Several years ago, I read the book “The ONE Thing”. It was gifted to me by my employer. Yeah, yeah, thanks boss…I thought to myself, knowing that I’ll read it if I get a chance. I mean, I already had a stack of books to read, and quite frankly, it’s wasn’t my style. I do like self-help books but at this stage of my life, it’s not about advancing my career, it’s more about finding spirituality and embracing my inner hippie. Don’t get me wrong, I did appreciate the thought at the time, but really, a book given to you by your employer? Seems suspicious, what’s in it for the man? LOL. Of course, I said “Thank you”, with a big and gracious smile as I stuffed the book into my backpack and made my way out the door.
A few months later, my work schedule had me traveling around the globe with lots of cloud time and quiet hotel evenings. One day, as I rushed out the door to catch a flight, I forgot to grab the book that I was reading, and I found myself bookless on a long haul flight. Once on board, I search around in my backpack, in hopes to find something to read that I may have overlooked. That’s when I found “The ONE Thing” that I forgot about, the book. With nothing else to do on a long plane ride and long trip, I decided to crack it open and started to read it. All the while wishing that I had found a Backpacker magazine buried in my backpack.
After a few chapters of reading the book, I found myself questioning the author’s theory, trying to understand my own message that I schemed up in my head. How you can live life with just doing one thing at a time. I mean, in today’s world if you’re not good at multitasking, you’re not going to survive. The temptation was strong to put the book back into my backpack until I could offload it at the next book exchange. However tempted I was to do that, I simply thought there must be more to this book, I mean what am I missing? So, with a long pause and deep sigh, I decided to read on.
After a few more chapters, it finally hit me like a ton of bricks. This book isn’t teaching you to only do one thing. It’s teaching you how to compartmentalize your energy, time, thoughts, and life in order to focus on that one specific thing that you’re doing, for that specific moment, for however long you determine that moment to be. Of course, we all have many things that we need to accomplish each and every waking day. But trying to do them all simultaneously at once is just crazy. Yet we try to do it anyway. So why even try, when it’s usually not our best effort? For us to believe that we must do everything all at once, simultaneously, in order to be successful, or feel accomplished, is like trying to be a one-man band who doesn’t even know how to play one single note is downright ludicrous.
So, what does this have to do with hiking? For me, everything! Just as I’m physically preparing myself for my 6-month A.T. thru-hike (3-23-20), I’m also preparing myself mentally for it. As a sufferer from anxiety, fear, and I’m an overthinker, this awakening concept was important to learn as I navigate through the things that I can’t control. A practice that reaches far beyond just tasks, but for me, opened my eyes to compartmentalizing my thoughts and emotions to better serve me. I’m relearning to live life fully and be in the moment. While some moments overlap or run parallel, I’m learning to organize my thoughts into bite-sized, digestible life chunks instead of taking it all on at once. It’s “Ok” to turn everything off to Be_again.