I’ve been absent the past couple weeks, from the blog, and really, completely from the MKMMA class, as I have been so busy my head was spinning. On 1/10, I flew to Colorado to get medical treatment for my dog, and brought all my MKMMA stuff with me to work to catch up. Two days later, we almost died, and what I learned in MKMMA may have saved my life. When complications came up with my dog’s treatment, we found ourselves with 3 unexpected free days pending her next test. We decided to make the most of it and go hiking in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
Hiking – Day 1!
Hewlett Gulch in Poudre Canyon. A mile or so into the hike, we met a large group of hikers
who told me the trail we were on was a 6 mile loop, pretty easy, with a little loose snow in once you got into the hills, but I was only planning to go about 2 miles and turn around since it was a warm up day and sunset was in a couple hours and I didn’t want to be on the mountain past dark. We ended up going 3 miles, and I figured we may as well just do the rest of the loop and see different scenery. I kept going, and going, and going, and going, expecting to start seeing some familiar signs that we were on our way back to the parking log. The “easy” trail turned out to be miles uphill, much of it in 12″ deep snow drifts. I only had one set of footprints to follow. No biggie, though, it was only 6 miles. I was panting, but I could do it.
5.5 miles. 2.5 hours to sunset. As I was approaching 6 miles, I started to grow alarmed. We were still going up and up, and there was no civilization in sight anywhere. I kept going, afraid that if we turned around, we might not make it back before dark. I tell myself that maybe they meant 6.75 miles but just rounded down to 6, so I should keep going, because the parking lot must be just over the next crest.
7 miles. 2 hours until sunset. Still going uphill, and I am panicking. There is nothing in sight. The winds are picking up, blowing snow over the only tracks. I start wondering if I have somehow gotten off the trail and am following someone else’s tracks. Surely that large group would have left more than one set of tracks if I was on the right trail. I know without a doubt now that if I turn around, it will be dark long before I get back, and I am not prepared for that. Nobody knows I am here (I think then that I should have told somebody where I was going). I have no light besides the flashlight on my phone, and the battery will quickly go dead once I start using it. I have no cell service out here. No way to call for help. I haven’t seen another soul in hours. The zipper on my jacket is broken, and it is getting colder. Every time I see the top of a hill and push myself to reach it, I almost cry, because at the top of that hill, there is another hill I must climb in the deep snow. It is never ending and I am so tired.
7.5 miles. Still nothing in sight. I am exhausted, my first day hiking in the elevation so I am so winded, my legs are burning, but I push on, because I am starting to fear death. I am picturing myself stranded on this mountain, with nobody knowing that I am out there to come look for me. I am picturing the bitter cold that will come over the 14 hour night and wondering if my dog and I will survive the exposure. I am picturing mountain lions,
bears, or coyotes coming upon us in the night with no way to defend ourselves (I think I should have brought a weapon). I am picturing every survival movie I have ever seen. My legs are wearing out, and I find myself counting 25-75 steps between times I let myself rest, knowing I don’t have much time left, but balancing that with exhaustion. I am starting to feel desperate. I don’t know what to do. I have thoughts of turning around, it is the safe way, the known way, and I am SO tempted, but I know going back guarantees me peril as I have no idea how far I can make it before I am plunged into darkness and freezing temperatures. I keep fighting the urge to go back, I keep telling myself that I have to trust the tracks going forward and believe they will take me to safety because turning around is certain peril and the unknown, however scary it may be, at least has hope of a good outcome.
8 miles. 1.5 hours until sunset. We finally reach a part in the trail where it starts to descend, but there is still nothing in sight. I still have thoughts of turning back…at least I know what to expect there, but I hang onto the hope that going forward is the right move. I can feel the tightness in my throat and my heart is pounding. I am near tears. I am in a growing state of complete panic at the prospect of possibly dying on this mountain tonight, freezing or being torn to pieces by a mountain lion. And I am surprised to realize that small part of me WANTS to feel that panic and drama, as I have experienced a lot of panic and drama the past couple years and in a way, it is the feelings equivalent of the comfy old pair of shoes now! Eww! I don’t want to feel that anymore!
At this critical point, I remember my MKMMA training. I remember that my subconscious doesn’t know the difference between what I tell it and reality, but it will believe whatever I keep telling myself and act on it. If I keep telling myself that I am terrified, that we could freeze to death on this mountain tonight, that we could get torn to shreds by a mountain lion, I will create more fear and panic, and people who panic make stupid mistakes and die (that’s what I picked out of all those survival movies). I start repeating an affirmation to myself over and over. “I am fine. I am fine. I am good. I am on the right path and I am fine. I am going to get off this mountain and I am going to be fine. I am fine. I am fine.” I actually start feeling a little better so my subconscious must be starting to believe it! I am still scared, but I am not feeling the crippling panic I was starting to feel. I also start to visualize the car and the parking lot over and over in my head (my Definite Major Purpose – make it to safety!), feeling what it would feel like to see it and KNOW I was moving towards it, picturing myself in the safety of the car, and picturing the feeling of RELIEF I was going to feel when I saw it. Talk about BURNING DESIRE! And when I start applying all these principles of MKMMA, I know I MUST push forward with faith and not even consider going back anymore.
I noticed that all the tracks were leading forward, so I start running down the downhill trail, making up time where I can. (My 12 year old dog is running circles around me during this whole thing, obviously not picking up my panic). I start telling myself that if I just make it off this mountain alive, I need to really start focusing on what I need to do to move forward in my life.
