up the hill (god, belief, sweat, etc)

The other morning I ran up Tumamoc hill. First time I’ve ever been able to run up the whole thing: It’s short, 1.5 miles to the top for a quick 3 mile round trip; but brutal steep: you climb up 730 ft in that 1.5 miles. I’ve jogged parts of it before but always had to stop and walk those last few switchbacks. This was an invigorating first for me and Tumamoc.

I like my hills all in one gulp, straight up, the condensed version. There are plenty of trails and roads where I can get nice rolling, gentle-up-gentle-down routes depending on my hiking, running and biking needs. But I really find myself attracted to the intense all or nothing versions: Tumamoc, Blacketts Ridge, Saguaro National Monument, Mt Lemmon highway, Josephine Saddle (or, when I have the whole day, continuing on from Josephine Saddle up to the peak of Mt Wrightson). Etc.

I love hills and mountains. I broke my belief system wide open on these hills and mountains. It’s no wonder to me that many religions hold journeys up mountains for spiritual enlightenment as part of their mythos. I’ve queried and cursed and argued with God on these hills and mountains. Halfway up Mt Wrightson, muscles shaking and drenched in sweat, I broke with God and offered some of my first prayers to the Goddess (a terrifying step for one raised on stories of women excommunicated for such blasphemy). Eventually, I broke with divinities all together and these hills and mountains became the place for just processing whatever needs processing in my life.

It is amazing the ideas and possibilities that open up to a heart pumping faster and a mind flooded with endorphins. (I have to be careful, I have shot off dangerous emails while still high on a good hill.)

It is something I believe in: blood and body fluids. In heart and mind. In always looking for new ideas, new paths, new heights to reach.

And hills and mountains,
I believe in hills and mountains.


Now, In a similar vein, you must go and read xJane’s exquisite posts Worship and Creation, and ALSO Sandra Wickham’s Functional Nerds post Brains need Brawn, and ALSO mfranti’s post Paradox.
Not a Tucson mountain, but still love to climb it: Mt Timpanogos in Ut.


  1. I love this. I’ve always viewed mountains as sort of spiritual energy epicenters; a place where we can tap in to the energy of the earth in a more focused way.

    And by way of exploring something I’ve been wondering…have you ever or do you in any way see “God” as something other than a literal being? I once read of God described as human collective consciousness, and the idea intrigues me enough to wonder how it is compatible with my own belief system.

    I’m really not yet ready to lose this particular belief myself, even when I feel more connection to nature in prayer than to anything else. But I have to ask, and I hope it’s an appropriate question and not seen as negative in any way…Do people that have chosen to identify with atheism view believers as delusional? I’m honestly just curious, because I think I would if I gave up belief. I’ve been focusing on letting go of greed, hate and delusion in all forms as part of my yoga practice, so sometimes I wonder if that is what is meant by delusion as it seems quite logical to accept atheism alongside buddhism. Thanks for always being so open about your journey G.

    • thank you corktree πŸ™‚

      and you are welcome <3

      For a good long time I explored other ways of defining god/divinity for myself, starting with transitioning from the literal father in heaven to a literal 'parents in heaven' (separate embodied god and goddess) then moving on to less literal more figurative definitions, trying different things on for size… until, well, I realized I was just sort of slapping together my own makeshift belief system and begin to question to point of it all. (I wrote about it more here and here)

      And your question is a very appropriate one regarding atheists viewing believers as delusional. Some atheists obviously do (Dawkins, anyone?) But it is a mistake to put all non-believers into that group. A great many atheists just happen to have an absence of belief in god while having complete respect for their friends and associates who do happen to have a belief in god. (Sort of like vegetarians who have friends who eat meat.) (I’d like to think I fall into this group, but coming from such a strong faith background I must admit to a little bit of a rough transition.)

      It’s a work in progress… and honestly, I think I delude myself a great deal πŸ˜›

  2. G, thanks for this thoughtful post. You touch on two things I want to explore more in my own spiritual journey — nature and body. I read accounts like yours and I feel like I really need to find a physical practice (yoga, running, dancing, etc.) that makes me listen to my body.

    • caroline~ you are welcome πŸ™‚

      yep, I am a believer in physical activity as spiritual connection. But also, I do recognize that for some people, it’s just not fun, not their thing. That’s one of the reasons why I loved xjane’s posts so much; they really opened up to me what worship can be all about.

  3. It makes such sense that when we’re pushing our bodies, our minds open up. What a great post, G!

    I also love XJane’s ideas about worship through cooking, skiing, sewing. Just beautiful.

  4. I’ve been following your athletic journeys with admiration for awhile now. This is no different. I think pushing ourselves to greater heights makes us more spiritually aware and connected to our humanity AND spirituality!

    BRAVA G!

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