Endure Your Everest

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You don’t really conquer a mountain, you conquer yourself. You overcome sickness and everything else – your pains, aches, fears – to reach the summit. – Jim Whittaker

Some have asked me – Why Everest? I want to take a moment to explain.

When I was a kid, I saw pictures of the mountain in a National Geography magazine. I remember saying that I wanted to climb it. I stopped sharing my dream of climbing it. People discouraged me. That had a major impact on me. Eventually, I stopped talking about it.

I came across a journal entry of mine the other day. It was an entry from 16-years ago. I wrote that one of the bucket list things was to climb it by the age of 50. 4 more years and yet to even go to base camp.

I injured my lower back in April 2003 when I was on active duty in the Army. I hurt it during a training exercise. I had 1 back surgery in January 2004. The neurosurgeon, who did my surgery, told me that I was too young for a 3-disc fusion. The injury ended my military career. I have been a Disabled Veteran since November 2004. Since being injured, climbing Mt. Everest became a dream. I have not let my knowledge of Everest go to waste. I just think differently about it.

I find similarities between climbers and those who don’t climb. However, there is a huge difference too. I believe many non-climbers give up too quickly. Climbers ascend fulfilling their dreams. I believe many non-climbers can learn how too as well. If you fall under the latter, then let’s learn something from climbers.

Climbers learn how to overcome the challenges they face. They do so to stay alive. They work through struggles. They endure pain. They don’t quit when the going gets tough. Summiting is the goal. It drives them on.

You may never attempt to climb a mountain. However, you lost sight of a goal. Challenges keep you from pressing on. You give up when things get too hard. You stay away from pain. You are not willing to endure it.

Climbers prepare. Climbers face challenges. Climbers struggle through discomfort. Climbers endure.

Prepare yourself to face your challenges as you work through your pain. Endure your Everest.

Your Summit Awaits

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Mt. Everest is 8,848 m/29,029 ft tall. Planes fly at 30,000 ft. If a plane was flying over the summit, a climber and passenger on the plane could see each other and wave. That’s crazy.

Wouldn’t it be great to stand on top of your Everest summit? Can you see yourself there? You endured the pain. You made it.

I believe someone, above 30,000 ft, is able to not just wave, but stand with you. He can celebrate the accomplishment with you. He is there to meet you stand on top of the world. You have overcome your obstacles. He has cheered you on. You likely even called out to Him on your ascent. You endured. You made it. God is above all things. He is in all things. He was cheering you on. He helped you endure.

I pray that you endure. Your summit awaits. Endure your Everest today.

One Step at a Time

Tim Mosedale

Being tough and mentally resilient is one thing but you will need to be able to keep on going, despite how awful you feel, in spite of how lonely you might be, no matter how ‘out there’ and vulnerable you may feel. You have to put all that to one side and put one foot in front of the other … incredibly slowly … believing all the way that you have what it takes. – Tim Mosedale

In the Christmas classic, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, a young Kris Kringle sings Put one foot in front of the other. It’s one of those tunes you think about throughout the year. You sing even when it’s not Christmas. You just can’t get it out of your head. Wait for it. Now, you can’t get it out of your head. I know you’ll be singing that song for the rest of the day. You’re welcome.

Avid climber, Tim Mosedale believes what Kris Kringle sang about. According to his website, timmosedale.co.UK, Mosedale, has summited Mt. Everest 5 times. He blogged, that there are 7 factors to consider climbing Everest. One of those is being mentally strong. The individual sets out to stand at the top of the world,  must be mentally prepared to have what it takes. He also suggested pressing on no matter what one may face.

By putting one foot in front of the other, the adventurer may have a better chance of making it to the top than one who doesn’t think about it.

Are you having a hard time enduring your Everest today? It seems I have had to endure mine more than once since I got out of bed.

I pray that you consider Mosedale’s suggestions. You need to be mentally strong. Continue pressing on. Take one step at a time. You’ll summit if you endure your Everest today.

