Read part 1 here.
Read part 2 here.
Accepting the challenge for what it is, is not necessarily the same as getting the most out of it, much like we strive to get the most out of every moment by simply being present in it. Even for the most experienced mindfulness and meditation practitioners, however, it is possible that a sudden change or an unexpected challenge throws the practice off course, even if just for a moment. We are all human after all. At times like these, what is important to remember, is that a practice can never really be thrown off course. A change in the course is only a part of the journey, and just like any other event in our lives, it is an opportunity to strengthen and develop our practice. Eventually, the mind adjusts. The practice is maintained. We ground ourselves in the present moment. And we become even more aware of each moment because we have been taken out of our comfort zone.
What I discovered while trekking the Sahara, however, is that staying in the present moment is actually pretty simple when it is all you can do to carry on. Putting one foot in front of the other, climbing sand dunes, and being too tired to think about anything else is one thing. Staying present on purpose, however, is a whole other thing. Staying present because you truly want to experience every step, looking up from the ground to take in the beauty all around you, taking the time at the end of the day to reflect on your experiences, that is the essence of mindfulness. And that intention is the subtle difference between simply staying present and staying mindful. And I am extremely grateful to my practice for helping me take it all in.
As I am coming to the end of my blog series about trekking the Sahara, I have left the most important message for last. If I had to pick just one thing that kept me going and truly appreciating the experience, it was remembering why I was doing it in the first place. Giving back to a wonderful charity is a feeling like no other. Doing something that may benefit another human being is truly one of the greatest joys of life. And knowing that I was doing this for someone other than myself helped me cross the finish line, together with a group of wonderful people raising money for charity. And it was worth every step!
Thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout my fundraising and during the challenge. You can read more about the fantastic work Beat does here, or add your donation here. Thank you for following my blog!