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Forward Progress

Pedro Sotelo // 3.7.14

"The glass room and barriers that stood between me and my heart’s desire were now behind me..."

Pedro Sotelo, Past Participant

Author of blog in skis on snowy mountain

Breaking through barriers can sometimes be harder than expected especially when those barriers show up without anticipation. This was the case for me recently as I participated as a representative of Soldiers to Summits at the Wells Fargo Ski Cup in Winter Park, CO. Something as simple as walking across the snow in an area filled with a multitude of people was, for me, like being in a glass room surrounded by people excited to hit the slopes first thing in the morning after a night of fresh snow showers. The loud noise and people walking in all directions – some moving fast and others slow, for people like me who deal with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), can trigger anxiety and initiate the basic human “fight or flight” instinct.

The place was packed with people of all walks of life, but the most notable were those with physical disabilities making their way to the front of the line ready to board the lifts to enjoy the fresh snow on the mountain. It was at this point I realized there were no disabilities that could prevent any of us from allowing our heart’s desires to become one with nature. Although snow packed and bitterly cold, we touched the mountains that extended their friendly and gentle, majestic and wonderful welcome to us.

I now stood still in the middle of all these people wondering how I could move forward. Then I remembered hiking in Peru a few months ago as part of the Soldiers to Summits 2013 Peruvian Expedition and how putting one foot in front of the other, traveling great distances, helped me develop confidence and knowledge that forward progress gets me closer to my destiny. Sounds simple enough, but when the barriers in our lives stand tall in front of us and prevent us from seeing what’s ahead, every step we take signifies greater hope in taking down the walls that keep us from overcoming them.

So, I walked across the snow, put on my skis and allowed the fresh, powdery snow to guide me over the slopes. The glass room and barriers that stood between me and my heart’s desire were now behind me with little to no effect on me other than the memory of overcoming…that which stands in front of me is not greater than what is within me. One step at a time, one foot in front of the other for me, there are no barriers that can keep us from accomplishing our dreams. Whether walking, running, climbing or sliding forward progress can never keep us in the past.

If you or someone you know could benefit from the forward progress overcoming barriers provides, nominate or ask them to apply for Mission: Mt. Whitney, this year’s Soldiers to Summits signature expedition. You can find out more and easily share the information here –