March 15, 2022

What Solitude has taught me about Connection.

In a nutshell, connection is magic.

It is the synapsis that helps you take that next step, the next endeavor, the next insight, the next occurrence of phenomena.

Connection is what makes up our lives, literally.

What is our life? Movement. What is movement? The relationship of connection. In connection, we find a pattern that drives and motivates the movement to connect. Our self-awareness among the pattern is the relationship we have to our life.

Let me explain my thought. While solo trekking through the New Zealand alpine mountains on horseback (a trek that took me approximately two months), one evening still to this day resonates with how profound connection can be in our lives and as a primary motivator.

We (being me and my horse, Lily) had taken shelter from a three-day heavy front at a nearby farmstead to wait out the storm. When the storm had passed, I was faced with one of my greatest challenges to date. Crossing the Ahurir river on horseback. A major river system with its source found in the mountains where the three-day front had hit. We had no other option as the gate I had planned to access had been padlocked closed and there was no way through.

I followed the map I held and saw a point that is used as a ford (crossing by motor vehicle). Our next best bet, I followed the trail. We came to the river with its gushing waters and rapid flow. An insight of connection: someone a few weeks prior had randomly told me a story about the flow of a river. When the water is not clear, be aware that rapid water means shallow water and smooth flow means deep.

Without footing, you have nothing to ground yourself. I dismounted from Lily and together we braved the crossing. The river must have been about 20 meters wide. One foot in front of the other I urged myself. The water came to my waist, gushing around me, the threat of losing grounding an eminent risk.

At one point, the water took me, sliding me beneath Lily. I grasped for her mane and managed to hold on until I found my feet on the ground again. Lily truly amazed me. We eventually made it across, in a span of time that felt like an eternity. When my feet hit the other side, waves of emotion rushed through me. I cried, I laughed, and cried some more—the relief and exhilaration of what we had done. Many times, amidst the battle of the current, I had to tell myself to keep going forward. Turning around would not have made it any easier.

Yet the most challenging time of the day was still to come. Late into the evening, every pore of my body hurt from straining muscles and bruised knees from the rocky floor. I lay in my tent, door flap open so that I could stare at the stars.

I heard Lily munching grass nearby. I felt so alone. Afraid to go on to face more of the unexpected. I felt unmotivated. Why am I doing this?

Then, this euphoria happened. Among the stars, I saw invisible lines connecting each star. In my mind’s eye, I began to feel the connection of every friend and family member in my life, synonymously with that of the stars. Even though I couldn’t see them, they were with me. Guiding me along and supporting from afar.

This night, I made the connection that the drive of motivation is in our connection. I felt my connections with my loved ones and found motivation to keep on going. Even though physically they were not present, within I could feel their presence.

Further down the road, I came to a hut that I shared with fellow outbackers. We shared a bottle of wine and between laughs and stories, we witnessed a falling star. I had seen many stars along my trek, but this one, I remember. Why? Because we celebrated it with a high five. A connection. In that connection, we extended the moment, we lived a phenomenon.

Through connection, we find meaning. With meaning, we can create a relationship. Our relationship with life is a drive to keep going, motivated by what happens around and within us every moment we take a breath.

Connect and allow life to live through you.


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