Hiking to Everest Base Camp began as a young girl’s dream to stand at the foot of the tallest mountain in the world. It seemed to me so foreign and wild and paramount. Yet when I finally reached her at base camp after five days of walking I felt an emptiness within me that echoed the word, “Why?” I didn’t understand what I was feeling. It was as if the buildup that led me to my destination ended up being a one-way ticket to nowhere and I was left with a longing for something that did not exist, at least in the places where I was looking.
As I turned around and retraced my steps back to the teahouse, my mind pondered the question,”Why? – Why do I feel empty? Why did I come all this way? Why?” The real question that lingered deep in my soul was this: “What is the purpose?”
Every choice I make has a reason or purpose, even if that reason is unconscious or naive. The deeper purpose for walking to Sagarmatha (Everest) was unclear, but I knew she symbolized something to me that I did not understand until I began to walk away from her.
On my way to Renjo La, the last pass of the trek, I kept turning around to look at Sagarmatha, “Goddess of the sky.” I noticed that the closer I had walked towards her, the more illusive she became, hiding behind mountains just as impressive as she. But the further away I walked, the clearer I could see her, and the purpose became clear.
This journey I am on is not a journey of self-discovery. I am not walking to find or define myself. No, I am here to completely lose my Self, to leave behind all the ideas of self identity that others and I created for myself – my own Everest. At some point in our lives we have all been told or felt we are special, maybe even more special than others. We have each become our own Everest, thinking we stand above others and all that exists. Yet we are all the same at the core of our being. In one way or another, all that exists will come and go from this world. That is what makes us equal. All other characteristics and labels of self identity we apply to ourselves and others are facades that cover up who we really are.
Everest was my ego and when I came face to face with her, I was filled with emptiness. The ego cannot feed the soul because the ego seeks externally and the soul is within. When I understood this I began to shed layers of my self-identity that I had clung to unknowingly. And in doing so, I began to see Sagarmatha in everything. We are all Goddess’s of the sky.
(Nepal, March 2018)