I felt stuck… in a perfectly fine life.
People would tell me that I was doing a good job building community, touching lives, and getting hitched; but deep down I was lost in the narratives the felt more and more like a cage — what I am supposed to do, who I am supposed to be, where I am supposed to go.
Being the captain of a ship, I wanted to hide and be alone, to figure out why I set out on this journey in the first place.
When I relaxed and just be, I realized that the time I spent in the Himalayan mountains was the simplest, purest state of being I wanted to be.
It takes time for those experiences to sink deep in my subconscious, slowly assimilating the journey of another year to distil into a beautiful reminder of what it means to be alive.
Ego death in the grandeur of nature
In the mountains, there were so many times when I stopped and felt in awe with the grandeur of nature surrounding me, making a point to capture the mental picture of those moments. There was no ‘me’ and the world, I surrendered fully into the moment and became part of the wonderment.
As time passed, what I saw blurred but how I felt lurked somewhere deep in me and stayed. At the times when I feel flustered about life, those moments reminded me of something bigger than my ego, a mighty force that is vast and generous to embrace all things within.
Let go of control
The thing about life is that we have the tendency to be God-like, thinking that we have the upper hand to control what we want and how things should go.
Trekking in the mountains, it was a simple blissful life where I had only one goal and one path — to get to the basecamp safe and sound. I wouldn’t know how my body would react as oxygen thinned, all I know was to take one step at a time, soak in the beauty and be grateful at the end of every day for a million things that went right.
Harmony between all beings
Sometimes, I missed the life where yaks and donkeys were as common as cars and bikes. From the excitement of seeing a yak on the first day of trek, these animals were slowly woven into the mountain life as staples.
I was fascinated by trekkers from all around the world who obeyed the unspoken ‘mountain traffic rule’ and showed kindness to each other; instead of fighting to get ahead of the one other or the yak.
Keep moving, slow and steady
Throughout the Everest Base Camp trek, I always followed our guide like glue. While I thought he was slow initially, I realized that we were always ahead of the group because we trekked with steady pace and didn’t rest as much as the others.
When a strong trekker in the group was evacuated due to mountain sickness, I realized that it didn’t matter how fast one goes, we will all reach the Base Camp by taking slow and steady step, making sure that we breathe every step of the way.
Every day is a new day
The thing that I treasured the most in the mountains was dawn, where the morning sunlight struck the tip of snowy mountains from far far away, slowly transformed the whole range of mountains into a sea of gold.
I wouldn’t mind wrapping myself up like a dumpling and stood in the cold to catch a glimpse of the morning sunlight, it was in moment like that I experienced the rupture of being alive.
“If you are not inspired by life, you are not paying attention” In-Q
It was easy to listen to myself when I was surrounded by nature that didn’t require me to be anything.
As life goes on, when I was doing more and interacting with more people who want different things, I came to a point where it was hard to hear my own voice.
When a close friend told me that I was not owning my story, I felt a little broken because I was doing the best I could to build and nurture a community I started from the ground up.
I had to remember everything the mountains taught me about life — breath, just be, slow and steady pace, let go of control, soak in the view, be grateful, welcome a new day with hope.
The new thing will form only when the old things are shaken up.
For now, let go of changing people’s lives or the world. My mission is to embrace myself the way the mountains embraced me, with grace, strength and love.