Archive for June, 2009


I won’t be leading the Way of Adventure Himalayan Expedition this year.

Doctor’s orders.

Life is full of metaphors. Within metaphors. Lessons within lessons. Like this one.


First Ascent of Chakri Peak, Great Himalayas National Park
Way of Adventure Team – 9/11 2006

Just as our present economic crisis may be the greatest catalyst for action of our time, this personal near-cataclysm may also be just what the doctor ordered. In the words of the naturalist John Muir, “God has to nearly kill us sometimes to teach us lessons.”

First let me say I feel terrific. I’m hiking mountains and climbing the rocks with renewed vigor. The dance is in my step. My heart is huge and full of love for my family and friends, my sweetheart, my work. I’m altering most everything: The way I eat (90% raw). And the way I exercise (a lot). And weigh (a lot less). And think (a lot more positively).

The reason. My doc discovered potentially lethal blood clots in both legs. Plus a couple of other issues. Turns out, I’ve got the “complete trifecta” for everything from pulmonary embolism to heart disease and stroke.

I’ve faced death too many times – that pesky reaper and I have shared many a tango over  a lifetime of adventuring –  to be frightened now.  But to live a diminished life?  If you know me at all, you know me well enough to understand that is not an option. In fact, I intend to experience exactly the opposite. Hence the changes. Thank you, operator, for the wake-up call.

Life only moves us forward.

The 2009 Expedition has a superb new leader: my dear friend and fellow-speaker, past-Olympian and now Himalayan Mountain Guide Extraordinaire Vince Poscente. And while Vince and the team rise to new heights and climb un-named summits, I will be having a parallel ‘inner adventure’: working on a new book, new speeches and an exciting Inner Peak Experience – Leading from the Inside Out weekend event to be held in Idyllwild in August. Though I’ll miss my time with the trek team – my doctor felt wielding an ice axe at 18,000 feet isn’t what I should be doing quite yet – there are plenty of mountains to climb closer to home.

What I can’t get over is the similarity of my illness – and potential rebirth – to our current global crisis and the opportunity to heed the clarion call of change. It is time to alter the way we consume (a lot less) and connect to our internal wisdom and external environment (a lot more) and to each other (a lot more genuinely).

These are dramatic times. Apparently God does need to nearly kill us sometimes to teach us a lesson. John Muir got this (and so many other things) right. But even John Muir could not have dreamed one hundred and fifty years later just how much would be at stake.

blood clot

Meanwhile. back to my situation:

Like a mystic in a white coat, when I asked why these blood clots have made themselves at home in my legs, the baffled vascular surgeon threw his arms in the air. “Medical science cannot tell us why your body has decided to create these obstructions in your veins. Take these pills,” he said, handing me a script for an anti-coagulant created to kill rats by causing them to bleed to death from the inside out. “And call me in a year.”

On the other side, my dear friend Elizabeth Aleccia – who is a mystic – tells me she sees the cause clearly: unresolved heartache and loss. “Your mind may have moved on, but your body is grieving.” Her sage advice: “The time has come to let go of the past and open the heart to whatever life has to offer now.”

I’ll be swallowing the bitter pills – if not for a year, at least for now – while my situation is critical and survival at stake. But you’d better believe I’ll be taking Elizabeth’s prescription too: caring more tenderly and living more courageously in the now. Enjoying simpler adventures, closer to home with those I love.

At this crucial juncture in our lives and on the planet, so must we all.


Eagle Lanes Bowling Center, San Marcos, California
Way of Adventure Team – 6/9 2009

Birds flyin’ high you know how I feel
Sun in the sky you know how I feel
Breeze driftin’ on by you know how I feel
It’s a new dawn, its a new day, its a new life for me


lyrics from Feeling Good by Bricusse and Newley

photo_3_2_3Jeff Salz, Ph.D is an anthropologist, author and adventurer who speaks on Global Culture Change, Leadership and Corporate Social Responsibility.  Learn more about Jeff’s adventures and Discovery Network specials at www.wayofadventure.comor contact him directly at: jsalz@wayofadventure.com


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