The Life-Changing Lesson I Learned While Hiking

Some of the most beautiful messages come to me while I am hiking. Something about the quiet and beauty of the trail always clears my mind and opens me up to receiving clarity.

My husband and I also tend to make big decisions while we hike. Talking while moving takes some of the edge off, and again, our minds are clear and open, ready to listen to our intuition and ask hard questions.

Recently, on the trail up Whiteside Mountain, during our weekend getaway to Highlands, NC, one such message revealed itself to me.

Follow the Energy

As I walked  under a natural archway of rhododendron, the bottom branches were bare. The top branches were lush and green. They reached toward the sun. The plants didn’t bother to grow leaves on the branches that wouldn’t receive the sun’s energy. Instead, it invested its energy in the place it would receive it back.

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Now, this doesn’t mean to only give to receive, but instead, to me, it means being intentional about where we I am putting my own energy and thinking about whether or not it is serving me.  This lesson has also encouraged me to reflect on my relationship to energy, both physical and metaphorical/spiritual.


  • Am I making choices  that will enhance my energy?

  • Or am I giving it away freely without a thought as to how I will feel or how it will serve me?

  • What are my energy blocks? What changes can I make that will allow energy to flow more more fluidly in my life?

  • How can I follow the energy?

What does this mean in real life?

Here is an example that may or may not resonate with you, but I’ll share it anyway.

Despite my best intentions to create a home filled with peace and joy, lately it seems we’ve been fighting more than I would like. My dearest four-year-old is what you might call “independent minded,” and -whew- talk about energy, a huge amount of my daily energy goes toward managing and trying to positively harness his never-ending energy.

After a particularly television-filled weekend, I realized that the tv was a big source of our fighting, and it was becoming an energy drain on all of us. So I made the unpopular decision to remove the television from our living room and put it in the basement for one month.

It has now been over a week, and the fighting has all but ended. In this case, following the energy toward the source of our fighting and removing it has opened new more positive energy flows in our house. My child is more pleasant and creative, he sleeps better, I’ve been more productive, and my husband and I have had actual conversations in the evening.

If you identify something that is blocking or draining, or focusing your energy on the negative, remove it, even for a day, and see what happens. If it is a mindset or self-belief, try believing the the opposite, even for a day, and see what happens.

I feel immense gratitude for the rhododendron for reminding me of this lesson, and for the space and time to be in nature to be able to receive it. And I sincerely hope this tiny nugget of wisdom from this plant will help you as well.

View from the top of Whiteside Mountain

View from the top of Whiteside Mountain