High in the Himalayan mountains, sherpas carry unbelievable weights over great distances, laughing as they go. Some have climbed Everest several times, even with physical disabilities. Stalwart guides and porters, they scale the highest peaks, guiding others beyond all self-limitation. They are courageous, cheerful, and willing to put their life on the line. Climbing the highest mountain is their passion. It is in their blood. They embody the maxim, “The trek upward is worth the inconvenience,” and their good-heartedness is contagious.

Like these sherpas, we each have our own Everest to climb, and people who count on us to carry them forward. Maybe it’s a child, an elderly parent, or coworkers on the job, especially when the going gets tough.

How we process the challenges life brings to us directly impacts our journey through life. Are we willing to take the high road, to become a shining example? What are we willing to pledge or to give up? How far are will we go to love authentically and leave footprints for others to follow?

Becoming a sherpa means striving to greet adversity with joy. It means sacrificing the enemy within that would derail our best efforts. It’s a little like Jedi training, that impels us to embrace our higher self, to serve others and to surrender to our highest blueprint.

Following the Himalayan sherpas on the best and worst of days boils down to twelve principles.

The first principle is to pursue self knowledge.
To become radiant sherpas, we must first get to know ourselves, to be ready to face our dark side, even if this brings temporary discomfort. The more honest we become with ourselves, the more sincerely we can help others.

The second principle is to greet crisis as an opportunity. Sherpas understand that every crisis provides an opportunity to come up higher. Likewise, our personal growth is commensurate to our willingness to change. When conflict knocks at our door, we do not hide. We vigorously pursue resolution that brings everyone up a notch or two.

The third principle is taking responsibility. We can’t hide from what we say and do, or even from what they think. We understand that at a deep level, every circumstance and interaction that comes into their life, both pleasant and adverse, is somehow a result of a cause that we previously set in motion. Sherpas do not shrink back from that responsibility. They make the best of it.

The fourth principle is mastering our thoughts, words, and feelings.
Thoughts, words and feelings impact us in many seen and unseen ways, and even affect our overall health. You can’t reach the summit of the Himalayas or of the mountain of life if you don’t get on top of these three.

The fifth principle is leading from the heart.
Research shows that our heart has its own intelligence, and that when we ask our heart for guidance, we can actually surpass anything our minds would have come up with. Without fanning the fires of the heart, sherpas could not succeed.

The sixth principle is being a co-creator.
Sherpas consult the mountain before heading upward. They do not take unnecessary risks. They are humble before Nature and her divine Spirit. They know that to reach the top, their quest must harmonize with Life. Likewise, we are co-creators. We can do nothing of lasting value, unless we seek out and honor divine guidance.

The seventh principle is letting go. The serenity prayer attributed to Saint Francis resonates as a sherpa way of living. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.” As we face the twists and turns in our road of life, we must embrace this wisdom. We will find much solace if we honor the middle way between being a doer, taking responsibility and surrendering to a higher Will.

The eighth principle is faith in re-creation.
Like the weather at high altitudes, we change minute by minute. If we stubbornly hold onto an idea of the past, we can get stuck. Without forgiveness, there can be no freedom. It is best to learn from the past and move on. We liberate ourselves and others when we give everyone another chance.

The ninth principle is to embrace the web of life.
Antakharana is a Sanskrit term for the “web of life.” It implies that everything we do, both seen and unseen, impacts every other part of life because we are all connected. Sherpas know that as they change, so will others, even if it is imperceptible at first. That is why their goodwill is contagious, and why it has been said that in their presence, dreams of a better life suddenly seem less foolish. .

The tenth principle is to influence by example.
As they lead Westerners up the mountain, sherpas know that modeling is the only effective way to teach. Truly, we are most effective when we practice what we preach. Knowing that we can’t effectively teach what we haven’t become, we are goaded to come up higher, not only for ourselves but also for all who depend upon us.

The eleventh principle is displayed when the four faces of God shine through us.
There are four pathways to our authentic self. As we open these pathways we become chalices for our highest potential. Like the sherpas, we become self-disciplined ones, expressing God as the Loving Father, the essence of protection and direction. We embrace adventure and courage as the Loved Boychild. We nurture teach and guide those in our charge as the Loving Mother. And we rely on our Loved Girlchild’s intuition, caring and finesse to make sure everyone makes it back to camp safely.

The twelfth and most important sherpa principle is to serve others first. Sherpas have gladly laid down their lives for those in their care. They deeply understand what it means to be their brother’s keeper. They know that only through helping others can one fulfill his or her reason for being.

No matter what your stage on the mountain of life, whether sun rays come to warm you or an avalanche approaches, may you embrace the principles of the radiant sherpas and keep on keeping on.

Author's Bio: 

Therese Emmanuel Grey leads Radiant Sherpa retreats. She co-authored the book Why We Do: Four Pathways to Your Authentic Self, and The Psychology of Success: Tapping the Blueprint of your Highest Self. Find out more about how you can become a radiant sherpa and improve your life, your relationships and your spiritual connection by visiting www.innerfamilyarchetypes.com or by writing to therese@innerfamilyarchetypes.com.