Self-Renewal and Personal Summits

The start of a new year always brings with it much hope. Hope for overcoming bad habits, hope for new beginnings, hope for new opportunities, and hope for new personal and professional relationships.

Since last summer, after watching the movie ‘Everest’ with a friend, I’ve been mesmerized by all things mountain-climbing. I went on a book/movie binge including the Discovery Channel’s Everest TV Show, ‘Touching the Void’, ‘Meru’, ‘North Face’, ‘Into Thin Air’, amongst several others. Although I am interested in ‘mountaineering’, I’m hardly considering climbing Everest or anything nearly as ambitious any time soon (or ever). Rather, I was unknowingly drawn to the subject-matter for a reason that took me a while to figure out…

Goals.

What made mountaineering so appealing on the face of it (mountaineering pun), was the idea of an explicit goal: reach the top (and come back down). I find in life, ‘summit’s, however, are not always so easy to identify as that of a mountain. I think I was drawn to the subject of mountains as an metaphor for my personal desire (and frustration at times) to find very discrete goals to achieve; goals that I would be able to clearly visualize progress with, as one does whilst going up or down an mountain.

And so I was stuck for a while on this problem... Luckily, a good coffee chat with a friend of mine (thanks Leila), helped provide a guiding line (sorry, another mountaineering pun). Leila pointed me towards a article that John W. Gardner wrote on Personal Renewal.

In the article, John literally states “.. Life isn’t a mountain that has a summit. Nor is it - as some suppose - a riddle that has an answer. Nor a game that has a final score”. Rather, John continues “Life is an endless unfolding, and if we wish it to be, an endless process of self-discovery, and endless and unpredictable dialogue between our own potentialities and the life situations in which we find ourselves”.

And so, Gardner helped answer my latent ‘question’ and if you can identify with this story, perhaps yours as well. In that spirit, I wish you all an amazing start to 2016 and hope that we can all continue our “endless process” together!

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