I was in the midst of a 15-mile hike when I turned to my hiking partner and caught him in the middle of putting a rock in my backpack. This was the fifth rock over the past 30 minutes. He had just made the comment ‘don’t our backpacks feel heavier now that we are going up hill’ and I responded with something to do with all the water we had to carry and did not give much more thought to it. Of course he was trying to see if I had noticed the increase in weight as he had been slowly adding rocks one at a time, and I had not even noticed.
Once I realized what he was doing, I stopped, removed the rocks, had a good laugh and continued up the mountain. I was amazed I had not noticed the increase in weight, although I’m sure I would have if he had decided to put them in all at once.
There is plenty of time to think as you are taking one step at a time in altitude, so my thoughts went over the idea of how in life we sometimes have little awareness of the impact the little decisions have on us.
In life we do not pay attention to the rocks we, or others put in our backpack, and the difference they make. It could be allowing someone to treat us constantly with a lack of respect, the extra drink we may have nightly, or the extra $20 we keep wasting.
These are the rocks we add into our life that do not benefit us, that we are often unaware of the impact because they are subtle or small and seem innocent, but added up over time do make a difference.
An example most of us can relate to is those extra calories we consume that on a daily basis do not seem much, but add them up over a week, a month and then a year, it can mean a weight gain of 10 pounds or more. Can you see how this might affect our self-esteem and our sense of self, and then how this can affect our direction in life?
Lesson number two from this weekend: We drove to Yosemite and I decided to climb up one of the domes. My friend decided he did not want to go, so on my own I carefully planned my route up the dome. I got half way up and then started to doubt what I was doing. I stood on a ledge looking up, then down, deciding which way I was going to go. I was feeling some fear, so instead of allowing the fear to rule my decision, I stopped, took a deep breath, looked around me and all the beauty I could see from being high up and methodically looked at both possibilities of going up or down.
After watching another person continue up the rock face, I decided I would follow his path and continue up. What a view from the top, I am still sitting in the glory of making it. If I had allowed fear to make my decision, I would have gone back down, instead, I allowed myself time to look at my options and by being open to both possibilities, I was able to make the best decision.
In summary: Watch the small habits we have in life, as they make our life; don’t respond in fear–stop, breathe, and then make your decision.
As Aristotle said, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” Just taking time to make conscious decisions changes our lives into a more positive and wise experience.