Can’t get very far without a map. I am whirling and spinning. I need to slow down and listen. It was suggested I get a book “Courage to Change”. It’s an Al-anon daily reflection book. It speaks pages to me. I combined that with a book I read daily while in college. My Utmost for His Highest. So I have put these two books in a backpack and take them with me…daily. I hope to give you little tidbits out of them because they speak volumes to me.
But interestingly, before I could even get to a state of soaking in advice from any book I just went traveling. I went to Australia last October for the World Games. I took $2000 my 102 year old grandma had given to me when she passed away and went to London in January for the British Pentathlon Championships. I jumped over to Houston for a few training days on a college track with some of the top master’s fastest track & field runners. The bliss of running hurdles at over forty. But I was really just wandering…looking for affirmation of who the core of Caren was. Why would I need to do this at my age? I hadn’t a clue. I knew some of it pulsed from my childhood. I took self help books on the airplane…and grabbed a climbing adventure book just because the cover picture looked more inviting.
So what did I find to read that really helped? THE CLIMBING BOOK. Go figure. I was underlining words in a climbing book like one would do in a self help book. Here’s why I LOVE climbing and the outdoors,especially mountains and peak challenges. “Very few climbers climb recklessly. They don’t live. Most climbers don’t do it because they have a death wish. They do it because they think the reward of being out in breathtaking beauty pushing oneself past unimaginable odds and dealing with internal character far outweigh the RISK. Experiencing them makes us know we are jumping on the chance to LIVE life at that very moment. Time starts to run out the day we were born.” As my running friend put it, Life is not a rehearsal, Caren. It’s the live performance. You only get to do it once!”
And that is why I think a lot of us run marathons. It’s not an addiction. It’s an addition to life. It gets us out there.
And somehow, the character tools we need to make life happen, to interact and embrace people and situations, grows out of these kinds of experiences. I read on in the Climbing Book. Being forthright is a struggle for me. I was always trying to tell people what they wanted to hear. And it was causing a LOT of problems in my life. “Often while climbing on hard or dangerous ground there is a temptation to ignore obstacles and hazards; to forge ahead, hoping for the best. If you do that and then arrive safely at the next ledge, you can cite this as proof that you acted wisely; that you did the right thing. But you EVENTUALLY will pay a price for SELF DECEPTION. There are REAL CONSEQUENCES (sometimes, deadly) in climbing with poor focus, distorted priorities, and sloppy management. ” Isn’t that the same with life. We can count lots of things, as whews, that’s okay to operate that way…we got away with it. We got through it. But self deception blind sides us. The gist is simple. “In climbing. If you are leading and you lie to yourself about anything, if you rationalize or pretend you might get hurt of killed. I find something appealing about an activity that demands such allegiance to the way things are: that so clearly requires you to face your own fragility, to face the truth. There is something stunning and even gorgeous about the fact that a lie can cause you to take a 30 foot fall onto a ledge, maybe breaking an arm or a leg, maybe even dying of hypothermia if it rains and you didn’t bring a jacket and your partner gets lost going for help.”
This is the clear and very real understanding I needed to have- that LIEING and SELF DECEPTION can cause the utmost and unexpected HARM in my life. That I am SAFEST in life when I am looking clearly at the truth of any situation and that by ignoring, covering up, or not recognizing makes my life dangerous. TRUTH is the safest way to live.
So why is that so hard for me to see, recognize, or even identify what’s real? Why do I cover up and compensate? I know it swirls from my childhood, somehow, and is making my life vulnerable to taking plunges.
Jan. 27, 2010. I GET it. It’s a live performance. We only get one chance. Make it a playwrite worth watching and it will be a life that is worth living Caren! Live on, Caren with impeccable honesty. Live on a full stage, full of lines and action and characters. “A couple of climbing acquaintances filled me in on the quite astonishing variety of ways croaking in the Himalayas.Falling off the mountain seemed the least of my worries. Strokes, heart attacks, pulmonary oedema, cerebral oedema, frostbite, exposure, pneumonia, stone falls, avalanche, crevasses, and runaway yaks each with a name and an instance of someone who had been killed that way…Life was too pleasant and interesting to lose, AND YET, to TURN DOWN an experience like THIS……”
So, that’s why a marathon on every continent in the remotest places I can find. To not turn down an experience like this!