In a world driven by numbers, measurements and achievements, we are too often discouraged by super-human feats that continually push the envelope of human potential. When we measure ourselves against our heroes we are apt to belittle our own efforts and loose sight of our passion and personal motivations.
Most of us have an “Everest” that we aspire to, no matter how high, how far away, how difficult the journey – inward or outward. When we find the inspiration to pursue our own dreams, climb our own mountains – no matter how big, how small, what shape or what form – we realize that it is our journey that matters most and what we take away from it is often the key to unlocking our dreams.
I am most inspired by those who have gone quietly beyond personal ambition and made a concerted effort to give something back with their passage. To me, these are the real heroes of the day and I aspire to follow their example. Offering my resources and something of myself opens me more fully to the beautiful diversity of mountain life and the intricate connection I share with all life on earth. We too often pass in our own bubble, unaware of the impacts we bring, unaware of the changes we influence. These are the important challenges before us and the integrity of the places we love to death is at stake.
In the fall of 2003, I had the great privilege of traveling to Nepal to lead an all women’s expedition on Ama Dablam, 22,487’. Our team (The Mamas Dablam) went where many have gone before, ascending the aesthetic southwest ridge up technical mixed terrain to the steep ice face leading to the summit. We went light and unsupported, carrying our own loads and fixing our own camps.
Our ascent was not notable as a first ascent, as a speed ascent or any record-breaking achievement. Our goal was to climb the mountain together in good style. Our mission was to raise money and support the dZi Foundation’s work improving the basic quality of life for the women, men and children in the Himalayas. Through our endeavor we helped further the cause of women in developing countries, and brought more light to the issue of young girls at risk.
Our fundraising efforts, which exceeded $23,000, assisted the dZi Foundation in starting up the “Sikkim Happiness Home” in 2003. Many girls are at risk in this remote region of the Eastern Indian Himalaya. The funds we raised for this project will ensure young women with a safe haven, health care, education and a chance for a brighter future.
Most of us have the ability and resources to go one step further and add a little altruism to anything we do. With a little awareness and effort we can provide priceless opportunities for many in need of hope. Adopt a “spirit of service” and wed it with your next adventure.