A while back, a friend encouraged me to join her in a wilderness therapy adventure. I was skeptical at first because I did not understand why anyone would willingly go through the gruesome challenge of being in the wilderness for several days. It took some bit of convincing, and I finally agreed to join her mostly because I wanted to get a kick out of the adventure.
In a nutshell, wilderness therapy is an experiential learning technique that helps to sharpen several life skills. Wilderness therapy is a great way to learn several things, and there are things that you can apply in your own life. In case it is a new experience for you, ensure that you work with professionals.
Knowing what to pack and what to leave behind was not an easy thing for me to do. In the evening, it is when it occurred to me that ‘yes, I had not thought this through. It was too late to back out, and so I had to find the courage to go through this challenge and make the most out of the experience. Below are some of the lessons I learned.
1. Know Thyself
Any wilderness experience is bound to stretch you since you are going to be out of your comfort zone. Living within well-defined lines is good, but it has the potential to rob you of the joy of knowing who you are as well as what you can accomplish since hidden talents do come to life. Stretching yourself helps you to know your strengths as well as your weakness, and in the process, you get to know who you are. From the wilderness therapy experience, I learned that it is easy to do anything as long as you set your mind to do it.
2. To Thine Own Self be True
Perhaps the difficult part of the wilderness experience was hiking on rough terrain. At first, I would curse myself as I took every step, and when I was midway I would ask myself over and over again, ‘what were you thinking?’.While every one hiked quickly, I was rather slow, and I took so many breaks to catch my breath. Over time, I embraced my pace.
Hiking at my own pace helped me enjoy seeing the beautiful terrain and take the time to be present. Embracing your complexity will help you to respond to life more favorably. Give yourself permission to be and enjoy your journey authentically without having to compare yourself with other people.
3. Thou Shall Not Walk Alone
In any hike or wilderness experience, the rule is always to make sure you are in a group. Although most people do not admit it, it is the same rule in life, and it is something most of us overlook. On a personal level, I learned that different people bring a unique touch to a wilderness experience. Some people know how to bring comic relief to any situation while there are people who can smell danger from miles away and save an entire group. Although it is easier said and done to make it in life, and through the wilderness challenge, one needs to walk with others.
4. Trust the Process
If you are willing to put in the work, and not give up, then the experience can be refreshing. There are connections to be made, lessons to learn, and even great sights to behold. I remember looking at the breathtaking view at the top of one of the hikes in the wilderness experience, and I was in awe. It took a great deal of energy and effort to get to the top, but in the end, it was worth it. If you do not give up or take the short cut, then the light at the end of the tunnel will shine so brightly and make the process a grand one.
5. Embrace the Season
The wilderness challenge was finally over, and I went back home, but I was not the same person. Embracing the season and looking at the positive outcome is something that I prioritize and it brings me so much joy. What are some of the lessons you have learned in your own wilderness experience?
Until the next post, let your soul sing!