One Step at a Time

A few days ago, I received a comment on my previous post that I just saw today:

I hope you learn to find happiness on your own as regret is letting others tell you where your happiness should be. I’ve read both posts and it’s dangerous to think one is never blameless.

A few hours ago, I returned from a backpacking trip. I spent two days pushing my mind, body and spirit to lean into the pain. Hardly thirty minutes into the first day, the pain set in. HARD. Throughout the day, the pain just progressed. My back ached, my thighs burned, my hips, knees and ankles felt the weight of my pack pressing, pressing, pressing down with the pull of gravity. My dog was tired and everyone thirsty and sore.

How many times, at the bottom of a hill did I wonder how much farther till we found camp? How often did I wonder WHY my pack was so damn heavy or how long until my spine all but crumpled under the pain?

Countless times.

How many times did I let the pain win or blame someone else for putting me on that path and mountain?

Not once.

I made camp, enjoyed a hot meal, and fell asleep. Then my dog got sick and woke me up every hour on the hour half the night. My body was sore. My mind was stretched thin. My spirit was exhausted at having to get out of my cozy sleeping bag so many times. But I lent into the pain and cared for my dependent.

Then this morning, we woke up. It was a new day. We hit the trail and everything – seriously, everything – hurt.

But I made it. I took extra weight out of my dog’s pack and added it to mine to ease his pain and he was grateful. I hiked over each crest of each hill, lifted myself and my pack up each stone in my path. I had no one to blame because I drove myself to the trailhead, hiked 6 miles yesterday, camped in the woods and had no choice to but to hike the 4 miles back to the car.

The exact same could be said for all of past relationships. Neither woman forced me to be with them. I was there willing and I left willingly. I had my own part in the faults of each relationship and hope more than anything that I have never let it be assumed that I accepted no consequence or blame for the ways each relationship no longer worked.

I not only survived with that insanely heavy backpack, I thrived.

This weekend, I found in myself a long (long, long, long) buried independent stubbornness. I found an outlet for my body, mind and spirit. I am learning to find happiness on my own – in the middle of the woods with no one to ease my pain, exactly as you hope I am. I continue to recognize that I am a “people pleaser”. I do know that I often let others’ opinions affect my decisions, and I hope to continue to improve in that. But I will continue to seek council from those who mean the most to me. Often they can see us better than we can see ourselves.

This weekend, I realized fully that I need to be with someone who sees how willing I am to love them and take away their pain however I can, and instead of handing me their pain and grabbing my love, says “This is my pain, not yours. I need to hold it, but thank you. I love you, too.”

I am learning, just as we all are. I am learning to lean into the pain that life brings.

First the pain, and then the rising.

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