Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tips for climbing a virtual mountain

Tips for climbing a virtual mountain
By: Marissa Anteby

Everyone faces challenges in their lives, that's nothing revolutionary. What is news is a growing theory that you can practice building up your mental know-how for times when you'll need it most. Strengthening your acumen is a simple matter of fortifying your imagination to deal with whatever comes your way. Visualizing yourself overcoming one adversity will ready you for others, even if they are of different nature. Seeing yourself tackling insurmountable obstacles is good rehearsal for your next real life quandary.

For example, if you picture yourself beating the odds by climbing a huge mountain, the symbolism will be imprinted on your brain and present itself when you need to be brave and transcend your fears for something in your daily life. The following guided meditation is the perfect illustration of vanquishing your own personal doubts to triumph in the face of uncertainty.

Read the passage below then close your eyes and imagine the scene unfolding before you, like you've managed to step into the story and become the protagonist.

It's early morning on a crisp fall day. You're fixated on climbing a mountain that's not too far from your home. You've done some research and discovered that all the local alpinists recommend this one guide who is supposedly the best. You've already telephoned her weeks ago and set up an appointment to climb the mountain with her today. You know it's not going to be an easy trek but you are optimistic about reaching the summit and look forward to taking amazing photographs from the peak.

You leave your home and make your way to the rendezvous point. You exchange the usual niceties as you greet each other and set out on your adventure together. You've packed all the essentials in your knapsack and carry it on your back. The guide isn't very talkative but you gather that she knows what she's doing and you feel comfortable following her. You both start up a winding path to the base of the mountain. There's a chilly breeze in the air and it seems to get colder as you pass under a tangle of tall trees.

At times the terrain is rugged and coarse but you stick close to the guide and make it through the rough patches unscathed. You are grateful for her knowledge and steady pace. But as you grow hot and tired, and the trail seems endless, you wish she would slow down. She doesn't. She continues at her usual clip, hiking non-stop. Until you reach a small stream. It's there that she allows you to sit down and unburden yourself from your gear. She makes a bowl out of her hands and dips them into the fresh water for a drink. You copy her and feel the icy liquid trickling down your throat. It refreshes all of your senses and you are revived enough to take on the next leg of the journey.

There are many quick dips and elevations, making it hard to keep up with the guide. At times, you wish you never came out to the mountain. You blame yourself, you blame the guide, you even blame the rising of the sun for making the trip arid and arduous. The guide is so far ahead, a few times, you think you've lost her. When you want to give up, the guide comes to you and urges you to keep going. She says you've come really far and there's not that much further to go. Her words of encouragement help you for a short while but then worry seeps back into your mind. You feel lost and you miss the comforts of home. You grow uncertain about the guides ability to get you out of there. With no other option, you trudge on.

Seeing that you're losing hope, the guide takes your hand and tells you, "You can do this." The words echo in your head and you repeat them again and again with each new footstep. Slowly but surely, you are nearing the top of the mountain. The air is still, and time seems to be moving in slow motion. You dig your toes in to the final foothold and hoist yourself up with all your might to stand at the pinnacle. You can't believe the beauty spread out before you. It's the most inspiring scene you've ever seen. You're in awe. You feel a rush of exhilaration through your bones. It was all worth it; the physical and mental anguish was nothing compared to the privilege of viewing such magnificence. You turn towards the guide and she flashes you a knowing smile. Before you get a chance to shoot a single photograph, she takes a leap. Without skipping a beat, you follow right behind.


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