April 7, 2012

TCRP2012 Training Sesh #6!
1st April 2012, 830am, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

You jump out of bed (before your hand lingers over the snooze button one more time) wash up and get kitted out for the day’s adventure. That is the first step, and the most important of all. It wasn’t very hard this Sunday morning. Bright, clear blue skies, not a reason in the world to stay indoors…apart from that nagging thought that rings in your mind. Am I sure I can do this? But, as you do, you’ve signed up and you’re committed to your cause so you cast all doubts aside and take the next step – towards your compadres for an extra shot of positive group energy.

This Sunday we converged at Dairy Farm Car Park B for our hike, all fired up and ready for another challenge. Our merry band of catalysts – Jasmine, Angel, Aziz, Johans, myself plus Liz, her hubby John and the youngest and most adorable of our catalysts so far…her baby girl Eva were joined by our expert on the 24-hour Boulder Challenge, Wilson, who has had his own share of adventures, having just come back from a Mountain Bike race (Bike Buller) in Victoria, Australia. And another team, friends of TCRP 2011 Catalysts Weili and Christine who are training for a Mont Blanc climb in August.

One foot forward…towards the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Along the way, Jas casually mentions that we’re going to do the infamous 200 steps to the top of the hill…twice. See, I’ve done these steps once before, and I had to clamp down on the impulse to develop a “knee problem” (aka knee jerk reaction). My advice. Any time you feel the same, latch onto the next step quickly…

Find a different point of focus. A pack of mixed trail snacks not only helps replenish your energy along the way, but takes your mind off any immediate discomfort, says our adventure guru Wilson. Lose yourself in your surroundings, get acquainted with your fellow travellers, and you’ll hardly notice how far you’ve gone. And we did. One minute we were deeply engrossed in Jonas’ tales of how rain in Sweden would never deter even their 12 year olds from trekking (wow, such cultural contrasts!) and the next we had arrived at the foot of those dreaded steps.

There’s no turning back now. This is where the old adage “one step at a time” certainly holds true. Step by step, with a gasp for air here and there, or a terse “sorry, I can’t speak right now!” we each made it to the top. What had seemed quite the Herculean task quickly turns into a victory dance in my mind.

Ah, the penny drops. Perhaps that holds true for all challenges? The unknown always tends to seem bigger than we can handle, out of our grasp, or more difficult than we can manage, but once experienced, our inner eye immediately readjust our lens, and we get our 20-20 vision back. Perhaps that’s the human answer to self preservation, to keep us focused and prepared for challenges, so if we know this, why do we choose flight and not fight?

Next Saturday, we'll be back on the hills of Bukit Timah – no guesses for what THAT will entail. But after today, I know what I need to do. Take that first step, in the right direction, and the rest will follow.

Nina Akinyi, Catalyst for Change, (TCRP 2012)