Sunday, January 16, 2011

Geared up like a marshmallow!

In the corner of my bedroom a mounting pile of stuff sits ready for the big day to arrive...everything from clothing to medicinal items, duffel bag, backpack and sleeping bag.  I have decided that today is the day I will put on all of my climbing gear and go for a long walk to see how it feels. 

I put on my sock liners which feel smooth and soft, light and tight to the foot that will wisk away moisture that would cause blisters if left next to the skin.  Next comes the wool socks designed to breathe and release moisture as well but hold heat.  I pull on my base-layers (odor resistant yah!!), mid-layers  (warmth yah!!)and outer layers (protection from the elements yah!!).  Winter hat, gloves and hiking boots round out the ensemble and by that time I have started to get very warm.

I looked like a marshmallow plain and simple!  My height doesn't take too kindly to layers and layers of clothing that add ugly truth that I must make peace with especially on a trip to Everest Base Camp!  I caught sight of myself in the mirror on the way out of the house after gearing up and could barely see my arms or legs poking out from this soft, pillowy mass of winter garments.  Ah, being vertically challeneged isn't always so fun.

I had prepared my backpack with additional weight to simulate what I thought would be appropriate for the climb and had added, among other things, a heavy blanket, a large jar of saurkraut and a large unopened ketchup bottle which was about all I could find.  I had 15 pounds in there and with all my other gear was carrying an additional 25 lbs. of weight.  I was ready to go.

The quietness of the winter afternoon enveloped me as soon as I stepped outside. The soft crunch and sqeek of my hiking boots on the packed snow was the only sound I could hear.  My winter hat was tight, my jacket zipped right to the top and I could hear the drumming of my pulse and feel each breath being expelled from my body...all of my senses were awakened and virbrantly alive.

It didn't take very long to realize that if I truly wanted to test out the equipment for proper fit and feel that I would be walking a long way before anything started to bother me.  Maybe the best way to cut to the chase would be to run for awhile and see how it felt.  So I started a slow jog, steadily paced and rythmic footfalls turned into loud hammering in my chest as my heart rate started to increase and by the time I had run half a mile I was pulling off gloves and hat in an effort to release the steam.  Running in hiking boots is not recommended, please not do this at home!

By the time mile #1 had come and gone I was deliriously asking myself silly questions like...why am I doing this?  I started mulling over what training was meant to do...preparation was the key.  Training allows you to prepare for what is ahead by doing things so often that they become second nature to you and you act almost by default.  That way when you perform the actual feat, you can concentrate on the experience itself because your body and mind have been sufficiently prepared for the challenge.

Would this concept work in normal day-to-day life I wondered?  I think if we train ourselves to live with gentleness, kindness, patience and love each day, when life gets tough those things will be our default behaviour...that's what will show up in our lives if we have cultivated it diligently. 

So, my thoughts today are~cultivate default behaviours in your life that will hold true when times get tough and you are climbing some personal mountains.  The training you have done to embed those virtues into your life will see you through...gear up and get out there!

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