The sky is the limit

24 juliol 2011
A few months ago I received an email from David, tells the story of Ann "sky is the limit" and gave me a stone that rise to a special summit. The stone has risen to Carlit, at Mt Buet, Aguillete des Houches, and to the summit of Mont Blanc to accompany me and Ann. But in none of these sites I found the force of nature. Today the stone is in a very special place. In the Jonction, a moraine which rises vertically from the valley floor to the sky to where the glaciers deposited in full force and rocks resist against the power of nature. While there, one evening after the rain and snow, the air in the face took me I was part of the mountain, gave me full force. Today the stone is there, until a stronger take her place.

this is the Ann history:


Last year I started teaching English to the most extraordinary group of people. They were all very different from each other but had in common the search for happiness and fulfilment in their lives.

As a listening exercise I started telling them stories of coincidence, which they thoroughly enjoyed. I explained the theory of the law of attraction and how to put it into practice. I told them about how important it is to have dreams, believe in miracles and how you should never give up on life, even when being told you only have a few weeks left to live.

Valentín O., usually a quiet and reserved student, said his brother Antonio had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. I told him that nobody, not even the best of doctors, could predict when anybody would die and that as long as we breathe, we have to try and make the most of life.
He said his brother was very optimistic, which is excellent news. Antonio??s condition is now considered ??stable??, which is much more than excellent news.

At the beginning, David, the marathon runner of the class, found it quite difficult to follow my stories but felt they were worth listening to. He never missed a single class. His understanding and verbal expression of English have improved so much throughout the course that I can hardly believe it myself.
Knowing all about ??hitting the 30 km wall?? when running a marathon, he was not afraid of dealing with any obstacle placed in his path of life. He started to experience coincidences everywhere and this story is the result of one of them.

Before I continue writing I need to tell you that I had cancer in 2004 and that my son Lucas was diagnosed with leukaemia at the end of 2005. After two years of chemotherapy the doctors told us his body would have to start functioning again without any chemical help and that 2008 would be the year of a possible relapse. The mere thought of having to live with such a Damocles sword above our heads made me feel sick with fear. Whenever Lucas had the slightest of headaches my husband and I would be rushing off to hospital?? In order to keep my mind off Lucas?? disease I started painting stones and selling them, but how that came about is a different story...

David told us that he was bored of running and was looking for a challenge. One day he bought three of my stones with the message ??The sky is the limit??. He told us in class that climbers establish a special relationship, a close connection, with mountains and that whenever they reach a summit, they make a wish. Some mountaintops even have a letter box in which people deposit their desires. David thought this was unfair on the mountains because people asked them for their dreams to come true without giving anything in return. He decided he would leave the three ??The sky is the limit?? stones at the tops of three high mountains, thus turning the tradition of asking into giving.

This idea filled him with energy. David climbed ??Monte Perdido??, the third highest mountain in the Pyrenees, but adverse weather conditions made it impossible for him to reach the top so he left the first stone at the point he managed to reach, which was close to the summit.

In April this year, David received a book written by Kilian Jornet, the Catalan world champion of sky running, a high altitude sport consisting in running in mountains above 2000 m.
After reading the book, David sent Kilian an e-mail to see whether he would be so kind as to do him a small favour??leaving the second stone at the summit of a mountain.

During the course we all exchanged e-mail addresses and set up a network of good vibrations. Anything positive worth sharing could be send on. Vera and Julián have been particularly active.

While waiting for Kilian??s reply, David decided to attend a conference called ??Company learning: the challenge of climbing mountains and crossing deserts??. His company was facing several problems and the similarities between climbing a mountain and running a company called his attention. The invitation for the conference was organized by ??Ziggurat English services??, which provides learners of English with a new word every day, ??The daily vitamin??. Valentín had forwarded it to all the students in class.

At the conference, one of the speakers talked about his book called ??La Cumbre Infinita (The endless summit)??. He mentioned he had climbed K2, the second highest mountain on Earth after Mount Everest. To David??s surprise, the man in question was Valentín Giró, a well-known climber who took part in the 2004 expedition to climb K2. Manel de la Mata, one of his fellow climbers, died during the expedition. Valentín Giró learnt from him what was to become his greatest lesson in life: ??It is the journey that matters, not (only) the destination??.

After the conference, David, who had been carrying the stone he wanted to give to Kilian Jornet in his bag, approached Valentín Giró with an idea in mind...
Their encounter resulted in the following note dedicated to my family by the writer of ??The endless summit??, the book David gave me in class last night. Valentín O., the student who decided to share an important part of his life with all of us, also received a copy of the book.

??Lucas, Claudio and Ann,
I promise I will leave this stone at the summit of a very high mountain.
With love and especially lots of admiration
Valentín Giró??

With special thanks to all the people that fill my life with joy and especially to all my UPM students??

To David, for being such a fast learner
To Valentín, for being incredibly brave
To Julían, for quietly reminding me of words I have forgotten
To Vera, for all the positive energy
To ??ngels, for always being true to her nature
To Juanma, for being honest
To Gemma, for all the funny stories
To Chema, for the most unusual sense of humour
To José Juan, for being different
To Encarna, for never giving up the fight
And last but not least to Jordi, for teaching me that the opposite is simply another option??


12 May 2011

Stop skiing, start running