I have a knack for doing the exact opposite of what i have been told. So when told not to rush through it I did, when advised against focusing on reaching the peak i did, and when told to watch the sunrise i slept through it. Yes, I climbed Mt Sinai gave up after five hours of strenuous physical activity and multiple pauses, dropped like a sac on a rock and slept through the sunrise.
It all started as an innocent trip with young folks aiming at increasing my outdoor activities and trying so hard to convince myself that my life is exciting. We took a 10 hour bus trip to reach our destination. After feeling slightly human again after the long ride, we started the climb and that’s when all the aforementioned advice was given to me;”walk slow but steady, don’t focus on reaching the peak” But to tell you the truth i was also advised not to bother with the sunrise -which i did- despite the fact that the first question i was asked on reaching the base was “have you seen the sunrise?”.
Before the climb, our guide randomly asked us about reasons we took that trip. I knew I did not know why but I was also certain I would only when I get back home. After all the excitement wears off, after all the craziness subsides, I knew I would be able to tell why I wanted to do it in the first place and what thirst my soul experienced and needed to quench with that adventure.
Of course, one of the really important aspects of the trip was the group; which got scattered and ended up in pairs. My dear, kind partner who is such a gentle young man who inadvertently got stuck with me and spent the whole way upwards directing my attention to the really really long way ahead of us judging by the light emitted from people’s torches on the top. He inadvertently not only put me down but made me hate myself for failing me and him. All that was before the incredible back pain, the muscle cramps. Then we decided to pause and wait for the rest of our friends; about the time i started realizing how light headed i was becoming. I decided to resume the climb and that was disastrous because i was quite dizzy and started leaning on my friend while worrying the whole time that i was burdening him and it might be really dangerous since he was a first timer just like me. I then decided to rest again, this time really unable to hold myself straight that I lied on my back on a rock and started watching the sky. It was a dark, moonless night and the sky was a heavenly, velvety carpet adorned with the best sparkly, glittery, flickering diamonds. Never have I seen such a scene, never have I heard such silence. It was brilliant, the way it was all a part of a hazy dream that only sharpened your senses. It was dark and people were just those humming shadows moving around. But the silence was audible and the cool breeze had an assertive presence. The sky was festive for the audience’s sake, all you had to do is surrender and enjoy the scenery. And all I could think of was whether to give up on the rest of the climb or to push harder. The question of pushing harder was complicated by the realization that the higher the climb the longer the descend. I stood up and attempted to resume, but it was clear that I was very dizzy and did not know where I was placing my feet. Guided by friend, I rested on a rock, gazed at the sky until it turned crimson and completely dozed off. I woke up when the sun was and it was really bright. I started the descend with friends that we met on our way down but I then proceeded on my own. I felt tired and lonely; a feeling that was haunting me a lot lately, replacing that dear feeling of independence. Reaching the bottom, I chose a cool shaded place and started my reflections.
Never have I felt as much frustration as I did on that climb, not in failing to do it but in realizing why I have done it and the answer was shameful… it was not for me. Still chained by fear of wasted years, not realizing how far I have come and refusing to pause and smell the roses. Doing it through every experience… to cross it off a hypothetical list and doing it all over again. For wanting to have an exciting life, for knowing that I have done it alone and that I could still be passionate about things. Pushing myself over and putting myself down. And by second guessing myself, becoming my own worst enemy. Because in the back of my mind I still have this voice that tells me I was left behind, that tells me you are broken, you are unstable, you can not rely on you, you need help. This voice that keeps on telling me that you should not be left alone. That voice that keeps telling me that I should be perfect and should never go astray. This voice that makes me compete without excelling, without caring. This voice that does not allow me to be lost, to be liberated, that does not accept me. This voice that judges me for not making it to the top although my heart would not care about the top. That voice that renders my heart defeated, regardless of all its attempts to love me and accept me…it breaks it and leaves my soul lost. That voice that would not let me breathe, would not let me watch the stars…that constantly pushes me to the ground and makes me so cautious and always watching my steps. That voice that won’t be silenced and has to be dissipated.
I was told at the beginning of the trip that being part of nature releases all the negative energy and helps the mind, soul and body recharge. But on going back home, I spent three days crying, not knowing why and recalling all the bad memories. And now a few days later remembering nothing of the whole experience except the moments when I was extremely tired and unable to move on that I had to lie back and watch the stars and listen to the silence. And in telling myself this and writing that I only wish that for those who read and can relate, could stop second guessing themselves. Perhaps life really is not about the constant run. Perhaps resting and smelling the roses is what counts in the end. Perhaps it won’t do to try and feed that hunger because you will never get your fill of success. Perhaps it is a happier state of mind to just let be ….and accept … instead of attempt to change.