I am filled with profound gratitude this week.
Shoshin Walks began as a latent concept middle 2019. We waited a year for our first Otter Trail walk – and then we were cancelled out of that, and the rest of 2020 with numerous walks on the Otter and Whale Trail not happening. One could say 2020 got cancelled, to a degree.
Clive and I made the best of a bad situation. With the help of Jarred, Lauren and the rest of the team, we developed overnight walks in the Boesmanskloof and Cape Point, and we had several wonderful experiences in the latter part of 2020 and started to build our community of mindful walkers.
We also upskilled through online study and practice into a higher degree of competency for doing the work of mindfulness and gratitude we bring to these walks. I wouldn’t say we are the finished product yet – but a wonderful incidental result was lots of online work. I facilitate online training and alignment exercises for teams, individuals and corporates, and Clive has started to teach students English through a TEFL accreditation – globally from his home!
But we still want to walk. Walk for miles. Walk on the coast, in the mountains. Walk overnight sharing experiences, food and laughter.
Last week, I did. Eternal gratitude for our first little group that was brave enough to tackle the Whale Trail with me. While Clive took care of the online projects we have going, I was joined by Di, Declan, Stacey, Jen, Nici and Cath for a wonderful five days in the De Hoop Nature Reserve.
Now, there were some lessons learned.
First and foremost, putting a man in charge of food arrangements is a bad idea, especially if you have top chefs in the house. So the girls took charge, and especially Nici and Jen as they are pros at this (https://zestcatering.co.za) - what a time we had. There were curries, pastas, fillets on the braai, delicious wines from the Elgin Valley and lots of great war stories around the dinner table. I am grateful for stepping back and trusting the process, and the template for next time has been set.
Secondly, I was unsure of how well process work would sit on the walk. But it worked a treat. The intended outcome was to build a tight container for the group but give everyone the opportunity to also do their own thing as needed. I utilised the “YOU NEVER WALK ALONE” workbook but also added in some other bits and pieces, such as the “CHOCOLATE MEDITATION” and “WIM HOF BREATHING”. Doing these practices as the sun is setting, before we head out in the morning or even smack in the middle of the day was brilliant. Declan and Stacey leaned into the personal work pieces, the group added some yoga practice in for good measure and I think we were all filled with tremendous gratitude at the end of the day.
Third, and probably most important, is that the philosophy is sound. Trust the process and let the walk do most of the work. Cape Nature and the folks at De Hoop did a great job. The accommodations were well stocked, clean and beautifully located. The trail itself is well marked and gorgeous. We elected to do day 3 as a silent solo walk on the coast, and this in itself was an incredible opportunity for introspection. Nature will do its thing, regardless of us. But being intentional on how we engage with it was a definite enhancement.
It's all about who you are with, though. The group had morphed over the last 9 months into this small band of intrepid adventurers. The chemistry worked, and I am deeply grateful to Di for all her efforts to help keep it together, as well as to Declan for his continued support and passion for the work. But whether it was Jen leaning into the beauty of the ocean, Cath’s warm constant energy, Stacey’s enthusiastic engagement or Nici’s hilarious war stories...With folks like these, we have a basis for something great. Every single person that went along imparted a learning and a beautiful memory for me, and they will always be “The Originals”.