I cannot climb a mountain all at once. I can only climb what is in front of me.
This has been clear to me from the beginning, but that clarity is crystalized as I look up at the steep inclines or long declines in front of me. So, I just pull down the brim of the hat and just keep my eyes on the next few steps. It is surprising how much easier this all seems, how much faster I get where I am going, and how manageable it is when I keep it that simple. I am not sure why I find it surprising. That is how I approach everything else in my life and it makes sense there, so I am not sure why it had not occurred to me that it would be the best approach to this, as well.
It has, also, come to my attention that I cannot have the rest of the group in my eyesight. With the rest being avid mountaineers, the natural inclination to ‘keep up’ is not wise. That is how I will make mistakes. I am much better served if I drift back a bit and just focus on my own pace. ‘Slowly, slowly, slowly’ is the mantra our personal porters, Pasang and Chongsba, keep chanting beside me, whenever I start to go too fast for my own good.
The slower pace, also, gives us the feeling of more freedom to stop and film as we go, without the visual pressure of seeing people wait for us.
[Sidenote: When I say avid mountaineers…we each brought one book with us to read on the hike, with the idea that we could pass them around as we finished each. When I asked which book each of them brought, every single one was a mountaineering book.]
It meant that when we met people along the way, we could stop and have conversations, learn new words in Sherpa or Nepali, or have tea with the locals (as long as the water was boiled properly).
When we met a fun-sized, stylish woman in her eighties, I asked her (with Karma translating) if she had any unfulfilled wants or any regrets in her years. She chuckled and said, “No.” Then, she paused and amended her, No, with, “Well, maybe a couple more pretty things to wear.”
May we all be so lucky.
Bits from the letters ~
“I pray that you are able to use your talents and gifts to serve the people you meet along the way.”
“You chose this because your heart is huge and your care for the world is infinite. You chose this because love makes us courageous as much as it makes us kind, makes us humble as much as it makes us limitless. You chose to do this because you love, and that is your strength, your clarity, your comfort, and your sustenance.”
“Friend, you are a divine mingle-mangle of guts and stardust.
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Luke Mislinski Photography
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