Focusing on what I want

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Focusing on what I want

On 22 August 2015, I set off on what I consider the biggest adventure of my life so far – climbing Siguniang Da Feng in Sichuan, China.

Under the guidance of Khoo Swee Chiow[1], 27 of us set out to conquer this mountain, famous for its beautiful scenery and often referred to as the “Oriental Alps”.  We flew to Chengdu, and the next day, took a 7-hour drive to Rilong, a small mountain town where our climb would begin.  On 25 August, we began our 3-day trek on Siguniang.

I have to admit, I have never climbed a ‘real’ mountain before.  I have gone up Bukit Timah Hill (164m) a few times, Gunong Pulai in JB (654m) twice and the Grouse in Vancouver (1127m) way back in 2005 and was really suffering on the way up.  Siguniang Da Feng is 5025 m.

I decided to go for this Siguniang climb because I was smitten by the breathtaking scenery on this mountain when I saw a slideshow by Swee Chiow.  I was suddenly seized by a desire to be THERE, standing on the mountain and drinking in the beauty and majesty, soak in the splendour and awe of Mother Nature.

Once I had decided to go and climb, I didn’t dwell on my fears.  It is a very strange phenomenon because I am not one given to outdoor adventures and I am not naturally in my element in these settings.  And I would usually let my imagination get the better of me.

On hindsight, I realized that I was so focused on the positive things I wanted to get out of getting to Siguniang, and climbing it, that all the scary bits faded into the background!  I wanted to attain a new level of fitness before I went.  I wanted to enjoy great weather and trek amidst wonderful surroundings with fun and happy people. These were some of the things I focused on.  I only looked at what I wanted, not what I was scared of or didn’t want.

I never looked up the Internet to examine what each day would look like on our climb or I might have been scared off my socks by what I saw.  On summit day, we set off at 4 am in the dark and in the rain which later gave way to snow.

I didn’t spend time thinking beforehand about what it would feel like to wake up at 3 am and start climbing at 4 am under wet and cold conditions.  I think I would have felt disheartened at that very thought.

Worrying too much about that or spending time dreading it would have been a total, utter waste of time.   Taking each day one at a time, living each moment as it comes, being IN the moment, putting one foot in front of the other.  That was the simple formula up the very tall mountain for a first-time climber.

Enjoying the simple pleasures up there in the mountains and being grateful for little things made me SUCH a happy gal.  Camping was tough for me, but I loved the big dining tent at both campsites and the hours of fun and fellowship and food in there!  We laughed easily, ate heartily, joked endlessly and took pictures furiously.  The food was good; I thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie among the team members.

Each time I paused to look at the awe-inspiring scenery, I felt my soul expanding and my heart singing.  It felt surreal, to be standing there in a different world from the one I am used to.

What a difference my focus and attitude made!  What a lesson for life, for my business! If only I could always remember to focus on what I want, I will not dwell on the unpleasant aspects and become miserable or unduly anxious.  Instead, I could “live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.”

Ang Hwee Suan

[1] 3 times Everest Summiteer, 1st South East Asian and the 4th person in the world to complete The Explorers Grand Slam, that is, the South Pole, the North Pole and the Seven Summits.

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