A New Expedition: Ojos De Salado!

Happy Dawn of October to All,

What a week! It ranged from the summit of celebration to the depths of subterranean suffering. I had hoped to ramp up training as I was only nine weeks away from Ojos but the week conspired against achieving much more than my usual running schedule.

Sunday’s presentation went very well. A combination of old and new support team members came out to hear my Everest story and laugh at all the right times, and more than a few got emotional as I played “Rayne’s slide” where I share the story of talking to her when I got home. Here’s how I describe the moment in my book.

When I called my niece, Rayne, soon after returning to St. John’s, she asked me some questions about the climb and then I queried her about what she had been doing. A little later in the conversation, she said, “You only made it to Camp Two.” I answered, “Sometimes we don’t get to climb as high as we want.” After pondering for a minute, she replied, “Did you see the picture I painted for you on your website?” I said, “Yes.” After a few more moments where she was obviously mulling something over in her mind, she declared, “Maybe next time I will paint it shorter so you can get to the top.” I melted on the spot and tears streaked down my face.

After the event, some folks came over to celebrate both the event and my new house renovations. It was great to have folks in enjoying my new space. I paid dearly for celebrating hard on Sunday night-a little like being back at altitude but it was worth it.

I assisted someone near and dear to me when they learned that they had been scammed out of a large sum of money during the middle of the week. It was tough going making sense of how some people can do that to another person. Friday, when I thought the week could go no lower, I went out for my run. When I returned, the whole driver’s side of my new car had been smashed in by a hit and run driver. My first instinct was to curl up in a fetal ball and sob but alas, I had a busy presentation schedule that day. I jumped on my bike to ride up to the police station to report the accident. As I rode up, I had two thoughts, which brought laughs and spaciousness to the situation.

The first thought, as I pedaled uphill was, “I’d been wanting to figure out how to get out more on my bike.” My second thought was, “Now, I’ve got an opening story to tell the folks at the positive thinker’s club tomorrow morning.” With that, I decided to spend the day laughing at the misfortune-it would have been too much to cry about it, and besides I kept telling myself, “It’s just a car!” After I picked up the rental car, I realized that I had bonded with Tigger and I miss driving it–the boxy Mitsubishi just isn’t doing it for me!

I presented to the Canadian Association of Business Incubators on Tuesday and the Positive Thinker’s Club on Saturday-both audiences honoured me with standing ovations. I was so touched. I’ve felt a real surge in my comedic timing this week and often enjoyed watching people laugh so hard they were in tears. I’ve also gotten braver in inviting audience members to purchase prayer flags or Ojos toques after presentations. In the past, that has made me so uncomfortable but now, I see it as part of the package and offer it without pressure or expectation. I only have to sell 40 more toques to break even. People like the new design and many make the connection to the eyes on the Boddhanath Stupa. I like seeing the toques because they help me look forward to the next challenge on my plate, Ojos de Salado. You can see a picture of the toque on my Eyes of the Spirit Facebook page at http://mun.facebook.com/group.php?gid=4903592452
Email me if you’d like to purchase one by chance-I know several people, including me, who wore out their Everest-007 toques last season.

I’m working often these days with the concept of “Eyes of the Spirit.” I still don’t feel one hundred percent yet. Some days, I am overpowered by nausea or fatigue-other days, I feel terrific. I’m trying to ease back into training while listening to my body and spirit at the same time. The past few months have allowed me to see how hard I pushed myself in the months leading up to Everest, and as my father says, “If you want to dance, you have to pay the band.” I think I dipped deep into the well of my reserves, drawing energy credits in advance, and now seem to be needing to pay them back with interest. Taking life and my to-do list with ease, grace, and little speed. I’m experimenting with how little training I can do and still be fit enough for 6800 meters at the end of November.

I look forward to returning to South America because I think I must have some Latin blood in me somewhere because each trip I’ve been there, it’s felt a bit like home. I’m excited about seeing another high altitude desert and imagine it will bring memories from Tibet to the fore.

Thanks so much for continuing to journey with me. I heard briefly from my book editor this week-he says it needs to be tightened and some the continuance links need working but overall, the manuscript is in good shape. I can imagine writing a book entirely from scratch so I appreciate you providing an audience for my weekly musings that eventually get transformed into prose.

Take good care of yourselves and others this week,

TA

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