There are moments in life when you feel like you’re climbing a never-ending mountain. Stressed—you feel like you will never get a break. I occasionally fall into this trap, and I forget that the most important thing you need to do in order to overcome nearly any obstacle is to take a step back and breathe.
I have been pretty busy as of late climbing actual mountains and becoming the new ambassador for the LA chapter of the Hiker Babes international hiking community. It’s been fun, rewarding, and a little stressful. Hearing about hikers being left behind for dead on group hikes isn’t what I want to hear as a new hiking leader. Although I have experience with hiking, camping, and backpacking, all the knowledge in the world doesn’t help you deal with the unpredictability of humans and managing them in vaguely dangerous situations.
However, the last couple of group hikes I went on, I heard the same phrase repeated as we scrambled up large jagged rocks on paths not often traversed in our local Los Angeles mountains. These mindful hikers would remind us to breathe and take our time. The second I took a deep breath, and exhaled was the moment I knew that I could continue going forward. I didn’t have to stop as much as I felt the energy from the rush of fresh air course through my body and oxygenate my blood. Climbing mountains isn’t easy, but it can be done with focus and dedication. The same goes for other challenging things in life.
When life becomes tough to deal with, taking a nice deep breath and refocusing your attention onto things that you can change rather than the things you cannot change is key to survival. Everything can fall apart and go wrong, but if you still have the ability to breathe and think, then you have the ability to do almost anything. It may take a little while to get to where you would like to go, but if you keep moving, then you will get there.
This is your reminder that your breath conquers mountains.
Your Breath Conquers Mountains
My breath rolls through my body
like an ocean tide briefly touching the sands
and flowing back out into the sea.
It’s guaranteed to wash over me again
after receding into the vastness of space.
I do not wait long before my lungs are filled
with the invisible life-giving force,
and I exhale with all that was with me before.
I have been recently hiking more challenging paths
with mountainous boulders to climb.
I struggled to put one foot in front of the other at times
as I wiped my brow underneath the mind-boiling sun.
But a voice on every trail remained consistent.
“Breathe—” they would say, “and take your time.”
The power of your breath alone
is enough to conquer any mountain.