Monday, April 29, 2013

Taking No for an answer

Prevailing wisdom says you shouldn't take no for an answer.
Prevailing wisdom is dumb.

I wanted something to work out this weekend. It wasn't a bad something. It was, in my mind, a great something that would benefit many people, but mainly I felt it would benefit me.

Because it was a big something that effected many people, I sat still and silent that night and asked God was this His will. Silent and still I clearly heard in my heart the word, "No".

Just that. Not any explanation or vision of why.
I am one of those firm believers that He doesn't owe me any thing else but who among us doesn't long to know the "whole" story.

I was irritable. Despite knowing it was certainly for the best, I wanted what I wanted.
Confirmation came later that yes, indeed I had heard correctly and what I wanted would not apparently be happening.

I can honestly say two days later, I am at peace with it.
I am glad I took the time to sit quietly and listen.
What I heard made it easier to deal with what ultimately happened.

Take the time to sit, quiet, still, alone and ask.
Take the time quiet, still, alone to listen.

You will be thankful you did.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Figuring it out

I spend a decent amount of time thinking about things.
A blessing and a curse.
I think about things I heard, things I read, things I said and things I wish I had not said.

Today I was thinking about the old adage "Be happy with what you have because you could be worse off, like (fill in the blank with a person in a bad situation- the person fighting cancer, the person in deep poverty, etc...).

I knew someone who really had a problem with that saying. They questioned why their pain had to compare or why pain was ranked. Good questions.

Which made me think and think and think about how we often say or think things like the this adage.

Then it struck me, the only way the old saying works for me is if instead of trying to put myself in the shoes of a person with a greater struggle, I put them into my shoes.

When I came back from a poverty stricken part of Mexico, I felt weird about how much stuff I had.
Then I tried to imagine how a poverty stricken mother who's children walked dirt floors, who had limited clean water and little medical care would feel if she were given my home and life.

I imagined how the color and texture of every item in my home might become a feast for her eyes. The feel of the cold floor, the fabric of the sofa, the taste of the food, the clothes, accessories, TV, etc... would be a million little thrills. Tiny moments of wonder over the fact that these were hers.

Suddenly I found myself seeing my home in that way. I felt like princess in a fairytale. I felt the wonder and awe of my plain little home reborn.

I thought today about what a mother with terminal cancer might feel to be placed down in my life. To find herself in a strong healthy body, with two beautiful children, a loving husband and no specter over her time with them.
I can imagine her touching their faces often, playing long slow games, smiling and laughing at all the ways they were special. Giving up molding the ideal relationships and all the pressure of that with her family simply because she is secure that she can be present.

I find myself feeling and thinking these things and I begin to relax.

It's about relishing your life.
That's what the old adage was trying to tell me, but I did not figure it out until today. It's not about rating pain or suffering, it's about how different perspectives can reveal what is hiding in plain sight.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Mount Everest- really the actual mountain

I am a vicarious liver.
No not a major organ, but one who lives through the adventures of others.

Sure I like a little adventure every now and then but money, time and a desire not to be hurt limit what I will do.
Everest is not on my "to do" list.
I am an out of shape, occasional asthmatic, with a capillary condition that limits the flow of blood in my fingers and toes.

The odds are ever not in my favor for mountain climbing.

But, thanks to the advances in viewing technology, NetFlix, I can watch season after season of a cast of characters attempt to summit the great mountain.

Meet Everest- Beyond the Limit

I was hooked at the first show.

My addiction: the Sherpas.
These guys are nothing short of super human.
Now don't get me wrong for a sea level living non- Tibetan, non-Nepalese to summit Everest it's amazing. They beat the odds. They literally walk over dead bodies to get there.

The people who are born and raised a the foot of Everest have natural abilities the rest of us do not have.
Their bodies process oxygen many times better, they have more red blood cells, compact strong bodies and more mountain instinct. They carry loads much heavier than any other climbers.

I mean above 27,000 feet it's called the Dead zone and no human has ever survived there more than 5 days. Most have to be on oxygen tanks the entire time, even the Sherpas. The peak of Everest is around 28,000 feet or the cruising height of a commercial jet.

The Sherpa who amazes me the most is Phurba Tashi.
This guy is at the limit of what human beings can do.

He has summitted Everest 19 times. 19 times. One other Sherpa has made it 21 times, but I think he may be older than Phurba. Once he single handedly carried an injured climber (the guy was a 120lb double amputee who summitted Everest) across a long section of rocky terrain on his back. This happened after he had sumitted Everest on the way down.

The man who runs the expeditions, Russell Bice, featured on the show clearly loves the Sherpas and cares for them. Through their work with him they have financial opportunities they would never have otherwise.
But every time they call him "Big Boss" I have to cringe a bit.

I respect Bice because he appears to run the safest and most carefully planned operation on Everest. During Summit season it can become something of a free for all with hundreds of people (many of whom should not be there) trekking up the peak.

The Story that most caught my attention was that of Phurba and David Tait.
Davit Tait is a child abuse survivor from England who had already summitted Everest but came back to set a world record. He wanted to summit from the north then go down the south, then after a few days rest return for a double summit. It had never been done.

He and Phurba quickly summit from the north but then more slowly make it down the south because no one had come up from the south yet that year and they had to lay their own safety lines.

Once at the southern base camp David stops the attempt. When asked why he replies because the record would not truly be his, Phurba would basically have to step aside and let David summit the second time because Phurba was leading the way all the time.
David said it was just to obvious Phurba was superior to him in every area of mountain climbing.

How easy would it have been for David to let Phurba guide him up and take the world record and all the fame? I was blown away by David's honestly and respect for Phurba.

I cannot help but see the Life lesson there. Who of us knows our own pride enough to see when we are standing on the shoulders of others?
It's not wrong to need help to accomplish a goal, but it is wrong to be blind to that fact.

Who are the unsung Phurba's in our lives? Those who have greatness in them but humbly serve others without bitterness or envy. Those who love and respect people who from time to time take them for granted.

I want to be open to see people like Phurba around me and to see myself in a more accurate light.