“What was I thinking?” I sighed, huffing and puffing. It was 2 am and the air was chilly from the evening’s rain. While everyone else slept, a bunch of us had decided to climb a mountain in the middle of the night.
“Just half an hour more to go,” the guide cheered us on. But I trailed along unfocussed, busy placating every ligament in my body that screamed for mercy. My mind teased me with images of my comfortable bed, soft pillows and cosy blanket. The next second, stones rolled over beneath the soles of my shoes. Taking a nasty fall, I realised distractions can be detrimental. Covered in scratches and bruises, I was ready to give up.
“Are you okay? Don’t worry, this will be over soon,” someone said, giving me a hand. Inexplicably, that changed my mind. The fact that I may never come back to the place dawned on me in that moment. I made a conscious effort then to take every sight and sound in and etch the memory in my mind. “Don’t overthink. Just take one step at a time,” I said to myself.
I grew more focussed, as something in me began to transform. It was as if I was living moment to moment. I was aware of every step I took and every muscle in my body that made it possible. I was conscious of every breath and the rhythm of my heartbeat. My body seemed to work like an efficient tool; even my mind was suddenly my ally. I trusted my legs to carry me safely and allowed my instinct to take control that night. I was learning to work in harmony with my body and mind.
At the break of dawn, I conquered the trek. The early morning sun played hide and seek amidst the curtains of mist. The lake was a mirror, shimmering in hues of copper and gold. The uphill struggle was forgotten and my pain long gone. I no longer cared for a bed or a pillow. I had challenged my own limitations that night and the beauty of nature before me was my well-deserved reward.