[00:00:00] Laurin: Welcome to the Curiously Wise podcast. I'm your host Laurin Wittig. This podcast is all about honoring, sharing and celebrating the natural and experiential wisdom of my guests through curiosity provoking conversations, shared stories and tips we've all gathered along this journey. And from time to time, I'll be sharing my own stories and my own wisdom in solo episodes.
Oh, and we'll be laughing. A lot. I invite you to join in the fun as we uncover the unique wisdom we each carry within us. Ready? Let's get curious.
Hi, and welcome to Curiously Wise. I'm Laurin Wittig, I'm your host today. If you listened to a previous solo episode, you may have heard about the trip that I was going to take to Europe.
The intention was to hike the Tour de Monte Blanc, which is a hundred-ish mile long hike. It's in the Alps and it goes from France into Italy. Then Switzerland and then comes back to France. I talked a little bit about how I was not sure I was completely ready for this trip.
Mentally I was ready. I had already accepted the challenge of such a big trip. Emotionally I knew it was gonna be a bit of a roller coaster. So I wanna share with you the lessons I learned along the way of this adventure. They were not what I expected. And in many ways they were not new lessons, but they were a reinforcement of things that I already have learned, but don't always implement.
We fly to France. Day one comes around for the hike. It's kind of an overcast day as it can be in the mountains, but we're all excited. We've packed and repacked and repacked our packs, trying to get it down to manageable weight.
I knew that mine was still kind of heavy, but I couldn't figure out what to leave behind. I had paired it down to absolutely the things in an emergency kind of gear. So our first day we took the gondola about, I don't know, maybe halfway up. And then we had a climb ahead of us and it was challenging.
I mean, you're in the Alps. There are a lot higher than anything we have access to on the east coast of the US. And it was challenging, but it was also exhilarating. Now I'm the slowest hiker in the group. I always am. Part of that is that I like to stop look around and I know better than to try to keep walking while I'm looking around, because I can be a bit of a cluts.
And I'm also very careful about where I put my feet because I have had knee issues in the past with hiking. And so I was being very, very careful. We had a wonderful hike, a wonderful climb. It was challenging. We crossed snow.
At one point, we were that high up and we ended up at what they call a refuge high up on the mountain where we got to have a hot lunch, which was wonderful and good, and things cleared off. And you could see down into the valley and you could see the water falls across the valley. And it's just beautiful.
And I was being very careful to stretch before we hiked. And I did some stretches again before we got back to it just to support my knees as much as possible. And then we began the descent. Descents are really hard. The Alps are steep. They're Rocky. There are places where the trail gets very narrow and there's actually chains that have been bolted into the mountain side or sometimes a metal railing.
Sometimes there's little steps that have been implanted into the rock, this kind of thing. And it started to rain. And then it started thunder and we're on the side of the mountain. But it also started to really take a toll on my right knee. Now it's not my knee joint. It's all of the things that hold it in place that get really sore.
As soon as I noticed that happening, I stopped. I had knee braces with me. I put 'em both on. The left one was not bothering me, but just preventive and we continued. Well, it didn't take long for the pain to get pretty serious. And I got slower and slower. Long story short, by the time we got off the mountain, which we did with the help of three lovely British men who I call my trail angels who helped us find a quicker way off the mountain to where we could get a cab.
By the time we got off the mountain, I knew that my hike was done. What we didn't know at the moment was that my friend had fallen and hurt her right knee as well. And she didn't know if her hike was done, but she knew it was done for the next couple of days. Day one of her hike, this happens. So I am seriously disappointed.
There were tears. I predicted that there would be some tears along the way. It wasn't from pain though. I was actually quite proud of myself because in spite of the pain, I was determined to get myself off the mountain. I did not wanna have to be airlifted off that mountain. And normally when I begin to feel pain, I'm a wimp.
And I'm like I'm out, but I was super determined that I was not going to be airlifted off that mountain, that I was going to get myself off that mountain. And I knew that my hike was done. So, if I did a little more damage to my knee, I wasn't so concerned about that. I was gonna get myself off the mountain and, and I did with the help of my husband who carried my pack a lot of the way.
And with the help of these three lovely British gentlemen who were on their last day of the Tour de Monte Blanc. They were amazing. But it turned out that my friend and I neither could go on the hike for the next day. Like I said, I knew I was done. I've had knee issues before.
I know that they don't heal fast. So I was a little more, I think, sang about it than she was. She'd never experienced an injury like that before. We were both in pain. We were both super disappointed. We were both proud of ourselves for getting ourselves off the mountain. Cuz it turned out she was the same way.
