My wife and I spent part of her fall break this year at the Great Sand Dunes National Park near Alamosa, CO. They are the tallest sand dunes in all of North America and they’re in Colorado! Some of the dunes are over 700 feet tall. The entire dune field itself is 30 square miles.
From the base of the dunes, it’s hard to tell which peaks are the tallest because of how far back they set. We picked a ridge lined with hikers and set out for what we believed to be the tallest dune.
It wasn’t. Not even close. It might have been the second tallest dune – still quite an accomplishment for someone about to turn fifty. Imagine walking up a steep incline made entirely of sand.
But once you make it to the top, the view was worth every step.
Later that day we went to Zapota Falls. To get there requires driving on 3 miles of road described in a park brochure as “bumpy gravel.” That’s a lie. It’s 3 miles of legitimate rocks and boulders. The 3-mile drive took approximately 45 minutes.
Once you arrive at the parking lot, it’s a ½ mile hike to the creek. Then you have to go Ninja and navigate the water, rocks, and ice to get to the falls.
But once you get there, the view was worth of every stretch and jump.
While it might seem like our entire trip was scaling walls and climbing dunes, most of the walking we did was the ordinary kind – walking through Safeway, walking down the street, or walking into the kitchen of our Airbnb.
That’s how life is. We have those mountaintop moments, those big, grand, unforgettable times. But most of our lives are spent putting one foot in front of the other.
- Going to school
- Sending emails at work
- Dance recitals
- Picking up groceries
- Getting your oil changed
- Mowing your grass
Life satisfaction and a feeling of significance are enhanced by the mountaintop experiences. They are developed, however, through the habits and practices of our daily, ordinary walk.
Mountaintop experiences may provide fresh insight, even breakthroughs. The majority of life transformation develops over time, through sustained, incremental change.
Adrenaline junkies jump (literally) from one extreme, nail-biting experience to another, needing the next rush of energy to feel alive. Unfortunately, too many people are discouraged that they haven’t found that ONE thing, that ONE idea, that ONE experience that will change everything. Instead of looking for that ONE big thing, we should take hold of the many little things we encounter along the way and use them to build a quality life.
- The opportunity to hold the door for a stranger is an ordinary way to practice care and consideration for others.
- Stopping to talk to a neighbor is an ordinary way to reinforce the need for community.
- Adding an extra dollar or two to a tip is an ordinary way to inspire generosity in the world.
None of these actions are earth-shattering breakthroughs or revolutionary ideas. They are simple, easy, and … ordinary. They are found in the moments you will encounter everyday, not just on special days.
Why wait for the mountaintop experience when everyday life provides an opportunity for daily improvement!
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Experience and Background
- 25+ years of senior leadership experience
- masters in management and leadership
- presenter at the WFX National Conference
- former president, Church Planters of the Rockies
- helped start 2 for-profit tech companies
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