When people grieve, they often need to do something physical to help them along. Some folks build things. Another option is hiking.
Set a goal each day to reach a scenic viewpoint, but also try to find a place along the way where you connect to something solid and real.
In the months following a loved one’s death, home is an unending flurry of details, doubts and despair, and you are unable to focus on anything for very long. Buddhism calls this “monkey mind,” when hundreds of thoughts are screeching, chattering, and jumping around, each wanting your attention.
When you’re alone on a backcountry trail, your mind quiets. Hiking where bears live keeps your senses focused on the present. You don’t want to be thinking about what happened last month and miss the slight movement in the bushes.
As the hours drag on of putting one foot in front of the other, you will begin to remember who you am. The rhythm of hiking moves you out of the labyrinth of thoughts and into the wisdom of the body. Your mind clears. Your battered heart shows up. Your spirits rise.
Remember what is important, come to understand what has happened, and make the necessary adjustments to your life. Nature puts grief in perspective and reminds you that you are part of something much greater.
Hiking is a walking meditation.