I remember it was months before my 40th Birthday when I overheard my then husband talk to a friend in Mt Shasta. “I” wanted to celebrate big. I realized they were talking about summiting Mt Shasta exactly the night before my special day.
That was not my idea of a wild and fun celebration.
Actually at one point I got really upset.
“This was my round birthday and why couldn’t I choose what to do that day.”
Eventually I surrendered and remembered that life with my former husband always meant surprises and wonderful miracles.
The next level of resistance I had to overcome was my belief of this being possible. I was athletic and practiced yoga regularly, but climbing a 14180 ft mountain was a different challenge.
I started training with 5 1-Gallon Waterbottles in a Backpack hiking briskly up and down Griffith Park hoping that would prepare me well.
We arrived in Mt Shasta on July 20th. We went for a swim in Castle Lake. Visited Panther Meadow where everybody got a moment in stillness and by ourselves to be with the mountain.
It would be my first time to mountaineer with crampons and an ice-axe. Did I know how to use that stuff. No. Stupid. Probably. We all got a simple introduction from our fearless leader with copied paper examples.
Looking up at this majestic being, I was in awe and at the same time I could feel huge fear creeping into my heart and body. A voice kept telling me: “You. Never ever. Why would you make it to the summit?”
I could not get rid of it. Then I remembered the same voice telling me a few years when I got ready to walk THE CAMINO DE COMPOSTELA in Spain, that I would not make it and I DID. 34 days later I had crossed through Spain.
I paused and gazed at her magnificence.
“Hmmm, what did I do then, that I could repeat here. How did I change my belief of NOT making it?” I wondered.
- Enjoying the journey.
- Having no expectations.
- Showing up fully.
July 20 arrived. Also a special day in the vedic astrology, it was called Guru Purnima, a day when you honor all your gurus and teachers – good and bad.
At 10pm we started the ascent. It was hard. I panted and cursed a lot. My backpack was so f….heavy that I almost rolled down a steep hill at one point.
We made it to the basecamp at 2am to rest. I got altitude effects with massive heart palpitation and headache. I tossed and turned in my sleeping bag.
I started to tell myself. “That’s it. You don’t need to do this. This might be it. Just admit it.”
We rested all day to acclimate and now I had a whole team telling me that I could do it.
I surrendered again.
We started at 11pm. My guide was my former husband. My father and grandfather had been moutaineers all their life. So I called them in, and my gurus, and my saints, and my teachers and asked all of them to push me gradually up the mountain.
We walked at a steady pace. It was wonderful to FOLLOW a man and be guided this way.
Long Story short, I made it to the summit.
It was one of these absolutely extraordinary and unforgettable experiences in life that I would not want to miss a second of.
As we approached the summit, the FULL moon met the rising sun which cast a full pyramid to one side of the mountain. I cried. Exhausted. Feeling pure soul empowerment in this moment.
I am sending tons of courage to all that are going through life-changing situations. Like facing a mountain, know you CAN do it and you will BE so much stronger and empowered by it.
©Joya P. Gallasch/thegiftsofchange.org