About mindful steps

Monique Birgitte

Monique Birgitte

Am I dead? The high pitched noise reminds me of one of Grey’s Anatomy’s heart monitors. You know that sound it makes when someone flatlines…

In real life, out here in the jungle of Khao Lak, it’s actually several cicadas breaking out into song all together. My heart is beating in my chest, as if it’s ready to pop out. It must be going faster than 180 beats per minute. Definitely not dead! I’m a bit out of breath, yes. But I feel very alive! Sweat is slowly trickling down the back of my knees as I steadily climb up higher. Cool air rises up from the stream next to me flowing down at such a speed, that I can hear it clearly. Really tall high trees are providing me with some shade, as the sun peeks through a few leaves here and there.

Wow, we’re going up. It’s getting a bit steeper here on the path. Take a deep breath in, and a deep breath out. I push myself forward. Just a little bit further and then you’ll get to sprinkle the cool water of the waterfall on your face. Boy am I glad that I’m wearing this hat that I got from Kristie, who got it from German/Norwegian Erassmus. They said it looks good on me. I don’t agree, but I’m glad it covers my head. The other day when Julian and I were snorkeling and driving around on the motorbike all day, I slightly burned the top of my head. So even though, it’s making me sweat like a mofo, I’m glad that I have this hat. My thoughts are disrupted by the increasing intensity of the sound of the stream to my right.

Curious, I follow the music being played by the cascading water. After a few minutes and a slight descend, I find this beautiful little area with a tiny waterfall and a small aquamarine colored pool in front. No one had been on the path. Neither in front of me, nor behind me. I’m here all alone. A sigh of happiness escapes my mouth. It makes me feel so free, to just be here by myself.

The pretty shiny stones enclosing the natural pool remind me of Valle Verzasca, Switzerland. My parents used to take us there when we were kids and we would have a blast, jumping from rock to rock. Some of these stones look like precious marble. I’m making it a game not to touch them and jump over to the long and stretchy ones. They feel warm underneath my bare feet.

‘Hi-hoe-ha-ha’ lifting up one foot after the other, I quickly hop over to the water, trying not to burn my feet. I let out a little shriek as I plunge into the very cold water. Refreshing!! The current is quite strong and it’s difficult to swim to the falling water. I decide to give it a rest and lay back, enjoying the sensation of the sun warming up my face. The contrast to the cool water feels delicious.

‘WAAAAAAAHHHHH!!’ My ear-splitting scream is so loud, it’s a wonder nobody comes running up the hill to rescue me. Something just pinched me in my lower back, right above the bikini line. It felt like a crab’s scissor. A quick little pinch. Had anybody been watching, they would’ve thought my ass was on fire. That’s how fast I got out of the water. I glance back to see what it was. Whatever it was, it’s long gone. Probably chuckling in his sharp little scissor hand.  Happy he chased the tourist, invading his home, away.

With my heart still pounding in my chest, I grab my clothes and rush up to the main road. I continue to walk around in my bikini. Fuck it! It’s incredibly hot. Hoping nobody is taking offense. I look around. Oh wait…that’s right! There’s nobody here : )

Nature’s metaphor for life

The hills to the big waterfall go up and down. The flow of it all reminds me of life, which is a continuous cycle of positives and negatives too. It’s the impermanence that I find so fascinating and reassuring in this moment. For me, going up a steady incline is not fun. But I’m totally fine, as I know that eventually it’ll be easier. There is going to be a point where the road will offer less resistance and go downhill. It’s the way nature works. Isaac Newton explains it very clearly ‘What goes up must come down.’

I love nature’s metaphor for life!!

Just as in life. You know whenever things are rough, inevitably it’s going to be better. Like yin & yang. Once you reach the curve at the bottom, there’s no other way to go but up. Things get brighter and then just as easily, it gets dark again, followed by light….and so on. It’s like the dance of the sun and the moon. They revolve around each other and the cycle repeats itself over and over again in a continuous flow.

A bit further down the road I’m finally descending. Suddenly, I’m very aware of this metaphor that the road represents, and it’s making me look at it differently. The decline is so steep that I inescapably almost run down the hill. I realize I don’t want to run. But I can’t help it. I think to myself. The road is making me run. Such a quick and easy lie! That’s what our brains are trained to do. We tell ourselves things that take away our responsibility, ‘cause it’s so much easier to blame the road. Fortunately, that realization follows quickly too and I decide to take control.

It’s true, the road is nudging me to run. Just like life’s fast pace. One can continue going through life unaware. Following others like a sheep in a herd. It’s not hard. Realize though, that before you know it the road takes you – instead of you taking the road. The trick is to pace yourself – as soon as you do that, you start seeing the various rocks and it becomes like a little game. YOU decide where to place your foot, or which rock to use next and that’s how you choose your path –Very deliberate and very conscious…mindful steps.


Hi, ik ben Monique! Een ‘Life Voyager’ zoals een producer/manager uit New York mij zo mooi noemt. Deze voel ik wel. Ik ben inderdaad iemand die het leven ziet en voelt als een geweldig avontuur. Dat was langer niet altijd zo…




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