A Dharma Glimpse by Jenn
So I’m away this weekend finishing off the coast to coast walk. This is a walk right across the north of England from St Bees on the west coast of Cumbria right across Cumbria and Yorkshire to the North East coast at Robin Hood’s Bay. It was invented in the 1970s by Alfred Wainwright who has become a bit of a hero for those who like long walks. He was very interested in self-power (he probably wouldn’t call it that) and a lot of his writing about long distance fell walking is about grit and determination, about mind over matter, about being a person alone conquering the great outdoors.
I actually was entirely conquered by mother nature as when I set out to do this walk in July I had to abandon the last two days (40 miles) because of the heatwave. I’d have been walking across high and unshaded moorland in the 35 degree heat with only the water I could carry. I could not mind-over-matter that set of circumstances. So i gave up and I felt terrible about it. I felt like I’d been a weakling and really quite pathetic and it took me a long time to look after myself and make a good decision and comfort the parts of me that were really unhappy about that decision. And to make those parts happy I’ve come back this weekend in cool and windy autumn weather to finish the walk.
I did 22 miles today and my body is hurting. It’s really good I didn’t try to master myself and the world and actually accepted the limitations of my body. As I walked today through miles and miles and miles of very desolate moorland, seeing nobody for hours and hours, I realised how far away from help I would have been if I’d have persisted during the summer. How much water I would have needed to carry. I don’t know how many times the world is going to need to teach me about my own smallness and the benefits of surrender but I had that lesson again today.
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