Date 3/3/10 Topic: Peak Experiences
Peak experiences: Hiking to top of Mauna Loa- family hiking the Inca trail to Machu Picchu- diving off Grand Cayman and getting flipped by a humpback whale- family skiing in the Alps- hiking in the Ngorongoro Crater, Hiking in Yosemite, diving and feeding Reef Sharks off Roatan, Honduras- hiking Mt Washington near the end of February, “having my daughter out-ski me”, “the birth of my son”-trip to Germany to buy a BMW-flying a plane-heliskiing in British Columbia
What a fun meeting. Hearing about other’s peak experiences kept us all engaged in listening and appreciating others’ enjoyment. At the same time we wondered about and explored some of the commonalties of these experiences. It seems that most of our peak experiences involved contact with nature. Most also involved bodily movement such as hiking, skiing, or scuba diving. There is also the moving experience of flying a plane.
We explored “risk”, and we all understood our changing risk tolerances as we age. We understood with nodding heads and laughter the “bullet proof” years of about ages 19-25. Some of us love the sensation of risk. Others take it down a notch and enjoy a challenge if it doesn’t involve risk, and of course what seems risky to some is not to others.
One might say that “adventure” is an element of a peak experience, and for certain one’s senses are in a very heightened state during the time of the experience that can last for a brief moment to several days.
One remarkable peak experience differed from all the rest. Different because of it being so peaceful and quiet. Different in there being little motion. Yes, it could be described as an adventure, but it wasn’t the adventure of hiking in Sequoia National Park that was so special. It was the surprise. Chris had been hiking for hours and sat down late in the afternoon to read. When Chris had settled in, a deer walked past paying little attention to Chris and, when barely 20 feet away, turned around, lay down, and went to sleep. There was Chris, a deer asleep next to him, and the orange sun setting below him since he had climbed quite high up the mountainside. When he awoke in the morning the deer had gone, but the memory was there forever.
Many wonderful experiences occurred unexpectedly, sometimes when the best of plans fall apart, and expectations have been dashed. Don described having great experiences finding hotel rooms when no rooms were available.
Although we didn’t discuss it, one may want to explore the feeling of “flow” described in the book, “Flow, the Psychology of Optimal Experience”. (It’s on our reading list.) “Flow” is an experience that can be almost an out-of-body sensation where everything you’re doing at the time just seems to “click: and go perfectly, seemingly without conscious effort. Constant practice, planning, and repetition conditions the body to get in synch with the surroundings so that a person or team performs at their absolute best.
……… I just went to my bookshelf. The book is certainly worth a second reading…. Here’s a quote, “Flow is important both because it makes the present instant more enjoyable, and because it builds the self-confidence that allows us to develop skills and make significant contributions to humankind.”…Wow
What peak experiences would you likt to share? Members can go to our forum and tell us about them.
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