I'm not being airlifted off this mountain. We had to scramble a bit to get a cab. We already had hotels and all of that set up for the entire trip. And so the decision was made for us about whether we were gonna hike or not again at least the next day. Then the challenge which we had not thought about was that my husband and her daughter were gonna continue hiking.
They were fine. And they wanted to continue the hike. We had all agreed that that was going to be the plan. If something happened, we did not ever anticipate that not just one of us, but two of us would be taken off trail on the very first day.
So my friend and I have to figure out what we're gonna do. And it makes sense to all of us that we essentially find transportation to the next destination for the hikers. We had worked with a company and had already booked all of our hotels. We got breakfast and dinner with all of our hotels.
So we paid for a lot of it already. And the idea of maybe going somewhere and having to pay for another hotel for two weeks at this point just didn't make a lot of sense. Plus, we wanted to participate in the hike as much as we could. So we scrambled and we found a cab that would take us to the next hotel.
The company that helped us book everything helped us figure out that we could get transfers for the next few days with the luggage company. Cuz we did have luggage that was being transferred every day for us from hotel to hotel.
The third hotel was in a very remote area. It was not a place you were gonna get to on public transportation. So we were very grateful to be able to go with the luggage.
The drive there was one of my favorite parts of the entire trip. And it was not something we would have ever experienced if we were still hiking. So in hindsight, particularly, I'm very grateful that we got to ride with this very interesting young man, Mattea. And Mattea lives in Brazil, but his family is from France.
And he had come for the summer to help his mom. The ride there was just gorgeous on these small mountain highways. We stopped at this turquoise lake. I haven't posted it on Instagram yet, but by the time you see this, it will be up there.
This lake, it was one of the most remarkable things I've ever seen. It was just amazingly miraculously beautiful. And we had a wonderful time getting to know Mattea and his story. And he was just this really interesting, very calm energy very quiet, but very willing to engage with the two of us. The three of us were sitting in the front seat of his van and it was just a really lovely day.
And when we got to our destination, we were able to have a beautiful lunch outdoors looking up at the Alps. Cows with their cowbells going in the distance. And we were there to greet our hikers when they came in. So, that was really highlight of my trip. And I would not have gotten that if I had been one of the hikers.
So we continued, but this next few days were more challenging in terms of getting transport and finding our ways places and having to plan almost day by day how we were gonna get to the next place we usually could have. Like today and tomorrow, but then tomorrow we had to plan the next day.
It was very difficult emotionally. And it was very taxing mentally. Physically, not so much cuz we were being driven from place to place. But it was mentally, it was very hard and very draining. Eventually we end up hopscotching our way to meet our hikers in Italy at Courmayeur, which was actually I think that was the next day.
We had intentionally planned a day off there. So we had two days in the same hotel there two nights and in time to just kind of regroup. And that was sort of a low point for me. I was torn about what to do next. My friend really wanted to continue hopscotching behind our hikers or to meet up with them every day, because this had been a really important mother daughter trip for them.
She was really grieving that, and I wanted to honor that. But on the other hand, it was almost impossible for us to find our way to the next three stops. The transportation just it was so remote. There was not a lot of options there. It was gonna be a hugely expensive cab ride to go about 20 miles.
At one point, it felt like everything was stacking up against us to keep us from doing this. Now I am so mentally tired and still emotionally sort of able to appreciate the beauty of some of the places, but still grieving that we're not on the trail and honoring that.
I mean, it was just something we'd planned for a long time with COVID. We had really pinned all our hopes on this amazing vacation. And so, I was trying to honor that for both myself and my friend and frankly for our hiking partners, cuz they had intended to do this with us as well. And so, it was hard. It's still hard to think about.
And I have traditionally my whole life been what used to be termed an anxious pleaser. I grew up in a family of very volatile parents. It was best to just kind of go along to get along. And so that became the way I worked in my life really. Still is often. I would much rather just keep the peace most of the time.
But I began to realize that everything working against us all of a sudden was familiar. And it's a lesson that I've learned a lot over the last many years. But particularly I've learned it more consciously in the last six or eight, 10 years now. And that is a concept called roadblocks.
And I can't remember exactly where I found this out. I know that my best friend Pamela is the one that probably brought it to my attention first, cuz that's her role in my life is wake me up and go pay attention. But this idea of roadblocks when things are not in the flow of your best interest, when they're not in the flow of your purpose or your, your needs in the moment, a lot of times you will find yourself blocked.
And those blocks can be little things that can be a flight falls through, or I mean, that's not necessarily a little thing, but it can be that you were trying to get some errands done and the car tire went flat. You gotta stop and get air. Okay. So minor one. These were big ones.
