I thank God for the need I have to listen to my heart. The Inner Voice that steers me right, even if it rocks the boat of the Familiar or the Expected. If I ignore the Voice, bullied as I can be by the stern directions of the Intervening Mind GPS, I always end up in the Land of Unnecessary Trouble.
The best then has to be made from obeying the Mind’s Orders, no matter how tormented a reality they lead to.
The Heart’s Voice, the Gut Feeling, the Intuition, whatever you call it, eventually rights the course towards Harmony and Natural Flow of Life. Sometimes it takes moments, sometimes years.
They say donkeys never trip twice on the same stone. I have, and still do. With time, and experience, I have become better at accepting sooner the wisdom of my Heart’s Voice. Tripping over and over the stone of my Mind is becoming rarer.
And so I am grateful for all the lessons each decision brought, for all the learning each fork on the trail allowed. Whether it was by being true to myself, or by being too scared to hurt or too chicken to dare. I am grateful for Life, and for the opportunities to grow it gives me.
Rob Hall and Scott Fischer‘ s teams are going for the summit. My friend Michael (Knakkergaard Joergensen) and I, at camp 3, ponder about going up to the South Col, the weather is so not good. We cannot even see the summit pyramid, almost one thousand meters of it above the South Col. And they, Rob and Scott’s groups, are up there, summitting, or attempting to.
The next morning, eight climbers are dead. Guides, clients, leaders.
I had had a gut feeling, as I called it in those days, about the timing being wrong to go for it, yet I went. I found myself in the middle of a fierce storm, and a disaster in the making. Good somehow came out of it, a gentle walk with badly frostbitten Beck Weathers, down the rope from the South Col, until Peter Athans told me to go on. I know he was worried about another disaster. He did not know me, did not want to complicate a rescue in the middle of a tragedy. Fair enough. I went. Never been one to do a hard sale.
In the talks I give, I use this story, this snippet of life, to illustrate the ‘essentiality’ of listening to the Inner Voice.
I took a picture on the south col, the morning of that ill fated day, 11 May 1996. If it feels right to you, you can get a copy of it, by becoming a contributor to the Beyond the Smile Documentary, for as little as $50. A frozen moment in the dramatic history of Everest’s conquest attempts, and a reminder to listen to the Gut Feeling, regardless of what everyone else is doing. Only you know.