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MESSAGES FROM THE MOUNTAIN

You can find my monthly column in #110mag


Slowing down has never really been my thing.

I'm the oldest child, type A personality, Capricorn, slightly annoying super-achiever type, recovering perfectionist–you get the idea. With birth order (nurture) and neurology (nature) playing an intense game of Life with me, I had to eventually become the master of my fate. As William Ernest Henley so profoundly stated in his poem Invictus,


It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishment the scroll.

I am the master of my fate,

I am the captain of my soul.


One day I realized that life was running me and I decided to run my life instead. Don’t get me wrong, there still exists that fast-moving, never-wanting-to-slow-down part of me, but I now keep it balanced, in check, and use it in healthy ways rather than allowing the fast pace to deplete my energy. Mount Shasta is a place that helps me restore balance, serenity,and calm. It’s a place where I recharge with the fuel that sustains me instead of fuel that runs hot and fast and burns out.


Recently, I took the four-hour trip up to Mount Shasta for a few days of restoration. This mountain always shares a message, leaving me with her gentle reminders to use each day, anywhere I am.


Breathe.

My two teenage sons accompanied me to Mount Shasta. We arrived at Bunny Flat Trail early in the morning. The parking was rather full, so we pulled back around to park on the edge of the cliff. The views were breathtaking. We weren't sure how far we'd hike. Correction. I wasn’t sure how far we’d hike. We decided to allow the trail to be our guide. While on my own accord, I may have turned around a couple of times, I watched my sons breathe in the mountain with ease and followed their lead, higher and higher.


Message from the Mountain:

When hiking uphill, and especially when you are feeling fatigued, overwhelmed,and unsure about where the path is leading you, focus on your breath. Take breaks as needed and pace yourself to keep going.

Inhale, Exhale, Repeat.Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.


Gratitude.

We made it to Horse Camp, and by now our water bottles were empty. There, at a natural spring, Mount Shasta offered us her pure and refreshing water to refill our bottles. It may have been easy to overlook the extreme blessing of finding water;however,when you train your mind to scan for the blessings so that you have the regular opportunity to fall into a prayer of gratitude, the blessings become obvious and abundant.


Message from the Mountain:

The mountain has always known, and scientists now confirm that gratitude is associated with many physical and psychological benefits. Practice Gratitude. Watch your step.

On the way down, it was less about breath and more about making conscious steps. Not paying attention can leave you tripped up.


Message from the Mountain:

Some people ran down the mountain swiftly while others ventured slow and steady. With mindful choices about where to place the next step, both ways led to a successful arrival at the bottom. Choose your steps consciously.


Listen within.

My sons are always a little bit in a hurry when it comes to exploring,so I encouraged them to go ahead and I listened within to know that my journey down would be on my own. My extroverted side has dearly missed faces and smiles and the ease of communication with strangers without a mask. Nobody was wearing masks while hiking the mountain. Toward the bottom of the mountain, I wasn’t exactly sure about which direction to proceed, but my inner guidance said to take the path around the bend where I found a gentleman sitting on a log. We smiled and chatted for a few moments. He shared that he wasn’t able to go any farther because he recently had knee surgery. I asked him if his surgery had been due to a hiking accident, to which he replied that the injury happened during a skiing accident. We laughed together and agreed that our bumps,scars,and bruises are evidence of an adventurous life.


Message from the Mountain:

Your soul always knows the way and will guide you to angels (often called strangers) along your path. All that is required is that you listen within.


“Be still and know”has become my mantra in life. It balances out that side of me which thrives on five projects at once while multitasking. I once heard a quote by the German theologian, Martin Luther, “I have so much to do today that I will spend my first three hours in prayer.” I have come to understand what he meant and why.


The mountain always offers me messages, as does every place and everyone. Today, I will remember that when I consciously walk in gratitude, focused on my breath, it opens up the space to easily listen within.


I am here to partner with you as you navigate your path. xo -a

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I look forward to meeting you

Amy Van Linge, CPC
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