These were pushing buttons in both my friend and I. And we were already tired. We were already mentally spent and emotionally spent. So we didn't have a lot of sort of bandwidth of perspective to step back and assess. Fortunately, my husband is really good at that.
And as I was getting more tired and more and more frustrated by this trying to force the transportation issue to the next couple of places, I was kind of melting down. He's familiar with that. And he said, you know maybe you should just go back to Chamonix, which was not a difficult place to get to from where we were in Courmayeur.
So he said, you know maybe what you guys need to do is just go back to Chamonix for a couple of days. Just get a hotel there, and just rest and just enjoy the town. You know it, you're familiar with it.
I already have favorite places to go for food and drink and ice cream. You can shop, you can just rest if that's what you really need to do. And immediately, immediately it was like I could breathe again. That feels exactly like what we should do. And that's my cue that, that is in the flow.
I was just tired of trying to force this, transportation issue. And my friend was determined cuz she wanted to stick with her daughter and she was doing the heavy lifting on figuring out the logistics. So I was like, okay. But I said to my husband, I said, but I can't just leave my friend with this huge taxi cab ride or the possibility of being stranded somewhere by yourself.
That just doesn't feel like the right thing to do. My friend and her daughter were in the room next to us in this hotel. And we're texting, you know, our millennial children have rubbed on us. So instead of like knocking on the door, sitting in the same room and having this ongoing conversation, we're texting each other.
And I realize that I need to, as much as I'm trying to honor her desires because they were legit. And I understood, and I wanted to support that as much as I could. I also realized that I had to be clear about what I needed and not in a pushy way, not in a any way where I'm like, this is what I'm gonna do.
I texted her as gently as I could phrase it that Dean has suggested that we go back to Chamonix for a couple of days and then meet them in Switzerland. And that would give us a couple of days to first of all, rest to rest our injuries, but also to rest our mental capacities and our emotional capacities.
And then that would give us time without being frantic about it, figure out the next steps transportation wise, to meet back up with them in Switzerland. And then I held my breath after I hit sent. So I basically said here's what Dean has suggested this and it feels like the right thing to do to me.
Retired if we need to rest. I understand if you wanna keep going. I don't wanna leave you with the big cab ride expense. But here's what feels like the right thing to me, inform me. And there's silence for quite a while, and I don't know what to make of it, but I'm just, intuitively I'm just like she's gotta work through it.
She's gotta figure out what's best for her. And if we go forward, how are we gonna do that? And honor both of us. And if we go back, how are we gonna do that? And honor both of us. Well, this is the long story at this point, but she ended up texting me back going, it's not what I want to do, but I think it's the right thing to do.
At that point, I get on figuring out how to get us back to Chamonix because there's two ways. One is up and over the mountain by the gondolas. But that didn't feel like the right thing in the moment.
And so, I'm feeling for what's right, what's not. There's a bus. There's a tunnel under the mountain, under Monte Blanc that goes directly from Courmayeur to Chamonix. The bus ride is less than half an hour. It's like, I don't know, maybe $14.
That felt right. My friend gets on booking.com or some site to find us a place to stay in Chamonix for two nights. Now we're gonna be there over a weekend at this point. And she finds us a room for a price that's very reasonable given that it's a weekend and it's in Chamonix, which is a very popular tourist destination.
And we know roughly where it is cuz we know the town. We've spent three days walking around there, shopping and eating and drinking and enjoying the views. And so that fell into place. The bus fell into place. We had to walk a little bit to the bus, but it was not so far that we couldn't do that.
We rearranged our packing so that we had what we needed with us in our backpacks, that way the suitcase could continue with our companions. So many logistics, so many logistics, this is not my forte so we get to Chamonix.
We figure out how to get from the bus to the hotel which is on the other end of town from where we had stayed when we were first there. But it's not that big a town. And we realize that it's this beautiful old it used to be a salvo hotel, so it's pretty magnificent, but it's been millennialize I like to call it.
So it's been redone in the last few years. And it's really cool and funky now. And we have a room with a view over the town and of to Monte Blanc. The beds are the best beds we've had since we've been there. And we literally spend our first day there, just hanging out in the room. We are each doing our own thing, and it was exactly what we needed.
And the second day we were feeling so much better. We did a little shopping. We found a wonderful place to have dinner. I think it was at the time. And. we took the gondola up to what's called the UGLi Demid, which is one of the high points on Monte Blanc. It's high enough that we were both feeling the altitude pretty quickly.
But we got this lookout over the entire Chamonix valley and it was shockingly. I don't know what to say. It made me feel small, but in a really good way, like I was a part of all of this. It was that awe inspiring moment. I knew I was gonna have in the Alps.
