These boots are made for walkin’

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Make your own path and the way will find you.
What is meant to be will always come back to you…

It’s been a while since I’ve been writing and I took a much needed break after all my treks last year which saw me walking through extremes of weather from the green yet icy landscapes of Iceland to the extreme heat of the Sahara Desert for charity. There’s nothing I love more than putting my walking boots on and setting off to new pastures. Each place I get called to has its own energy and something to teach to me. It’s like my soul knows where I need to go and it’s about listening to that voice inside of myself no matter how crazy it may seem.

It took a lot of commitment to follow my inner guidance to trek the world again after completing my Mount Kilimanjaro trek back in 2014. I knew from past experience that it would demand a lot of me but as always I was willing to take the risk and give this a try even if I failed. It is true what they say in that ‘the journey is the destination’. Unless we take the risk, we can never know how far we can go and what we are made of. We can learn so much in the process of becoming who we want to be and in taking that leap in our lives we have already won in a lot of ways.

I had to put all my thoughts aside in order to do this. I would have so many flying around in my head – ‘you are not good enough’, ‘you will fail’, ‘who do you think you are doing something like this’, – and so much more. The human mind can lead us astray. We have around 60,000 thoughts a day and most of them can be negative and even take over our lives until they seem real. I knew no matter how powerful my inner critic could be, I was much stronger. Throughout my training my inner critic would follow me everywhere I went telling me I can’t do this and people would laugh at my attempt to trek again. It had no merit yet it was a constant presence in my life.

If I have learnt anything on my journey of self-discovery it’s to continue to have a relationship with my so-called mind. I had to learn to breathe and let these thoughts flow in and out of my daily life as I continued to train.

I believe the biggest journey any of us can take is to become the master of our own minds. Even though my treks and all the training I did was physically demanding, it was inside of my mind where the real training occurred. Sometimes it would get really dark as if the light will never come on again and I would have to force myself to get up to train. This was especially the case when there was a family bereavement right before my last trek in the Sahara Desert. It was unexpected and meant I had to travel abroad for the funeral beforehand.

My inner critic was stronger than ever and told me to give up completely but I knew inside of myself that life never gives you anything you can’t handle. I was in unfamiliar territories and was up early mornings to train in between my family commitments for the funeral with my mind still telling me to give up. However, I found solace in my faith and did what I needed to do.

I did what seemed impossible at the time and then flew back to walk the Sahara Desert. I knew somehow I wouldn’t be alone and that I gained an angel in my life who would walk alongside of me as one of my cheerleaders. I thought to myself that life is too short to not do this and it’s important to take the opportunity to follow our path no matter how uncertain or scary it may feel at first. It is there that we will find our greatest treasures and a place in our hearts we can call Home.

Lots of love,
Lisa

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Song of the Heart

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We are One.
The entire Universe lives within us.

I was very fortunate to be part of a special event called Generation Hope which saw 6000 youth coming together in three different cities, celebrating the philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism and giving hope to so many.  It took me right to the beginning and where I started 8 years ago in meeting this practice and how it has changed my life for the better. Part of me had forgotten as life continues to challenge me and it was great to re-ignite that life-force inside to bring the light back into my life. Sometimes in life we know the answers and what we need to do but it takes others to remind us of our own light. It is through support and interconnectedness to everyone and everything around us we can see the real truth and beauty of life.

I was very inspired to hear so many individual experiences of how Buddhism has helped changed their lives in positive ways. To have a positive philosophy provides a foundation in which we can view experiences in our lives so differently and to see challenges as opportunities for growth and healing. Nothing is outside of ourselves and our environment and the people around us are a direct reflection of us. This can be a concept that is hard to digest at first but when you look beneath the surface, there is so much strength and power that comes from it. I know it taught me to take accountability and responsibility for my own life. Nobody else could live it for me or do the work for me. It all started with me.

