As some of you will remember, I made a list of experiences that I wanted to complete/experience before going back for a third attempt at Everest. Since that February day two years ago, I have been plugging away at that list. Given the recent disappointment in the cancellation of my Mount Logan expedition, I thought it wise to check on that list and see how it’s looking to be now. Here is that list:
· Raise the money for and climb Mount Vinson in Antarctica (completed Dec. 11, 2011)
· Raise the money for and climb Mount Logan, the highest peak in Canada (scheduled for June 2013-now delayed)
· Raise the money for and ski across Greenland (completed May 2012)
· Attend at least a two-week meditation retreat (as recommended by my Buddhist mentor between Everest 1.0 and 2.0–OK I’m really listening now)
· Run or run/walk a marathon (I’ve done a half but my body seems to succumb to running injuries around the 28 km mark in training)
· Do the body work/body care necessary to avoid running/training injuries (ongoing)
· Trek through Nepal crossing the Amphu Labtsa as a way to continue to get friendly with Nepali microorganisms and build up more immunity to them (April 2013: 21 days and counting until this adventure begins).
It looks to me like I’ve made good progress and although, I might not be able to check Logan off the list this spring, there may be a substitution coming in September…because you see, I think lists are good things…they give me/us direction. They give a path to follow. Goals and sub-goals to reach. They give us a way to measure growth and experience and skills and progress towards all of those. The trick, however, is not being attached to “the list” too much.
The list and all lists need to breathe (just like us). They are works in progress. Just like us. They are mentors, not dictators and we must choose the list, over and over again. In other words, the path may change. A new intersection may arise. Obstacles present themselves. Some surmountable. Some not. The obstacles often give us the chance to decide again. And again. They give us closing doors and opening windows. Traffic lights and sunsets. Stop signs and yield signs.
The list is punctuation as well. Sometimes period. Sometimes comma. Exclamation points on some, semi-colon on others. Sometimes life is full of bad grammar and sentences that don’t flow and other times, it’s sweet poetry echoing from a lofty perch like the first bird song heard in spring.
And the list is just a list. A collection of words. Chemical reactions flowing across synapses as my eyes dart back and forth capturing light. The list doesn’t mean I am good. Or bad. Inspiring or lazy. Tall or short. With or without. Counted to not. It’s just a tool. Like a scale. The list provides information that we best not ascribe too much meaning to or else we might miss much along the way…such as…
· Climbing the highest peak in the Arctic (May 2012)
· Canoeing 160 km from the Labrador plateau to the coast on the Notakwanon River (August 2011)
· Canoeing the Churchill River in Labrador (July 2012)
I am thankful that in taking on one big famous list, “The Seven Summits”, that I’ve allowed that list lots of space. I’ve allowed other experiences to call me and from them learned so much. I know that each day I exist, my well of experience/memories/life gets deeper and richer and as a result, so does my resilience. My mountains aren’t going anywhere so when I am called back to any of the lists, I will go. For me, it’s important to listen to my heart, my mind, and my body…connected all three in whatever ways I can both in, out, on and/or off any list that might be playing/weighting/leading/ on my mind.