From an unexpectedly arduous backpacking trip, Eileen McDargh discovers truths from the experience. Deep in grime, grit, and grace-filled mornings, she finds insights for business, for relationships, for family, for life, and for the soul.
Whether musing on wild onions or mosquitoes, river crossings or thunderbolts, Eileen shares lessons for understanding the mundane and the magnificent, the difficult and the delightful, the ordinary and the extraordinary. Mountains become a lyrical metaphor for coping with life’s complexities.
You’ll be reminded of what you may already know but have likely forgotten in the tension of time constraints, work worries, and family frustrations. McDargh will jar your memory, evoke new awareness, and spur you to action.
Illustrated with stunning watercolor paintings, Gifts from the Mountain helps you to pay attention to the process of life and take joy in the journey.
About the Author
She draws upon practical business know-how, life's experiences and years of consulting for major national and international organizations ranging from global pharmaceuticals to the US Armed Forces, from health care associations to religious institutions, from American Airlines to Xerox, from 3M to IBM, from drill foremen in the Arctic to juvenile offenders in prison
Artist Roderick MacIver founded Heron Dance in 1995 as a celebration of the gift of life. Heron Dance explores the seeker’s journey and the human connection to the natural world. In his words:
“Wild places, places free from the influence of civilized humanity, inspire my life and art. Out there are cycles larger than the concerns of man. Out there exists a deep silence and deep peace, as well as, of course, a great struggle to hold on to the gift of life. With my art and life, I try to express reverence for the mystery and beauty of wild places.”
Read an Excerpt
Gifts from the Mountain
Simple Truths for Life's Complexities
Years ago, my ideal vacation would have been found pool-side: comfort at my beck and call, hot showers, cold drinks, a suitcase filled with resort wear, and stacks of books on hand to read.
Hah! The fates had not warned me that I would fall in love with a man who would stick his nose in the calendar in January, point to a two-week time frame in mid-summer, confirm the phase of the moon (waxing) and announce his intent to apply for a wilderness permit. In my naiveté, “wilderness” meant back roads, drive-in restaurants, or getting lost and having to ask directions. But to Bill it was the vast 150 million year-old Sierra Nevada range running down the spine of California.
And so we went. Again and again.
In the course of our double-digit marriage, I’ve done my best to hang in there. Little would my clients and audiences guess this high-heeled speaker in corporate attire could emerge from Sierra Mountain passes, alpine meadows, ice fields, horrific storms, and below freezing temperatures with two weeks worth of grime, assorted cuts, bruises and bites, matted hair, swollen eyelids (altitude and sun always do it to me), and a strange mixture of unabashed relief and pride.
And then the inevitable happened. The children left home. This was the summer Bill and I would make our first ever twosome ascent into the Sierras.
No problem…except for the fact that with at least three people, the weight of equipment can be equally shared. No problem…except that I’m small and my backpack limit is about 35-40 pounds, but this time I’ll need to carry more.
As we struggled over boulder-strewn fields, trudged up unmarked mountain passes at 12,000 plus feet, sidestepped across ice fields, watched 65 mph winds pick up a tent and soar it across granite towers, guzzled our last drop of water, praying we’d last until Coldwater Creek, I figured there HAD to be a reason behind this most difficult of trips. Perhaps this backpacking trek was in my life for a purpose.
So I began to pay attention, to see and hear with new eyes and ears. Surely this mountain had lessons to teach me, to force me to slow down and learn more by noticing more.
Who would ever have thought there’d be gifts in grime, grit, and grace-filled mornings? I found lessons for business, for relationships, for family, for life, and for my soul. It is my hope these lessons find a home in your world as well.
Life is complicated and complex. We yearn for simple answers and want them in sound bites, in small passages potent in message and meaning. This book seeks to answer that need. In many ways, it will remind you of what you already know but have forgotten in the tension of time constraints, work worries, and family frustrations. Some passages will jar your memory while others might evoke a new awareness and result in action.
You, too, have your own mountain. There’s always a challenge that demands your attention or a complication looking for simplification. Whether your complex world is the boardroom or bedroom, there are insights for the taking. May I invite you to read while thinking of the places we all trek on a daily basis: those places where we climb the corporate ladder, scale the next problem, surmount the competition; those places where we forge streams filled with relationships and pack bags crammed with “stuff”; those places where we think our journey belongs only to ourselves and cast blind eye and deaf ear to the other people along our trails; and lastly, those places which refresh and renew us for the next climb, the next assault, the next mountain.
Open to any page. You don’t have to read in sequential order. Ask yourself how a simple truth can be extended as a tool in your life. If you so choose, pose the statement to your work team, to your family, to your organization. Listen. Their responses might turn a mountain into a molehill.
Come take a hike and discover your own footnotes for walking through life. There is so much wisdom, hidden in plain view. Pause, look with new eyes, and discover simple truths that can unravel and make sense of many of life’s complexities.