Thursday, January 6, 2011

My own Mt. Everest

In 1999, I met a most interesting man. He was a well travelled former TV star of a 60's BBC series, who had evolved into a tapestry-weaving, practicing Buddhist (among many other things). As I said, Garry was (and is) a most interesting man.

The first thing I noticed when I walked into Garry's home was a giant photo of snow covered mountains, with one that towered over the others. In the foreground there were a number of heavily robed men that looked like Sherpas. "Is that Mt. Everest?" I asked Garry. "Yes" he replied.

Garry continued to recount the tale of his trekking expedition to Everest Base Camp he had done some years earlier. I knew at that point that I wanted to see Mt. Everest with my own eyes. The seed was planted.

Fast forward 7 years and the seed sprouted. I found myself in Nepal, surrounded by the Himalayas and completely breathless - not only from the views, but from 50% less oxygen in the air. There was a point where I doubted my ability to complete the trek when my friend, and soul brother, Rakesh came to my aid. He instructed me to take in one breath with each step.

Slowly. One breath. One step.

After ten hours of breathing (and stepping), we had reached the day's destination - the site of one of the highest monasteries in the world. The views of Mt. Everest (Sagarmatha) were overwhelmingly stunning. I felt so close to her, the Nepali goddess of the sky.

The sense of achievement was greater than anything I had experienced previously. Despite altitude nausea, fatigue, lack of oxygen, recovering from food poisoning and enduring congested sinuses from a head cold, I had conquered my own Mt. Everest.

Until tomorrow, allow seeds to sprout and take steps towards your Mt. Everest - one breath at a time.

Grace xx

PS. Pictured from left to right is my soul brother Rakesh, me, my husband Patrick and our porter RajKumar. It was taken at Everest View hotel during our rest day in Namche Bazaar. Our trek to the monastery occurred the following day.

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