Incongruent: In search of dharma alignment
Debut Memoir by Dr. Melanie Hicks
Its -5 degrees at the 5164-meter elevation of Gorak Shep, Nepal. Her watch reads 1:07am but she is wide awake tossing and turning despite the previous 7 days of hard trekking. Glancing around the plywood shelter, she laughs out loud. Does everyone pick Everest Base Camp trek as the second hike of their lives?
Her mind scrolls through scenes that brought her to this place like a projector through a summer vacation. The doctors office, with its endless white walls and deafening silence. The words emergency surgery hanging in the air after the diagnosis. The tear-streaked drive home after a ten hour toxic workplace retreat. Wondering how quickly she could get out without financial ruin. The smell of mahogany from the courthouse after a second failed marriage comes to a close. And the moment, face in her bedroom carpet in a childs pose, where she vowed to change it all. She made a promise to herself to sit in a room with fear until it shrunk away. To stop running. To stop searching. To find her real dharma and live it fully, without regard for others opinions.
Her life to that point had been a carefully crafted path to check all the boxes of the perfect life yet each turn seemed to bring a deeper sense of being off the path. Something always seemed just a bit off, just a bit misaligned. She maintained a brave face quietly battling discontent and depression, masking the pain with sex and alcohol.
Today, however, she was here. In a country far away, on an unimaginable path. This 16-day Nepalese trek is equal parts rebellion and emergence. Each portion of the trail invokes memories of the steps she took to right size her life. From coming to terms with being childless in a child centric society to finding meaning in a pair of red pointe shoes at 42. She climbed her way through the mountain boulders to shed a life built on the cracked foundation of others expectations.
Incongruent takes the reader on a journey through Nepal as well as a journey to amplify the authentic self. It is a story of finding ourselves and our personal dharma even in the midst of lifes wreckage. About becoming resolute about who we are, what we stand for, and who we want to be in this life.