I just returned from a magical week o walking in amazing trails through the pristine forests of Galicia. I embarked on the program Gaia, a space to learn to let go, with a clear objective – to deal with a stone that has been in my shoe for too long.
As I saw it back then (was it a week or a lifetime ago?), I had very good and objective reasons to hold my grudge against someone who was failing to do what she should. Not only could I remember all my grievances, as I also saw how this person was failing other people I love and making me feel guilty about it.
My reasoning was flawless and the guilty party identified. But what should I do with this? I felt pain and guilt.
And blaming someone, no matter how justifiable, just didn’t help.
I knew this was a stone in my shoe for a long time. In reality, it felt like a bolder in my shoe, and I definitely wanted to get rid of it. And so, like John Muir used to say, into the wild I went to lose myself and find my soul.
The walks were beautiful and required just the right amount of attention and effort to keep me focused. I reflected on my stone, using the exercises suggested in the Survival Kit, and we shared our progress with each other, both learning and teaching from our life experiences. And naturally, we kept finding insights from the experiences and attitudes of others and the breakthroughs of the exercises.
On day 2 we had a particularly beautiful stretch up a valley and then over the little stream in the bottom. The greens of the leaves and the many varieties of plants and mosses in the misty light of dawn were almost surreal, and crossing the little stream it felt like traveling back in time to the days when this was the only means of getting from a place to another,
at our own natural pace of 3 or 4kms per hour.
As I went through the dynamics I kept feeling that, painful as it was, I didn’t really want to get reed of the stone, I just wanted it to stop hurting. Also, I realised quite clearly that I could not change this person.
On day 4 the Survival Kit suggests an exercise of curiosity – to pick up and carry with you (or photographing if it is too big) the objects that catch our attention, regardless of the reason.
The first thing that caught my eye was a bit of plastic signaling tape fallen on the mud. A bit disgusted I picked it up. A bit after I saw an almost black beautiful acorn – rather unusual as they are usually auburn. As I picked it up I realized that the bottom side was broken and full of dirt. I kept it anyway, and a few steps further I saw a small white pebble, round and polished like marble and as I took it off the ground realized it was rugged on the bottom side.
The next step of the exercise asked me to relate these objects to my stone… and as I listed the many aspects I found one common denominator to all – the beauty of imperfection. Flawed as these objects are, they are still beautiful in some way. Even the plastic ribbon, in practice trash, allowed me to do something nice for this place and value this nature even further.
And this turned out to be the great breakthrough I needed to see how I could remodel my stone – from a bolder in my shoe to a foundation of tolerance and gratitude. We are all flawed in some way, but that is also what makes us unique. When we see past the grudges and the guilt, the flaws become the beauty and the opportunity to help and be useful to others.
As it turned out, another participant saw that my delay picking up the plastic signaling ribbon actually prevented me from being hit by a stone that fell of the wall by the road, so this piece of thrash might have been a pain saver (lifesaver would be too dramatic ; ). I’m definitely going to keep walking.
1 – VIDEO
Our next guest on the podcast – Keep Walking With Me – is Gerard van den Berg, CEO & Founder X-ploregroup. Gerard provides people with adventurous and educational experiences all over the globe and his professional leadership allows him to offer authentic, up-close experiences in the planet’s wild, remote places and capitals of adventure and culture. You can listen to the audio version in
Anchor – https://anchor.fm/walking-mentorship
(click to watch the video)
2 – PICTURES
We take too many pictures and spend very little time enjoying them. We share a couple of images from our programs that once, in a while, “jump” to our blog.
3 – IDEAS
(TOWARDS THE BEST VERSION OF YOURSELF)
Question – in these days of over information, the ability to question is essential to make sense of any of it. Don’t go for the obvious, take the time to see the different angles and perspectives.
Listen – in the midst of all the noise, just stop and listen. To the silence of the voice of someone else. Listen as you care to hear what is being said. Admit the possibility that there is something of value to be gained from the voices of others.
Respect – regardless of your opinion or beliefs, respect that other people have the same right as you to their own opinions and beliefs. Just because you don’t share the same perspective, doesn’t mean your enemies. Question yourself. Listen to the other. And whatever the difference, respect – the other and yourself.
4 – UPCOMING PROGRAMS
If you are ready to take the road less traveled, check the upcoming dates
– Year-End (Lines of Torres Vedras – Portugal) 27 Dec + info
5 – SHOULD WE WALK TOGETHER?
Walking Mentorship is a passion project. A labor of Love that we hope helps you gain deeper insight and equips you to create a meaningful impact in your life and the ones around you. How can we work together? At WM, we try to keep things simple by offering Online and Outdoor mentoring programs, see what is the best fit for you.
We have a Patreon pageto channel more energy and focus on our content. We publish weekly videos, a Podcast, and share news and content about our work. Visit the page here.
Keep walking with me,
Nuno Santos Fernandes
Partner of Walking Mentorship
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