Endurance

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What image does this mean to you?

For me, it is a visual representation of the word endurance. This is my buzzword for life. It is an important word for me. I came to understand it’s meaning when I was young. I have had to endure many things in my life.

I can define endurance with 2 words – Disciplined Determination. That’s it! 2 words. I didn’t even need any time to define it. I have spent most of my life experiencing it. Let me explain.

I first understood what endurance meant when my parents made me do chores. I hated doing them. My main chore was sweeping the floors in the house. That’s not too tough. Not fun when you are 5 years old. I soon graduated to doing dishes.

Doing something I hated taught me to experience endurance. My parents were instilling discipline in me. They were building my character. I was determined to finish my chores so I could play with my toys. I’ll give you another example.

I loved playing outdoors. I especially loved climbing trees. We had a bunch around the property of my house. I loved climbing the tall ones. I can’t remember venturing up my first tree. I do remember that I asked myself, How do I reach that branch?

I was determined to reach it. That was my goal. I could have looked up all day and never tried. I had to be disciplined to follow through. It took a number of tries. Eventually, I made it. Looking back, discipline fulfilled my determination.

Remember the old saying, keep trying until you succeed? Let me ask you a question – What’s the lesson here?

I believe that you had dreams when you were a kid. You were determined to reach them. If you didn’t achieve those dreams then you might feel like you would be nothing. You likely asked yourself, so why try if I fail? You’ve given up trying because of your failures.

Those failures are known as – stuck points. Those are the points in life where you’re stuck. You may ask what’s the use of trying if I fail at it all the time? If you have asked that question and given up then you are stuck.

You were determined to be someone when you were growing up. You were determined to accomplish everything you set your mind to. At least that’s what you were told. Eventually, you believed it as a lie. You eventually gave up. Maybe you grew up hearing you are worthless. You will never amount to anything. You’re a failure. No one loves you. You believed you were (Fill in the blank) _______________. Others told you what to believe about yourself. You eventually proved them right. Now you find you’re stuck.

The only way out of being stuck is being disciplined to be unstuck!

You were once determined to be someone. Now you feel that you are no one. You want to change. You might even be determined to change. Are you willing to do whatever it takes to make changes?

My parents taught me discipline. Work first play later. I was determined to play. I had to be disciplined to play. Now you may think of discipline as a negative word.  Your parents may have disciplined with the backside of the hand. Or the other side of the hand on your rear-end. Maybe your parents used words as discipline. They cut you deep. You still hear them today. You may still feel the pain. You might hate discipline. However you understand the word discipline to me, it made you determined to do something about it. Or determined to do nothing.

Disciplined Determination means to endure whatever comes your way. Trials. Troubles. Great troubles. Tribulations. These are some words describing what you experience.

Jesus’ half brother James said, whenever troubles come your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. Are you serious? Joy? What is he saying? His brother was Jesus. He would have had the nicest brother in the world. He might have not believed that growing up. Later in his life, he changed his mind about his older brother. He understood who his brother really was.

Where did James find his joy? How did he get through the hard stuff? I believe it was his disciplined determination to endure whatever came his way. You can too. Still, though, I think about those who attempt to climb the highest peak known to man.

What joy do climbers get from climbing Mt. Everest?

In the book, Climbing Everest, George Mallory was quoted saying, What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. It’s especially meaningful when you consider he knew a little about adversity climbing to the top of the world. However, his family had to endure him never returning home. Since June 1924, Everest became the resting place for Mallory. Whatever Everest means to you, is it worth enduring even it’s the last thing you do?

Endure Everest even if it is the last thing you do.

 

 

Enduring Everest

Steve Morningstar Enduring Everest

Enduring Everest is a book I’ve wanted to write for some time now. So I set off to write. Nothing happened until I discovered the blogging world.