“When we change, the world changes. The key to all change is in our inner transformation – a change of our hearts and minds. This is human revolution. We all have the power to change. When we realise this truth, we can bring forth that power anywhere, anytime, and in any situation.” (Daisaku Ikeda)

With so much going on in the world right now it can seem like we can’t do anything about it but the truth is everyone can make a difference. It starts with our own inner transformation in a journey of forgiveness, love, patience, compassion and courage to live fully and express who we really are. It is about speaking up and paying attention to the things that really matter. It is about never giving up and opening our hearts in creating a vision for a better world. Every individual has the capacity for greatness in their own unique way and any change made has a ripple effect throughout the entire cosmos.

“No matter what our personal circumstances may be, if we ourselves become the source of light, then there will be no darkness in the world.” (Daisaku Ikeda)

With the decision to choose hope and to sing the song in our hearts, we can overcome anything. We can dance with life and move to the rhythm of joyous expression. We can change the world.

Nam-myoho-renge-kyo,
Lisa

Living Life on the Icelandic Edge…

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Wow, wow, wow… it’s been a pretty crazy week!! I have been and come back from Iceland in my first charity trek and just arrived home today. I am still taking everything in after flying back. It has been an epic journey travelling through the most diverse landscapes in such a short space of time and I feel so lucky for the experiences I had in Iceland. There was joy, there was laughter, many moments when I struggled to put one foot in front of the other and then of course my not so great morning moments but this is what it is all about. This is life and all the facets of change that come with it.

This trek pushed me so far from my comfort zone that it took me on the edge and I mean that in literal sense when I say this.

Me being me, I didn’t realise what some of the hiking trail would entail. However this probably worked in my favour in that I didn’t have time to procrastinate about it and I had to just do it. There was no turning back! In a lot of ways the trail reminded me of walking on Mount Kilimanjaro three years ago and I thought if I could get through that then I could do anything. Still I was filled with fear when I was presented with what could have been a life and death situation.

There was a section called the Cat’s Spine in which you had to cross a very rocky ridge with a massive drop on either side. My palms were sweating and my heart rate was going so fast at the thought of crossing it. I was calling in my Spirit Guides, angels and every deity possible at that point to protect me and all the other people in our group doing this. This really took ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ to a new level. I felt fortunate for the amazing group of people I was trekking with and together we conquered it and motivated each other throughout the trek. This to me was the best part… meeting new friends in this shared experience and to be able to laugh about it for years to come.

When you allow yourself to step outside your comfort zone, it’s where the magic begins

I was so relieved when I made it to the other side of the Cat’s Spine. It made me think about how life can be risky and you always have a choice to move forward no matter what life presents to you and to know that you are not walking any of it alone. The views were absolutely spectacular and looked like something out of a movie.

The mountains of magnificence bring a new perspective and new way of seeing things. You begin to realise that there is no point of sweating the small stuff and in the grand scheme of things that’s all it is… stuff. When we live with aliveness in our hearts, this sense of beauty and magnificence lives in our very veins and we can share that light to help others along the way and make a difference. We each have that capacity in our own unique way.

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With all the uphills and struggles, I thought it was over until we had to cross another section which filled me with even more fear and presented what could have been another life and death situation. This time I had to hold onto a chain to cross to the other side of this cliff as the path was so narrow. This was worse than the Cat’s Spine and the Barranco Wall on Mount Kilimanjaro. My hands were shaking as I crossed and held onto the chain for dear life. I laugh thinking about it. Not at the time of course. I have to say it was all worth to it travel across volcanoes, glaciers and snow.

Again I was reminded at the fact we are never alone when I took the picture below and saw a white feather in the sky. This made me smile and to remember my strength after recovering from illness that changed the entire course of my life. To think that I was in so much pain before for a number of years I could hardly walk to now being able to do these incredible things is a miracle in itself.

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“Water is the most perfect traveller because when it travels it becomes the path itself!” (Mehmet Murat Ildan)

I also had the blessing of witnessing and seeing lots of great waterfalls on this trail. They were spectacular and walking along hearing the sound of the water was so soothing. The path we walked was filled with such soul and life-force energy. I loved every moment of it. I can still feel it now.

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It’s time to rest now for a few days until the training starts again for the next adventure. Long may they continue!

Blessings,

Lisa