Peru was an amazing trip for lots of reasons. First, I had wanted to go for years but was concerned about the altitude, the local conditions (how poor the country is with the resultant possibility of crime), and pre-conceptions about my physical limitations. The website played down the amount of walking and the fact that the one mile treks were up, up, up! Granted I had been doing walks around the lake near where I live, but 45-minute casual strolls don’t compare to climbing knee-high steps at Machu Pichu for an hour to reach the top summit in time for a sunrise ceremony! So in addition to strenuous hiking on the edge of a mountain, we were doing it before day-break in dim light. On June 20, the day before the June Solstice, I made it to the top fairly well. It was a spectacular sunrise.
But once we had done some ceremony to welcome the sun, gone back down part way to use the bathroom facilities and then gone back up again, my legs were really starting to hurt. By the afternoon, my thighs were almost paralyzed with pain making each step more and more difficult. Then, to my pleasant surprise, I began to see hands in front of my face as my much younger fellow travelers began to turn around to lend a helping hand. With each step, as I struggled to move upward, I suddenly started to feel that I was aided by divine helpers, some present and some not visible. Spirits now uplifted, my steps were lightened as I felt that I not only had physical help but angelic help as well. A smile spread on my face. Positive self talk replaced the menacing thoughts of, “What if I can’t make it, how will I ever get back down alone?” Now my mind was filled with, “Yes, I can do this, with a little help from my friends.”