Words By: Emily Martin
Photos By: Manuel Ferrigato
Mountains have always played a central theme in Pauli’s life. As a young man they fuelled him with a passion for climbing and exploring off the beaten track. As he aged and deepened his understanding of the human psyche, the mountains became the perfect backdrop for harnessing emotions. A frame for honesty and trust-building. Something which Pauli, as a health psychologist, has a deep appreciation for.
As a mountain guide, Pauli also has a profound awareness of the positive impact of nature on the human body. He has combined these understandings to form a unique career that allows him to help his clients enter nature as a way to open themselves up to their emotions. Adapt and improve themselves. Find Outer Peace.
Pauli sees mental mood as a physical condition. In some situations, it’s possible to compensate for fear, in others subdue it. Coping with fear is a physical challenge that humans are constantly undergoing. The same is true of anxiety, one of the most important emotions we have, in Pauli’s opinion. One that he thinks we need to give more space and work to eliminate the taboo.
Anxiety is a particularly useful emotion in his profession. It keeps him safe and alert to trouble. Conscious of surrounding dangers. Mounting clouds. A storm incoming. He also welcomes it in his personal life; “to be concerned about yourself and your family is a good feeling.” A manageable level of anxiety ensures you remain cautious, protective, ready.
Entering nature is his opportunity to conquer these emotions. To keep them in check. And he does his best thinking in nature when it is peaceful. For when nature is calm, Pauli is calm.
Staying active and maintaining motivation is his coping mechanism for stress. He has learnt to recognize it in its infancy and prevent it from manifesting by creating time for himself. Slowing down and connecting with nature.
But Pauli also acknowledges the challenge in identifying stress at an early stage. This is what brings his clients to him. They seek psychological consultation to develop their personality. To grow. And making his guests happy makes Pauli happy. He sees needless misery as the biggest misery of all, so if he can ease but some of the world’s suffering then he has achieved his goal.
Pauli is happiest when together with his family and when challenged in the mountains. Neither over-challenged, nor under-challenged. When the perfect balance is struck, happiness flows.
He fears that humanity’s natural fear of change is the most pressing psychological barrier in society. Causing irreparable damage to individuals and communities. Fuelling ongoing racism. For when something gets difficult, it is our natural reaction to revert back to old habits. But if instead we find collective strength in our desire for change, we can create space for diversity. Enable everyone to be able to work on developing themselves, being part of a society and contributing. Something Pauli feels every individual deserves.
Our fear of change is also harming nature. Globally, awareness that our habits are damaging the environment is heightening. A rising wave of consciousness that we are destroying the very habitats we rely on for survival. But despite this, we remain steadfast in our refusal to change.
Pauli has learnt to welcome personal traits that he or others find difficult. Accept himself exactly as he is and shed doubt, while remaining reflective enough to know when change is required. His life lesson is to take nothing for granted. To be thankful for the times you succeed and the times you don’t. For the opportunity to learn and retry.
And for the chance to enter the mountains to evolve, discover, adapt and strengthen.
To find Outer Peace.