Lessons & Reflections from Zanzibar

Well all this hydrotherapy I’ve been getting, between the Indian Ocean and the salt water pool, has pretty much healed my elbow injury received when I fell during the last few moments of my nine day hike last week. It’s incredible to me to comprehend that one week has already passed since last Wednesday’s Kili summit.

Among the many lessons I learned on the mountain was the one of working hard to be “in the present”…to be fully “in the moment.”

So much of the time during those nine days all of us so easily and unconsciously lived in the past, remembering the previous day’s adventures, or in the future, trading off the present. Some listened to music on i-pods, but mostly we were out of step with the moment at hand because we were hungry, or cold or needed a pit stop break.

How many times did I either actually ask, or at the very least repeatedly wonder, “Are we there yet???” Not only did losing the present take away from the beauty in front of me, on occasion, concentrating more on a future moment made me misstep and stumble in the present.

Every thoughtless trip over a rock or root or whatever turned into a karmic tap on the shoulder to learn the lesson of focusing on the here and now (and trust that I’d get lunch, or dinner or whatever, when I get it).

This lesson is so applicable in day to day work life, too, whether we’re jumping ahead in what day we wish it was, or whether we’re jumping ahead to complete a project or get to the next professional level, etc. Dorothy Gale from the Wizard of Oz chanted, “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.”, but I’ve come to realize this past week–as challenging as it is to do–“There’s no moment like the present. There’s no moment like the present.”

Let’s face it, we all understand and appreciate this lesson philosophically but, in reality, it’s a bit trickier. But still, perhaps a good reminder? And so, embracing my own lesson from my own Kili insight about being present, I’m signing off now to snuggle into my lovely mosquito-netted bed and listen, in the dark, to the sound of noisy, clucking Zanzibar monkies right outside my window, until I drift off. Day is done here now. Goodnight.


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