“I think that [as well as the pursuit of being completely in the moment, existing within a state of flow,] it's about a total immersion in nature. If you think about our ancient ancestors, the hunter gatherer societies, they lived in a world that was highly unpredictable and dangerous. And they sought to live in harmony with that world…to have this harmonious interaction with nature, through a total immersion in nature, which was forced upon them. But then of course things changed…and now we’ve gotten to the point that it’s really difficult to be totally immersed in nature. My hunch is that these extreme adventurers, the big part of the spirituality of their activities is that they are stripping themselves away; they’re going out into nature, they’re taking away the insulation that surrounds us all, they’re taking away the safety nets, they’re opening themselves up, and in order to really survive they have to hone their intuitions…just like our ancient ancestors must have been able to do. … They basically go back to this state, which is inherent in all of us, I think, to when life was all about survival, and all about living in the moment." ~ Maria Coffey (Source)
We didn’t really tell anyone about it in advance, didn’t really plan, certainly set off with no fanfare. So when we returned from running the 77km West Coast Trail in August it was to a somewhat surprised circle of friends. And to the question, repeatedly:
It’s such a simple, basic, reasonable question. It would seem equally reasonable to have had an answer in mind - a reason - before we started. (It wasn’t for Jennie to travel the trail faster than any woman ever before had, though she did.) But we keep tripping up on the question, getting tongue-tied trying to answer, feeling foggy in the self-reflection.
It’s not that I don’t have an answer - I believe I do. The problem is that at this point it’s still an answer articulated in the language of feeling. I don’t yet have words. But I was out running alone on local trails the other day, letting my mind meander through the woods, and I think I’m getting closer.
Then today, in advance of a planned meeting with author and adventure travel leader, Maria Coffey, I was listening to a podcast of her being interviewed by Oprah. And within that interview, in Maria’s words (above) about why extreme adventurers do what they do, I think I got a little closer to my own words, the words that will answer _my_ Why for the West Coast Trail. (In no way suggesting that I am an “extreme adventurer,” which I very much am not.)
To listen to Maria's interview with Oprah Winfrey, from her "Soul Series" webcast (I know, I didn't think I'd ever reference Oprah either), excellent in its entirety, visit http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Maria-Coffey-on-Oprahs-Soul-Series-Webcast.