Earth and sky are a classic example of the yin and yang of Feng Shui and no more perfectly seen in balance than at daybreak on a trail in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. If you are lucky enough to live in Colorado you will know about our amazing mountains over 14,000 feet high. We call them the 14ers and there are 54 of them – some of the highest peaks in our nation and our continent. You can see them as you drive along our highways and byways – some don’t even look that high, more like long, sweeping humps. Others point into the sky like rockets ready to launch. To climb one is to stand on top of the world. I am proud to have just finished climbing my 27th; but I feel the same as I did after climbing my first – exhilarated and joyous, exhausted and sore and always amazed that expending so much energy to climb gives me so much more energy in return.
Here’s what Feng Shui teaches us: all things are alive with energy. On the morning of our hike, leaving the trailhead at 5 a.m. we looked up and saw shooting stars as the night sky lightened. Scientifically, a star is dying when it shoots through the sky, but its impact on us was to lighten our packs, our steps, our hearts. I felt alive and energized.
Feng Shui teaches us that all things are connected. As we walked and began our climb, I looked up to see one of my climbing partners silhouetted against the sky, a perfect line between earth and sky – we are the conduits between the earth beneath us and sky above. We humans are the connecting energy on the planet – our awareness of this means the difference between care-taking our magnificent home or destroying it. When you’re hiking in the mountains you feel the responsibility of our stewardship. We must take care of this fragile ecosystem – new growth on a bristlecone pine tree exhorts us. It’s hard to walk a trail and not feel the beauty of the land seep into your bones. And, as any 14er climber knows we are also the conduit for the huge electricity that the sky can bring – so getting up and down the peak before noon is essential (that’s when the thunderheads are more likely to come in.)
As the day broke, and the sun came up, we took off some of our layers – the fleece vest, the wool hat. The trail got steeper; we came through tree line. My climbing partners are faster than me and soon I was hiking alone. I wondered if this was the mountain I might not summit – 6.5 miles to the top, 6.5 miles back down. My feet were feeling heavy, my energy was low – a change from the exhilaration of the morning’s shooting star send-off. Maybe my climbing days were over. All things are constantly changing – this is a mantra of Feng Shui. I couldn’t expect to keep that exhilarating pace and I acknowledged that I was feeling discouraged. I began to breathe with each step, imagined myself as the turtle keeping its easy – albeit slow — pace and I made it. Exhilaration always returns at the summit! All things are constantly changing – now, I felt ready to hike another peak.
Seeing through Feng Shui eyes has helped me feel like an integral part, connected deeply to my everyday world – I live and breathe and move through the energy of my home, my office, a yoga class, and the magnificent mountains as an active and connected participant in the ever-changing environment. Wishing you the feeling of a 14er high!