Dear Why Team member,
I hope this week’s message finds you excited about the end of Winter and the arrival of Spring.
This week we ask:
The more I get out, the more I seem to get in - connecting to what’s within. When we get out of our supportive habitual environment, we can gain greater insight into what’s within us - observing who we are, who we could become and what we bring to the new environment and/or situation. While life presents a level of adventure every day - moving way out and even way up can’t help but connect us with a part of ourselves we have yet to meet.
When I was a kid, I was always in a tree or on the roof of my parents’ house - even often on the roof of my elementary school; yet 40 years passed before I climbed again.
My first outdoor climb of a mountain was in the Fall of 2016; this past month, I returned to Red Rocks Canyon, just outside Las Vegas, to enjoy my highest and most difficult climb yet.
I cannot fully express to you the joy I had just placing my hands on the rock. There is something about literally climbing a mountain that is hard to explain. It is no wonder that it is used in countless metaphors:
“If the way was smooth you couldn’t climb it.” “We must climb higher to see farther.” “I had a mountain top experience.”
It’s amazing to me that my first rock climb didn’t occur until age 54 - giving me one of the best days of my life not to mention a new direction and fulfilling accomplishments.
And again, this past month, going up 1,400 feet was another day in my life that I will absolutely never forget. Time stops as the mountain demands your full attention.
When was the last day you experienced a day you’ll never forget? Frankly, why would we want to forget any of our days when they are such a gift?!
The allure of a mountain is certainly multifaceted; the objective is clear, every move upward is satisfying, the work is not easy, but that makes the success all-the-more-sweet. Not to mention the life dependent collaboration of climbing with another, overcoming fear – channeling that anxiety into helpful attention and positive excitement – I cannot recommend the adventure of mountain climbing enough.
Have you heard this classic line?:
“Why did you climb it?”
“Because it was there.”
We are born to purpose, to develop our response-ability and not to fold under pressure, to push up against our self-imposed limits. And then, there is just the sheer fun of it.
Identifying an objective, making a plan, gathering the right tools and equipment, finding a trusting partner to assist and who can assist you. Overcoming obstacles and sharing the experience. Doesn’t this sound familiar? Isn’t this what we do with our work and with our relationships?
Rarely is there to be found some final peak in which we will achieve ultimate and permanent satisfaction. Sure, for a moment, we rest, take in the view, celebrate success - and then it’s on to what’s next because we were not born to arrive, but to strive, to take on responsibilities and grow from our challenges, struggles, and burdens.
Growth gives our difficulties meaning.
How are we to know our edges if we stay in the middle of our self-made boxes. Adventure can bring tremendous perspective to our outer and inner world.
You don’t have to travel to Tanzania to climb Kilimanjaro - although I highly recommend it - or climb Red Rocks Canyon; your most difficult climb may be to just survive today, to face the mountain of restoring your relationship with your spouse or friend, to make that call you keep postponing. Move toward and not away from your fears to experience a freedom and exhilaration for having done a hard thing. It is so true that successful people are simply willing to do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do.
Step-out, step-up, face what’s in your face and move up and beyond by doing so. Live more presently and forward knowing your best days have yet to be lived and be grateful for all you had to live. As my Mother said to me her second night in Hospice, “Ah honey, you just want to hold on to the happiness you have known, there is so much happiness headed your way that you don’t know about.”
To her last days, she encouraged me and gave me hope. I hope her words will do the same for you.
This week, consider being even more open to life’s adventures, getting excited and embracing the mountains you don’t have to climb, but rather, you get to climb!
Make it a great week!