For the past year of my life, I’ve climbed mountains that I never thought I would ever want to climb. Snow mountains. Tall, extremely steep, cold, rugged mountains. Life offered me the opportunity to travel up these mountains and push myself. And yet, there were so many moments I wanted to stop, to settle on the ridge before the top rather than going all the way. There were many moments that I did. I settled for a lower point in that moment.

I learned that it’s not better to go all the way; and it’s not worse to stop on a lower ridge. It’s going to be beautiful either way.

But there is a feeling… a really deep feeling…that hits you when you go all the way to the top. Words cannot capture this feeling. It’s one of elation, conquer, and surrender all in the same moment. It’s a humbling; it’s a rising.

Part of the feeling of surrender and conquer comes from pushing the body to it’s limits, the climb itself being a challenge.

These mountains I’ve climbed aren’t Hawaiian and warm, a different kind of challenge. They are cold, freezing, entirely in the snow pack of the wild Alaskan Chugach mountain ranges. Sometimes the wind rips at you and threatens to tear you off the precarious snow face you’re using skis to climb up.

Sometimes the thoughts nag at you about not being able to move even a little bit farther because the burn in your legs is so intense you just want to stop. “I just can’t go any further,” the thoughts say. Sometimes I’ve had to stop, and lag behind. After a moment, I continue.

For when you do reach the top, and settle into the amazing view that truly is more incredible than at the first peak, it does take your breathe away. While I feel a sense of accomplishment, I feel a sense of humility and surrender to the fact that I just kept going… a surrender to  my heart for taking me to heights higher than I’d ever imagined.

Maybe for me this reaches so deep into my soul simply because it’s a metaphor for the path of self-realisation. It’s when you reach the next peak in your journey that you look back at the challenges you endured, and you remember what it’s all for.

Yes, life is about the journey, to be enjoyed moment by moment, and not in the destination, but sometimes you have to remember the reward you receive when you’re in that life challenge and the pressure is on. Keep going… it’s always worth it when you get to the top and overcome.

pano shot chugach


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