Starting 2013 Proud

Shannon Wilkinson, Summit of Mt. St. Helens New Years Day 2013I’m really proud of myself for how I started 2013. Yesterday, I climbed Mt. Saint Helens, our resident Pacific Northwest live volcano.

But that’s not the whole reason why I’m proud.

I did it solo. My first solo climb in fact.

I’m proud of that, but that’s not really why either.

I’m proud because I gave myself lots of space to change my mind and let it be okay.

Even though the weather was perfect, which also guaranteed I wouldn’t be the only one on the mountain, contemplating climbing by myself was a little daunting.

Mt. Saint Helens from the road.

Mt. Saint Helens from the road.

Even though I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve climbed this particular mountain, it’s still a mountain. It’s always a little bit different. There’s a certain amount of unpredictability being in the backcountry.

But the weather was so tantalizing! Not to mention the timing. The summit of one of my favorite mountains (your first is always just a little bit special) on the first day of a new year.

I prepared my gear the night before, set my alarm and went to bed. I fell asleep promising myself if I didn’t want to go in the morning I didn’t have to.

My alarm gently awakened me early early early in the morning. It took me a minute to remember why my alarm was going off so early.

Trees laden with snow look like they're from Dr. Seuss.

Trees laden with snow look like they're from Dr. Seuss.

Then I remembered.

I might be climbing today. Excitement! With a smidge of trepidation.

I checked the weather, then checked in with myself.

Yes. The weather was still perfect and I still wanted to go.

Each step of the way I checked in with myself, and the conditions. I determined the criteria for continuing and for going home.

As I was driving and the fog was thick. I checked in.

When I arrived to the trailhead later than planned, because of road conditions, I checked in.

When deep powder made the going slower than anticipated, I checked in.

Looking past the fog covered valley towards Mt. Hood.

Looking past the fog covered valley towards Mt. Hood.

When something about my snowshoes was making my feet cramp, I checked in.

Over and over again, I asked myself a number of questions:

  • How am I feeling?
  • How are the conditions?
  • What are my options?
  • What do I want to do?
  • When will I reassess?

There were dozens of points where I gave myself the genuine opportunity to turn around. These were points where I allowed myself a true choice, not a fake one, where I would berate myself for failing or didn’t really consider turning around a possibility.

That was the key.

Brilliant colors at the end of a brilliant day.

Brilliant colors at the end of a brilliant day.

Had I not allowed myself the true possibility to change course, even 180 degrees back to the car, the climb would have been much tougher and not nearly as much fun. I could have easily pushed myself too hard, freaked myself out, even hurt myself if I felt trapped with only one acceptable possibility.

There are always possibilities.

And that is what I’m most proud of — I gave myself the space to consider a full range of possibilities without judgement.

It’s a most auspicious beginning to 2013.

It doesn’t matter what I’m considering, the as yet elusive but enticing inbox zero, a home ready for entertaining, supporting more amazing people to become change artists,  As I’m considering how I want to shape the coming year, following in yesterday’s footsteps is a wonderful way to start.

How can you make yourself proud in 2013?

Where would you like to become aware of the possibilities, give yourself genuine options, be free to change course as you check in with yourself and your environment? Let me know, here in the comments, on the Facebook page, or drop me a line.

 

 

4 comments to Starting 2013 Proud

  • Christine Myers

    Way to go, Shannon!

  • This is a fascinating post, really. No one likes to hear a martyr push on with grim determination only to complain about what they did later. This is a great idea to give yourself the full range of possibilities so that you reassess enough to know whether you are doing something for the right reasons or not. Always enjoy reading your posts!
    cj renzi recently posted..Blasting the Last Item Off the To-Do ListMy Profile

  • Vvvv

    Wow, I’m proud I found this blog!

    •How am I feeling? frustrated
    •How are the conditions? just OK
    •What are my options? Seems like I can just slog away here until I find another job. Or, I can talk to super-nice boss about increasing the parts that motivate me. Or I can switch jobs within this department. Or I could sit where the windows are instead.
    Or I could open a brewery.
    Or I could live off freelancing.
    Or I could join the Peace Corps.
    •What do I want to do? Feel happy and motivated and productive!
    •When will I reassess? I check in to my feelings everyday. But I want to reassess with every paycheck if it’s worth it. Certainly, once a month when I’m reminded that some day I may want to raise/support a helpless child — who can’t live off my Facebooking!

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