Some of you might have noticed a recent lull in my blog posts. While I’m always striving to be present and engaged, the truth is, I needed to take some time away for a full system reset.
Like for so many of you, my life has become increasingly busy. And recently I realised I had started drifting out of alignment with my core values of work-life integration and sustainable peak performance. Just slightly (none of you would probably have noticed) but it felt out of alignment for me.
It’s funny – the more self-aware I become, the more any lack of alignment or authenticity just feels wrong on some level. And the bigger the slap that life tends to give me if I choose to ignore my inner knowing!
In this case, I knew it was time to hit the pause button and reconnect with myself. So, I embarked on a 21-day trek around the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal. A Himalayan Camino.
This was no ordinary vacation. It was a deliberate journey of self-discovery and renewal. I used my phone to take photos, but didn’t use it for anything else. I didn’t check emails at all for the entire walk, and I entrusted my team with complete autonomy. I didn’t check social media, and didn’t consume any news content for the whole walk.
For the first time in over 15 years, I fully disengaged from work and allowed myself to simplybe.
The trek itself wasn’t easy, by the way. The mountains were majestic but really challenging. As my partner and I got higher up the mountain, the air go thinner and thinner. Crossing the Thorong La Pass, (5,416 metres above sea level) the oxygen saturation bottomed out at 50%. I am quite fit at sea level – but at nearly 5.5 kilometres up, I felt like I was 95 years old. I had kept my backpack to 10kg (I thought I had packed light!) but up there it felt more like 100kg.
And there was no heating in any of the rooms, so my partner and I were constantly cold. We would arrive at our accommodation each day after hours of walking and literally get into bed, under 2 or 3 doonas, wearing ALL of our clothes. At 5pm they would fiiiiinally light the fire in the kitchen – but then everyone would crowd around, coughing and sneezing (it seemed like everyone was sick up there, trekkers and locals alike). So we all ended up getting each other’s viruses, which was just joyous on a 3 week trek, as you’d imagine!
Yet despite all this, it was a powerful experience. With my commitment to stillness and just being each moment, I began to unravel the layers of stress and mental busyness that had accumulated over time.
I embraced the parasympathetic activation of just taking one step after another, taking in the epic mountains and rivers, and meditating in our breaks (the area we trekked in is completely Tibetan Buddhist, which is one of my spiritual homes).
Slowly, a profound sense of clarity emerged. I reconnected with my core values and my inner wisdom (which requires a bit of mental quiet to hear properly), and came back with a renewed sense of energy and purpose.
Now of course, it’s time to integrate the lessons learned on the mountain into my work and personal life, creating a sustainable path to peak performance that strikes that fine balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic activation, and prioritises wellbeing and joy.
As a high-performance consultant, I fully understand the various challenges you no doubt experience navigating the modern world. We’re constantly bombarded with stimuli, expected to be perpetually connected, and pressured to achieve more with less. It’s no wonder that many of us lose touch with our inner selves and struggle to find balance.
But I also know that we all have the capacity to reclaim our inner harmony, just as I did on my trek. We simply need to create space for introspection and self-discovery.
Sometimes this simply requires a few quiet moments in the midst of our daily routines. Or a commitment to stop work each day at a certain time. or not to work (or think about work) on weekends – but instead be present with those around us.
And at other times perhaps it requires a full system reset like a trek or vacation or meditation retreat.
If you’re feeling out of alignment or simply seeking a more fulfilling life, I invite you to join me on this path to inner harmony. Remember, the most important trek you’ll ever take is the one within yourself.
Are you ready to reclaim your balance?
Feel free to drop me an email. Let’s support each other on our journeys towards a more fulfilling life.
PS: I hope you don’t mind my authentic share. I’m feeling called from deep inside to be a bit more open and real with you in my posts. Even though perhaps I maye have a few more tools in my toolbelt than the average person (and don’t get fully caught up in any of these dysfunctional patterns anymore), I want you to know that we’re all in this together.
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