Concentration is the Secret of Strength

Be here nowDuring my early college years, I remember being very serious about mediating. I would do it every night before I went to bed. I remember this time with clarity and focus because I took the time to be quite, still and focused on the present.

As I have gotten older I have been in and out careers, gotten married, integrated families, worked at becoming an entrepreneur, and getting ahead in life has taken over. Most of us are trying so hard to make ends meet that we can lose focus on what really matters.

When I need to regain focus I turn to getting physical or retreating to the mountains. Perhaps its a form of meditation for me.

This hike was about a 45-degree climb, up hill, on icy and slippery rocks. We were just outside of Sparks, Nev. exploring the Virginia Range. Somehow my husband knows the right time to pull me out of society and take me into the mountains. He knew I was in a serious slump and hand selected a serious hike—one that left me sore for four days.      

As I was climbing the steep mountainside, I was thinking to myself, Focus on where you put your feet Kellie, if you step wrong you are going to slip and fall down this slick, steep slope. Each time I would put my foot down, it felt like I was on ice skates.

It was crucial that I stay focused. There were moments when I wanted to cry, many moments actually. I could not help but make a connection to how my life felt at the time of this hike: Slippery and uncertain. In my life, I had lost total focus. I was enveloped by chaos.

As we reached the top of the first ridge, I looked out and felt a calming feeling come over me. At least in my hike, I had reached the top. Plus, I was able to relax and give my legs a brief break.

Almost as soon as I had stopped to live in the present, I was again worrying about the future: How would we figure out a way down, were my knees going to be able to take the descent, what if I slip?

We scaled the ridge for about an hour and a half. As we came to the spot where we were going to start our decent, I felt a fear come over me, how will I get down without hurting myself?

It was a north-facing slope that the sun was yet to melt the ice from the rocks. It was a scary feeling, almost as scary as going back to reality. I looked at the bottom of the mountain and could see our truck; it was so far away. As we carefully scaled our way down, there were many moments when I was on my butt sliding down the mountain.

Sometimes it just seemed safer than stepping in the wrong spot and losing my footing. Other times I slipped and had no choice but to go for a slide. The obstacles had me down on all fours. I began to surrender to the fact that I had to work through this to get back to a safe place.

I paid attention to where I was putting my feet, hands and butt. I was determined to get off this mountain safely. The climb down had all my focus; there was no room to think about anything else.

We descended for about two hours. Once we reached the base of the mountain there was a soft place to land. The dirt was half wet, fluffy and felt so good to my knees. I shoved my knees into the soft dirt and was thankful to be able to ease the pain. This hike was so good for me, and the timing could not have been more perfect.

When I get out in the mountains, nothing else matters. This specific climb led me to realize that no matter what the situation is, I can get through it by being present and I am a better person because of it. 

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I am crazy about hiking because I always leave a hike realizing something. This time, I learned the lesson of staying focused and present.  At times life can pull us away from staying focused on what we need to get done for ourselves.

At times it is easy to allow the chaos, almost invite into our lives. But, it’s important to know when it’s time to get focused on the next steps and start working toward reaching our goals. It is what we do now that dictates what our future looks like. We can control our present, and it is where we need to live.

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I can feel myself getting excited about where I am in my life. My goal is to meditate, slow down and focus. I believe doing so will help me live in the present and remember what really matters.

Someone once told me that great things come from chaos—they probably read it in a quote book somewhere! I really like the thought of allowing yourself to be OK with a little chaos as long as you can regain focus.

Today find time to focus on staying present. When you go from sitting to standing and standing to sitting, pay attention to every movement you make. Be present.

Send me a Tweet @KellieHiking

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