& occasionally about other things, too...

Saturday, December 21, 2013

At the peak

Continued from the blog above:

Reflections on the way to the top: As I climb, I am always reminded that climbing a mountain is a metaphor for the journey of life. Even though I am focussed on taking just one more step upward, Neelimalai still affords me time to reflect on what has been happening to me as I climb.

Go slow to go fast: On the first few days of the trek, I wanted to blaze the trail ahead of the others. But the hills have taught me that to go slow is to go fast.

Twenty minutes into my Neelimalai trek, I know this is true. When I began, I had boundless energy. Now I am in agony, swaying and staggering with every laboured breath under the effects of altitude  sickness.

Yet, slowly, at what seemed like a snail’s pace, I do make it to the top of the Neelimalai along with all the others.

Reflection: There are always areas in life where we need to slow down.

Be aware that the temptation to hurry and take short cuts will cost you in the long run.

Both the journey and the destination are important: There is a profound sense of accomplishment and exhilaration that we all feel when we make it to the top. But there is truth in the saying, “It’s all about the journey, not the destination.”

We need to take time, as we struggle towards our goals, to enjoy the landscape, nature and each other’s company.

Reflection: As you strive to your ultimate goal, make sure you enjoy the moments of your life along the way.

Working hard to reach the top: As I climb, I am aware of all the long months of preparation, fasting, planning and dreaming of the ultimate goal of climbing to the summit. Now I am underway. Now I can taste the victory at the end and the fruit of all my labour.

Reflection: Set a goal, plan and prepare, and then work hard to achieve your dream. The hard work will be worth the effort. The pride you will feel when you reach your goal will be priceless.

It takes a team to live the dream: There are so many of us on this journey together and, as we all reach the Pamba base, we can rejoice together in each other’s success. It is indeed a great thing.
In the last two days of my journey, I have had the chance to befriend many strangers from many different places like Malaysia and Australia who are now good friends. We have become a team and share the challenging Sabarimala journey together.

Reflection: Allow friends or family members who share your passions to pursue your dreams with you.

Overcoming obstacles is part of pursuing any dream: Why am I investing all this time to inflict pain on myself by climbing a mountain?

Can I make it? Each time the trek becomes so tough that I think I cannot continue, these questions that I have suppressed resurface and tempt me to give up and turn back.

Reflection: We all face doubt whenever we are faced with opportunity or challenge that will require risk yet great reward on the other side.

The key is to be strong enough to supress the doubt and persist with your dream – one small confident step at a time.

Celebrate your victories: It is hard to put into words the euphoria I feel when I get to the top of the mountain.

Perhaps it is simply the lack of oxygen that makes me feel a little light-hearted, but I think it is also that sense of fulfillment, joy and feeling of being truly alive.

Even though I am bone weary, cold and plagued by the aches and pains of my efforts, the joy and exhilaration are overwhelming.

Even before I reach the summit technically, I am still truly elated and proud of myself and my accomplishments.

Reflection: Celebrate all the large and small accomplishments in your life and in the lives of those you care about. Celebration builds confidence in people and helps them to risk and face failure.

Cheer the next generation: As we get closer to finishing our trek, I see that there are still thousands of people attempting the climb. That’s when I realize my bigger role. I need to be the cheerleader for the next generation, encouraging them to dram big and go for it.

Reflection: The next generation needs us as coaches and mentors. We must cheer them on and, when they ask, pass on our life wisdom.

More importantly, perhaps, we must create space for them to explore, risk, and, yes, sometimes fail, They need us to be the champions of their dreams.

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