Ascending the Summit

One day when I was rock climbing, I found my way to a large ledge just a few yards from the top.

I tried to get over it or around it for several minutes. Finally, exhausted, I yelled down to my belay partner “Coming down!”

He said, “Nah, you’re almost there!”

“Yes,” I said, “but I can’t get past it, and I’m exhausted and just done.” I said this in complete satisfaction of the height I’d reached, it being the highest I’d reached yet. As a yogi, I lack a competitive nature. Well, actually, I was born that way—there’s not a competitive bone in my body, not even with myself.

“Okay, Okay, how about this,” he called up. “Try three times more to get over that ledge and to the top, and if you still can’t make it…try again.”

My laughter at his absurdity was laced with a little fear as my hands weakened and my palms got sweaty. Having looked straight down to call to him, I felt even more ready to descend as the sudden realization set in that my life was hanging on a piece of string over 200 feet in the air. I whimpered a little. I could have argued with him and gotten my way, but the question before me was: do I want to put effort into arguing my case for quitting or take the friendly nudge he’d given me and put my effort instead into going for the peak?

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