Sunday, 27 February 2011

Immersed in beauty

View of Benbulbin from top of Gleniff Horse Shoe, Sligo
 One of my favourite ways of re-energising when feeling tired or stressed is to go hill-walking with a few friends. I love to get away from it all (8 million Londoners) and indulge my introverted self by escaping to the hills.  How come I find I come back with more energy than I went away with, even though I may have walked all day?

Near Box Hill, Surrey
Here are some thoughts. First of all, I enjoy the physical activity, we were made to walk after all, not to sit at a desk all the time or on a bus.  I was always quite active and enjoyed growing up in Ireland surrounded by the natural beauty of the lakes, mountains and beaches of Leitrim and Sligo. So walking in the hills south of London helps me to reconnect with my roots. The sheer rawness and exhilaration of exploring a mountain range, being physically tested, draws me right into the now of my surroundings. I feel free, alive, earthed.

Also it is a good opportunity to spend some time with friends. I find that there is something different about the quality of conversation on these walks. The effect of being immersed in nature, the physical aspect of the walk, somehow allows us to be more real and open about ourselves and who we are. I find that these deeper conversations can lead to some clarity in where I’m going and about what is important to me. They also help me to nourish friendships and develop new ones. I return from the day with a new perspective on my journey in life, feeling rejuvenated.

Brockwell Park, Brixton
When I think back over some of my favourite hill-walking trips (including a few skiing trips a few years back), there have been a few occasions where the sheer beauty and power of nature have taken me over, if only for a few seconds.

These times are hard to describe, but as I think back there are definite moments that I can recall. A sense of awe, of peace and joy. Of witnessing and being drawn into something of immense beauty and power. Something that struck me ‘in the deep heart’s core’ (Yeats: Lake Isle of Innisfree). So it’s good to give a little time to reflect on what it is that gives us life and energy, what connects with us at a deep level, what draws us out of ourselves, and to allow ourselves some time every so often to be immersed in it.

Walking links near london:

1 comment:

  1. Kevin O'Rourke28 February 2011 at 11:02

    Eddie,Beautifully written. Reminds me of Camino experience. Kevin O'Rourke SJ.


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