Every Step is a Step

For those of you who have not found your purpose, your place, in this life, I highly recommend it. The moment you do, your existence here will change.

Right outside my window the sun spreads itself over the lush green mountains and I reach to pinch myself; I really am in China. I am propped against a pillow on my bed (or a pillow case filled with sand that I’m told is a pillow), listening to Ben Howard’s “Promise” and wearing a shit-eating grin; I just climbed one of the seven wonders of the world, laid my hands upon its history and lost my breath to its enormity as it spilled over the mountains in front of me; I covered 50 kms of the Great Wall of China.

We’re here with 16 other people, each supporting a charity, each challenged by this wall in a different way, and every one of them incredible (most of them totally unaware). One girl, legally blind and hardly able to handle the sun, has thrown up twice. She also crossed the finish line today. Between my surroundings and my company, inspiration is not hard to come by. I think all of us were surprised today, not just by success despite the intensity of the trek, but by our own emotions. The people here are of every kind, and yet, we became a family; helping each other up the steepest of steps, sharing lunches and insect repellent and posing for pictures, and cheering for a man who most would assume could not climb The Great Wall. He only lost his mother recently, and now takes care of his father. He is here to raise money for his local hospice. I heard our guide encourage him by saying, “every step is a step,” as he made his way up each stair; it will stay with me forever.

The Finity Project is not about a specific achievement. It’s not about winning or losing. It’s about the human spirit. It’s about the fight. It’s about how beautiful the sound of laughter is; the way it echoes when we’re passing through an empty hallway of hard times. The Finity Project is about hope. And where does hope come from? Each other.

I stood for a moment on that wall, in my hiking boots with the rubble beneath me and my hat shielding the sun above, strapped into my backpack with all our filming equipment, breathing heavily and slowly turning in a circle, feeling my eyes threatening to spill over with gratitude. China is not where I belong. Physically, I still don’t know where that is. But I am thankful to my core, for I have found my place in this life. I am meant to capture this kind of beauty, no matter where it resides in this world. I am meant to share these moments, no matter how easy or how hard they are to find. And I am meant to tell these stories, that I am sure now, each of us has.

For those of you who have not found your purpose, your place in this life, I highly recommend it.

I’ve begun to feel the green of the trees here in China. My eyesight has become my soul’s window to the world and no longer a mere form of guidance. The scent of peace and tranquility are all I can seem to inhale and my heart suddenly recognizes beauty before my eyes do.

I climbed 50kms of The Great Wall with a disease that tried to stop me the entire way.

My existence here has changed.


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