The Experience…Hikers have a saying: “The trail provides.” As we ventured further into the wilderness — over 100 miles now from our starting point at the Cottonwood Lakes trailhead — this materialized in both everyday moments and significant events.
We left a freezing cold night at Evolution Lake camp irritated and sleepy. Aching feet, a dry granola bar, and a bad attitude don’t make for much of a start. We clambered slowly down the trail to meadows below, feeling sorry for ourselves. As the morning wore on though, the trail flattened out. What was rocky and uneven, became sandy and relatively smooth. We joked that the trail turned into a high altitude freeway jetting us ahead at nearly 3 miles per hour. When you are carrying a 40-pound pack at 10,000 feet, 3 miles an hour feels like flying. By lunchtime, we were well in range to arrive at Muir Trail Ranch. “MTR” — as hikers like to call it — was one of the few places on our route where we could resupply food and equipment. We were hiking too far to be able to carry all of our food and water. So MTR was an oasis.
As we neared the turnoff for MTR, we met a young woman fresh from the resupply shack a mile or so below us. She greeted us cordially and mentioned in passing that MTR had cabins left for rent. Our pace quickened in anticipation. Arriving at MTR was like entering a high sierra Shangri-La. The shack mistress greeted us warmly and showed us around the grounds. She previewed the cabin rental package including hot soaking mineral baths, two warm meals, and a place to wash and hang dry clothes. She said with a grin that this was the LAST night of the year to rent cabins. They closed for the season the next day! We couldn’t say YES fast enough. I nearly wept when we entered our spartan log cabin to find grandmotherly sewn quilts and the first flushing toilet in almost two weeks. The day after a bitterly cold night, when we needed it most, the trail provided. It was like being visited by angels, just in time. After that night, they visited more often. Time-Angels started showing up in unlikely, sometimes strange, and in desperately needed places. Fear and judgments drove them away, while a mindset of abundance increased the chances that they would visit. For sure, I needed to be on the lookout to make sure I didn’t miss them. This abundant attitude enabled me to embrace whatever came my way.
Relevance: Abundant Attitude
Groups get very messy at times. Conflict between people, differences about which direction to take, and tough personalities are common. It can feel stifling and raw. It is easy to resist these difficult situations because they can be unpleasant. Shutting yourself off to the unpleasant situations also shuts you off to potential gifts. It is a package deal. As a group leader, holding the space for all these conditions to be welcomed will allow you to be available for whatever shows up. Bringing an attitude where all things have value translates into greater openness, awareness, receptivity, and growth. I like to relate to this as holding an abundant attitude.
Practice: Responsive Stance
Stand up and place your feet shoulder-width apart. Gently bend your knees. Lift your hands slightly above your waist and open them as if you’re going to catch something. This is a responsive body stance; the stance of abundance. Before people gather for a group meeting or any kind of engagement with others, strike this pose. Have a fun time with it. Practice being fully receptive to everything that will come your way. Picture the people who will be there, review the topics and purpose for gathering. Now you are both mentally and physically ready to embrace whatever happens. Your practice is walking with the tough stuff as well as receiving the gifts of the time-angels.