Did you ever experience a situation of being extremely overheated? Maybe you have been close to heatstroke or seen someone in such peril. I can tell you that it is not very nice to see or feel. A few years ago, I found out the worst possible way that I was not born to be a Bedouin or an habitant of the Kalahari Desert, and that is the story and the picture I want to share with you.
In the summer of 2018, while mentoring a beautiful group of people in one of our programs, the weather was the least of my worries. Still, as we advanced through the week, I noticed a potential heatwave being formed and started worrying a little in the back of my mind.
Obvious precautions were taken, and we shifted the start of our days a bit earlier to catch fresher temperatures and avoided walking in the afternoon. Everything seemed to be under control, and the group handled the situation pretty well until one particular section of the route.
On that day, we left before sunrise and covered most of the distance until noon as planned. The last stretch until lunchtime was supposed to be nice and easy, mainly a long descent through a beautiful forest with enough shade to keep my worries away from the increasing heat.
But once we reached the woods, there were no woods. Exactly!
The all-section that was supposed to protect us from the torching sunlight was gone, most likely a few weeks before a battalion of loggers had passed by. But since I was the only one who remembered the previous scenery, no one else felt the cold hand on my spinal cord, reminding me that we could suffer tremendously in the coming hours.
The options I could take were not abundant. We had two hours ahead of us until we could stop, eat and rest no matter the direction we decided to follow, and both were exposed to the increasing temperatures. My reptilian brain immediately started the process of visioning a very dark outcome, and I went on survival mode in seconds.
After all these years, I think no one felt threatened or in danger, but I can guarantee you that what happened next was nothing short of a little miracle.
As we progressed down the path, the temperatures kept rising, and my body started to feel detached from my mind. Time went to a different dimension, and I went along with it. Either because of the heat or the increasingly stressful thoughts I was imposing on myself; I had the impression I was nearing a heatstroke.
A few kilometres down the road, we found a gigantic tunnel underneath a train bridge that I had never noticed before on previous programs. It was very dark inside, and we stopped for a while to refresh.
I kept feeling worst and worst, and It was hard to admit. Maybe because of the terrible “movie” I was building inside my head, or because my body seemed to be melting, I did not manage to cool down. I was a step away from starting to panic.
I walked back and forth inside the tunnel since a substantial portion of my “brain” is located in my feet (one of the participants even captured the moment), and I started a dialogue with the Omnipotent. It was more of prayer, and I begged for a miracle. I wanted to involve my entire body in freshwater. Crazy right? There was no water nearby.
I continued to walk back and forth while the group was quietly resting when I thought I could hear distant voices. The sounds were similar to those we listened to while on the beach with our eyes closed. As if someone was playing nearby on the water. It was joyful and pleasant.
I have doubted my mind many times, but this one was way too far from a world I could minimally trust. Was it the end? Maybe I was about to faint, which was the beginning of it. If that was the case, I decided to embrace it and make the best of a bad situation. I walked out of the tunnel approaching the voices coming out of a bulky set of bushes and trees.
I guess I was not dying. Behind those shrubberies, I found a little river and inside the water some people playing joyfully and a little surprised with my sudden appearance.
In a few minutes, some of the participants and I plunged into the water, making me feel like returning to planet Earth. What an immense pleasure that words fall short of describing.
Back on the shore, I started to collect the different thoughts of that day, the ups and downs, and trying to make sense of all the learnings. Overall, I felt very grateful. I did not succumb to heatstroke; the group I was mentoring was kept safe and sound, and I found myself in a little corner of paradise. So I decided to push my luck a little further, asking for some sign that my voice was being heard.
I closed my eyes and focused on the cocktail of emotions life was serving me. I asked again. Suddenly I felt a little ticklish in my arm, then in my leg and quickly after all over my skin.
When I opened my eyes, I couldn’t believe it. The tiny river was filled with hundreds of dragonflies. I felt they were telling me that it was ok for me to rest. I went through hell, and now I was sleeping peacefully in paradise. I leave you with a few pictures taken at that moment, and your imagination will do the rest.
We are now at the beginning of 2022, and we are still living very challenging days. It isn’t easy to have hope, especially if you follow the news outlets. But let me tell you. There is a way!
Go out for a walk in Nature and follow the “playful voices”, wherever they are. Never stop searching for that special place where you can rest; place your feet in fresh water and close your eyes to make an honest prayer. Be grateful, be plentiful, be true to yourself.
This particular moment might be a few minutes before everyone else is awake or after dinner on a night stroll looking up at the stars. It is up to you to choose. Life is what we make out of it.
PODCAST – KEEP WALKING WITH ME
Grab your headphones and put your shoes on; after all, it is a “Walkcast”. Our next guest is Michael Schibel. Michael is the founder of Travel with Meaning. Travel with Meaning is a Community of travellers sharing experiences that move, touch and inspire us. Click on the image to listen.
UPCOMING WALKINAR (ALUMNI ONLY)
On the 19th of February 2022, we will be back with an exclusive event. A Walkinar together with other Alumni towards the best version of ourselves. You will reflect on your action plan, what is working and what is not working. Register here.
SHOULD WE WALK TOGETHER?
Walking Mentorship is a labour of love that helps you gain deeper insight and equips you to create a meaningful impact in your life and those around you. How can we work together? We keep things simple by offering Immersive, short-term and Corporate programs. Check the best fit for you.
Keep walking with me,
João Perre Viana
Partner of Walking Mentorship