I recently took the challenge to climb 282 concrete stairs that make up a steep half mile climb. I did it twice- which means I climbed a mile in stairs. But if you configure that I I had to climb down twice as well in order to get back up, you could actually say I climbed it four times, which would really mean I climbed a total of two miles worth equaling a total of 1,128 steps. (Ya, I know I’m awesome. No I cannot move now)
On my first way up my heart rate burst into breakneck speed way to soon, causing my breathing to overcompensate at an accelerated pace. Obviously I couldn’t do a second climb with little air to lean on. It wasn’t until “the king of the mountain” ( that’s what I called him) coached me from behind encouraging me to “breathe light, breathe light miss – you got this,” that I found my pace.
“Kris The King” was a lean black muscular 57 year old who flew up those stairs more gracefully than a ballerina on her toes. He was also wearing big work boots- I’m gonna blame my tennis shoes on my poor performance so I don’t feel so bad.
For every step I took, he took ten, then would come gliding down the stairs to coach my breathing. He didn’t have to do it, he just thought I could use the extra mantra “breathe light” to get me through it. ( I did) after all he said “I’m just God’s instrument and today His instrument needs to help you get up this mountain-” (thank you Kris the King)
Then it dawned on me how much those stairs reminded me about life- every time I’d look up and see my distance I’d get discouraged, but when I focused and took my time and looked at one step at a time, I felt fine, like I could have gone on all day. Suddenly time and distance did not appear in my head as an obstacle but as a tool. How many of us are discouraged before we even get started because we stare at the obstacles too hard? How many times have we fought so hard to stay on top of our goals that we are literally breathing so hard fighting the gravity -like it has us pinned down? Maybe all we gotta do is look at what’s right in front of us and like Kris The King said- “breathe light.”
When I got to the top the second time Kris the King told me to eat pecans and cantaloupe for breakfast for the rest of my life. He also said I should pack sardines in my car wherever I go.
Don’t know about them sardines but I would like to know where he got those boots. I also told him I’d pay the “breathe light” mantras forward. I kept a telling everyone climbing up past me to do it, but everyone had earphones on so they couldn’t hear me at all. I think they thought I was screaming to “Be Nice”.
*this essay is dedicated to all the Kris Kings who take the time to hold my hand during my life climb. I am grateful to all of you:-)