I started blogging a few years ago. I was never any good at it. I didn’t really understand how to do it. I’m not an expert by any standard. I’ve spent some time reading other’s blogs. It is helping. I’ll get better the more I do it.

Blogging is helping me structure my thoughts. It’s helping me focus. My thoughts are starting to flow through my fingers. My entire body is engaged. I used to say, get my thoughts down on paper. I don’t say that anymore. I’m not sure what we say today. But at least I’m putting my thoughts somewhere.

I am actively engaged in the endeavor. I’m committed to it. It’s a journey. It will be a slow process. I must enure the challenges. I’ve planned for this trip. Writing has begun. It’s finally time to start writing. To make this writing trek, I’ve had to pack some climbing tools.

A shout out to grammarly.com for helping with my grammar. Also, thank Steve Jobs for creating my computer of choice. or did the computer choose me? Sorry I had to say that. Anyways. apple.com is a great site. Oops, I just thought out loud. Sorry, that happens now and again. Hopefully, you’ll still read my posts and buy the book anyway. Well at least have coffee with me. We can talk about it over a sip of happiness. That might be the only thing we could agree on.

No shout out to someone’s favorite coffee brand/local shop/money-making company for investors. I can’t think around noise and certain smells. Sorry folks in Seattle. I don’t have enough money to buy coffee on a writer’s budget anyway. Enough about coffee.

Now I’m happy to say that a comfortable chair makes the writing process enjoyable. It is good for writing in, eating in, and sleeping in. A huge acknowledgment of the company known as LazyBoy.

I can’t forget the nice people at wordpress.com. This is my kind of site. They don’t charge me anything to use it.

Now onto the subject matter.

I see writing this book as an expedition. It seems way too hard to complete. Summiting the mountain of all mountains is no easy undertaking.

Summiting and writing a book is in no way physically comparable. However, the two have a better chance of being twins mentally. At least that is what I think! For whatever that’s worth.

The late great climber, George Mallory said he wanted to climb Mt. Everest because it was there.

Everest is the tallest mountain known to man. It stands at 29,029 ft to us Americans. To the rest of the world, it is 8,848 m tall. Why focus on Mt. Everest alone? Well, because it’s there. There are more peaks around the world to climb. I could talk about all other mountains under 29,000 ft. But why? I agree with Mallory. It’s there. I wonder if he’d say the same about books. Why write another one? Well because I want too.

I see Everest as a metaphor for my life. I struggle with difficulties every day. I face challenges. You do too. Some are bigger than others. Still, they are there. Each of us face struggles on a regular basis. You too may see them as mountains to climb.

The biggest mountain in my life has been mental illness. It is my Mt. Everest. (I talk about it in other posts). At this time in my life, I feel that I can talk about it. I must share. I have lived within the padded walls in my head too long. I feared what others would think of me if they knew. I have accepted that it is part of me. Mental illness has infiltrated my makeup as a person. Not sure who I’d be if it wasn’t there.

I have suffered from mental illness most of my life. Only a few years ago did I get the proper diagnosis and medication to help me live. I will never summit the mental mountain. Still, I don’t give up the dream of conquering it. Maybe I’m wanting to say conquering what I feel inside. Conquering me. I’ve traveled a long path already. I still have a long way to go. You do too.

You struggle. You want to give up. You are standing on the edge of your mountain. You want to jump. Something tells you to hang on. You yell help. No one hears you. You cry out. No reply. You stand there alone. You want someone to come rescue you. While you stand there holding on you hear those voices from the past. They seem so real. They are familiar. They seem to tell you to let go. Life would be better without you. They judge you. They’re loud. You can’t even hear yourself think.

Don’t judge your thoughts. Don’t judge yourself. It’s not anyone’s fault you are where you are. Stop and breathe. It may hurt. It won’t hurt for long. Calm your breathing. Listen to its rhythm. Find the rhythm of your heartbeat. Wait for it. Wait for it. It’s quiet. You can hear yourself breathing. Your breathing is keeping in time with the beat. However, as quick as the moment it’s gone. Don’t give up. Keep practicing. Trust me, it will eventually help.

