Tuesday, September 29, 2009

New Blog

Hi everybody. I have a new blog. This blog is for Calgary students to follow my climbs. I am also trying to raise the funds to take two teens with me to Kilimanjaro. I haven't really posted there yet but as soon as things get rolling expect more action. What do you do when your dreams seem to be slipping through your hands like water? DREAM BIGGER!!!!! I will be posting on both of course this is the place where I talk out loud.

Not Afraid Of Greatness blog will be more PG.. :-)

Click here to access

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Welcome Aboard

what an amazing couple of days. I received a lot of mail of support, it was overwhelming. Mehmet Danis, an i2p ambassador and winner of Atacama Crossing send me a few of his favourite quotes to cheer me, here are a couple.
To live is the rarest thing, most people merely survive. OW

Let us live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry. M Twain

I also heard from Tom Adair who is guiding Ron Hackett, a blind runner, in Sahara race, here is his story
Ron Hackett, despite being completely blind since a tragic drunk driving accident when he was 11 years of age, has and continues to accomplish a great deal in life. He is still the drummer in a band, water skis at the cottage and continues to participate in sport. During his long athletic career, he has completed 8 marathons and has a personal best of 3 hrs. and 26 minutes. He became Canada’s first blind triathlete in 1988 and since then has completed dozens of events at a variety of distances. He participated in 3 World Cup Triathlon events in Montreal, Perth, Australia and Cancun, Mexico receiving Gold medals in 2 of them. In 2000, he received the honour of being awarded Canada’s Disabled Athlete of the Year. The 2009 Sahara Desert Race will be his first desert race and when he completes it, he will become the first blind Canadian athlete ever to complete a desert race.

Team CanShare is having trouble finding sponsors, so when they read my blog, they wanted to offer words of support, they helped me in ways that they didn't imagine, after reading and seeing their picture, I felt fortunate to be part of this group, a group of individuals who refuses to give up even though sometimes the odds of making it happen are slim, everybody knows about the half full, half empty, this group hangs on to any sliver of opportunity, they look at it and say" 1 percent is not impossible. I am now very positive that I will find sponsors, it will take some time, i might not have a chance on climbing all seven in a record time but I am still going for it even if it takes me 5 years to accomplish. I am also going to help find sponsors for Team CanShare, after all what Ron dream to become the first blind Canadian to finish a desert race deserve to come true. Ron is the perfect example of what I want to teach my kids and hopefully other kids in Canada, is through hard work that we accomplish such things in life, is not your physical ability or who you know, at the end the one still left on the court throwing baskets long after the practice is over is the one that makes it to the top.

last night I had a great chat with MLA Dave Rodney, he is a big supported of my quest and even spoke on my behalf at the Legislature Assembly of Alberta, he has summit ed Everest twice, he has been wanted to talk to me as soon as he heard I was planning on climbing Everest, I thought he wanted to persuade me not to do it but instead once more he offered his support, we talk about what it takes to make it and how going there for the wrong reasons can be dangerous, instead he said the fact that I am such a good mother will keep me safe, imagine that.

Other developments is that Helly Hansen and Clif Bars are going to be my sponsors, I was trilled when they call me to tell me the news, I am still looking for summit sponsors but this is a great start.

I spent all afternoon putting the presentation together for my kids school, i have a lot of pictures, what it strike me was my smile in them, I am truly loving what I am doing, I kept thinking how did a little girl who was born in Mexico, poor, is here in these pictures, smiling and believing that she has what it takes to make it to the top of the world. Here are a few more pictures from my Mt Athabasca summit.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ice and snow training weekend.

I am back from Columbia Icefields where I spent the weekend training for crevasses rescue and glacier climbing safety. The 3 days i spent learning the basics like equipment, and safety then putting it into action Monday at Mt. Athabasca was the most inspired three days I've had in a long time. I loved everything I experienced, and you have to wonder,when I am on top of the mountain on a glacier coming down, after all this is where most accidents happened on the way down, the guide had very specific instructions, place your feet exactly on my steps so you don't slip and drag us all to the cliff down below. I developed the concentration not unlike the bomb squat. So why exactly did I love it so much? I am learning the difference between what's hard but possible and what's just crazy. I have found a new level of athleticism that is on a league of it's own.

I am definitely growing as a person, I think adversity naturally make you grow if you concentrate in the positives of adversity. I am learning to be less judgmental . Like watching kids ski jump, I used to think what kind of parents allow their kids do that?, what I wasn't taking into consideration was that before they are allow to jump they are trained on how to succeed, my opinion was based on ignorance not knowledge.

I am ready for Aconcagua, i leave Nov 28th, I am excited and busy setting it up. I am giving a presentation at St. James School where my kids attend and I am having them follow me on my journey, I am going to have as many school in Calgary as I can interest participate on the progress and ask questions.

i am hopping to teach them the value of goal setting and hard work. Emphasis on hard work, i just lost my Everest sponsor so everything is up in the air. Just like learning to walk, I am all of a sudden having trouble standing up on my own, since I am no longer with my well know-well connected ex-boyfriend it seems like my value had gone down. One by one I see the doors closing, gently but closing. As much as it hurt, I realized that if they weren't interested on my quest is because I have fail to approached the right sponsors, going with had worked in the past, I guess is time to roll my sleeves and get to work.

