How to Climb a Mountain

    c.333w How to Climb a MountainStand at the bottom of a mountain, look up and what’s the typical reaction? “No effing way am I going to make it to the top,” turn around and walk away.

    Stand at the bottom of a mountain, look up and what’s the atypical reaction? “Coolio! Wonder what the view’s like from up there,” pick up your backpack and put one foot in front of the other.

    I understand the putting one foot in front of the other concept. Still, there’s more involved than just that. From a great authority on the matter (having logged some 40,000 miles backpacking), I’ve learned there are procedures you follow to make that happen. (Procedure being the operative word.) Actually, the way it was explained to me is there is the Essence of the matter and the Logistics.

    When you set out, when you want to start something — that is when you’re looking for the Essence — you need to give it an honest assessment. Look at the something, see it for what it is and determine what is most important to you. This is your Perspective, a.k.a. point of view. (Note, your Perspective is dependent upon your needs.) Once determined, you keep that Perspective (the Essence of what you want) while determining the Logistics. Logistics is comprised of two components: Time and Information. (Everything else is in the details.)

    Time consists of the time needed to get ready, time needed to do it, and time needed to reflect upon having done it.

    Information consists of all the things you need to know about what you’re going to do. (Or as much of that as you feasibly/practicably can obtain).

    Best explained with examples.

    c.336w Climbing a MountainCLIMBING A MOUNTAIN
    Continuing the mountain example, you might ask, “What is expected of the mountain?”
    ~Is the mountain 7,000 feet of hard climb?
    ~Is the mountain six days of arduous work?
    ~Is the mountain just a mountain?
    ~~~not something to battle against
    ~~~no time frame to accomplish the climb
    ~~~is it a mosey and meander up a hill — a hill, be it 10 feet high, 1,000 feet or 10,000.

    If you view the mountain as just a hill, and the way you climb a hill is by putting one foot in front of the other, then you keep doing that until you reach the top. You now have your Essence.

    As for the Logistics, you ask yourself “What do I need in order to put one foot in front of the other up this hill?” Your answer, which will include the time frame you’re guesstimating, plus all the information you can glean about the hill (a.k.a mountain), the weather, the time of year, etc. will tell you what you need in your backpack.

    In response to my questions, this wise person (who happens to be the Love of My Life) claims this can be applied to all situations. Challenged, he gave me two other examples.

    c337w Job HuntingJOB HUNTING
    Essence: What is my Perspective of Job Hunting? “Look for a job until I find one.”

    ~Time: I’m going to look “x” number of hours per week
    ~Information: What information do I need to Job Hunt?
    ~~~Where are the jobs?
    ~~~How do I present my information to prospective employers?
    ~~~Where do I find information about prospective employers? (This is important because you can’t tailor your resume if you don’t know what they’re looking for. Another huge advantage is by doing the legwork in advance, when an opportunity presents itself, you will be able to move quickly.)

    c.335w sailboat with catsSAILBOAT
    Essence: What is my Perspective of my Sailboat, what do I intend to use it for?
    ~Sailing, therefore does it sail?
    ~Motoring with the sex appeal of sails therefore is it a motorboat with sails?
    ~Is it a floating condo?

    Logistics: Having decided I’m going to use my sailboat for sailing from here to there, now I figure out a time frame (a fluid guesstimate) and then gather all the information I can about what I will need to make this happen.

    I admit to being a slow learner, thus the LoML and I have had quite a few chats about this subject. Still, there seems enough wisdom in this to warrant serious mulling, contemplation and reflection . Since writing things out helps me organize my thoughts, I thought to share.

    PS: A side benefit is that even if you aim for the top of the mountain and don’t make it, you’ll still be further along than had you not tried. The following photo was taken in Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, New Mexico. I didn’t make it to the top of the mountain. Still, I made it higher than I’d ever been before because at the bottom of the “hill” I decided to put one foot in front of the other for as long as I could. (The entire adventure is chronicled in the book The Circle Widens. It’s available on Amazon for purchase or, click here for a free .pdf version.)

    Tent City#13

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    kath unsworth - May 2, 2016 - 4:17 pm

    Hi Tana we are all at different stages on the mountain some days I get higher and some days I have to go a few steps backwards. I guess its all about not giving up. Some days I do and then I start climbing again. When I think of how I stay motivated with my art etc its all about just turning up at the mountain no matter where I am and stepping out. Learning so much.

    Ps could not comment on last post but agree with your partner its all about the journey and what you learn when you put yourself out of your comfort zone. I think about what I wanted to achieve writing a picture book and I never dreamed of all the valuable lessons i am learning along the way.

    Tana Bevan - May 3, 2016 - 1:30 pm

    Hi Kath, Once again I want to wish you a speedy recovery from your recent surgery.

    As for the mountain climbing, I think one thing we’re guilty of, or at least I am, is not giving value to taking breaks along the way. Sitting part way up the mountain to take the time to enjoy the view, and give yourself kudos for having gotten where you are is priceless. Sometimes that’s as important or even more important than the climb itself.

    Love seeing how your art is evolving.