Stop panicking. Slow your breathing. Clear your thoughts. Focus on the moment. Feel the mountain with your hands. Feel with your fingertips. It’s rough. It’s cold. Feel the edge under your feet. Move your toes. Feel.  Lean back against the mountain. Decide what to do in that moment. Then decide to find help. Don’t wait for it to show up. Instead, figure out a way up or down.

I want to encourage you to endure your Everest. Endurance means to press on. Never quit. I found this truth in the Bible. It says, Whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. When your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. When your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything – James 1:2-4. Trouble will find you. Search for joy in spite of it. Build your faith. Endurance is getting you through it. You will find strength. You will find help.

Look at that summit in your life. Decide to face it. Prepare to ascend it. Endure Everest. Start your climb. It will be a lot of hard work. Days you will want to quit.  There will days you will quit. Days you will want to die. You find yourself saying, I just can’t do this anymore. Guess what – you can’t. Sorry.

You cannot do it alone. No one climbs alone. It’s time to ask for help. Make that decision today. Don’t wait. The choice is yours.

Say, I’m not going to die today. I am strong. The summit awaits.

I am talking from experience. I had to ask for help. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I decided to find help. I did find it. However, I am still climbing my Everest. I’m not climbing alone (read another of my posts My Expedition Team).

Others around you are there to help. I’m here to help you climb your mountain! You don’t have to Endure your Everest alone.

Simply said – Endure Everest!

A New Route

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Everest climbers to take new route to reduce avalanche risk

I came across an article at telegraph.co.uk. It said Nepal announces that Everest climbers will take route up centre of Khumbu Icefall this year in attempt to avoid tragedies such as laster year’s avalance that killed 19 Sherpas

Climbers learn to take a different path to reach the summit of Mt. Everest. There are some natural disasters killing climbers. Avalanches are a constant reminder of the cost of climbing the mountain.

Do you ever feel that a mental or emotional avalanche could kill you?

We all live in fear of something. Maybe it’s the fear of getting out of bed. The worry of things. Anxiety can sometimes determine which route you take each day. You are held captive by our thoughts. You are a prisoner to them. You sometimes experience, what I call, emotional paralysis. 

Living with mental illness is a hard life to live. You have felt unable to move. You want to join the happy people around you. You struggled to speak. You find it hard to share your feelings. The fear of judgment paralyzes you. You find it difficult to breathe. You are determined to fight. You want to move. You want to feel alive. You want to feel anything but the pain in your life. You want to control your life again. You simply want to live without emotional pain.

You cannot think yourself out of what you are experiencing.

You can’t. You need help. You need a friend to talk to. You may even need professional help. I did. I had to admit that I needed help. I had friends. They were essential to my path to recovery. I even had one of my best friends drive me to a VA hospital to admit myself to a mental health ward. I had to trust him to do that for me. Not only did he drive me there, but he picked me up 11 days later. He drove me there and drove me home. He is an amazing friend.

You need to find someone you can trust. Someone who is willing to drive you to safety. Seeking professional help is not a weakness. It is a strength. You need help. You need to find someone who can help you.

See, sometimes you need to take a different route to recovery. Your mental and emotional life requires you to do that. Your well-being deserves that. You cannot climb this mountain alone. Trust others who have journeyed your path before. I have. I’m not in your shoes. Or should I say in your climbing boots. I cannot climb this mountain for you. I can tell you my story. You must face your challenges. You must decide to ask for help. I did. I have. I needed to. My life depended on it. I could not think myself out of mental illness. I had to take a new path up my mental mountain – up my Everest.

