The lessons keep on…

It has been a month since our return from our 100 mile trek across the English countryside. Sometimes it feels like it has been years since we were there. We get back to life, chores, work, stuff and it takes effort to remember.

At the same time, new thoughts still keep surfacing. Like I’ve been slowing unpacking everything I picked up while walking. Feels odd, because initially I noticed how light I felt. How I let go of so much and felt so light as I walked. I am still trying to hold onto that lightness, even as daily life piles on.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I was so unsure when we started. Even the first day, I was still telling myself that I probably wouldn’t make it the first 20 miles. That it would be a miracle if I somehow made it. I had planned and trained, but I couldn’t see myself actually doing it.

And then, by the 4th day I was a bit pissy with myself that I didn’t have us walk farther. We only walked 1/3 of the trail because I was sure more then 200 miles wasn’t possible for me. I was wrong. I really underestimated myself.

One of my lingering lessons: I have so many times underestimated, played it safe, doubted what I could do. I can do so much more, we can do so much more than we think. And we can go big! We can go the distance.

The other lingering lesson right now for me is that doing things we think we can’t do takes faith. I have always had a love/hate relationship with faith. I have religion to thank for that. But I keep thinking about faith, not in terms of religion, but in terms of myself. When we plan big things, it requires faith in ourselves. Faith that even if we can’t see the end or we don’t know how we will get there, we can still do it. And whatever “doing it” looks like, that’s everything.

When we started to plan our walk, I just kept saying “however far we go, it’s all good.” I didn’t want to get tied up in the achievement of it. I wanted to give myself permission to fail. I never do that. Don’t get me wrong, I am very very good at failing. But I am not good at being kind to myself for it. I take reflecting on mistakes very seriously, pledge to use those lessons. It’s a fruitful justification of failure. I focused a lot on the possibility of failing. What I missed was the fact that I could actually do more. I am stronger than I tell myself. I am more graceful, more resilient and more joyful than I think. And I want to expand my definitions to limit myself less. To open to more potential.

That thought is actually pretty thrilling.

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