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Item #: BK961A-953
SEVEN MOUNTAINS: THE INNER CLIMB TO COMMITMENT Marilyn Mason 1998 Softcover Near Fine
By Mason, Marilyn
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New York, Plume, 1998. 149 pp. Used softcover. Near Fine.

The author uses her experiences of rock climbing, Annapurna, Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, and Everest to show how climbing can teach us commitment and fulfillment in all areas of our lives. 

Life presents us with hundreds of variations on a handful of interpersonal challenges. Plenty of people save these issues for therapy sessions where vulnerabilities are slowly uncovered and swaddled in layers of talk. But what if there was a swifter, more dynamic way to cut to the chase? Psychologist Marilyn Mason stumbled upon one such route when she agreed to tag along as the therapist in charge of handling sticky emotions among Minnesota medical students during a weekend introduction to rock climbing. Pushing her not-so-athletic body to find handhold after impossible handhold on the way up a crumbling wall and hanging off ropes held by others quickly brought Mason face-to-face with core issues about commitment, failure, and trust. Rock climbing, she found, "uncovered stored feelings, dormant strengths, failings and unmet truths that I had buried."

Building on these revelations, Mason helped form an adventure psychology company that depended on the physical extremes of trekking, dog-sledding, rafting, and cross-country skiing to encourage people to explore the "wilderness within." In Seven Mountains, she uses a series of climbs she made in such places as Tanzania, Tibet, and the Caucuses to coach readers about commitment, endurance, and pushing past fears that tie us to unsatisfying acts and lives. Well-written journal excerpts chronicle self-doubts, and moments from various adventure trips help elucidate such points as the paradoxical generosity in holding back on offers of support to allow for the growth that comes from struggle. - Francesca Coltrera

Marilyn Mason, a licensed psychologist and university faculty member, was far from being an outdoors woman when she participated in her first rock climbing trip on the north shore of Minnesota's Lake Superior. But beyond the exhilarating physical challenge, she soon discovered key elements of climbing that were essential in the challenges we all face every day. Mason went on to climb majestic peaks in Tibet, Nepal, Tanzania, the Caucasus, and China. Beginning each chapter with a diary excerpt dramatizing her climbs, she discusses her findings in the context of human relationships - in work, love, family, friendships, and community. In Seven Mountains the decisions to risk, to face our fears, to trust, to ask for support, to overcome our 'stuckness,' and to let go become starting points for an inspirational examination of what matters most to us.

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