I didn't know that it wasn't gonna be while I was hiking, that it was gonna be while I had this beautiful ride up in a huge gondola to a building that had decks and things where you could actually walk out and we could see people who had actually climbed the mountain coming into this area as well.
It turned out to be the perfect two days. It was relaxing. It was restful. It was recuperative. It was awe inspiring. It was filled with these beautiful little moments like these incredible comfortable beds and on suite bathroom, which you don't realize what a treat that is until you lived with a toilet down the hall for a couple of nights.
And the food was great there. And I learned that you could get a really good glass of wine anywhere. By the end of those two days, we had recovered our equilibrium. I had grounded myself again. Instead of being so much in my head, I was able to get back in my body. I had contacted a friend in the US on our first day there to ask if she could do some Reiki for me. That was miraculous because while it didn't heal my knee enough to hike, it healed my knee enough that it wasn't painful anymore, except going down things even just the slight decline.
I could feel it. It's what I call talking to me. And I kept wearing the braces just as a precaution, but I felt like I could do what I wanted to do as far as not hiking, but anything else. Then I did some Reiki on myself the next night. I began to go, oh yeah, I have tools for this.
I have ways of dealing with this. So that was amazing. And I didn't realize quite what a reset it was at the time or quite how chaotic things had gotten between the injury and coming back to Chamonix for the rest. It was a big lesson for me in honoring the flow, in accepting the flow because it was in both of our best interest to stop efforting so much. Stop trying to make things happen and allow them to unfold for us.
Once we hit that point where we both agreed that beating our heads against the wall to try to make it happen for the next couple of stops was not serving us, I think we both were able to take a breath. The transportation was easy and inexpensive. The lodging was easy and not expensive. I mean, it wasn't inexpensive, but for Chamonix it was a deal.
It was beautiful. It was exactly what we needed. Just a couple of days to honor where we were, you know, physically, mentally, emotionally, and to allow some healing in that. It was an opportunity for us to remember that we had skills and tools available to us. And so very easily, the rest of our transportation unfolded. We got to take this beautiful train called the Chamonix valley express. It's a train that is designed to let you enjoy the view.
It was quick. It took us into Switzerland. And this whole part of our transportation was another case of us seeing parts of France and Switzerland in this case that we would not have seen if we had hiked it. Beautiful! Beautiful!
And we end up in this amazingly gorgeous hotel. We have rooms that look out. Like if you look down, you can see a little courtyard and then it's straight down the mountain from there. So we're perched on the side of this mountain, looking out at the valley below. And it's a long way down. And a mountain on this side and a mountain on that side and the glaciers and the clouds are like moving art.
They're just, it's living art and they come in and they swap the mountains and then they fill the valley and then they rise and then, oh, they'll hide this part, but reveal that part and the sun can come through or there's rain over there. It was mesmerizing. And I, walked around the lake with my husband when we all got there.
And it was another one of those awe-inspiring moments on this trip that I knew I would get. I just didn't know how. And that's another lesson is, don't lock yourself into how you're gonna have these awe-inspiring moments, just intention. I'm gonna have awe-inspiring moments and don't get into the dreaded how. How am I going to experience awe? You know, it's gonna be at this place on that hike on that day, on that peak. No. I knew I was gonna be awe inspired. But I did never think about how. And that's a lesson I have learned is just to intention the feelings as opposed to how that's going to manifest.
This part of the trip, because we'd had that reset time for me was very different because I did begin while we were in, Chamonix to remember my tools. Remember how to ground myself into my body which when I get into pain, I'd rather be somewhere else. So grounding back into my body, I learned how to help my body recover and how to make something good out of something that had become very difficult.
Looking back after I got home and had been home for a week or two, I realized that that first part of the hiking part of the trip was very chaotic and stressful, super stressful. I realized that the return to Chamonix was a deep breath that we needed. That quiet, that stillness, that ability to let go of the mental part.
To honor the emotional part and to honor the physical part. And all of those were necessary. And then what followed after was for me, a very quiet, calm part. We had the transportation all set up because we just retraced our steps for the next two days after that.
And by then we would be back at Chamonix. But it was quiet it was a time where I could really appreciate the natural world. That view from the Hotel Splindid was amazing. As we were getting to our last stop, before we got back to Chamonix, I had seen a church as we were coming in by train.
I said to my friend, I I'd like to just go and see if the church is open and see it. And, maybe just spend a little time in it. I knew from when I was 11 and spent two months traveling in Europe with my mother and my grandmother and my grandmother wanted to see every church and every cathedral.
