“the universe listens to brave.”

She was never quite ready.
But she was brave.
And the universe listens to brave. – Rebecca Ray

Life is a series of steps. Some big, some small. Some light, some heavy. Some easy, some challenging. Each step certainly carries its own personality. But at the end of the day, steps are steps. Simple as that.

At the end of 2017, I spent time in southern Patagonia in Parque Nacional Torres del Paine in Chile and then in El Calafate and El Chaltén in Argentina. Throughout five days of trekking in Torres del Paine and then another day of trekking to and from Laguna de los Tres in El Chaltén, this idea of putting one foot in front of the other traipsed through my mind often. It occurred to me as I felt my own movement on the trail, but it more often came to me as I observed the movement of my hiking companions, as I watched them rhythmically move forward, one foot at a time, carefully choosing their footholds. There’s a flow to hiking just as there’s a flow to life itself, and to get where we’re going, we must continue putting one foot in front of the other.

To move forward and make progress, we have to be willing to let our feet leave the ground. We have to choose to pick our feet up, take a step forward and move. Thoughtfully. Intentionally. Purposefully. We have to give up our old footing to find new footing. Finding that new footing isn’t always safe and secure; it’s not always a “sure thing.” But when it comes to moving forward, it’s necessary.

Maybe rock climbing captures this better than hiking. In climbing, when you find a good hold — be it for your hands or your feet — it’s oh-so easy to want to stay put. But if you stand any chance of reaching the summit, you have to let go of what’s comfortable and push, pull, reach and / or swing your way to the hold, the next point that gets you closer to your goal. You have to let go and commit to your next move. There’s no way around it.

When we continuously step forward, with respectful, honest and true intentions at play — and fully prepared to roll up our sleeves and do the work — I firmly believe we’re bound to reach some pretty stellar summits. There’s no promise of a summit. There’s certainly no promise it’ll be easy. There’s no promise we’ll get the view we’re after. But it’s the climb — the steps we take, the moves we choose to make — that counts, right? I think so.

Whether we reach the summit and get to bask in the view or fall short for any number of reasons — reasons within our control or not — there are always lessons to be learned and future climbs to be had. Sometimes up the same mountain on a different day. Sometimes to a different summit altogether. The important thing is that we keep stepping, climbing and pushing forward. Respectfully. Intentionally. Passionately. Courageously. Thoughtfully. Diligently. With a lot of heart. And yes, bravely.

Photo is from a sunrise hike to Refugio Lopez in Bariloche, Argentina.

February 1, 2018

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