So, here are a few lessons from my Kili Climb –
1) Why / what / how – I started with clarity as to the “why”, the “what” was tremendous, and the “how” was prescribed. Having one goal is powerful – no distractions, no peripheral activities…just focused attention and doing my darndest best to achieve.
2) Following the person in front of me was important…the precision of each step made it safe and provided continuity. But it was equally important that I looked up regularly to see the glory of the surroundings. They were ever-changing and horrifyingly beautiful. The balance between the two made the reflection richer…kept the perspective real.
3) With a bit of humility, support comes from surprising places, I needed to keep my heart open to the kindness of people around me. And they were very fine people, all of them. And (here comes a cliché) showing vulnerability made me stronger. Go figure!
4) Value planning ahead – many struggles can be anticipated. I was so focused on reaching the top that I forgot I would need to go down.
5) Call it perseverance, stubbornness, determination…power came from the tips of my toes – but when it was spent I did not know where to look for more. The altitude sickness gave me a headache, stomach churns and nausea. At one point I thought all of my bones were broken and it was only my skin that held my body together. But there were encouraging voices, sips of rooibos vanilla tea and ginger suckers that sustained me not to mention a guide who would repeat, far too often: “you are doing good, Edyta” and Martha The Gaya.
6) Abandoning the need to compete and lead was blissful. And easy! I was the last to summit – an hour after the first person who reached the peak. Under normal circumstances, I would consider this losing…big time. So why not now? Maybe because I was still competing, secretively, with myself. Maybe it was my devotion to fulfill the promise to those who supported my climb, or maybe, just maybe, I grew up a bit.
7) Co-dependency is a good thing. Teamwork, Friendship, Interconnectivity. From a paper we dropped on the trail, to the sips of water we served each other, the fragile and potent network of all things around me was overwhelming – and comforting. It was essential to the success of the entire group, even if we were an odd patchwork of colourful people from diverse backgrounds and life stages.
8) Gosh… listening is such a gift. If you listen, people tell you things! And each story made my life richer. I am so grateful for them.
9) Learning that I was not the only one struggling was tremendous. Each of us faced our demons…in our own way. In all honesty, I must have been oblivious to many of the struggles although I was acutely aware of a few. Hearing about them afterwards was a revelation of sorts. I guess, in my own bubble I forgot to truly observe.
10) After a high there is a low and I am still going to my little corner to reflect, ponder, lick my wounds and solidify anew who and what I am. What I want to abandon and let go, and what I want to keep – my essence – my true self…a bit lost on the way, but now, reemerging with greater clarity. Not compromising and always true. I hope the echo of the trip remains just as we said – “for ever”. Most beautiful things are simple…not easy. I hope I can keep my life as simple as it feels right now. Because right now, it feels quite right…
I remain grateful to all who accompanied me on this Trip – in person and in spirit. I could not have done it without you. Thank you! With your help I have collected over $25,000 for the Women of Courage Program. As a group of 13 we have collected close to $100,000. I call it a success. Don’t you?