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Mountain Moments #2

I doubt it is the least bit shocking for anyone to know that immediately prior to my hike up Kilimanjaro a lot of things were going through my head.

My main focus was on fitness and gear, however I did ponder a variety of interesting scenarios, including, “What if I have to do a #2 in the middle of a no-cover zone?” I mean, what does one even DO in such a scenario? Would we be carrying toilet paper (and what would we do with it after)? Also, what if a weird bug bit me or I got altitude sickness? How would I breathe at the top? What if I didn’t bring warm enough clothes?

And so on.

With SUCH important things running through my mind it is no wonder that the night before we left I was too wired to sleep. So I did what I do best and leaned into my spinning thoughts.

What it would be like at the top of a mountain? Would I celebrate? What would I do (was jumping a thing at that altitude or would my lungs explode from the exertion)? Would I be too tired to care? Would I cry? Did it matter? What was the appropriate way to feel under such circumstances? WAS there an ‘appropriate’ way to feel???

Something about the last question caused a twisting sensation in my tummy. Why was I thinking about ‘the appropriate’ level of celebration - implying some wins were more worthy than others? What was this invisible scale in my subconscious, against which I was benchmarking my future climb? Did I do this with all experiences in my life? Where did it come from and where else was I doing this, perhaps even imposing this scale on those that I loved most?

What was I judging as enough?

I started a quick inventory of my life and realized I made up SO MANY STORIES around celebration and what was or was not worthy. I was SWIMMING in judgements and assessments of my OWN worth and the worth of the world around me.


Lesson #2 - Perspective.

A mountain is many different things, depending on your vantage point. It can be a symbol of destruction, size, strength or longevity. It can look large or small, depending on how close you are. You can see it as a challenge or a delight, impossible or totally within your grasp. From the bottom, it looks merely like a hill. From the top, it looks like a pile of dirt.

If you experience the weather as sunny you may choose to believe the mountain is easy. If it is snowing you may choose to believe something entirely different. If you are a porter the altitude may not bother you at all and the mountain may seem like a gentle hike. If you are a tourist you may suffer mountain sickness (Hypoxia) and the trek may seem perilous.

Your perspective depends on where you stand and what you choose to see.

Like the mountain, my chosen perspectives on celebration were simply that - choices. They could be interpretations based on possibility and joy or ones based on my own judgements and conditions.

Either way, it was up to me.

Why was I judging every step of my life journey against an invisible worthiness scale and making the whole thing miserable for myself? Wouldn’t it be smarter to celebrate every breath and simply enjoy the ride (come what may)?

I felt the answer was obvious.

I would celebrate all of the steps, not just the ones that come at the end.

As I drifted off to sleep I felt the mountain’s strong presence in the distance.

I could have sworn she was celebrating already.


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