What I Learned From Hiking, Part 2

Planter Fasciitis Is a Gift

 Yeah, believe it or not, a mild wear-and-tear injury has actually turned out to be a blessing. Taken a little deeper, this statement reveals the power of perspective to change attitudes on what happens in life. All it takes sometimes is a subtle shift in perspective to view something that had previously appeared as a setback into something that will ultimately lead to different outcomes, all of which will prove beneficial.

For instance, in place of the physical exertion of hiking, which my body and mind crave, I have taken up yoga, and I also hope to try swimming and maybe even surfing. Not only will I improve at yoga, I will increase my flexibility, and therefore improve my longevity and my ability to hike safely. Furthermore, swimming will add new hobbies to my repetoire, creating balance in my outdoor activities. This will protect me from becoming overly reliant on hiking as a hobby, and it will prevent me from reaching the burn-out that I had been approaching as I was closing in on 1,000 miles.

So, the lesson here is that our perspective on events determines the way we feel about events – not the events themselves. If I hold the perspective that a mild injury which will prevent me from hiking for a month and a half is a terrible thing, I deny myself the opportunity to learn to surf, start swimming, practice yoga, and gain balance, new experience, and deepen relationships. Step a little to the left, and the entire picture changes.

There isn’t a lot to be gained from resisting what your body tells you. If your body is dead-tired from climbing up a hill, you should stop and slow down. If your feet are killing you from hiking too much, you should stop hiking. Your body and mind will tell you everything they can to protect you and keep you going the right way. My plantar fasciitis was my body’s way of telling me to try doing things a different way. If I take this opportunity and do things in a healthier, more reasonable manner, I can continue to do the things I love indefinitely – so long as I keep listening to my body.

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