2020: it was like climbing a mountain.

Débora Barrientos
6 min readDec 12, 2020

Two Sundays ago, I went out for a walk. I climbed a mountain in Benalmadena, Spain, the country where I live right now. The walk was 6 kilometres in total, taking two and a half hours. It was a quite cold, almost clear sunny Sunday, here in the south of Spain, the last weekend of November.

I enjoy a lot of the experiences of mundane embodiment as I called them, things such as cleaning, ironing, cooking, making the dishes. There is so much wisdom there, but at the same time, those moments are the only ones worthy of understanding. There is no point to practice if we cannot apply it in our daily lives. That is where I can sense the learning of SPT, mindfulness, and everything that I practice.

But that Sunday, at first, I didn’t want to go, I was struggling with the things that I have to do versus going for a walk and relaxing. I did it, and I’m grateful that it was like this.

As I was climbing, during the path, in some parts silently and in another’s parts enjoying a conversation, many insights and reflections came to me. They were not random or out of the blue. In fact, the previous days I was reflecting a lot about 2020 and the learnings coming from the year. While still walking, before reaching the top, I thought about how the year was like climbing a mountain, and I would like to share with you why.

1. It is never as hard as it seems to be. Mainly, imagining an experience is much more terrible than it is. Yes, when we project the future, we imagine it, we worry about it. Still, we are not considering the process, and without that, it is inevitable to be afraid or be worried. There is a huge part missing. Everything is terrible if we see it from A to B, from one point to another, as we are omitting the process happening in between, the way, the path. Why don’t we consider the most important thing? The only thing that is connecting the dots. Without that connection, the dots do not have meaning or not even a reason to be. Why name having a beginning point and top of the mountain if we do not attend to the connecting path on both sides? One day at a time with all that brings in. It was like this 2020. Back in February, when everything started in Europe, it seemed a long way, but not for the distance, it was more for the weight of the situation, and the uncertainty than for it happening. The beginning and the end were not clear, and we did not have a clue about the path. It was a disruptive and fearful situation and still getting more significant because we were overlooking the path. It is never as hard as it appears to be, so let us not lose sight of the path being taken.

2. You need to walk to get used to it. As soon as you start climbing, your body and your lungs are not warm, but after 20 minutes, you change the air, and the breath is stable again. Your body responds to the challenge. You need to be patient and keep pace. 2020 was like this, we started the journey with a body not used to that situation, afterward, we changed the air, but we only did that because we kept on walking. To go through any challenge, you need to keep on walking but considering the rest of the lessons too.

3. There was not a unique view. While I was on my way up to the mountain, the views were all different. One facing the sea, the city, and closer trees, open enough to let me appreciate the forest, others were very close in my visual field, so well, a lot of variety. Some were colder, darker, lighter, open, and so on. It was like 2020, there was not only a view. There were not only dark or light. I cannot think of one unique perspective to describe it, the experience is the sum of all the views. It is what makes your world broader and more rewarding. All of them made my year, were necessary, and taught me a lot.

4. There is more than one experience. Other’s views also count. When we were close to the top, we met a couple and asked them how far we were from the top, 20 minutes they replied with a stressed expression on their faces. It really caught me by surprise, I thought it was less. Finally, it was half of the time for us. So, again, the path is not the same for everyone.

5. You need to stop to contemplate around. This insight accompanied me the whole walk. The path needs you fully present. Every step is important, and you need to be aware of that. One wrong step and you could fall. You can not contemplate and walk at the same time. Whether you want to see the sun falling or if you want to check how much is left, you need to stop walking. There was a moment, while I was on my way down, we made a stop, and we contemplated the sun, still fully present and warming us. I needed to stop; otherwise, I would have missed the view and the heat of the sun on my skin. I will bring this lesson permanently with me. This 2020 has a lot of it. A pause before moving again, holding the MA. Awareness of what is around us, as we work with SPT.

6. The sun is always there. When we came back, and by the time we were at sea level again, the sun was falling, the picture that I’m sharing is from that moment. Every single day during 2020 had a sun falling, maybe not where you were, but there was one that could have been seen in at least one part of the world. The sun is always there bringing the heat and the light, even if it is not there, it works as a metaphor because every day it will come back.

7. Celebrate and recharge. Yes, we often forget to celebrate. We think that there is not enough time that there is not enough money or enough to celebrate. Nothing maybe is that important. After the walk, the dinner was a great pasta, my body needed it, and it was a celebration and a way to recharge. Dragon dreaming methodology proposes celebration as a part of all the projects, with the same amount of time. 2020 we had a lot to celebrate, maybe little than we expected, but still. Also, we needed to recharge. How many parts of the days do we use? And of the year of our lives? This is why Dragon Dreaming emphasizes celebration — the conscious appreciation of everything we have accomplished and what we have learned (from each other). It is based upon gratitude and thankfulness, recognition of what has happened, seeing what we have done. The celebration also stimulates a new awareness: What we have learned will lead to a new understanding of ourselves, the people around us, and the world in general. And this can lead to new dreams…

I’m taking all the lessons not only for a new year, mostly to be aware of my day-to-day life.

Some time ago in that place, where today the woods dress in brambles, the voice of a poet was heard shouting “Walker, there is no path. A path is made by walking”. Joan Manuel Serrat. Song: Caminante no hay camino.



Débora Barrientos

Social and organizational transformation. OD teacher. Social Presencing Theater facilitator. Vipassana practitioner. Researcher. EI. Narrative transformation.