If someone were to ask you about yourself, what would you say? Your name? Your occupation? Maybe you’d list off a few hobbies or talk about your family. It’s a simple question. Just tell me about you.
But think about it. Is it really that simple? Do our names and a few random facts define us? For most of us, we tend to know more about what we do than about who we really are. We’ve never really stopped to get to know ourselves. To find out our likes and dislikes. To see what drives us forward or holds us back. To truly understand who we are.
We know ourselves when we are hurt, hundreds of miles away from the nearest hospital. When it’s freezing cold, and we’re tired. When our only choice is to keep putting one leg in front of the other again and again and again.
True adventure lies in knowing oneself and the true wisdom of the mountains can only be ingrained by being a part of it. This is what ‘Swotah’ is all about; exploring the wisdom in oneself from seeking the ageless wisdom of the mountains and nature. We know ourselves when we face the mountains. Immense masses of rocks that stand rooted in front of us; tall and strong and unyielding. Something magnanimous but unforgiving stretching along vast expanses. They tower above everything and reach heights beyond our comprehension. When confronted by those enormous structures that are above and beyond our wildest dreams, we finally stop.
There, walking along endless snow covered paths; it’s just the mountains and us. And the mountains speak to us in silence. And in that silence, we hear ourselves. We listen to what we’ve been screaming inside all this time. We finally take the time to hear, to understand. It’s there, sitting on the side of a cliff in isolation, surrounded by giants, that we realize who we truly are.
Edmund Hilary once said, “It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”
And we do conquer ourselves in ways we never thought we could. We deal with our weaknesses and find a strength we didn’t know we had. We confront our fears head on and discover undeniable courage. And sometimes, if we’re lucky, we stumble upon something even greater. We achieve peace. Serenity, not only in the mountains, but also within. We realize our abilities, character, and feelings. We find ourselves.