Your task is not to seek love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it – Rumi
it was hard to start this post. a part of me feels the pressure to create something that could live up to my first experience in the mountains, and that also the mountains in pakistan.
the most consistent emotion i had while being tucked in the mountains of chitral was of gratitude. it would begin in the base of my belly and swell my heart. it would fill my face and eyes. it would be my only prayer only thought. thank you thank you thank you.
being back in karachi, settled into my home again, checking facebook, email, meeting with friends, the last few weeks feel like a dream that lasted months though it was exactly 20 days.
these are some of the life lessons i learned while trekking the mountains:
– its best to look a little bit less than 2 steps ahead to keep perfect balance. looking anywhere else could very likely spell doom
– walking up or down the slopes, most important to find your own pace and take it easy, or as the locals guided me, “baji, aram say!”
– its very effortful to climb up. it hurt to breathe, the hamstrings (back of thighs) work overtime, and need breaks.
– relatively easier to climb down in some ways, as long as you’re not looking down at your feet. but also very easy to slip. and funnily while going down much more likely to hold my breath!
– and a straight path (in terms of how we see a straight line) doesn’t exist. the best way to get to the destination going up or down is to zig zag. need i say more?
hin-ju (name in chitrali of a beautiful tree that grows in the wild with pink flowers)
in a japanese zen garden.
find myself peeking at the marvels of God.
a slice inside a fortress of granite.
where water flows through to greet our hands
I’m tempted to recount every detail of the trip, like I have been to all my family and friends since I arrived yesterday. But there is just too much that will get lost in quantifying what we did, especially in the 4 days and nights that we were out trekking.
every day was like having a mini experience of life. i know i became wiser just by traveling the way we did. on foot. up and down what feels like dozens of mountains. reaching 14000 ft, and then enticed by the snow going a little higher. sleeping at night with my strange fear of zoes (cow like animals) charging my tent. meditating on silent rocks. praying by streams. laughing loud. listening to stories of all kinds. contemplating questions from spirituality to blister aids. and muddling up lots of words (attributed to the altitude). making lifelong friends. opening and receiving while giving whatever came naturally.
being in the rough but gracious terrain of mountains, i wonder why we constantly want life to be easy. why we want things to just work out without having to work at it. why we find it so hard to trust that as long as we pay attention to the present moment that the future will take care of itself.
there are so many things i haven’t found answers for, and in some ways being close to such magnificent displays of beauty, synchronicity naturally created, I felt no need to look for any. I was just happy to have food, friends, eyes, feet, legs, timely bowel movements, and a heart that could take in all that I witnessed. now i feel ready to multiply the love i received. hope you’re ready karachi.
dedicated to : Hindu Kush Heights, SUM, MM, JI, George, Libby, Tom, Ishaq, Niazi, Faizi, the porters (especially the one who loved single malt whiskey), and the donkeys that helped carry our loads.