A journey of physical challenge, spiritual awakenings and lessons learned.
Growing up in a huge city, there was always a part of me that wanted to escape. Escape to nature, to the wild and the adventure. I always found myself wanting to explore the outdoors and look for new experiences.
I find excitement in the unknown and I'm always seeking to discover new thrills.
One time in high school, we had a conference with this person that had climbed and summited Mt. Everest. It was out of this world to me, I didn't think it was possible and that I was seating there, in front of this amazing human being, listening to his story.
I remember coming out of that hall inspired, excited and filled with these emotions and feelings that I couldn't explain.
The seed had been planted. After that, Mt. Everest became something that someday, somehow I would be a part of.
2017 was the year I would see it with my own eyes.
This hard year was one of struggle, change, sadness, beauty, heart breaking decisions, transformation and incredible spiritual awakening.
I left everything that was familiar and took off on a journey that would change my life.
I was traveling for 3 months and I would end my trip hiking to Mt. Everest base camp 1.
Life of course, had other plans. After a month and a half in India, my knee was in pain.
How would I complete the 15 day journey through the Himalayas if even kneeling was painful?
I listened to my body and honoured my truth. This trek was not in the cards for me, at least not now.
I still made my way to Nepal.
I landed in Kathmandu and got to experience the city’s corners by myself. Just me, my thoughts and my desire to explore.
I still went to a trekking agency and to my surprise, they had the perfect package for me.
A 7 day trek through the Annapurna range, which is a lighter one, and a flight over Mt. Everest.
Soaring the skies at 6 in the morning, I was there. I was looking at the highest peak on Earth. It was everything I ever imagined, the greatness and magnificence, the majestic sight made me feel so small and at the same time so connected to everything around me. It literally took my breath away.
I was ready for the trek, I was ready to immerse myself in the beauty of Himalayas. My knee was tender but I felt strong. I would surrender myself to the mountain. What messages would be there for me?
I met with the group, we got the last brief, and off we went to our starting point. Walking 8 -9 hours a day, breaking for food and ginger- honey-lemon tea, making our way from teahouse to teahouse to spend the night. Meeting amazing, warm, local people and fellow adventurers along the way.
For the most part, I hiked by myself, going to those corners of the mind where sometimes it's scary to go.
I couldn't believe I was actually trekking the Himalayas. I was so grateful, complete and just happy.
No cellphone, nothing to do or say, no responsibility except with myself, honouring my decision of being there and walking the miles day after day. Moment after moment, breath after breath.
The views, the air, the sunrise and sunset, the full moon, the stars. The challenge, the peace. It was all too beautiful, I was part of something bigger, every step elevated me into a state of higher consciousness and bliss.
It was all I ever wanted.
Until it wasn't.
Suddenly something shifted. I was bored and frustrated. It was painful, physically and emotionally; I missed my family, I missed my people, my language. I couldn't believe I was in the middle of the mountains so far away from what's important to me. All of my body ached, my heart was broken and mind was tired. Why am I here? Why am I really here? This is uncomfortable, why did I choose this? I felt completely lost.
Nothing made sense in that moment about the decisions that had brought me there.
I wanted to quit.
In the midst of the crisis, I took off one afternoon to walk the small village where we were staying. Without a word, without a plan, I just wandered and left. Everything was closed and there was no one around. And then, out of nowhere, something magical happened.
Everything was gone. The negative, the positive, the darkness and the uncomfortable. I was just there, being there. Detached from thought and emotion, I stopped thinking, feeling, planning & just allowed myself to be.
I can't explain what happened inside of me. It was just a feeling of warmth and light that ran through my body and soul.
An unintended smile came to my face and time stopped. I came back to me.
I wasn't lost anymore.
I remembered why I was there, I remembered how blessed I was to be walking this path, I remembered love and I remembered my dharma, my purpose.
I recognized myself and I was ok with what was there. It was more than ok.
This glimpse only lasted a few breaths. But it was there, and it remains. I can still feel it as I’m writing these words remembering the moment.
The White Horse
With a clear mind and this great feeling inside of me, I started walking back to the tea house. I was still the only one out there. As I walked through the quiet trails, there it was. A white horse. Just there behind the stupa. Behind the eyes that see it all. I stopped and he turned around and looked at me. My heart and breath stopped. It was not fear, on the contrary, it was absolute peace. I stood there for sometime and everything that I was looking for just became clear.
I wondered where the horse came from, probably the next village. But at that moment, he was there just for me. A few days later on the trail I saw him again. In the forest, it almost didn’t look real.
I then came to learn that when the white horse comes to you, it means you’re in a path of deep spiritual awakening, it’s a symbol for developing awareness of your instincts and intuition.
The rest of the hike was easy, not only did we reach our high point in Poon Hill for first light the next morning, but we started going back. My knee started to resent the effort, so it was a good time to stop.
I didn’t know what was going to happen after or what I was going to do with my life.
But I felt excited about not knowing and I trusted that whatever happened would be fine. From that moment on, I knew that in the darkest moments, I can handle whatever comes my way if I can just take the time to sit with fear and discomfort, live it, feel it and let it go.
Just like the story of the Buddha. Did I have to go get lost in the Himalayas to find my answers? No. But I had to go and be there, to know that I didn't have to go all the way to Nepal to find what I was looking for, that it's always within me.
This trek has been one of the most wonderful experiences of my life and I'm grateful to have done it.
The Himalayas did have a message for me. And now I was listening.
I came back to Pokhara and then Kathmandu. Time didn’t seem to be moving at the same pace as it did before.
There I was, in this far away country that for so long was only part of my dreams.
I made a promise to myself right then and there. To never forget who I am. To never forget what I’m capable of and to never forget the feeling that the mountains gave me. Complete, pure happiness, bliss, oneness.
I went to the tattoo shop around the corner and got a little reminder.
Sometimes it's hard to stay connected, sometimes it's hard to remember. We quickly get distracted in our lives, specially in the city. This is when the yoga comes, this is when we do the work off-the-mat.
When you know that you can go within and sit with anything that's coming up for you, recognize it, learn form it and let it go, everything gets easier.
And you don't have to get lost in a mountain to do it.
You just need to close your eyes, breathe and see the magic happen.
Thank you for reading.