Its been a month of hills – physically challenging hills and mountains and I am very certain there is a lesson(s) in all this.
First there was the Ride to Conquer Cancer – in the 220km ride it felt like there was 150km in hills and as I struggled to peddle with all my might I thought they were never going to end. And just as we would come to the top of one and heave a sigh of relief thankful to have survived, there would be yet another freaking hill.
Then I participated in the BMW X2 challenge which included the CN Tower skywalk – though not a hill, I am terribly afraid of heights – which is part of my challenge with hills and mountains. To “win” I had to suck it up and walk that ledge…and I did…for an hour. Leaning in, leaning out, letting go.
And then there was my “Nature Vigil” – 5 days in Calistoga California in a mountain range. And of course I picked a camping spot high up in the mountain on a ledge. The view was spectacular. The hike to get my gear up there required 5 trips – not so spectacular. At one point I literally started to cry asking myself “Gallucci what is it with you and hills?!?!?!”. In the end, it was the perfect spot for me.
This past week my daughter and I have been driving the California Coast for our holiday. We started just north of San Fran and are headed to San Diego. The ledges and cliffs we have walked are incredible, spectacular, breathtaking and have put knots in my stomach as I climb, peer over edges and pray we don’t fall. Yesterday we drove into the Palm Desert and climbed trails and rocks in the surrounding area and Joshua Tree. As we were literally climbing up this rock wall to get to the top of the mountain I once again I asked myself, “Gallucci what is it with you and the freaking hills this month?!?!?!”
Add to this the philosophical and emotional hills I have been travelling this month with the very intense “work” I have been doing.
I have certainly tested myself physically and mentally this month more than any other time in my life and in such a condensed period of time. And I am still alive! I have survived!
I think that as you conquer one hill, another presents itself and we choose to climb it or go around. This has been my month of climbing – physically, mentally and spiritually. And in all cases I am much better for it. I have grown. There have been some wounds but the wounds have revealed even deeper learning and huge accomplishments for which I am eternally grateful.
Life is a series of hills and valleys. In fact, a healthy heart rate reflects hills and valleys. It is only when we are dead that our heart rate flatlines. I’m not dead. I will continue to climb the hills, breathe, grasp the learning and then climb the next one. Perhaps I will give myself a little more time and not climb so many all in one month but nonetheless I will climb. The learning has been incredible. Knowing that I can survive the hills physically has given me a confidence to conquer some of the mental hills life presents. For me time in nature is akin to church or a conversation with God and or the Universe – whatever you believe. There are messages from birds and deer and butterflies and from the very soil on the ground. There is a peace in nature that is restorative and reflective even when it is testing you physically. And interestingly, I am not tired by all of this exertion. In fact I am sleeping less, am much more peaceful and have a renewed energy and excitement. And so today, another trail and another hill before we head to Coronado.
There is gold in them there hills and I am discovering potfuls!