Breaking Patterns On The Side Of A Mountain

I posted this shot yesterday on my Instagram feed

KIngs Canyon National Park, CA


Instagram did not do it the justice it so rightly deserves in highlighting how incredibly stupid I was.

This was yesterday during a hike in Kings Canyon National Park, California.

And that is my foot, and my backpack, and my hiking poles.


When I need a helping hand I don’t usually need to go far to find one. I am incredibly fortunate in this regard. Incredibly.

I get a lot of support, encouragement, and sustenance from my family, from friends both near and far, and I always can find so much inspiration and motivation from the blogging community.

Sometimes. Though.

All the support, encouragement, sustenance, inspiration, and motivation …

Are. Just. Not. Enough.


where do you go when you are broken open?


Someone once told me the cracks are where the healing happens, where the light gets in.

there’s a crack

a crack in everything,

that’s how the light gets in

~Leonard Cohen

I  decided to go hiking in a state of brokenness. In a state of despair. In a state of pure rawness.


Where can I get more light than in one of California’s National Parks?

Where I can exhaust every bone in my body while climbing a mountain?

Where can I get some relief for the pain?

Because nothing else was working.

Not even coming close.


And In an effort to break patterns of old, I give you this post.

Patterns: Denial. Blame. Running away. Regret. Self doubt. Calling Ex’s. Passive-aggressive silence. Anger.

And my all time biggest pattern, pretending all is well. Putting up a brave front. Smiling. Laughing.

When all you want to do …. Is most definitely not be brave, smile, or laugh…


In this particular shot, the full impact of it didn’t hit me until a day later (today.) 

As I was preparing to take a break and get a few pictures in, I put down my backpack and my poles, (obviously) too close to the ledge, and they both went sliding down the side of the mountain. At the time I was completely unfazed. Totally untroubled. I’m pretty sure I swore just once and snapped a picture of the situation. Then I went after the backpack and the poles. Alone. Down the side of the mountain. Without a rope. Without a harness. Without support. No one knew where I was. Nothing.

And I retrieved both the backpack and the poles.


And this.

 This is where the lesson comes in. This is where the pattern needs to break.


why didn’t I just Let. It. Go.

When I think about ALL the ways things could have gone wrong in retrieving these things, I am gigantically fazed. I am completely troubled.

And why did I think posting this shot on Instagram would be a good shot to post?


I disabled my facebook feed about three weeks ago, how that came about and why is completely unrelated to this, but it is connected in a way I suppose (because here we are.) I had an amazing facebook profile. Lights, camera, action type of profile. Travel from around the world.  A life of adventure. My best side always shining, and smiling, always smiling. But behind the scenes no one really knew just how much time I spent choosing just the right shot and thinking of the perfect caption to illustrate just how happy I was, just how great my life was, how all was perfect in my world ALL. THE. TIME. People actually thought I was never sad, or unhappy, that I was so positive and inspirational and motivating.

that I didn’t break.


Of course, because that is what I put forward. That is what I consciously intended for everyone to see and think.

I am not infallible. I am not perfect. My life is not perfect. I am not always positive.

And today…

Without walls. Without social network smoke & mirrors. Without a smile. Without an inspirational quote.

I needed to break a pattern

I needed to allow myself to be…


to be broken open

Without positiveness. Mine or Yours.

Without your help.

Sometimes I need to learn the lesson on my own.


sometimes the healing is in the tiny cracks of insight,

even in my most brokenness


Sometimes the healing is in the lesson.

While sitting with the pain,

and not masking it.

not pretending it is anything but what it is –

the pain of being broken open



Regardless of how it got down the side of the mountain.

Regardless if it’s my fault. Or someone else’s.


did I ever stop to think that maybe no one is to blame?


Perhaps it’s just the way things were meant to work out.


Just perhaps.


