”I invite you to read a shortened version of my experiences on Kilamanjaro below. After pondering my incredible journey, I’ve realized it is not over. In order to fully complete my summit, I need to put the lessons I learned on the mountain to work in my life and in the lives of others. If walking a path of health and healing is calling to you, stay tuned, I’ll be adding webinars and retreats to my wellness offerings very soon.”
A MESSAGE FROM MARY...
I'M DOING IT MY WAY
I was 50 years old when I decided that I was done with being overweight, done with getting old, and done with being afraid. The first thing on my list was to overcome the fears that were strangling me. Change happens when the “why” becomes stronger than the “fear”. My life was overwhelmed with regret and fear. What a horrible place to live and I was done with it!
My first step in becoming a bad ass was to get physical. I had never done anything physical in my life; just too afraid to fail, I guess. I began to prove myself to myself when I actually showed up day after day at the gym. Let me tell you, it is almost impossible to not believe in yourself when you are bringing it every day.
Each day, before I went to the gym, I would look myself in the mirror and yell, “LEAVE NOTHING ON THE TABLE!” Each day when I got home from the gym I would look in the mirror and yell, “YOU’RE A FREAKING BAD ASS!”
The next step was to design a series of goals that were so far out of my comfort zone, they took my breath away. Sign up for Boot Camp where others would be watching. Throw out all my big clothes and buy new clothes that were one size too small. Learn to scuba dive. Stop eating refined carbohydrates. Share my story with anyone that would listen.
Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or can’t, you are right.” That sums up the journey. I haven’t stopped believing I can. My new goals are to speak internationally on becoming fearless; discover new courage as I climb Kilimanjaro this year; read more books; and love fearlessly. I believe deep in my soul that the best years of my life are yet ahead of me.
Each day I look for new ways to serve, more things to be grateful for, and challenges that make me cringe in fear…. and then I do them anyway. You can follow my life and inspiration to age 105 on my weekly podcast, “Crafting A Meaningful Life,” or engage me to speak to your group. I am passionate about motivating others…like you have not experienced before! It’s all part of being a bad ass woman with purpose, grace, and grit.
LETTING GO OF FEAR INCLUDED LETTING GO OF THE WEIGHT I WAS CARRYING.....
Above, Mary on August 18, 2003.
Below, Mary on February 2019, in New Orleans at the International Caterers Association’s awards gala.
Personal Goal: Climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Done!!!!
I’m sharing an overview of my Kilimanjaro summit here, but I experienced so many deeply meaningful moments on the mountain I’ll be writing a book about how this all came about, and what it felt like to be a 65 year old woman climbing Kilimanjaro. My book, “Unbounded - From Sorrow to Summit” will be coming out in 2020. Meanwhile - scroll down for an overview of the 7 days I spent on the mountain....
Day 1: Climbed 4000' through the rain forest with team. Felt strong and could keep up in spite of my age and experience in climbing. #kiliadventurebegins, #badasswomanwithapurpose, #craftingameaningfullife.
At age 65 I was 15 years the senior of the next oldest person on the team. They had all hiked some of the great peaks, Ranier, Denali, and Everest. Later the American guide told me that this was the strongest and fastest climbing team he had ever been with, with the exception of me. I’m just glad I did not know that on day one, or I might never have left base camp.
At the end of the first day, I arrived in camp in good shape and so excited to find my tent and reach the first milestone of 10,000' elevation. Only 9300 more to go! It's a good thing I didn't know what would lie ahead. #ignoranceisbliss, #badasswomanwithapurpose, #kilimanjarojourney
At the start of Day 2 I was full of smiles and enthusiasm but before long the trail turned rocky and I found myself hiking at the back of the pack; but not too hard for a bad ass, right??!! #unprepared, #tooconfident, #thedoubtsbegin @ Kilimanjaro,Tanzania.
I arose to the sun coming up over the mountain. So beautiful. Somehow my body had recovered and I began the day with my usual gusto. By the end of the day, I was exhausted and arrived to camp 20 minutes after my team thanks to the help of my American guide. #stillmoving #badasswomanwithapurpose #sheergrit #kilimanjarojourney #awesomenessfinger @ Mount Kilimanjaro
Day 4 - What in the world is this Baranco Wall they keep taking about?? Surely we're not going up the face of that 300' wall! But that's just what we did, and I did awesome. However I was exhausted and arrived in camp 30 minutes after the team. I used the pee bottle I had for my tent as I couldn't even make it to the latrine. When I woke in the morning I had to break the ice on top of the water to wash my hands. What the hell am I doing here when I could be home washing with warm running water! #discouragedandalone #kilimanjarojourney #badasswomanwithapurpose @ Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Day 5. Please give me strength to hike one more day. I arrived 30 minutes late again but my team waited to take the group photo until I arrived. They were always so supportive but they were just better climbers than me.All had climbed Mt Rainer. Most had climbed Denali. And one had done Everest. They were stronger, more experienced, and most of all younger. #realitysetsin #tomorowissummitday
They have a saying here at the mountain: Pole, Pole... which means one step at a time. I knew if I were going to reach the summit, it would be one step at a time putting one foot in front of the other, no matter how slow. One breath at a time as I struggled to breath in the thin air. I was determined to Summit. There is no give up in me. #kilimanjarojourney, #badasswomanwithapurpose, #graceandgrit.
We were on the trail at 12:30 am to begin our 7 hour climb to the summit and then about 7 hours down to base camp. The guides decided they would stick with the team except for Big John, the lead African guide would keep with me. Just before dawn I began shaking violently with the zero degree temperatures. Big John gave me his parka and mittens and I continued on. Led only by my tiny headlamp, I had to trust John knew the way.
After climbing 6 hours, the first glimmer of light hit the sky and I knew I would make it. There are actually 2 summits on Kili and John said I would still get a certificate if I stopped at the first one. Then he looked at me and knew I had to go on.
We finally caught up to my team as they were turning to come down, and I was only 15 minutes behind them. #miracles #kilimanjarojourney #toomanylessonstocount @ Mount Kilimanjaro.
At the summit, I called out the names of my grandchildren so they would know the same Warrior Spirit that runs in my veins, runs in theirs. I have looked my fears in the eye and know that I am enough and forever will be. #craftingameaningfullife, #badasswomanwithapurpose, #kilimanjarojourney, #changedforthebetter, #foreverenough, #unbounded.
From the summit we hiked 7 hours down to base camp for the night, and then I spent a few days taking in what I had just experienced.
I left Africa on August 3rd. I took one last look at Mount Kilimanjaro and realized I would probably never see her again. But her lessons and impact will stay with me for a lifetime.
People have asked me if there is a book coming with all my lessons and more detailed stories. Yes, there is. My lessons, growth, insights, and inner most feelings about this experience are much too much to ever share in one post. But let me share this... the mountain didn't care if I was a bad ass in Utah. It didn't care one bit. The only thing that mattered is what I brought to the mountain every day I chose to go on. And so it is with life. We cannot rest on what we have done or accomplished in the past. It is only what we bring to life each and every day that matters. And I for one am going to bring my best every day of my life. #craftingameaningfullife #kilimanjarojourney