Gifts from the Mountain

Simple Truths for Life's Complexities

Eileen McDargh (Author) | Roderick MacIver (Illustrated by) | Rod MacIver (Illustrator) | Roderick Maclver (Illustrated by)

Publication date: 10/01/2007

Gifts from the Mountain

Lessons for handling and navigating our life and work as revealed through nature

* 2008 Ben Franklin Award for Best Gift Book *


Pithy, profound, and practical reflections on what nature can teach us about handling the demands of life and work

Beautifully illustrated throughout with full-color watercolor paintings

Whether you are a world-weary worker juggling the demands of a hectic life or a seeker of soul-satisfying experiences, this deceptively simple book is your key to refresh, renew, rethink and recharge.

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.

 Pithy, profound, and practical reflections on what nature can teach us about handling the demands of life and work

 Beautifully illustrated throughout with full-color watercolor paintings

Read more and meet author below

Read An Excerpt


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Overview

Lessons for handling and navigating our life and work as revealed through nature

* 2008 Ben Franklin Award for Best Gift Book *


Pithy, profound, and practical reflections on what nature can teach us about handling the demands of life and work

Beautifully illustrated throughout with full-color watercolor paintings

Whether you are a world-weary worker juggling the demands of a hectic life or a seeker of soul-satisfying experiences, this deceptively simple book is your key to refresh, renew, rethink and recharge.

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.

 Pithy, profound, and practical reflections on what nature can teach us about handling the demands of life and work

 Beautifully illustrated throughout with full-color watercolor paintings

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Meet the Author & Other Product Contributors


Visit Author Page - Eileen McDargh

Since starting her consultancy practice in 1980, Eileen McDargh has become known as a master facilitator, an award- winning author of six books, and an internationally recognized keynoter and executive coach.

She draws upon practical business know-how, life's experiences and years of consulting to major national and international organizations that have ranged from global pharmaceuticals to the US Armed Forces, from health care associations to religious institutions. Her programs are content rich, interactive, provocative and playful—even downright hilarious.

Executive Excellence magazine continually ranked her as one of the top 50 thought leaders in self-leadership development. Global Gurus International, a British-based provider of resources for leadership, communication and sales training, also named her as one of the World’s Top 30 Leadership Professionals following a global survey of 22,000 business professionals.

Eileen is a certified speaking professional (CSP) and her election into the CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame places her among the top 3% of speakers in the United States. She’s also listed as a recommended expert through the Sloan Work and Family Research Network now headquartered at University of PA.



Illustrated by Roderick MacIver


Visit Illustrator Page - Rod MacIver


Illustrated by Roderick Maclver

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Excerpt

Gifts from the Mountain: Simple Truths for Life’s Complexities

Prologue

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.

Gifts from the Mountain: Simple Truths for Life’s Complexities
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Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.
Nature’s peace will flow into you
as sunshine flows into trees.
The winds will blow their own freshness into you
and the storms their energy
while cares will drop from you
like the leaves before Autumn.

—John Muir

Gifts from the Mountain: Simple Truths for Life’s Complexities
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Steady strides
beat hasty starts.

Gifts from the Mountain: Simple Truths for Life’s Complexities

Backpacks have to settle. You adjust here, tighten there, shift weight down, shift weight up. It’s a trial and error method as all the while you maintain a steady, even pace. No speed. Just walking, feeling, assessing.

Recall getting a new job, working for a new manager, becoming a parent, or starting a relationship. Too often mistakes are made at the outset because we did not take time to walk steady, to feel, to assess, to adjust here, to tighten there and loosen here.

Ignore the small pains, the momentary twinges at your peril. They get bigger over time.

Honest adjustments are easiest in the beginning.
Pay attention. Easy does it.

Gifts from the Mountain: Simple Truths for Life’s Complexities
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Acclimate at a higher level
before you begin the next part
of the climb.

Gifts from the Mountain: Simple Truths for Life’s Complexities

We’re not only creatures of habit, but our physical bodies attempt to adjust to altitude and temperature. Even driving to a higher elevation can bring dull headaches and stomach discomfort. Add strenuous exercise to the mix and you can get an unpleasant case of altitude sickness. Go slow, drink water, stay at the new level and listen to your body. See how it feels. Sometimes bodies don’t adjust and you’re smart to head back down.


Have you ever aspired to go “higher” in life and then, after you worked so hard to achieve it, found that it did not sit well? Before you buy the bigger house, go for the advancement, seek the huge new client, mentally try it on. Better still, see if you can “sample the altitude”. You can spend time in another department, maybe even shadow the president to see if you’re a fit for that role. Before you buy the larger house, walk the neighborhood, talk to the neighbors. Try it on. Ask the huge client for a project assignment and learn what it will take from you AND from them.


If it feels right, go forward. If not, there’s wisdom in turning around or staying where you are.

Gifts from the Mountain: Simple Truths for Life’s Complexities
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Switchbacks are necessary
to reach the top.

Gifts from the Mountain: Simple Truths for Life’s Complexities

Mountain switchbacks—those S-shaped trails that bring a backpacker slowly to the pass—can be wearisome. Dust rises and walking far right to turn around and trudge far left seems long and tedious. Surely scrambling hand-over-hand is quicker.


Maybe yes. But more often it’s dangerous and can land you in a place where you cannot move. Shortcuts do not often produce the result you expect.

There’s a price to pay for not working the plan and planning the work. We don’t have to jump to “the top” now. Earn it: effort repeated, over and over.

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Endorsements



"Eileen McDargh is the oracle we seek on every mountaintop. If we are open to the adventure, she shows us every pebble, every sunrise, every hardship, and every breathless moment of joy we will encounter on our journey. You have in your hands a map to the rest of your life. What an amazing gift!"

— Bill Jensen, author of Simplicity and What Is Your Life's Work?

"You'll take a deep breath, appreciate the beauty of this journey called life, and find wisdom for business and home. What a joy this book is!"

— Joe Calloway, author of Becoming a Category One, Indispensible, and Work Like You're Showing Off

"Simple and inspiring with lessons that ring true and often go unnoticed. It makes you pay attention to the process of life and take joy in the journey."

— Dr. Eunice Parisi-Carew, coauthor of The One Minute Manager Builds High Performing Teams


"This isn't your common self-help book, but rather a self-think book that looks beyond the surface of work/life issues and goes to the heart of what really matters."

— Mark Sanborn, author ofThe Fred Factor and You Don't Need a Title to be a Leader

"Wonderfully profound.... It's as if Thoreau meets Lao Tzu on the trail and we are fortunate enough to overhear their wisdom on what the wilderness has to offer 21st century civilization."

— Jeff Salz, PhD, explorer, adventurer, anthropologist, and author of The Way of Adventure

"Eileen has given us practical nuggets of wisdom about living life to its fullest. Gifts from the Mountain is psychologically sound, and it inspires both fresh insight and positive action. I'll be recommending this book to all my clients who want to keep climbing ever-higher."

— Beverly Smallwood, PhD, Psychologist and author of This Wasn't Supposed to Happen to Me!

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