Just maybe…

I was meant to leave this particular backpack and poles

on the side of the mountain?

because sometimes,

the healing is in what is left behind



  1. You have bared your soul in this post and I hope it felt like a great weight being lifted. Social media can be a wonderful tool to build and maintain connections, but also dangerous in putting pressure on ourselves or others to be something that is screen-pretty. Life isn’t always screen-ready or screen-pretty. Cohen’s quote is one of my favorites — embrace the imperfections and let the light shine in.

  2. It sure is easy to get caught up in social media and always putting our best face forward. I mean, really, who wants to read about when someone’s having a rough time–except our real friends. We’re here for you. No matter what. You’re tough and you’ll bounce back from whatever has sent you up the mountain. Loved this post…love you…hang in there…


  3. This moment you describe resonates with one that’s stayed with me over the years (decades, really). It’s not always clear what the message is, but something worth pondering. It’s a bit trite, but that old saying about “what don’t kill you, makes you strong” might be fitting? Funny how our moods seemed to coincide to a degree if you look at my post from yesterday. 🙂

  4. Oh my. Your honesty and rawness really affected me here Tahira. I feel quite teary, as if it was me who had shimmied down a rock face risking my life to retrieve something that should probably have stayed there. I love your insight and self awareness.

  5. Wow, that is really scary Tahira. Glad someone was looking after you or it could have ended tragically. Glad that you are able to look at yourself and can face whatever fate presented to you. Good luck!

  6. Ah my friend we are Balkanites whether we like to admit or not, and we always persevere…….Hey what else can we do now?
    Except roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair
    Well the night’s busting open
    This two lanes will take us anywhere
    We got one last chance to make it real
    To trade in these wings on some wheels

  7. I’m behind in blogging, Tahira but wanted you to know how heartfelt this post was and how it touched me. I immediately wanted to wrap my arms around you, Of course, that is the mother and grandmother in me. Your analogy of the light coming in through the crack is thought provoking. You are working through answers and you will find them, in your own time and way. I appreciate your honesty and describing your feelings. Just let the light shine on you in a positive way.

  8. I’m happy for you feeling better. Beautifully written, and I do wish you all the best. We are not perfect, we human beings.And never will be. What things seem to be is never what they are. But being is enough! Take care.

  9. I had missed this post and saw your new one, so I came back here. I want to give you a big HUG, and I’m happy you got out of there in one piece. I hope that the pain has been seeping out from the cracks and light is slowly taking its place. Life is like that, high mountains and deep valleys. We just need to climb high enough to see the light that heals. Take care.

    • High mountains & deep valleys. Tiny, that phrase shifted things for me. I am full of high mountains & deep valleys – just as life is. And there truly is a light that heals, thank you for helping me see it. I am beyond grateful.

  10. Tahira, as an ICU nurse you see people broken apart, both physically and mentally, every working day of your life. Furthermore you work in a culture as different from ours as anyone could ever imagine. I never thought of you as perfect or infallible, but simply as a wise, humane healer, working in one of the world’s most stressful environments, and taking advantage of your time off to travel widely and recharge. We are all fallible human beings and so there eventually comes a time when everyone of us feels they have been “broken open” for one reason or another, but, as you say, “no one is to blame”. Incidentally, you were walking on granite, a beautiful stone that does not crumble. When you have firm ground underfoot you might stumble, but generally you will not fall.

    • Thank you, Malcolm. For reminding me of the firm ground I do indeed have underfoot. Sometimes, even though we may be walking on it, we forget just how firm our footing is. When people are in the mist of a storm it’s difficult to see what is in front of them, let alone what’s underfoot. Sometimes we need others to remind us. Sometimes a short comment on a blog post is the little nudge needed to prompt a shift in perspective. You will never know just how much your little paragraph effected me. Thank you so much.

  11. What a great post! Nice picture, although the situation must have been scary. Also it’s very true that people tend to show the best side of their life in Facebook/social media. But everyone has their problems which others may not know about. Must follow you on Instagram! Enjoy the day.

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