My top tip for inner happiness this week, wee Gazer, is a mix of tried and tested learnings from my last few days in the wilderness:
1) “This above all, to thine own self be true” – Shakespeare
2) “Don’t ever stray away from yourself to get closer to someone else” – Anonymous
3) “Approval from the people we admire is sweet, but it’s not enough to be the foundation of a happy life” – Gretchen Rubin
4) “If you want something you never had, you have to do something you’ve never done” – Anxiety Cure
What 5 Days In The Wilderness Taught Me…
These are learnings from the pink lipped, fur coat clad city chick about town, pictured above, turned rock climbing, camping novice extraordinaire that you see in the pictures below. The wee Gazer who’s undergone a week of firsts which have pushed me way outside my comfort zone and solidified my values, my limits and the importance of being true to yourself alongside.
This was a week which saw me driving from the Alps down to the South of France in a huge white van, hoping I wouldn’t prove my boyfriend’s impression of my driving, true. I almost managed this… Almost ;)
This was a week which saw me camping in a showerless camper van for five days feeling just how Carrie did in that episode of Sex & The City where she finds her usually good humoured self way outside her comfort zone at Aidan’s country ranch, struggling to find the fun in skidding on cow pats…
This was a week which saw me completing two 3 hour long ‘Via Ferratas’ (ascending climbing routes found in the Alps covered in metal ladders) and not letting the panic get the better of me. Initially inducing the kind of terror that leaves me suspiciously speechless, I finished the second one with a great sense of pride wondering if my adventure-nut boyfriend realised what an achievement this was for me.
And then something rather strange happened..
A Little Message From A Far…
You know those moments that feel heaven-sent, like a guardian angel has just landed on your shoulder and whispered something in your ear that speaks straight to your heart? This was one of those…
As I sat exhausted and a little frazzled in my oversized van, a random French lady approached and asked if I was the girl she’d been watching finish the route. I confirmed that I was and explained that though my boyfriend was an extreme sports lover who finds these things easy, I get pretty scared by these sorts of sporting ‘endeavours’.
She looked stunned and stared at me intently as she said with the warmest of tones, “Really, really well done. I’m a seasoned climber and I would’ve found that terrifying. Really, really well done”. The kindness of strangers, I thought and just what I needed to hear.
Why Was This Such A Eureka Moment?
That single moment summed up my learnings during my week in the wilderness. My belief in the power of stepping outside our comfort zones and embracing fear as the progressive, self-developing force that it is; the power of opening our minds to new people, new interests and new worlds but doing so with no expectation of approval from others – only with the hope of achieving something that you yourself are proud of; and the beauty of pushing ourselves to share in experiences that mean the world to those we love whilst not compromising who we are too much alongside.
If I’d have done too much of the latter, I would’ve indulged in my boyfriend’s idea of paradise – living in a camper van for the next 4 months. But you know what? While I love a challenge and tried to find every which way I might have been able to indulge his idea of heaven, I’m super relieved that I trusted my gut to be true to myself and found a wee apartment nearby. That way, I’d have the space and solace that I need to Skype with coaching clients and maintain my own sense of balance and peace whilst not compromising his values.
How Can You Apply These Learnings In Your Daily Life?
So remember as you apply yourself to new things this week, wee Gazer, praise yourself for your bravery. Praise yourself for engaging in the interests of those you love, especially if it pushes you to the boundaries of your comfort zone and above all, always guard what makes you feel at home. That’s the surest way to all the right kinds of love.