Not Minding What Happens
An American in Switzerland
~ a weekly reflection about change
Welcome back to an ongoing series of weekly reflections on the tiny shifts that change everything
An app shows every trail in Switzerland and route markers are so numerous they can be annoying, so planning a hike should be easy. Well, despite all that, or perhaps because of it, choosing a hike often feels overwhelming. Once you pick a trail, getting to the trailhead is a whole other challenge, as many are multi-day routes with no trailheads or local paths that start in a farmer’s field.
This leads to surprises and futzing around at the beginning of most outings, which can get frustrating. Two weeks ago we arrived at the trailhead for an alpine hike starting from Hotel Weisshorn only to find ourselves about 2000 feet and two hours below it.
Re-entering the trailhead in Google Maps failed to bring the Hotel closer and a call to the hotel confirmed there was no miracle shuttle or cable car to take us there, so we started hiking. Climbing steeply, we grumbled about the time wasted on planning a high meadow hike only to find ourselves trudging through the trees.
Realizing there was nothing to do about it, our focus shifted to the ancient rhythm of hiking as our awareness opened to the wonders of the forest, the coolness of the shade, and the mountains that slowly revealed themselves. On top we found cold drinks and a delightful couple who shared stories of their hike from Chamonix and of their lives in Canada. From there, we found a gorgeous trail that contoured the mountainside to a funicular that would take us back to our car. We puzzled over the mounted bronze spheres scattered along the trail until realizing we were walking through the solar system! Starting with a 50cm sphere representing Neptune we passed near the hotel, the 4.5km trail took us through the rest of the planets before reaching the Sun, represented by a very large sundial. Another delightful and surprising day in the Alps but so different from what we expected!
Realizing I was stuck in a pattern of time and effort followed by trailhead frustration and hiking bliss, I decided to do something different. Last week I chose an area to explore and invited friends to go along, then tasked them with choosing a specific route and finding the trailhead.
Finding packed parking lots and crowded trails at the trailhead was not what I expected, but I relaxed into the reality of here we are and this is what it is instead of getting frustrated. What a relief!
“I don’t mind what happens” is a quote from Jiddu Krishnamurti in Oliver Burkeman's book Four Thousand Weeks. After disclaimers that Jiddu isn’t saying we shouldn’t feel bad when bad things happen or give up on efforts to create positive outcomes and change, the author adds, “Rather a life spent ‘not minding what happens’ is one lived without the inner demand that the future will conform to your desires for it—and thus without having to be constantly on edge as you wait to discover whether or not things will unfold as expected.”
I’m not going to stop researching and planning where I want to go and what I want to see this summer, but am I going to get curious about my inner demand that the future conform to my desires and work on staying open to what unfolds.
If you're stuck in a frustrating pattern or constantly on edge about how the future will unfold, take advantage of one or both discounted sessions I'm offering between August 29 through September 2. If you’d like to explore one-on-one coaching, please schedule a time to connect here. Thank you for reading! Steve Hindman firstname.lastname@example.org +41 (0)79 796 08 97 Expand Your Experience! Au revoir for now!