Discovering Your Purpose

My family went to visit Utah to visit two National Parks – Bryce Canyon and Zion. Both are beautiful in their own unique ways. We enjoyed hiking each area and being outside to enjoy the fresh air and scenery. Being cooped up during the pandemic does increase one’s appreciation for something different. 

First, some background. Out of the three of us – my husband, son, and myself – my husband is the most avid hiker and outdoors person. He goes backpacking and grew up camping. I don’t remember doing much hiking as a child and I grew up “glamping”. If we did something outdoors, my dad made sure we had a nice cabin or something comfortable. So I guess I wasn’t raised to truly appreciate the outdoors. My son follows after me but likes hiking even less than I do. However, he doesn’t mind camping  – by the beach. So before coming to these parks, we had to do some mental preparation in addition to the other regular preparation of packing and planning. 

We went to Bryce Canyon first and because of our varying hiking abilities and interests, we chose the Queen’s Garden to the Navajo Loop Trails. These trails were marked moderate level which sounded perfect.  After we parked and walked to the trail head, we saw the scenery and it was mesmerizing. Bryce Canyon is known for the “hoodoos” which are these tall rock formations of red rock that looked like majestic guardians of this magical place. I found it hard not to stare at these columns as we started on the Queen’s Garden Trail. We started taking photos and videos of every view and angle we saw.  However, it’s not possible to capture the splendor and grandeur of what was before us. And we had to watch our footing as we hiked down this path. The hike down towards the Navajo Loop was easy. And the newness of this trail was captivating. Soon we reached the bottom of the trail and enjoyed the view from a different angle. 

After spending about an hour walking down the trail and then enjoying the flat path below, we saw that it was time to go back up to the rim of the canyon. Since the road down was steep, the climb up was just as steep and challenging!  As I was hiking on the Navajo Trail, I kept looking down at the trail to avoid stepping on rocks and crevices. I noticed the different sized and shaped rocks and became focused on the path as we started our ascent. I had the most difficult time going up the trail out of the three of us and was starting to wonder why we chose this trail. As I kept looking down and wondering how much longer we had, my husband or son would occasionally stop and look up and say “Wow!” I needed the break so I peeled my eyes off the path and looked ahead towards the views and these breaks were indeed “Wow” moments. 

In life, we start off with a goal or something we want to accomplish such as earning a college degree or starting a business. When we start on these goals, we are energized and excited to work on them just as we were ready at the beginning of our hike. Our dreams and visions fuel us and we feel that something incredible is going to happen. The views at the start of the Queen’s Garden Trail drew up on the trail and we were eager to explore. 

Then somewhere towards the middle of our life journey, the path becomes less clear and all the little tasks and activities become arduous and time consuming. We wonder if everything we need to do is worth our effort. We wonder where our efforts will take us and when we will reach our goals. The test that we take, the projects we complete, the papers we write, the people we talk to, the time that we spend on yet another step towards our goal. Why are we doing this? Our list of things to do doesn’t seem to end. And the journey isn’t so exciting any more. We might even feel lost and may be physically and mentally tired. To which I say . . 

Look up! See the view before you – the goal that you are striving towards. Pay attention to the path you need to take, the seemingly small tasks that you need to complete because without these small steps, reaching your goals will not be possible. However, look up and remind yourself of your purpose. Find support from people who are travelling the same path with you – your peers, your friends. And learn and find encouragement from those who have travelled the same path before you and can give you tips – your teachers, mentors, or even parents. We did ask one couple that we passed on the trail about how much longer we would need to walk and they were able to give us an estimate which then helped us persevere knowing that the end was in sight. 

Know your why. Reaffirm and discover your purpose if you need. Look ahead. See your destination. Enjoy the vistas and views along the way. Take a break along your path but whatever you do, don’t stop. Keep going. Finish the trail and when you reach your destination – your goal – celebrate this accomplishment. Then when you take the next step in your journey and path to reach your next goal or take your goal to the next level, you can think back to your previous steps and know that you are better equipped.