Posted by: Waheeda Harris | April 23, 2013

Success and failure (part two)

Petit Piton as seen from Grand Piton

Petit Piton as seen from Grand Piton

As my breathing slowed and body calmed, my mind was reeling. I looked out at the view of Petit Piton, hoping its natural beauty would make myself feel a bit better.

But I didn’t feel better.

I wasn’t straining, sweating or feeling the burn of climbing up hill. I could feel how sweaty I had become, from the top of my head to my toes, but my mind, it was lecturing me.

Why did you stop hiking Grand Piton? Do you feel better for stopping?

Was it really mind over matter? Did my head give up before my body? Or did my body call it – knowing that it would get harder, I would get slower and would make the hike even more difficult?

I sat quietly, as a few other hikers came by, some acknowledging me, some ignoring me, despite my polite inquiries.

I felt guilty, not liking myself for not being able to continue. But I did think of the reality – getting slower, I had also gotten very tired in this hike. Tired meant I wasn’t paying as much attention, and I could have done more to myself than have some scratches from rocks or dusty and sweaty from the hike.

Soon I wasn’t alone, surrounded by a group of eight, four couples who were hiking together. Reaching the midpoint like me, they all looked tired and sweaty and were discussing how much farther the would go. One man was clear that he was staying, and the rest decided to continue on.

St Lucia - end of Piton trail 4

The end of the Grand Piton trail.

As they left, I offered him a snack, which he took. We talked about our time on the island, the hike and our expectations. I realized he was a bit angry at himself too – that he hadn’t expected the hike to be this hard, or the guide to be so unsupportive. He was envious of his colleagues for continuing, but also relieved that he was here.

We both smiled, gazing out at the view, and I could tell we both felt better. We didn’t have anything to prove to anyone but ourselves. And our failure to go farther – well it didn’t really mean anything.

We had hiked almost for an hour and a half and would hike another hour to get down when our groups returned. And there wasn’t anything wrong with that.

And want to know how it started? Part one….

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