Climb High, Sleep Low


Have you ever felt like life was going along pretty well for you and that you were getting close to the top of some of “your high places” and you ran out of steam just before you reached the summit?  I wonder what your response to this has been because many times mine has been to trudge on and experience no gain.  This is the time to understand and act on climbing high and sleeping low.  This concept comes from high mountain climbers who reach the highest part of  a mountain and understand that if they are really  to summit they must go back down into lower altitudes and sleep or rest before they go on.  How great it would be if we could do that in our lives…to recognize  those moments when going on is defeating us but going back will be the key to success.  Why is it so hard for us to realize that  to constantly push, push, push not only results in no gain, but also leaves us behind.   To reach those really high places we need to  be careful to balance rest, exercise, and sleep and to know WHERE to do each of these. Ed Viesturs in K2:  Life and Death on the World’s Most Dangerous Mountain, reminds us that, “No summit is worth dying for; you can always come back.”  If you learn to climb high and sleep low, you not only can come back, but you most likely will summit.


One of the things that all humans share is the necessity of waiting.  We are all required to wait for something, someone, or  sometime throughout most of our lives.  One would think, with all the practice that we get, that we would get better at it.  I have found it to be one of the most difficult things to do with any kind of patience or peace.  We become anxious and frustrated and sometimes even angry that things or times just don’t happen quickly enough. But just as with any other “high place”, it takes persistence and commitment to wait patiently when it gets hard.  High mountain climbers teach us valuable lessons about the importance of waiting.  They remind us that “going too high too fast” is very dangerous and that knowing when to wait and when to go can be a life saving skill.  An Everest climber has stated it very well, “a stillness descends and the mountain beckons those who have waited.”  Whatever you may be waiting for, look for the stillness that can be a part of the wait and the “high place” of waiting patiently gets closer and closer. If we  believe that Life is Better at  the Top,  the wait becomes worth it.