We are too much for ourselves because there is far more to us – we feel more – than we can manage. Adam Philips, On Balance
It is summer and I am preparing for another long hike on the PCT. My mind involuntary turns to the question of why? Is it excessive to undertake these journeys? Why would anyone want to go walk 150 miles with a pack on their back?
Hiking home from California last week made me think about times when people walked 50 miles regularly to get to a place. It wasn’t considered excess to do so. I now hold the potential inside me, I have gained confidence in my ability to survive in the most rudimentary way, being able to walk to where I need to go for food, water, or help.
Contemplating the “more is better” theory, I turn to Anais Nin’s quote from her diary, “Something is always born of excess”. Anais refers to emotional excess and how great art is born out of great terror, great loneliness, instabilities.
I walk my distances to allow something to be born inside me. In the simple routine of walking and carrying, day after day, the mind loses its chatter and ideas rise. I view my summer hiking as a yearly ritual, a retreat of sorts to prepare myself for winter creative work.
I watch my daughter in her pregnancy with the excess of hormones, emotion, and discomfort. All of it leads to the creation of a new being. The natural world allows excess for stretching ourself beyond our comfort zone, so that we can find a new self, a new thought, a new vision. Living in balance isn’t always the good thing it is touted to be. Through periods of excess then, we prepare for the next phase of growth, to allow the transformation of our world.
What excess does summer hold for you?