Why do we do the things that we do? What is that which gets us out of bed in the morning to face difficult jobs and challenging lives? What is it that allows us to dream and, for some, to accomplish seemingly impossible feats...like reaching the highest peak on earth or insisting on a love relationship despite how difficult it's proven to be? Some times I wonder what was going through Reinhold Messner's head the day he decided he would attempt the first solo ascent of Everest--without oxygen. The answer to these questions might be different for everyone. I'd sure love to know Messner's, but for me at least, is passion. Passion is that which the gut and the head feel differently about; something that, when issues are justifiable but difficult to swallow, like an over-sized pill, makes it impossible to turn our backs on them. Because the result is worth the discomfort. Whether the end is success, love, family, a view of the top of the world, a dream come true--whatever lies ahead of a challenge is always rewarding. I don't know the answers to many things. Yet still I have this fire in my chest that continues to drive me forward and upward. It's a kind of hope that lifts me to amazing dreams. It's what got me through the rough spots of South America, what recently pushed me to learn how to climb and what has gotten me through years of moving around countries. It's my passion what leads me to believe anything is possible. Still, despite that fire in my chest, I am still just a human. I face challenges every day. I get stressed, I feel fear, I experience doubt. And every once in a while my fire calls for oxygen. That's when I know it's time to get lost in the woods. The most interesting lesson I've learned recently, is how much climbing resembles life; you might be terrified but you still have to keep moving forward. If fear takes over and paralyzes you, you're not in a good place. Because there's only two ways out, either continuing or letting go. But either way, trust must be greater than fear. And you can either trust yourself, or the mechanisms in place to keep you safe: that's your call. One way will lead you to the top, the other, to the safety of the ground. When I'm in these situations I try to breathe so I slow down enough to notice what's important, what's helpful. Whether that's a bigger hold or a change of approach. What's most important is to try to find the kind of peace I can only find in nature. Or through a life-changing tune. That's why this weekend, when I was feeling overwhelmed by chores, a hectic family life, a demanding internship, a part time job that requires my full time attention, my relationship and other normal life-pressures, all I wanted to do was run into the woods and get on a wall. Because it's in nature where I can truly clear my head and re-charge my soul. That's where I find the oxygen for my fire. And so I did.