Life Comes Full Circle~ Everest 60 Days Away!

Have faith: Trust that circumstances in your life will align to support you on your path. When you make a commitment, life will make a commitment back. -From Yoga Journal

Happy New Year everyone! Come on 2011, let’s see what you are made of :)This year is full of hope, faith, dreams, and adventure! Everest is now only 60 days away!!

I normally use this blog to talk solely about the climbs and our efforts to raise funds and awareness for women in Congo, but I thought it was important to add a bit of a personal touch this time, as Everest is very close and preparing for it has opened up a whole new world of feelings and emotions. Training for this bad boy is not only about the physical prep, but also the mental prep and the emotional prep. I have always said climbing is 80% mental and 20% physical.

I recently came across this quote the other day in Yoga Journal, it said: Have faith: Trust that circumstances in your life will align to support you on your path. When you make a commitment, life will make a commitment back. -From Yoga Journal

The quest for the Seven Summits originated from a couple of places, but one was that ever since I was a little girl, I always dreamed of visiting the 7 continents. I used to play for hours with my godmother’s globe, plotting new adventures to embark on. Later on in life while in grad school and working full time, I discovered my love for hiking and climbing as an outlet from the textbooks and corporate life!! There was then a Eureka moment of, that’s it, I will train and climb the 7 summits and both realize my dream I had as a little girl, while also enjoying the climbing challenge. It was then just a few months later, while searching for a new hair cut in Glamour Magazine that I read Eve Ensler’s article about her visit to the Congo that educated me on the horrific situation (massive and violent rapes) women in the Congo were facing and I thought- I should climb for them and raise funds and awareness! It all sounds crazy I know, especially that at the time I set the challenge I could barely run a mile, but here we are and I have climbed 5 of the 7, run a marathon and a couple of half marathons, and there is nowhere but up to go! Mind over matter folks :)

Over Christmas this whole theme of ‘Life Coming full circle’ kept popping up in my head. A lot of it had to do with my Grandmother, and watching her battle with dementia. As I visited with her over Christmas, I thought of the strong, feisty, resilient woman that helped raised me, that taught me to be tough, stand up for myself, never take no for an answer, and always showed me unconditional love. She was always a symbol of strength for me in the sense that she was a widow at 28 with 4 girls and well figured it out; not to mention she also lost a son at a young age. She was the eldest of 4 and only got to go to school till the 8th grade when she then had to take care of her siblings back in Nicaragua. Now at Christmas, she was completely dependent on others and unable to care for herself. She had reverted back to like we were as children, needing help to eat, bath, walk around, and all I could think about was how life eventually comes full circle. She was happy to be with us-her family though and it was great to see her try to show me how she could now walk with her walker and move around on her own a bit, because at the end of the day, she wanted to show me she still ‘had it in her’ and that she wasn’t giving up. I’ll be honest it’s been tough to watch her transition, but I am so grateful for her life and her love and her endless lessons and wisdom- and well she is still tough! :)

One is never certain how life comes full circle though and you never know how what you may wish for may materialize. For me now, as I look back to my childhood and my dreams, I think of how amazingly life has come full circle for me and how this dream of visiting the 7 continents has materialized into a unexpected challenge I could have never dreamed of back then! It also ties in perfectly with the quote I found above and how when you make a commitment, then life makes a commitment back. I can honestly say when I committed to this campaign, life definitely made a commitment back. As I have said before, I had a timeline in my head to get this done in 4 years, but was not sure about many things, mainly: how I would be able to finance it all, not sure I could actually physically complete the challenge, then just after my 1st of the 7 summits I got a divorce and was then challenged to figure my ‘new life’ out, and just shortly after that I started a new job that would keep me on the road as a consultant and provide endless support for my mission of completing this campaign. Now McKinney Rogers, my employer, is generously sponsoring 50% of my climb! It all has just fallen into to place, but not without much sacrifice, dedication, and the ability to overcome some of my own personal ‘mountains’ and heartaches and losses in between. This campaign and mission has kept me strong throughout and resilient and for that too I am eternally grateful-giving up has not been an option; it has been all about ‘figure it out G’!

I am eternally grateful for coming across Eve’s article, which I say helped transform my life and set me on a mission. This mission I hope will have a positive impact on others’ lives ultimately, but it has had a tremendous positive impact on mine and helped me overcome huge personal hurdles and kept me motivated to look to the future and focus on making an impact versus focusing on the past or difficult circumstances.

With Everest so close, it has also made me think about ‘what really matters’? I do not ever want to be a pessimist, but I am a realist. The reality is that Everest does not come without risk and so mentally one needs to be prepared to not come back in one piece....meaning you could lose a part of your body due to frostbite/injury, you could lose friends up there, you yourself could not come back, etc. There are many variables out of your control up there after all. I firmly believe one needs to be ok and mentally prepared with the possibly of not coming back. Why such a sick thought you may ask? Well, it makes you firmly and 100% committed to the risk you are about to take; basically you are acknowledging that despite the potential risk, the challenge itself is worth it to you- You are committed. Also, it leaves room for zero regrets. If things were to go south up there, at no point do I want to think to myself, I should not have done this! I fully embrace the challenge and the risk and feel blessed with the opportunity to go after it regardless of the outcome. Let’s be honest, I may not summit, but in my mind as long as I gave it my best shot and prepared the best I could, and gave it my all, then that is ok and I can try again someday. Yet this thought of ‘what really matters’ has put life in further perspective, as to what matters most in my life, what brings me joy, what and who do I want to spend my time with before I go? These next 60 days are about SUBSTANCE and QUALITY, about fulfilling experiences, about spending time with loved ones and those I care about most, about doing things that make a difference, about being true to myself, about final preparations, and about enjoying my life to the fullest before I go. I am celebrating my 30th too in just a few weeks!!! I will go to Everest a happy woman willing to accept whatever Everest delivers to her in the end.

I like to use the term ‘pinch me moments’, and I have had these a lot in the mountains when I am surrounded by pristine beauty or when I have been successful on a summit. But life right now feels like a ‘pinch me moment’ at times. Over the last 3 years I have lived in 3 different cities, travelled all over the world for work, reached 5 of the 7 summits, met some of the most influential and special people who I am blessed to know, overcome some unexpected personal hurdles, been inspired to launch this campaign for women in Congo, and now about to embark on what I would like to think is going to be a journey of a life time. Who would have thought this is what 30 would be like?-someone pinch me! I am truly blessed. I look at the photo which I posted with this entry; it is me in Yosemite at about 1.5 or 2 years old, all I am missing are the hiking boots :)who would have thought...

I do feel like Life is Coming Full Circle, like I am that little girl again, playing with the globe at her godmother’s, dreaming of all of the potential adventures ahead and gitty with excitement and anticipation!!

I close with a couple of my own quotes: “Dream Big, Dream Often, and Go for It!!” and “The Extraordinary is always possible, never limit life or your potential”.

Big Hugs and I hope you will support our efforts for VDAY and International Medical Corps in the Congo!!

More to come on our efforts, the training, the climb, etc.

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Thank you and Ciao for now!