What Hiking Taught Me About Singing: Movement IV

Movement IV: The Spiritual Experience

I thought of the concept for this post (and the whole blog, actually) on a recent hike. A short one due to time constraints, so I wasn’t aiming to break any records. I initially intended to take a well-worn favorite path to a secluded rock formation where I like to journal and meditate. However, at the last minute I decided to take an unknown spur and let novelty lead the way. I found a huge outcropping overlooking the park entrance, the highway out of the canyon, and gentle undulating mounds of pine. I scrambled off-trail a bit onto the outcropping and found a huge slab with two smaller slabs on top shaped very much like a throne. I had arrived without seeing another human and sat on my new seat surveying the realm in utter solitude. Everything currently going in on my life gained sudden clarity and all the disparate pieces fit perfectly. I felt…..thankful.

I’d recently been plagued with some uncertainty and doubt. I’ve got several wonderful projects going that I love and that demonstrate immediate reward and career gains, but a very particular passion project of mine is in the middle of slow, methodical development. There’s nothing to show outwardly yet, and it’s sometimes painful to be in that stage when the world constantly cries for more with open maw. I feel older and slower than my contemporaries. It’s easy to slowly get sucked into that machine of self-doubt and self-pity. But taking that hike and pushing myself through the process of navigating uncomfortable paths, choosing a safe way to my stone throne on the outcropping, reminded me of my resilience and renewed my confidence in my artistic choices. I was at peace. I like to say that my worship of choice is in the mountain forests, in the Temple of Diana. There is an element of the spiritual to my treks. Maybe at the heart of every human endeavor, there is a yearning for some sort of spiritual connection, whatever that spirit may be for each human. Art does speak to the spiritual experience, so we as artists find ourselves in a double bind. We must facilitate and transform that which we ourselves are yearning, along a path that’s littered with challenges and danger. No one said it was going to be easy. Here’s my own (highly subjective) trail map. I hope it helps you.

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