Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I Got all My Sisters with Me… Fit Matters newsletter

Rainforest in St Kitts/Nevis Islands

Several years ago I was in St Kitts/Nevis Island in the West Indies on a women's retreat. One of the things we had scheduled was a hike in a rain forest. Yup. Starry, starry nights… This was in May 2001. I decided I wasn’t going to attempt the hike because I didn’t think my knees could make it. My plan was to sit on the edge of the rainforest, enjoy the beautiful skies, the birds and whatever else I could see while waiting for the group to return.

There were guides that were to take us through. There were also three other women with knee, hip or back issues that decided to hold back; who were truly disappointed and didn’t want to miss out on the experience. On an impulse I said “Let’s go, we’ll simply be the caboose and bring up the rear”.

What an experience! The visual feast of birds, foliage, gorgeous trees, and seeing things we buy in the nursery in its natural habitat in sizes never seen before was jaw dropping. Not to mention the peace, and clean fragrant air. And a flower called firecracker (and that is exactly what it looked like) that is still breathtaking when I look at the pictures today. I have a picture of me standing in the folds of the roots of a tree that was at least 2 stories high (I kid you not). Due to legal restrictions, we couldn’t, remove anything from the rain forest if it was not already open like a pod shell. I still have a collection of some I’ve made into earrings.

Our “git along” team simply walked moderately and at some point lost the other group but the guide was still with us. We helped each other through places we had to climb or step over or go down slowly. By the time we got to the end, the biggest and most tender surprise awaited us. There in the clearing was the rest of the group, waiting patiently for us. They burst into cheers, stomping and whistling as our group strutted and pranced down the last few feet. It was so touching not only seeing that level of sisterhood, but the fact that we chose to have a chapter added to a well lived life. Storing another experience that if we had let fear and worry restrict us, we would have lost an opportunity to walk through a rain forest. But more importantly, wouldn’t have allowed our sisters to support us in the effort. If we look around our cheering section may be right under our noses. We tend to amplify negativity and lack of support, disregarding the people who are there for us. Just last night a close friend of mine who has always patiently waited and listened to my rantings told me how much I amaze her! That took me back a moment. We’ve known each other for 33 years. But just that one quiet comment put things back in perspective.

Allow your sisters to cheer you on. Cheer your sisters on, even the ones you’ve yet to meet. Tell her she is wonderfully made, that she is beautiful, and mean it. Perhaps the day will come when you get to strut out of a rainforest to cheering, stomping, celebratory sisters who true indeed have your back.

Now how cool is that?
All rights reservedJHM©08

Essay ran 5-22-08 in Fit Matters newsletter at

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