As any of you who often visit The MountainWorld Blog know, I have written quite a bit about the ethics on Everest...and its greater implications for life off the mountain, for what actions on Everest can and do say about ethics in our society, in our world.
This morning, through Google Alerts, I came across a podcast by Sage on the site Quirky Nomads. The piece, entitled Back to Mount Everest, is entertaining and thought provoking. I encourage all of you to listen to it - you can by clicking here.
I won't transcribe the entire podcast, as it is better listened to with the benefit of Sage's inflection and verse. However, her ending I think is worthy of posting here:
We could all get up today, eat breakfast, go to work, go to school or the living room and - irritable and tired - walk past someone who needs help.
Big help, or small help, or the kind of help you know will take all day...and you've got to pick Katie up from swimming!
Or...we could stop...we could squat down and say: "What can I do? Tell me."
Well put, Sage. The events we have seen unfold over the years on Everest are not unique to the mountain. They are not confined to the oft-selfish pursuit of climbing the high peaks. Sadly, they are everywhere.
From the world's reluctance to get involved in the burgeoning crisis in Darfur to a society which is increasingly disjointed, polarized, people separated from their neighbors, their friends.
As I stress in my keynote presentations, the joy of climbing Everest, of reaching goals, of living life in general does not come from standing on the top. The true joy comes in the journey, the adventure of the climb and the relationships and humanity which stem from it.
When we get too focused on the end goal, on the top at all costs, the summit-or-plummet mentality, we lose the ability "to stop, squat down and say: 'What can I do? Tell me.'"
So a goal for all of us today...and everyday:
Find someone in need. A relative. A friend. A stranger.
Stop your daily business for a moment. Reach out to that person. See what you can do to help them.
They will be thankful for it, and so will you.
- Jake Norton is an Everest climber, guide, photographer, writer, and motivational speaker from Colorado.