In 2002, as I was turning 40, I climbed my first mountain. Standing at the top of Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia, I felt totally alive and at one with the world, basking in a massive flow of feel-good hormones. I was on a natural high. That’s when I had my light-bulb moment to establish an adventure holiday company – Mountain High – after spending 18 years in the health, fitness and sports-management industry.
Since then, I’ve led multinational teams on 58 expeditions to more than 20 countries, including the Arctic, Antarctica and crossing the Wahiba Sands in Oman. I have climbed 19 high-altitude mountains and have reached 7,000 metres on a peak in Tibet. My latest adventure was writing my book, Moving Mountains, which is out on May 5. It’s packed with stories, insights and ideas to get you moving – both personally and professionally.
I am often asked: “How do you climb a mountain?” The answer is, simply, one step at a time. The minute you start moving, the mountain comes to you. Mountains are a great metaphor for life – the journey to the summit could easily be related to the journey of starting a business, writing a book or doing anything that takes focus, discipline and concentrated effort. The only way is up.
One of my favorite quotes by the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu is: “Stand like mountain, flow like water” – simple, ancient wisdom for our complex, modern lives. There are times in life when we need to stand strong like a mountain despite what is going on around us. Likewise, there are times when we need to go with the flow instead swimming against the tide or forcing something to happen. Acceptance of what we cannot change brings peace and serenity.
Walking in nature is a great way to clear your mind, energise your body and nurture your spirit of adventure. Much of the stress of everyday life is due to our disconnection from nature. Sitting in air-conditioned offices, homes, cars and malls, and staring at a computer or phone screen impacts our well-being and ability to function. My advice is to get up, get out and get walking. Disconnect from technology and connect with nature.
Many of the treks I have organised have been linked to health initiatives. Lifestyle-related health challenges, such as diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis and heart disease can be prevented and managed by exercising and eating healthy food. Having a positive mindset is so important. Laughter, being in nature and with friends and family boost our immune system. Health is our first wealth.
My daily “Power of Three” ritual is to meditate, exercise and write from 5.30am to 7am – it’s a great way to start the day.
I was delighted to see The National’s #startwalking challenge and registered straight away. All the new fitness gadgets make it easy to stay motivated and to clock in 10,000 steps daily. And even though the challenge has ended, there’s no reason walking can’t be part of your daily routine – it’s free, it’s a great stress buster, needs no special equipment and has numerous health benefits – so put your best foot forward and step into action from today.Jules Lewis is a motivational speaker, author, personal-leadership specialist and founder of Mountain High adventure travel company. To know more, visit www.juleslewis.com or search for Walking Woman on Facebook.
* As told to Jessica Hill
Source: art & life