Reality Checklist

Over the Christmas break I received my trek checklists from WaterAid (for packing, for training etc), making this feel so much more real.

What I have learned so far: I need to buy lots of things I don’t have – I have already decided that a good sleeping bag is a non-negotiable. I will be trekking 8 hours per day – our trek is rated Orange with Green being easiest and Red being the most challenging. I need to train – not for speed, but for endurance (‘endurance‘ was in bold so it’s a safe bet that this is a key concept).

My attitude to said endurance is not always consistent: sometimes I display a dogged stubbornness that would rival a mule; other times I go to the gym 2 days in a row and wonder why I don’t have a body like any of Leonardo DiCaprio’s ex-girlfriends.

Of course, neither of the above is representative of true endurance, which is as mental as much as it is physical; an opportunity to use various faculties of both mind and body to persevere with something extremely tough that is outside one’s perceived levels of comfort, normally for a finite period of time.

To endure something takes us beyond our natural pleasure seeking state. Sometimes, we endure something (or someone), out of necessity, or on behalf of someone we love. Sometimes, as is the case with this trek, endurance is for the sake of a particular end goal, which, although immensely satisfying in itself, doesn’t make it any less challenging.

This is where the mind comes in, meaning our uniquely human ability to shift our perception of a given experience. One can train their body to withstand almost anything: animals are adaptable. It is training of the mind, however, that enables us to shape our experiences or to transcend something difficult, to the extent that it almost becomes a spiritual practice. Viewed through this lens, walking or trekking, that is the repetitive act of placing one foot in front of the other, has potential to become the ultimate meditation.

What are the lessons to be learned from endurance? We are always stronger than we think we are. Our mind is incredibly powerful: just because we think of something as difficult doesn’t make it true. By engaging with the mind in order to alter our perception of an experience where endurance is requisite, it can become an opportunity for so much growth.

PS – I am also going to put the link to my JustGiving page at the end of every post – if you have enjoyed reading my story and would like to sponsor me, then you can do so here (but absolutely no pressure if you just want to check out the content!). Please copy and paste the link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/katesnepaltrek

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