Miranda’s Daily Blog: Day 138 & 139
What an awesome day!
Yesterday I had a visit from Warren Macdonald. His story is one of courage and determination to overcome life’s unexpected challenges. Warren lost both his legs after being trapped under a bolder for two days during a hike on Hinchinbrook Island in 1997. Undeterred, Warren went on to climb mountains around the world, including Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain and Federation Peak, Mt Kilimanjaro in Africa and El Capitan; the tallest cliff face in North America.
Warren tours the world now, helping people and organizations adapt to change. He has published a book about his story A Test of Will. Warren’s courage and determination have brought him international attention, including a guest appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show
Yesterday I waited at the top of my tree while Warren got ready to ascend the tree. I felt a little nervous, to be honest. Maybe it was the film crew accompanying him that made me a little un-easy. Even though I’ve gotten used to talking to the media about the forest campaign… it feels daunting and scary to face the camera in another context. Especially not really knowing what we would even be talking about. (Funny enough we ended up talking about the challenges of facing the unknown!).
I peered over the edge of the platform. And watched as the distant figures moved around at the bottom of the tree. Hmmm… I worried to myself… Will I be inspirational enough? Will I seem motivated enough to someone who is a ‘motivational speaker’? I watched Warren climb the rope. Getting closer and closer with each pull-up. His innovative climbing system involved an ascending device with small handle bars, which could be used to pull himself up by his arms. Must be quiet a work out for the arm muscles!
When Warren got to the top of the tree, he climbed through the trapdoor onto the platform and straight away gave me a friendly smile and a big hug. And we sat down to chat about life. Everything from “Hows the weather been up here?” to the hard questions about how do you overcome life’s challenges when everything starts to feel overwhelming?
We talked a bit about what it was like for me coming up into this tree facing the unknown; uncertain of how long would be up here for and what it would be like. He asked me how I managed to have the courage to come up even though there was that uncertainty about it. This was a difficult question to answer. I hadn’t really thought about it before. I guess the risks that you face by doing something and launching into the unknown can sometimes be outweighed by the risks that you face by doing nothing.
Hearing Warren’s story of facing the unknown… of one day everything changing for him and he didn’t know what life would be like, he didn’t know what he would be able to do or not do…. and getting through that…. This was really inspiring.
I wont tell you too much detail about the visit; because there will be a video blog coming your way soon!
We had not just me and Warren up here, but also a photographer, a filmer, and also Warren’s partner Margo (who wrote about the experience on her blog). It was quiet a party up here! In fact the most amount of people I’ve seen all at once in many months now. I thought that might be a bit overwhelming, but instead it felt nice just spending time with a group of people; talking, laughing, sharing. The discussions were touching on such personal reflections and insights into our lives. And even though we had never met before it didn’t feel intimidating to be going beyond the small talk and getting into the nitty-gritty stuff about facing life’s challenges. (Don’t know why I’d been so nervous about it).
When it was time for them to go, as it was close to getting dark, it seemed like the visit had been all too quick. I felt like there were things I could have said, questions I could have asked, doors to new ideas that might have been opened, had we had more time. It was such an honour to have a visit from Warren. And as I watched him get smaller and smaller, descending to the ground, I knew that the day had been one of those special days, that will go down in Observer Tree history!