Seeking the Source: Going to the Mountains is Going Home

hiking
 

There’s nothing quite like morning light, especially when you’re nestled between mountains. As the second day of Wanderlust Aspen-Snowmass began, the soft alpenglow wrapped itself around me as I stepped outside into the crisp Colorado air.

While sleeping in was truly tempting in the feather downs of my borrowed bed, I had pulled myself out of the covers before even the sun woke on this morning. I was determined to start my day with the 6 a.m. sunrise hike and meditation session led by Aspen local Jayne Gottlieb.

Sometimes I really do think the early bird gets the worm. For all the instances we each complain about “not having enough time in a day,” try rising with the sun and see if you can fit in a bit more into your bucket.

Jayne let us up the Rim Trail, a beautiful and gradual climb through wildflowers, leading to vistas of Mt. Daly and it’s neighboring white caps.

John Muir said that “going to the mountains is going home …”, which means much more than coming back to a familiar place; what you may find, what I always find, when I surround myself with the grounding force of the wilderness is an authentic sense of self, a tangible certainty of my own place in this world and the simple truths of nature.

Nature doesn’t lie; she has no reason to. She doesn’t tell us stories of the past or projections of the future — she tells us, shows us, what is and what isn’t, and that’s exactly what we need to hear. Spending time in nature clears our minds of the clutter, the judgements, the “shoulds.” This helps us step into that state of unexplainable bliss, what Jayne called “Amrita,” a sanskrit term describing the nectar that flows through you on your breath.

Once we had reached our destination, the group sat facing the mountains for a short meditation. For me, the moment was filled with paying reverence to the source, like tapping into the spring of my being and becoming quenched all over again. The process never ends — once you’re renewed, it’s only a matter of time before you will become depleted again. That is when you go back home, back to the source.

At the peak of the Rim Trail, nearly 9,000 feet above sea level, we all sat on a large marble circle slab, adorned in the center with a yin-yang symbol of balance. We went around the group and shared one word — a succinct expression of what it was we each were feeling. Here, relishing in time between earth and sky, individuals shared how they felt “invigorated,” “amazing,” “liberated,” “peaceful,” “alive,” “open,” “happy” and “grateful.”

These are the moments when you feel Amrita, which in its literal translation means immortality. Nature teaches us of change and cycles, of beauty and truth. Nature teaches us that our lives are defined by more than what we have, the lists we check off or the time that passes by. When the nectar flows through you, you know that life transcends itself, and that is what leaves us feeling free and alive. It is here where you find yourself in that inexplainable space that lives outside of story and seems to transcend time, even if only for a moment.

imageKim Fuller grew up in the Colorado mountains and has always found beauty and inspiration through nature and movement. Kim is a freelance journalist and a yoga teacher based in Vail. Her writing and photo work has focused on health, wellness, recreation, food and travel since 2007, and Kim began her yoga practice in Boulder, followed by her first teacher training with Real Evolution Yoga at Peace Retreat Costa Rica in November of 2012.

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