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"Reflections Upon Descent"*
By Dave Rodney   Printer Friendly Version

~ The lessons learned on the mountain during Himalayan Expeditions may serve as models to assist us in our efforts to lead fulfilling lives, as we "climb our Everyday Everests"! ~

The experience of sitting on top of the world has filled me with both humility, and pride. In climbing to the highest point on the planet, I have been blessed with an "Everest Education", in which I have learned so much about myself, others, and this wonderful world we all share.

It has been a true SpiritQuest, offering the opportunity to stretch physical and psychological limits. This course in higher learning has taught me that with teamwork, training, discipline, determination, the wisdom of the ages, the will of the gods, and a whole lot of luck-stumbling blocks can indeed become stepping-stones. Truly, we can all reach new heights personally, and professionally--and turn our weakness into strength--by simply going above and beyond by tapping in to the power within! Whether it is at home, at work, or in our spare time, great things happen when we climb with a conscience.

That is not to say that setting goals, falling short of the mark, or even achieving our objectives…is going to be easy, since life by its very nature is difficult. After summiting Everest I came home to live and struggle with the other mountains of my life--in more than one respect, I descended from the top of the world, to an even more challenging valley below! As I was fulfilling a childhood dream, I pushed many limits as far as they could go. I had looked death in the face, and come back to tell the tale--returning to everyday existence cherishing every single moment of life I might have otherwise taken for granted, knowing how close I came to losing it all.

Thankfully, I can now apply the attitudes and actions I have succeeded with on the mountain and in the professional world, to the rest of my life. Such self-examination is not an easy process; but I appreciate that before we are granted the grandeur of the next mountaintop vista, we must first trudge through the gullet of the tumultuous valley below. It takes patience, gentleness, respect, diligence, faith, and a little help from above. This has dramatically changed my life, and has allowed me to appreciate that there is an incredibly creative force in every single person; it is simply up to each of us to discover, embrace, and utilize our gifts, talents, mission, and vocation.

Everest was a three-month test...but the challenges that really matter last a lifetime. Unfortunately, unlike the Everest experience there is seldom a press conference, gold medal, or red carpet rolled out for us at the end of the day, whether it be a demanding one at work, or at home. As such, I have nothing but respect for all of you, who go quietly about the business of climbing your individual "Everyday Everests". I hope you are proud of and celebrate in your accomplishments, for as Booker T. Washington suggests, "Success is to be measured not so much by the position we have reached in life, as by the obstacles we have overcome while trying to succeed."

I have encountered obstacles of all sorts during my time in the mountains, and I am very grateful for them, since they have taught me "Anything Truly is Possible!"--with the right attitudes, actions, and resources. Conquering fears has set me free to discover who I truly am. My desire to head for the hills in the spirit of adventure has refreshed, re-invigorated, and re-created my mind, body, and spirit. This experience of true leisure, spiced with a little humor, has encouraged me to redefine the concept of true "luxury".

Mountains have become special places for me because of the people I have met there and the conversations we have had. They have reminded me of the sanctity of life, and the duty to live it to the full. Higher ground is also special because of the solitude it has provided me with, in which I have sought answers to questions that I never even realized I had!

The journey has been unsettling at times, even disturbing, and is still in progress. But I should not be surprised at this, since even Moses had a bit of a rough time after his descent from Mt. Sinai, and his work continues as well…

Climbing is just one of the ways in which I strive to achieve renewal of my creative spirits. Your special place may not be in the mountains at all: it may be a pilgrimage site, an institutional setting, a backyard, or a bubble bath. Whatever the case, these places are important because of the responses they elicit in us. They provide us with an environment conducive to re-evaluating our behavior, thoughts, and relationships.

External power is fuelled by internal strength; so I encourage you to step out and visit your special places: adventuring both on the outside, and on the inside. And it pleases me to remind you that we don't need to go to the ends of the earth for this at all, since the most sacred of all spaces is a balance in our head, heart, and soul.

As we journey this way, we may appreciate the gift we are to others, and reach rewarding natural highs, which temper everyday lows. In the process, we may serve, as an example for others to follow in our footprints with integrity, so that they may one day be confident and wise enough to blaze their own trail. And this process may be easier than we might fear; for as the founder of Taoism, Lao Tzu, proclaims: "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step!"

© Dave Rodney: Pro Speaker, Everest Summiteer and SpiritQuest Enterprises President


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