"Keeping the “Aim High, Enter the Storm and Climb Strong” motto..."
I was filled with numerous uncertainties when I embarked upon the expedition with Soldiers to Summits, however, both my experience with the organization as well as partaking in the expedition helped me realize that healing is not an instantaneous process. Just as it took more than a day to embark upon our trek through the mountains, I understood it would take more than a day to heal from our wounds, both physical and emotional.
As with any healing process, you encounter setbacks or periods in which you feel you are stagnant or maybe have reached a plateau.
When mentally preparing for the expedition, some of the thoughts running through my mind were just that. Would I be able to make it through? I hoped so. When faced with obstacles, would I be able to tap into my surroundings and apply the three components that make up the “No Barriers Mindset?” Aim high. Enter the Storm. Climb Strong. I would attempt to do so.
Aim High: How do we consistently set high goals for ourselves so we can lead fulfilling lives? How to we constantly reach them? How can we be climbers and not campers? We need to have courage, clarity, appreciate the best use of ourselves and understand what it means to lead a worthy life (a life of purpose).
Enter the Storm: Once we aspire to our best self, how do we have the courage to take on our high goals? How do we choose to harness our adversity? By meeting each obstacle head on.
Climb Strong: Climbing strong throughout our life is about grit, resilience, agility, innovation, and a strong rope team.
I had always considered myself to be pretty resilient. But, was I really prepared for the unknown challenges ahead? I reflected on another aspect of the “No Barriers Mindset”; the lens through which we see and navigate life. My lens was murky, at best, at this point. Was I ready to set in motion the journey to confront and overcome this lens through which I viewed and navigated my life? My heart responded with a resounding – YES!!!!
When the rubber meets the road…
We were trekking along enroute to one of several lodges we were to stay in. It was a beautiful day out with the sun shining brightly. I was enjoying the scenery. The mountains were varying shades of maroon, and I was just fascinated by that. Young ladies from the Qero’s village we previously stayed at were walking, no bounding up the mountain, effortlessly. I was concentrating on conserving my breath as I looked up to see how steep our ascent would be to get to the top of the ridge (15,000 ft) and over. I seriously contemplated being a ‘camper’ at that moment. The progress up the mountain was slow. I took several steps and stopped to catch my breath (the air was thinning as we climbed higher). At this rate, I thought, I’d be lucky to be at the ridge before dark. About an hour and a half later, I made it to the top of the ridge. I was sweaty, exhausted and ready to sit for awhile. However, I also felt such a sense of accomplishment. I did not quit, I did not give up. I kept putting one foot in front of the other until I reached the top.
Now that I was at the top of the ridge, I had to go down the other side to get to our destination. One of the Peruvian guides offered me the option of riding the horse down. I looked at how steep the climb/hike down would be and made the decision to walk rather than ride down. It took another hour to make it down the other side. It was slow and tedious, but rewarding. That is much how the healing process has been and continues to be for me.
Since the expedition, I have often used the skills and the “No Barriers Mindset” to help me navigate through difficult circumstances since my return home. I have learned, and continue to learn, new things about myself. Keeping the “Aim High, Enter the Storm and Climb Strong” motto; I have learned that though my journey to healing continues and though it may be slow and tedious, I know with the right tools, I. Will. Make. It.