Looking in detail my life seems to be working like somebody's idea of a nightmare. I am single and for the first time I am thinking that maybe it will be forever, at night after the course I came home to a hotel were I listen to my mom and her best friend recite the rosary before falling asleep. I just met my ex boyfriends Brazilian girlfriend, it seems that Gissele Bunchen is the girl next door in Rio, as their lives improved mine gets more difficult. But instead of crying myself to sleep I smile. I have learned that happiness is a feeling not a check list.

I am still optimistic that everything will work out t the end, what I need to do is as usual, put my head down and work hard, I still believe that I am in the right path even though it's the one less traveled one. This is one more thing that I hope to teach my kids that passion runs deep, sometimes all we have is the believe in ourselves. Is not the number of times one falls but how many times we are willing to stand up.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

All For Humanity

I have been busy training for Aconcagua, I am scheduled to leave Nov 29th, I am so excited and nervous to be leaving soon. i am off to Columbia Icefields to train for ice and snow climbing this Friday and hopping to Summit Mt Athabasca Monday at 3am. My body is starting to get use to new training, while I still get tired is not the overwhelming exhaustion I was feeling a few weeks ago. Even the mental strength required for my next quest was overwhelming, in a very short time I went from been the best mother to the worse, I have been getting a lot of heat for planning my Everest quest, is no use for me to say much, after all this is something that I didn't understand myself a few months ago, now however I have been learning a lot about what it takes to make it.
A few months ago I talked to a sports psychologist friend of mine, Hap, he wanted to know more about what goest to my brain when I face so many challenges yet I make no excuses and try even harder to overcome then instead of giving up, that after all is what he is hired to do. The question was is it Nature or Nurture? and I think is a bit of both, when I find myself with an obstacle I dig deep and find a way either over it or around it.

The truth is that the resistance I find now is nothing new, when i was 19 I left home to Japan, i was thrilled with the opportunity, we had no money and this was a great opportunity for me to pay for my university and help my family at the same time. My sister has a baby girl and things where though for us, the town been Catholic didn't take well that my sister was an unwed teen mother, so when the opportunity presented itself I took it with all my heart, where there any risks, you bet, this could have turned into a typical story of a young girl being sold, my family and I knew the risks but we where desperate and they supported my decision to go, we still talk about the moment when I called home to let them know I was safe and indeed there was a real job waiting for me, I worked hard and saved all my money while I worked and went home with enough money to put a down payment on a house in a nice neighborhood and go to school, when I came home however my family started to be harassed, the whole town speculated about how a 19 year old could have bought a house and after a month I left Mexico and never returned, Japan was now my new home.

I worked hard for the next few years to learn Japanese and pass the exams to go to University there, by now two of my siblings where living with me in Tokyo and going to school themselves, by the time word had spread around the word that Japan was experiencing a bubble, I was already fluent and working very successfully, there was just one problem, I didn't get along with other models and actors, I am only 5"3 and not the best looking either so they didn't understand why I was doing well.
Everything came to an end one evening I stopped at a club to meet with friends, when I arrived they weren't there but I recognized some people that waved me to their table, that is the last thing I remember before waking up the next day face down on a pool of my own blood, with blunt force trauma to the head, my front teeth where smash and I couldn't recognized the face on the mirror in the taxi on the way to the hospital, I kept asking the same questions over and over, why? this was early 90's Doctors didn't know about Flunitrazepam being used on drinks so they didn't believe me when I said I had just one drink. I was 23 years old.
There have been many year after that incident, I hardly ever think about it anymore, fortunately the positive memories are the ones that are everlasting, that baby girl that I help raise lives with me, she is 23 and going to Mount Royal College, my brother in Japan just received his MBA and it is expecting his first child, looking around all my siblings and their kids are doing great, what those guys in Japan set out to do, really didn't accomplish.

Every time I hear words that tell me, how dare I, I say, why not, after all, life gives us challenges to encourage growth, instead of being afraid I reach to people that are more corageous than me for inspiration, I stopped by to see my friend Rhonda, she is the director of All For Humanity, the work Rhonda, Linda and Lori do is both amazing and inspiring, I asked if I could dedicate some of my climbs to the kids that they rescue and she agreed, there are three kids in particular that need my help, they are trying to keep them at a school for the blind, she has no idea that this is something that I need as well to give me the strength i will need to keep going when it gets incredible tough.

Rhonda shared some of the pictures of the kids they have helped, there is one girl in particular Emma that I keep with me to remind me that while I will always feel pain for my son, I can turn my feeling into something positive with the right attitude. Here is a picture of Emma when they rescued her and six months later when she was placed in foster care

This is what these courageous women did in only five weeks, is incredible saving many kids lives and with the help of the Government of Ghana trough the department of Social Welfare they are hoping to deinstitutionalize and the closing the orphanages and promote kinship and fostering. Many families in Africa send their children to orphanages because of desperation since they are unable to feed and cloth them.

While I will never feel OK to see my son struggle, at least I can somehow make sense of a lot of the things I went through, maybe they where preparing me to face my life with dignity and hopefully inspire somebody else to do the same, to stop questioning life and launch into action to change it for the better instead. And next time someone asks me again, who am I to think I can do, I can say, who am I not to be, just like my favorite quote that is usually attributed to Nelson Mandela but it's by Marianne Williamson
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”