Those who know me know that I like to go on hikoi, walk-about… go-a-wandering. I have a passion for being in nature and particularly climbing hills (the large and small kinda ‘hill’).
My ‘why’ is that not only is it a physical challenge (I am determined to keep fit as I get older), but it is also both a social, mental and spiritual experience.
Even though I choose to do these things often by myself, or in an organised trek where I know no-one, I gain social connections with those I meet. They are often people who are of like-minds, and who are also pushing-through their own ‘stuff’ as they journey.
Mentally it gives me time to reflect, to mull things-over and to come to clarity on many things that have been rolling-around in my grey-matter.
Spiritually it empowers me to be present, to connect both internally and with everything around me. It is what gives me energy and fills my ‘cup’.
On Waitangi Day I decided to climb Mt. Te Aroha. It was an experience that met all four dimensions of hāuora. Physically it was a great challenge. I was able to both pace and push myself towards achieving both mini and the mighty goal at the end.
Socially it was an exquisite experience. As people passed each-other, eyes connected, greetings were given and words of encouragement flowed. There was a melting-pot of languages, ethnicities and walks-of-life. Young climbers extended hands of greeting to the not-so young. People offered assistance to strangers. And at one time someone offered his last chocolate bar to an upset child. The spirit of aroha that the māunga is named after immersed all those that walked it’s sacred beauty.
Mentally this hikoi offered sanctuary and space to let my mind flow. To embrace my creativity and to solve problems, plan for up-coming events, and reflect on what has been happening in my world.
Spiritually this was a journey of love. It was a journey of noticing the beauty around me, the beauty of others… and the beauty within.
As I sit here, I feel a sense of achievement, calm, confidence in the future and a huge sense of affiliation with human-kind.
As I head into the rest of this week, I will be taking the experience with me; in particular the human-connection…the meeting of the eyes, noticing the shared struggle, and the encouragement and aroha we can gift each other.
Mt. Te Aroha - you have lived-up to your name! xo