Articles,  Inspiration

The Climb

My boyfriend and I had been camping in eastern Washington and like most of our camping trips we’d spend the day exploring and hiking the nearby terrain. We selected a hike for the day, packed a lunch and set out with a spirit of excitement and anticipation for what lay ahead.

It was a hot day. As we climbed we became more exposed to the sun. The tree line was behind us and there were certainly no trees ahead of us unless we climbed over the ridge and started to descend again. As we hiked toward higher ground, I started to notice my heart beating faster and faster. I could feel it thumping against my chest. The thumping seemed audible. Then my breathing became labored. What the heck? I had certainly been on more challenging hikes than this before, so what’s going on? I started to walk slower to see if that would help – nope. When I looked up, I could see my boyfriend was getting further and further away from me. I gave myself a pep talk and said, “hit the gas already”. That wasn’t helpful. Okay, pause, stop, calm your thoughts and let your breathing settle…THUMP, THUMP, THUMP!!!. My mind started to race. With each new thought my anxiety increased; it’s hotter than hell out here, how am I going to catch up, we have miles to go, there’s no way I’m going to make it, could I have a heart attack out here? I called out to my boyfriend.
He sauntered easily toward me with a smile and asked, “what’s up?” I gave him the full story and he said, “give this a try”.

He demonstrated a simple and rhythmic stepping pattern; Step-touch, step- touch, step- touch and so on. I slowed down as I focused on the pattern and the rhythm of my steps. I wasn’t concerned with keeping up or taking big steps. I took tiny steps – that’s all I could manage. I was looking for the just right pace. My heart rate was slowing down and my anxious thoughts went at the wayside as I connected to the timing of each step. Once I found a comfortable pace for myself, I started to play with different rhythms and stepping patterns to keep my mind occupied and entertained. I was having fun! I went from being caught in a mental and physical state of anxiety to a state of gentle recuperation and playfulness. How was that possible?
We didn’t hike as far as we planned that day, but I learned something new and wondered, how might I interrupt other situations where I find myself stuck in a mental & physical loop and employ a more gentle and inquiring mindset?

Awareness Through Movement lessons provide the perfect learning environment to cast off any trappings that hinder the quality of your experience and explore a more simple, supportive and perhaps playful path forward.

My practice is dedicated to helping my clients become more curious, creative and resourceful at improving the way they move, care for themselves and live life in a changing world.