So I remembered from that experience, how peaceful those empty churches and empty cathedrals. There's a reverence there. There's a quiet there and I really just felt the need to go in and see if this particular beautiful little church could provide that for me.
So we wandered over and found the church, and went inside and it was this beautiful, cool, dim, catholic church as so many of them are. It was peaceful. It was quiet. It was cool. It was a big breath. It was a deep breath, another deep breath moment. And we sat there across the aisle from each other towards the back of the church. I don't know for how long. I know that my friend prayed. For me, I was gonna meditate, but what I ended up doing was I just had this stream of gratitude.
I'm grateful for this. I'm so grateful for that. That just sort of flowed out of me. And it went on and on and on about all the things I was grateful for from this trip in spite of the pain, in spite of the injury, in spite of the chaos, in spite of the overwhelming fatigue at times. I was able to be really grateful for all of it, even the injury, even the not being able to hike more than one day. Yes. I would have loved to do the whole hike. My husband and my friend's daughter completed the hike.
And I'm so proud of them for doing that because I know from that single day of hiking that is a tough hike. Everybody we saw when we got back into Chamonix, it seemed like everybody, a lot of people had knee braces on. So. I didn't feel weak. I felt like I had really, I had done what I could.
I got myself off that mountain. I had persevered. I had indeed listened to what my heart was telling me. That it was time for rest. I had stepped up and stated my own needs while still honoring the needs and desires of my traveling companion. And I had flourished in the second half of the trip by being in the flow by honoring what was in my best interest.
And it turns out in my best interest was not hiking. It was just reveling in the natural world around me. Just being able to not watch every single step I had to place my feet on which would've been all I really saw hiking to sitting in comfort most of the time. And just being able to gawk at the beauty and seeing it from the valley floor up over the passes from every angle in between meeting so many interesting people. Learning to speak French again.
I was conversationally fluent back in my early, early twenties I was really grateful to have the opportunity to remember that I love speaking French.
There was so many different lessons. I don't think any of them were new to me. I think this was another iteration of reinforcing the go with the flow. That sometimes there's roadblocks for a reason. In fact, always there's roadblocks for a reason. I have learned that at least for me.
And I think this is true of a lot of folks that injuries are usually because I'm not paying attention to what's in my best interest. What's in the flow of my soul. And I've learned that when you stop efforting and start allowing, things are much easier. Things are awe inspiring. If you get to where you can do that, when I'm gonna say, when you get to where you do can do that.
And I guess the one lesson that I did have that is most important is that I have to speak up for my own needs so that I can stay in the flow. Even when other people are a part of that process of decision making. And that's not always easy if you are traveling with people who don't see the world the same way as I do it the same way as you might in terms of how it works and the gifts that can come from being in the flow of energy.
So interesting, wonderful, affirming trip for me. And I hope that I hope I haven't been too long winded here, but I hope that perhaps by hearing about my journey on this trip on this adventure, this challenge that you can look at your own life and see places where you have efforted. And maybe the next time something like that happens, you will have the perspective of my experience to step back and go, all right this is really hard.
Maybe this is not what I'm supposed to be doing. Maybe this is not in my best interest. Maybe there's a reason I can't make this happen. And what would feel good? What would serve me best? What would serve the situation best? And feel for it. And maybe it is a feeling in the heart. Maybe it's a feeling in the body.
Maybe it's just that you actually feel yourself go yeah that feels good. See what you can find in your own life where maybe you can make it easier and better simultaneously. Thanks for allowing me to share my journey with you. I hope that you have learned something from my experience so that you don't have to learn it by getting your knee injured on the Alps. And I hope that you'll join me again next week.
Curiously Wise brings out a new episode every Tuesday. And if you want to know more about me and my work as an intuitive energy healer, please visit my website. It's Heartlightjoy.com. If you sign up for my newsletter, you will get a free download right now at this point in time, which is July, 2022.
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It helps other people to find us. And I appreciate any feedback you wanna give on this or any other episode. You can contact me through my website. Have a wonderful day and I hope you'll return to listen to more Curiously Wise in the future. Bye.
[00:31:23] Laurin: Thank you so much for joining us today on Curiously Wise. If you enjoyed this episode, please be sure to subscribe so you don't miss future fabulous conversations. Curiously Wise is a team effort. I am grateful for the skill and enthusiasm Arlene Membrot, our producer, and Sam Wittig, our audio engineer bring to this collaboration. Our music is Where the Light Is by Lemon Music Studio.
I'm Laurin Wittig. Please join me again next week for another episode of Curiously Wise. From my heart to yours, may your life be filled with love, light, joy, and of course, curiosity.