The Greatest Mountain to Scale

Great mountains are conquered one step at a time.

Niseko, Hokkaido (February 2018)

Snowflakes rested on my face. I was on top of a ski slope, looking down into white abyss.

A cloud of mist formed as I exhaled. I had never been skiing before, and the way down looked pretty steep to me.

My heart thumped underneath all my thermal wear. Despite the freezing cold, I was sweating a little.

I couldn’t see the bottom of the slope. I took another deep breath and pushed myself forward.

“It’s now or never,” I thought.

And made the leap.

It’s a winter wonderland in Niseko, Hokkaido. There is newly fallen powder on the ground and skiiers are racing down the slopes.

Some were speeding straight down. While others, like I, descended in a zigzag.

That I couldn’t see the end, didn’t matter anymore. In bite-size pieces, the journey was not daunting.

All that mattered was that I was present to the next step.

And that led the way to the next.

Great mountains are conquered one step at a time.

Whether scaling a mountain or skiing down it, starting a new business endeavour or kindling a relationship.

The best way to start is to make that leap —trusting in the significance of each step on the journey.

The Beginning

I began LiFE studio with starry-eyed naïveté, brimming with hopeful optimism and a sincere regard that all would pan out well.

It had been a long time coming — a culmination of everything I had ever done till that point. Prior to that, I had worked in the corporate arena in disciplines ranging from Finance to Fashion and lived in a hipster district in London. Inspired by the art and music, I aspired to link this to spirituality and wellness and create a lifestyle.

The holistic approach to life sees all parts as inextricably linked to the whole.

This meant that my business had to align with what set my soul on fire.

And so it began.

Years of gruelling work that felt like I was pushing up a mountain. I was adamant that if I pushed hard enough, we would scale and reach the top.

But hustle alone can only get you so far. Life is tough when out of alignment with the Flow.

And before I knew it, it all came tumbling down.

The Mountains are Calling

The embers crackle in the fireplace as I mull things over mulled wine. Outside, night begins to fall and stars sprinkle the dark sky.

Pen in hand, I begin to journal. I like to write as I find the process cathartic. The first words hit the paper and pave the way for the next.

The recent loss still stung, slightly numbed by the icy winter air.

I take another sip of wine. My chest warms while I feel slightly heady.

“Mountain peaks and hidden valleys,” I muse. “What does it take to conquer the greatest one of them all?”

“The higher the peak, the deeper the valley will be…Near Everest, the deepest valley exists. It can only exist there.” (Osho)

Sitting in the trough of my life to date, I begin to see its splendor. My acceptance of the recent events brings about an infilling, a deepening.

The significance of the valleys has become crystal clear to me. A certain peace wafts over my now more objective view.

We focus on the peak, but not at what it takes to get there. Skill is forged through determination but how about empathy, kindness and service?

We rush to get there first, but lose sight of what matters most – may it be a loved one, small moments or health.

We celebrate the peaks and hide the troughs, but who stays at a peak forever? And, what is a life only acknowledged when on a high?

True strength is cultivated in the hidden moments. What you do in the dark determines the quality of your light.

Sitting at the bottom, my perspective broadens. I become aware of the entire snow-capped mountain range.

It was never just one mountain or one trek to the top.

There are peaks and there are valleys — it’s the journey that counts. The highs exist because of the lows. There is much to be learned from the troughs.

What lies before us and what lies behind us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

As we begin to go on our way, the path forward suddenly appears.

And we find – the greatest mountain to scale lies within.