BLOG POST: Dancing With Myself: A Lesson From Hiking in the Golan Heights

 If you know anything about me, you know that I love nature! But I’ll have to admit I’m a bit of a baby when it gets tough and I have to struggle -- even a little bit.


Here’s what happened. My enthusiastic teen (who can hardly get out of bed in the morning) strongly encouraged us to join her on a hiking adventure.
The Golan Heights is a magnet for nature lovers,because of the beautiful waterfalls and inviting springs that burst into life after the winter rains.


She took us to a village where a lively waterfall landed in refreshing pools nestled in the valley between two miniature mountains. Adventurous youths hurdled into the water from about twelve feet above.


I didn’t realize that the water would be such a struggle to get to.



You see, fear struck me as soon as I started down the mountain. I would have to navigate a narrow trail of basalt rock that formed a rugged volcanic stairway. Not sure of my footing, I struggled and complained a lot on the way down. I heard myself grumble out loud, lightly joking about my lack of preparation for this hike, realizing it was coming from a place of anxiety.

I was afraid of losing my footing.


I was afraid of falling down.


I was afraid of not being able to climb back up.


I was afraid of pain and discomfort.


I was afraid of failure.


And I forgot about my professional training.
I forgot about the tools I know for emotional healing.
I forgot about mindfulness and personal growth.  


Then something happened.

I lightened up. And I realized that in my struggle I was missing out on the beauty of the walk, the multitude of wildflowers, the rolling green hills, the blue sky, the gentle caress of the breeze on my face, the richness of the day.


After a few moments of enlightenment, basking in the joy of the hike itself, the fear crept up again. I returned to stumbling and grumbling. Then satisfied in releasing the fear, again I immersed my consciousness in the beauty of the moment, surrounded by nature’s majesty.


I was one with it all again.


Like a dance between the small me and the more universal Self.




Later when I reflected on my experience, I faced a moment of humility, maybe even embarrassment, that I haven’t reached the level where I could hike down that mountain in pure enjoyment, at peace, maybe even blissful.


I was sure that others could do this. But not me.


You are not a guru, I told myself. 
You are not giving a good example.

Then came my paradigm shift:


I don’t have to be that guru.
I don’t have to give a perfect example.  
I can be human.


It can be messy and uncomfortable. I can be vulnerable. I can acknowledge my feelings. And then when I am ready, I can return to the beauty around me.


And I can dance with myself in this cycle over and over again.
And in doing so, I am dancing with Life itself.


So every moment throughout our day is a beautiful opportunity to check in:
Am I struggling?
It is uncomfortable?
Am I afraid?
What am I grumbling about?
And then forgive yourself for being human.


And remember to dance.