Sunday, April 08, 2012

"Your Mountains... Your Life..."

"The wilderness holds answers to more questions than we yet know how to ask". N. Newhall
"In the Mountains... There are times when a person's spirit sets forth upon rambles of its own accord". J. Muir
From the many engaging exercises encountered on my Outward Bound courses, the following resonates greatly, as one of the most meaningful. From my memory of it, and as I have practiced it many times over the years, I believe I will do it justice here. The key to this exercise is to fully project oneself, our very being, ahead in time and place, so that your whole life's journey would then be laid out before you...
So, imagine yourself, on a calm day, with gentle winds, the warmth of the sun, being up on the highest summit around. This particular mountain, your finally attained elusive solo summit, is a welcoming place, where you feel full of enthusiasm, with energy to spare.
From up here, you are able to then look back over the whole journey of your life. This summit provides an overview of it all. You can envision all of your past experiences, picture everything that has happened, see all the details of where you have been, also understanding from up there why you went in each and every direction you did. This grand view before you reflects every valley and mountain you've encountered, every objective met, each challenge and adversity overcome, even where you rested as well. As you continue to gaze out beyond and look back, you can literally watch yourself going through your life's journey, overlooking the choices you made, every trail, path, climb, junction - and all of your attitudes, reactions, and perceptions as well. What a grand view your mountain gives!
Now, as you are enjoying this amazing vista, up upon your chosen summit, your find yourself pondering so many grateful memories, and musing over the wonderful adventure your life has been. From up here, the distances provide perspectives, like having a surreal but very detailed map laid out before you, where you can see so much more than before. All of your experiences, every bit of your life's terrain, highpoints and valleys, contours and elements, are all there. You begin to muse even more deeply and then quietly, gently, ask yourself: What did I do that was meaningful, that gave me purpose... What were the moments that made me laugh and smile... Where did my energy come from, who were the connections I found, what became special for me... If I decided to go back over this terrain again you ask, what would I do once more, what matters now and what doesn't... As a result of these adventures what is clear to me now, and what lessons do I take from all of this...
From up so high, being able to clearly see every one of your wanderings, also why and how you navigated the way you did, you begin to feel even more at peace. Because as T. Elliot wrote: "We shall not cease from exploration and at the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know it for the first time".
Now your musings shift a bit, towards wonderings about where you want to go from here, what do you want to experience now, about what would be significant and need fulfilling from this point on... You begin to wonder, what is in that misty valley just over the horizon. You feel the enticements and excitement about those unknowns, anticipation about what is surely waiting patiently for you out there.
You now have a very distinct understanding of your life, having answered such questions about why we do what we do in our adventurous lives. There is also a very true sensing and knowing that there is more within than we ever first realize as you now carry on with your life, further, farther, higher, onward, and inward as well...
It is your mountain, your life to live..... DSD


Barry said...

These words are so true. I did not get it at the beginning but as I gained more experience in life and in the wilderness, the parallels became increasingly apparent. Eventually came the realization that to conquer one was to gain leverage in the other. It brings great calm and confidence in the presence of patience and enlightenment.

MNM said...

I loved the exercises we did on my OutwardBound course. They got me to think about many many things.

Pete said...

Outward Bound was the most profound experience in my early life. Thanks for reminding me of how amazing it was.

William said...

My mountains are my life. Thank you for your ideas that highlight my perceptions of my years climbing.
My name is William and I have climbed mountains for over twenty years. Each mountain climb has been a life changing experience of many changing perspectives.
We share those perceptions.
Please accept my thanks for my Summit Stone.
It reminds me of my mountains.