Monday, July 6, 2009

One Step At A Time!

I posted a few days ago that I was going to climb a 13-er...a mountain over 13,000 feet tall, in preparation for this weekend's 14er.

The mountain had about 2,800 feet of elevation gain. When you consider a flight of stairs has an elevation gain of about ten feet, you get some sort of perspective.

The hike itself was, round trip, eight miles.

And the strangest thing happened...we had awful weather for the climb.

You name it, horrific wind, freezing (literally) temperatures, rain, icy rocks, fog, even hail. For the majority of the hike, the mountain ahead of us was shrouded with fog. Near the top, I was blown backwards off one rock.

On many trails, the way is marked by piles of rocks, called cairns. We were literally unable to see past the cairns. We weren't sure if we were on the trail or not for most of the final assent.

What I learned from this experience...once you have set the goal, focus on your next step. Make sure you're stepping in a sure-footed way, but take your next step.

If I had been able to see the summit, I'm not sure I would have attempted it that day. The conditions were more than adverse. But I didn't keep looking. I kept moving toward the goal. (Keep in mind, I'm not advocating doing things that are stupid or life-risking. I am advocating taking smart, considered risks, but moving forward toward your goals.) Sometimes, by focusing on small steps, rather than the end result, we can achieve even greater things.

Here's to you reaching your summits!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Celebrate Your Independence!

On this side of the pond, we celebrate the Fourth of July, otherwise known as Independence Day.

It's a day rich in tradition, with barbecues, picnics, watermelon, homemade ice cream, family, friends, and firework displays.

But we can make this day into our own special celebration of independence. And you get to define independence anyway you want to.

I'm celebrating my independence from lethargy by climbing a 13-er (a mountain that's over 13,000 feet tall. Mount Audubon, in the Indian Peaks Wilderness area.) And next week, I'll continue the celebration by climbing a 14-er, Mount Bierstadt.

One of my friends is celebrating her indepenence from that extra five pounds she's been lugging around.

Another is celebrating her independence from too much debt.

Another is celebrating her freedom from the 9-5 grind. She's now working for herself. It's a struggle, but she says she's never been happier.

Many of us Western women celebrate our independence, literally. I was on a writing retreat with a dozen talented female writers. One night, we all climbed into the outdoor hot tub, beneath a canopy of stars. From our vantage in the Colorado mountains, we could see the Milky Way. And our conversation drifted to the fact that in parts of the world we would not have the freedom to gather sans men. In certain places, we would not be able to spend a couple of days away from home, frolicking in our bathing suits, getting massages, and talking the night away.

So...what do you want to be independent from? How do you want to live your life? What does freedom mean to you? (Even if you're in Europe or half the world away in Australia, or celebrating Canada Day, how can you make this holiday yours?)

Cheering for you...

Love, Sierra