8.25 miles. 1.25 hours until sunset. I see the first trail marker sign pointing me forward.
It is the first sign I have had that I am on the right trail. I start telling myself that if I can just make it back down to the river, I will be ok. Even if it’s dark, I can follow the river back to the car. I start to feel so hopeful. I am going to make it!
8.5 miles. 1 hour until sunset. I see the river!!! The river we were following before we veered off to climb the trail up the mountain. I promised myself I would be safe if I found the river to follow! I am ecstatic!
9 miles. 45 minutes until sunset. I come to a trail marker sign! It is the trail I am supposed to be on!!! And then I freeze and my heart sinks. The trail sign has arrows going both directions up and down the river. I have no idea which direction to go. Following the river one way, we will find the car, safety, and the most incredible relief I have ever felt. Following it the other way, we will certainly not make it off the mountain before the freezing overnight temperatures and we will be stranded, maybe until morning, as the trail winds back and forth over the river and falling in the freezing waters after dark would be a very bad thing. I have felt the temperatures dropping since the sun started going behind the mountains, and it is getting really cold. I take my best guess, and start walking as fast as I can, my heart in my throat, but repeating my affirmation of “I am fine”.
9.25 miles. 35 minutes until sunset. I see a landmark! It is the rock I stopped to take Siryn’s picture on on our way down the trail! I KNOW I am on the right path now, and even if I don’t make it there by sunset, I am close, there is only one way on this trail, and I will be ok. I kept walking faster, relief surging through me.
10 miles. Sunset to the minute. I MADE IT!!! I SEE the parking lot just up ahead! I never thought I would be excited to see a minivan or a non-flushable bathroom before, but both of those were signs that I’D MADE IT and I was in love with them!
It was unbelievable how fast it got cold once the sun went behind the mountains. My teeth were chattering and I was shivering. I don’t even want to continue to think what might have happened if I’d turned around to take the known way back because I didn’t trust the footprints before me, or because the trail got too hard. I pushed forward, even when it was hard as hell. Even when I was exhausted. Even when I was afraid I not on the right path. Even when I was afraid it wouldn’t work for me. I kept looking for the signs of the footprints of the guides who had gone before me, and I kept telling myself over and over that I was fine. I kept picturing that car and the ENTHUSIASM I would feel when I got in it, and I manifested it into real life! I don’t remember when I’d last been that scared, or that happy.
The irony of it is, I’d halfway considered giving up on MKMMA recently, as I feel hopelessly
behind and overwhelmed with how much there is to do. Today, just a week after my near death experience, I made myself sit in the hotel room with the plan of catching up on the 2.25 MKMMA webinars I missed while traveling, though I’ll admit my heart wasn’t really in it.
The first one I watched was the first 50 minutes of Week 13 where Luc Griffet talks about his dream of climbing a mountain, comparing his feelings about that experience every step of the way to the feelings of being in MKMMA. Wow. Just wow. Talk about perfect timing of a MOUNTAIN METAPHOR the week after I’d had the experience of almost dying on the mountain. He asked several questions that really hit home.
“How strong was your desire to fulfill MKMMA when you first discovered it?” – SO strong. I had been in such a funk for a couple years and I desperately wanted to feel my light again. I remember feeling panicked that something would go wrong with my application and I wouldn’t get in, and I had no other ideas for how to pull myself out of the hole I was in. The JOY and HOPE I felt getting in was incredible! I remember that now that he asked that!
“Isn’t it irritating that doubt regulary comes back to create confusion in our mind?” – YES! Just when I thought I was SOLIDLY on this path, I was seeing changes, I was committed!, like Mark talked about later in that same webinar, once I started seeing success, I stopped doing the things that were causing the changes! It’s almost CREEPY how well these guys can predict our journey!
“Do you trust your guides? Do you trust yourself?” I trust them, but I am embarrassed that I have fallen away so many times, that I have not kept up with all the things we are supposed to do, and because of that, I hesitate to reach out for support like maybe I should. I mostly trust myself. I am disappointed I haven’t fulfilled all the promises to myself, but at the same time, I am very proud that I fought my Old Blueprint tonight who said I deserved to enjoy my second to last night before returning home by relaxing and watching TV and instead, I made a decision to invest in me tonight, and I turned off the TV, finished the week 13 webinar, and wrote this blog.
“Will you choose to live, to grow, to say every day ‘I do my best. I just go on with the Magnificent Drills. ONE STEP AT A TIME.’ Or do you choose dying. The choice of dying to your purpose, your Dharma, your heart’s desire, dying to yourself.” And just as I chose to live on that mountain, to fight the feelings of turning back to something that was known, but bleak, to fight the fear of the unknown, to fight the urge to stop and rest to keep just pushing myself to take more steps forward, I now chose to live, to grow, to say every day “I do my best”, and I will start the magnificent drills again, knowing that each time I repeat them, like the affirmation that soothed my panic on the mountain, I will know I am coming closer to creating the life I want while increasing my happiness with the life I have through having a Definite Major Purpose charged with visualization and FEELING, like I did to get off the mountain. I have seen signs that I am on the right path, and I just need have more faith, keep pushing harder, keep repeating the affirmations like “I can be what I will to be”, and know that somewhere ahead is my proverbial Hero’s Journey parking lot and minivan! I will get there, because “I am fine!”