that’s what we did. We took that path.
The clearing was an easy downhill walk to the treeline. I picked up a beautiful trail under the trees that led us down the mountain and dumped us back into the pasture where we had started our uphill climb.
10 feet…I just moved 10 feet…and everything changed.
I thought about the “life lesson” I experienced on this hike. Sometimes we find ourselves in a “proverbial pickle.” A situation that seems hopeless or filled with anxiety and risk. Our options at this point may seem limited. But what I learned to do was to change my perspective. Do something. Not big or drastic. Just do something I haven’t done yet…like walk 10 feet to get a new perspective.
How this might look in real life could be doing things like taking a drive, going a new way to work, getting up an hour earlier, journaling, working out, calling an old friend, taking a class…something…anything new and different.
We all get lost from time to time…but we don’t have to feel lost. We have a way home, and we may simply need to move a mere 10 feet to see it.