You can do it. I want to encourage to get up and decide to climb. Remember Everest climbers to take new route to reduce avalanche risk. You might fear the avalanches in your life. You may call it quits. You will never reach your mental summit alone. I’m alive. I decided to take a new route. I live with the risks of avalanches every day. I don’t live in fear of them anymore. The risks are there. The only difference now is that I’ve learned to climb in that reality of avalanches.

One important thing I had to do was ask for help. From December 2010 to November 2017 I admitted myself 4 times to mental health facilities. The first time in acute care I found freedom to admit I had a problem. This problem would not go away. It was controlling my life. It was destroying my relationships with those I loved. It ultimately affected my relationship with my wife. I am still working to recover any broken relationships. Mental illness caused damage. It became an avalanche in other’s lives. I become that avalanche.

As a Veteran, I turned to the VA for help. I am so glad I did. It has been a long path. I have struggled on my route of recovery. I used to think that mental medication was a sign of weakness. I eventually had to admit that I might be crazy. I eventually didn’t care what others thought. We all have issues. The difference between me and others is that I can admit mine.

For the first time in my life, I found the freedom to speak out. Now I am speaking up for others who need help. I am publically blogging about my mental illness journey. We all need a voice. I have found mine. Soon you will too.

I am alive. I say that literally. I’m alive because of a team helping me take a new route up my mental mountain. I was not afraid to take the risk for recovery.

You can do this. Take the risk. Get help. Don’t let the fear of dying keep you from living.

Who Are You?

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It’s asking that never-ending question, ‘Who am I?’ which motivates me and takes me on a constant journey of self-discovery that teaches me so much. Will Everest make me more cautious? In reality, probably not. – Ant Middleton

According to allaboutphilosophy.org, there are three parts to the question – Who Am I? They say the first one has to do with the struggle. The second is the identity crisis. The third is the spiritual element. Many struggle to answer that question. Some let circumstances define it for them. 

You may ask if you are who others say you are. You struggle to define yourself. You believe you are more than how others define you. This creates an identity crisis. Defining who you take courage and persistence. You want the world to know who you really are. You mature. You finally feel comfortable in your skin. It changes everything. For once in your life, you accept yourself. Still, part of you wonders is there more to life than just what I see or feel? The spiritual component plays a huge factor. Many wise people have spent his/her life trying to answer it for themselves. Still, the question remains – Who Am I?

You are more than cells randomly glued together forming a living – breathing life. You were created with purpose. You breathe. You are born doing it. You die when you don’t do it. Many in Everest’s death zone are faced with that reality. There at 8,000 meters, many fatefully took their last breath. There, they remain. They are frozen reminders of the importance of breathing. Many press on. Their dream continues driving them forward.

You dream about tomorrow. You are driven to be someone. You want to leave your mark on the world. For Ant Middleton, sets out on a  journey to self-discovery. Many have done so as well. They search for answers to life’s biggest question – Who Am I? 

Many climbers travel to the Himalayas searching for answers. They want to find out who they are. They first get to gaze upon Mt. Everest before climbing it. They are awestruck. Many continue the trek upward. They may struggle to climb Everest, but continue. They push forward. They are determined to summit at all costs. That one thought drives them to endure pain.

Climbers have a goal in mind – conquer the mountain. To do that, an individual must conquer something inside. If successful, they will stand on the top-the-world. This creates an identity. Others will admire the accomplishment. For some seek the mountain as a spiritual endeavor. Worshipping the mountain. Worshipping the heavens. Whatever, summiting will possibly bring meaning and purpose. Determined, Everest awaits. 

I use Mt. Everest as a metaphor for life. You may see it as well. Whatever the mountain stands for, you face it every day. You struggle dealing with it. You may say to the mountain move. It won’t budge. You may say I can go around it. So you try. It takes too long to do that. Another way is to climb and conquer it. You get a choice today. You can try to move it. Go around it. Climb it. You decide. Without doing anything you’ll never be able to see what awaits you on the other side. Don’t give up. Empower yourself to face your Everest today.

