More than an ascent to the top of a mountain. More than a 7900 foot elevation gain to reach the summit at 14110 feet. This was the Pikes Peak Challenge, benefiting Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado. This was a five hour window of opportunity to get inside my own head, to breathe, to let go, to find clarity and vision, and most of all.. purpose.
The brain injury survivor determined to reach the top, climbing step by step fully assisted by a personal climber the entire hike, 13.2 miles mind you. Using poles every movement, he who couldn't walk the distance of a parking lot on his own if he had to. 'We're just trying not to stop..' says the personal climber. Purpose. The survivor waiting on the trail 3 miles from summit to personally thank every climber, shaking our hands and appreciating what we've done in support of them. Suddenly any complaining or grumbles of the challenge of this climb or distance and time taken, diminish. Purpose. The husband waiting at the finish in his wheelchair, who has suffered a traumatic brain injury and is in assisted living, who was transported to the site to cherish the time and support, with wife and family climbing on his behalf. Purpose.
Too often we are nestled so deep within our own space we do not open our eyes long enough to see the world around us. The reality that is. I met with a life coach of sorts a few months ago, prior to making full transition from my path of success into the unknown. The intent wasn't to peel back my layers, it was to learn about his. Intrigued and engaged in conversation, he discusses the various phases of one who makes the leap, such as I have now done. He walks me through each phase and gets to a place of darkness, unknown. Long after most have turned back. This is where I live. Guided by a light the size of a pin hole, but it's there. I see it. Saturday, the Pikes ascent was that light.
When that peak is staring you in the face, it is overwhelming and scary and seemingly impossible. Much like my journey. Surrounded by 350 smiling climbers, hiking with intention and purpose, for a greater cause.. bigger than any obstacle I face, puts things in perspective. As I return to the chaos I call my life, I do so with a different set of eyes. An appreciation, a sense of clarity. The normal stresses I am facing creep back in as soon as I step foot off the mountain, but I have a renewed outlook on my imperfectly perfect life, that I tucked in my back pocket.
Outside of the already overflowing plate, there is now an added element.. competition training, which started Monday. NPC figure division at the Rocky, November 16th. Ten weeks chalked full of weight training, two-a-day cardio sessions, meal preparing, strict eating and all in performance. This is familiar territory, the difference.. each competition drives me to create a better me than yesterday. It will hurt, it will take time, require dedication and willpower, it requires healthy decisions, rest, structure and discipline. It requires sacrifice, there will be temptation and I will need to push my body to its max, but the finish line, is worth it. I am only a body, a face, an image on stage, to the crowd and the judges.. they don't know the journey I have lived to reach the finish line. But I do.
A lot to think about since the last post, which was raw and revealing and while it was difficult to let go, it also lifted a weight. Realizing that I can be, me. I am me because of the past and for that, I would change nothing. It may be difficult to read or swallow, reading through the lines, but such is life. And it's only the beginning.. each day, there is improvement and personal gain, growth and insight. There is also a fair share of pain and sadness and frustration. It is what I make of it that defines me.
Don't focus on the peak you are climbing to, focus on the path
directly in front of you. One step at a time. Life lesson.