I never think or talk about age because I don’t wish my subconscious to have these preconditioned ideas of what to expect when you are a certain age, and this has worked well for me. My body is healthy and supple and I look/act/feel/think much younger than my years. But while appearing years younger is fantastic, it can have disadvantages as well.

This body doesn't really workout. Its idea of a workout consists of yoga and spending hours everyday dancing. The philosophy embraced is that the ideal exercise is done with a beloved in the boudoir, with soft music playing in the background, oversized silk pillows to lounge on as Rumi is read aloud to each other, candles flickering and fragrant rose petals strewn over a voluptuous bed, while finger foods and designer tea linger nearby. The room set at around 75 degrees feels really perfect to this body. Sharing a menu of sensuality is an absolute delight.

When a young(er) guy friend of mine asked if I wanted to hike up to the Hollywood sign I thought, why not, it would be fun. This hike, supposedly 3-5 miles, is rated “easy” to “challenging”, depending on the condition of the hiker. I should have known better. I actually really love hiking, breathing in the clean air and seeing the beauty all around me, so it was a no-brainer. I jumped at the opportunity. However, this was also the same day that I had to get up at 5 am to drive my sister to the airport, and since I am not a morning person this was very unnatural to me. I was already a little bit wiped even before we got started.

We started out at noon (which I would not recommend) and had gone but 100 feet when I had second thoughts as it got hotter and I started burning and getting sweaty and sweatier, even with the overcast. My friend assured me that it would level off after the next bend, so I, being of gullible nature, dragged along. We got to the next bend. And the next. And the next. The higher we climbed, the more doubtful I became. I considered returning to the car after the next bend if it did not level off, but knowing I had gone this far, I was hard-pressed to give up. Still, I was tempted. He kept saying it would be rough until just around the bend, then it would be smooth sailing. He repeated this mantra for at least an hour.

My body is unaccustomed to broiling hot and dripping with sweat. I promise you is not my preference. I wanted to strip off my clothes, have someone spray my body with Aqua de Florida, recline on a grassy knoll and watch the birdies fly by. Instead it felt like I was in hell’s fury and I had to settle for sitting on the dirt on rocks and stones and horse manure.

On top of that my friend brought his macaw with him, who is fully winged and could fly off if he wanted to. I have a macaw too but left him at home because I am too paranoid about his getting spooked and flying off. So my buddy may not have been worried, but I promise you it was stressing me. Very few things can throw me off balance anymore, but combined with the heat and sweat I was way beyond my comfort zone. I chanted off and on, and that helped.

Well, long hike short, when we finally reached the top to a dirt knoll, we were kissed by gentle breezes and a very small shade where I could sit and take my shoes off. The panoramic view from the Hollywood dam to downtown LA to the valley was delightful, even though the overcast blocked the view of the ocean. Birds greeted us and airplanes soared nearby, butterflies flew near to say hello, and the harsh heat suddenly became warm and friendly. It was all good, more than good, just wonderful. My friend played his djimbe for all of Hollywood to hear while and his macaw danced on his shoulder. It was an intimate moment with nature, well worth every effort.

Challenging situations are there to test our state, and no one is more aware of that than me. Although I was tempted to give up, and certainly that option was available to me, I chose to move forward, placing one foot in front of the other in complete presence. This is what life is about. Being in the moment. Life’s everyday challenges offer us personal insights and provide us with opportunities to do our practices for growth and expansion.

Ok, so for those of you who are expert hikers, maybe I am a “baby” hiker, but let me just remind you of one of the foibles of a youthful appearance, if you are with a young guy who thinks you are at least 10 years younger than you are, you might (make that will) have some work cut out for you!

Author's Bio: 

Chandi Devi has taught and practiced tantra and the meditative arts for many years. She is the host of "The KarmaCaffe Spiritual Hour" on blogtalkradio.
Chandi co-authored "From to Orgasm:The Tantra Primer for Living in Bliss", and created "The World of Tantra" DVDs, a set of three practice videos to activate and transmute sexual energy (kundalini shakti). She has been featured in several major magazines and has given several radio interviews. Her column OMG!!! To OM is a regular feature on the monthly magazine Om-Times.ning.com, and ascendinghearts.info.