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Natural Awakenings Columbia

Climbing with Inner Vision …

Aug 07, 2020 10:22PM ● By Annette Briggs

Greetings loyal readers! Probably, like me, you’re reluctantly waving goodbye to another summer that never seems long enough. Fall is upon us; seasons are changing. In fact, I think you would agree with me when I say that over the past few months, great change has been the daily norm. As a nation and across the globe, individuals, families, cities, states and countries have been forced to courageously scale some very difficult heights of adversity, marked by tough choices and sobering realities.

Late theologian and missionary Albert Schweitzer once said, “One who gains strength by overcoming obstacles possesses the only strength which can overcome adversity.” This “strength” to overcome must emanate from deep within the reservoir of one’s soul, a sacred place filled with the rejuvenating waters of hope, determination, courage and vision.

In fact, inner vision, to me, is so crucial right now—even more important than physical sight. Let’s face it, we can all agree that our thoughts, hopes, expectations and even our fears are driven by what we actually see. What we see with our eyes shapes us. Inner vision, on the other hand, is the uncanny ability to see through, beyond, up and over a Mount Everest of trouble and challenges.

Speaking of Mount Everest, did you know that it is the tallest peak of the Himalayas, scaling to an amazing height of 29,016 feet? And it still continues to grow about 16 inches per century. Sadly, many have died (nearly 300 hundred, in fact) trying to scale its unforgiving height. Everest’s climate is brutally harsh most of the time, marked by extreme winds, dangerous and quickly developing snowstorms, thin air due to the high elevation, and bone-chilling temperatures (the average “warm temperature” is about 4 degrees Fahrenheit). That’s cold!

And yet in 2001, a uniquely brave man by the name of Erik Weihenmayer reached the summit of Mount Everest. Well, you might be thinking: “That’s a great accomplishment; however, many have done that. What’s the big deal? Why is he ‘uniquely brave’?” Weihenmayer is blind. In fact, he is the first blind person to reach Everest’s peak. Amazingly in 2008, he successfully climbed his seventh summit. What a “can do” spirit! Weihenmayer has even produced a film chronicling his journeys, titled Farther Than the Eye Can See.

Here is a man with great inner vision. I’m certain that conditions were extremely tough many (if not most) of his days spent climbing. I would venture to say that blinding snowstorms, thick clouds and overcast skies greatly hindered the ability to see many days. Oh, but that’s right … Weihenmayer is blind. Normally seen as a disadvantage, this was his great advantage. His inner vision was crystal clear, as was his resolve and determination to finish strong. And he did.

What about us? Physical sight is important, for sure; however, clear and correct “inner” vision, which can guide one through bad weather and the blinding blizzards of life, is essential to overcome life’s obstacles. We now face a proverbial Mount Everest of perplexing challenges and adversity, and we (as individuals and as a society) must draw upon that “inner” strength to overcome life’s trials, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. I “see” brighter and better days. I “see” the peak of success—not always with my eyes, but with my heart, like Weihenmayer. Do you? We will plant the flag of success at the top and get to the other side, as long as we don’t stop climbing—no matter the weather. As author Kholoud Yasser once said, “Your heart is able to see things that your eyes aren't able to.”

Seeing clearly,

Annette Briggs

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