 

Ant Middleton image retrieved from bea09db0-de6e-48a4-aec6-702729d9e38d.jpg

 

It’s a Round Trip

edviesturs.com

It’s a round trip. Getting to the summit is optional, getting down is mandatory – Ed Viesturs 

According to mohrbooks.com, … Ed Viesturs is widely regarded as the country’s foremost high-altitude mountaineer. He is an adventurer, climber and author. Forbes.com wrote that he has summited Mt. Everest seven times. I read somewhere that he has climbed a number of peaks over 8,000 meters without supplemental oxygen. That’s the height of the death zone on Everest. At that altitude, most climbers cannot survive without oxygen. 

So what does Ed Viesturs mean when coming down a mountain is mandatory? Most people only think about summiting a mountain. The goal to reach the top is optional. Descending the mountain, according to Viesturs is mandatory. 

It has been said that more climbers die in the death zone on their descent than ascent. Most run out of oxygen tanks. They can’t survive at that altitude without oxygen. However, Ed Viesturs is able to breathe without supplemental oxygen at those heights. Everest’s death zone has claimed a number of climbers. Frozen bodies remain on the mountain to this day. They remind climbers of the body’s need for oxygen to survive.

I see life as trying to survive a death zone. You might feel you are barely holding on. You find it hard to breathe. You gasp for air. The lump in your throat reminds you of your pain. Your circumstance may feel like you are not going to survive another day. Anxiety and stress hold you in a state of distress. Your mind is racing with images of past hurts. You can’t forget them. You can’t forgive. You hold onto your hate and disgust of another person or group of people. You have been hurt. 

Maybe you are trying to make it to the end of the day. That is your summit. With all your strength, you just want to make it to your sleep summit. Without any consideration for tomorrow, you hope you don’t wake up. Tomorrow may not come for some. Reading this post tells me that you have made it another day. You endured by a miracle. You wake up and find you are still alive. However, you feel worse than the day before. The pain won’t go away. You find it hard to breathe. Without supplemental oxygen, you feel you will in fact die. 

Don’t give up. Learning that the sun will come up tomorrow may be the only way to survive. Remember, getting to your summit is optional, getting down is mandatory. Endure the day. Endure the night until the sun appears. Fight as if your life depended on it. 

_________

Ed Viesturs’ website. http://edviesturs.com

http://www.edviesturs.com/about-ed

 

Dealing With Adversity

You don’t just deal with adversity. You use it to propel yourself forward – Erik Weihenmayer – the first blind man to summit Everest

 

According to dictionary.com, adversity is – an adverse or unfortunate event or circumstance. Erik Weihenmayer knows something about adversity. He was the first blind man to summit Everest. That’s right. He climbed himself to the top of the world. He has been blind since the age of 14. Being blind didn’t stop him from summiting Mt. Everest. Accomplishing it was not an easy thing to do. He did what only a few have done. The only difference is that everyone else could see. Others stand up there and see the view at 29,029 ft. He did not. Still, he made it to the summit. 

What adversity are you facing right now? For Erik Weihenmayer, he used his adversity to propel him forward. Being blind did not stop him from achieving his goal. In spite of his adversity, he was determined to summit. 

He couldn’t climb the mountain alone. No one climbs alone. It takes others to help. In his case, someone had to guide his every step. He and his teammate had to be in sync. He put his life in another’s hands. Every step he took could have been his last. Yet he put his trust in someone else. 

Do you have someone you trust? To find someone is not an easy task. Finding that person can change everything.

There are a few people I trust. I know these individuals are trustworthy. I have shared stuff with them that I have never shared with anyone else. (I talked about them in another post.) I refer to them as my E-TEAM. Those 6 people have made a huge difference in my life. There is no price to put on their loyalty. It is my hope that you find a team as well. If you only find 1 person, you are blessed. I am truly blessed to have found 6.

Are you using your adversity to propel yourself forward? If so, you’ll be able to accomplish anything.