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Climbing out of the Darkness into the Light
Margo is an author, speaker and coach based in Fairmount, British Columbia. She works with organizations and associations looking to enhance their wellbeing through a focus on vitality in the workplace - and runs experiential learning programs for youth-at-risk battling addiction.
She is a sponsored ice climber and has taught clinics all over North America. Her work has taken her from the High Arctic to Antarctica, guiding clients on expeditions to the South Pole and Antarctica’s tallest peak, Mount. Vinson.
In her book, All That Glitters: A Climbers Journey through Addiction and Depression, world-renowned ice climber Margo shares her compelling story of healing and self-discovery amid the frozen landscapes of the planet. Rescued from the depths of drug addiction and crime by the lure of climbing frozen waterfalls, Margo rises from the brink of suicidal depression in a jail cell to being envied by a client in Antarctica for having a “dream life”.
All That Glitters is a story of healing and redemption; a story about losing oneself, and then finding one’s way back home.
Her mission is to help you Maximize your Mental Fitness by building your resilience, enhancing your vitality, and reclaiming your mental mojo.
Margo's Website: https://margotalbot.com/
Moira's Website: http://moirasutton.com/
Gift: 2nd Key to 8 Keys to Unlocking Infinite Passion "Your Values" http://moirasutton.com/
FB Community: https://www.facebook.com/CreatetheLifeyouLove1/
Reiki Healing: http://moirasutton.com/long-distance-reiki-healing-session/
Welcome to our second season episode 29. climbing out of addiction and into the light with our very special guest, author and world renowned Ice Climber Margot Talbot. Margo is an author, speaker and coach. She's based in Fairmont, British Columbia. She works with organizations and associations looking to enhance their well being through a focus on vitality in the workplace, and she runs experiential learning programs for youth at risk battling addiction. She is a sponsored Ice Climber and has taught clinics all over North America. Her work has taken her from the High Arctic to Antarctica, guiding clients on expeditions to the South Pole and Antarctica as tallest peak, Mount Vinson. In her book "All that glitters, a climbers journey through addiction and depression" world renowned Ice Climber Margo shares her compelling story of healing and self discovery admid the frozen landscapes of the planet. Rescued from the depths of drug addiction and crime by the lure of climbing frozen waterfalls, Margot rises from the brink of suicidal depression in a jail cell, to being envied by a client in Antartica for having a "dream life". All That Glitters is a story of healing and redemption; a story about losing oneself, and then finding one's way back home. Her mission is to help you maximize your mental fitness by building your resilience, enhancing your vitality, and reclaiming your mental Mojo. "I like that". So without further adieu, I would like to introduce you to Margo Talbot. Welcome Margo.
Thank you, Moira. Happy to be here.
Yeah, this is so good! I'm so excited about this. As you know, I, you know, I interviewed Warren McDonald, your partner, your soulmate, and you know, many years ago for the show when it was taped live. And so I sort of feel like I've had on the family now, you know, the whole family. It's very, very special. So let's start from here, from the depths of suicidal depression and a conversation with death, we're going to dive into ~ it's a very deep conversation from your heart. And it's going to help so many people. So let's start with your childhood and your family life at the beginning.
Well, I had a childhood that was characterized by neglect. And I believe that neglect is one of the worst things that can happen to a child because the child is abused in some way or hurt in some way. But it has caregivers that are there for it to help it navigate through. That's one thing, but the neglect piece is that no matter what you're going through as a child, and God forbid, you go through some abuse the way I did, but there's no caregiver there to help you navigate it. Now, people think there's a lot of people that don't want to talk about trauma, because they think that there's blame, you blame the parents or you blame people. My take on trauma is, there is no blame, because trauma is largely intergenerational. And if the people who were taking care of you could have done a better job they would have. And so if I'm being neglected, I was being brought up by two parents who themselves as children were neglected, they only did what they learned, and they did the best they could with the resources that they had.
I get that. And that's important part two, you know, to share that, the intergenerational wounds that we go through and how we carry this through these generations, and you know, in NLP, which I trained in many, many years ago, neuro linguistic programming, that was something one of the messages ~ we do the best we can with what we have.
Absolutely, and I think the conversation around trauma, childhood trauma, other traumas, cultural trauma, the conversation needs to happen. We have a lot of mental health, money being thrown at mental health, and there's a lot of research into pharmaceutical drugs, etc. What we really need is to be able to dialogue with people. And I believe that one of the only reasons we need the psychological component the psychologists or psychiatrists to talk with is because we can't talk with the original people where the trauma happened. In my case with my family, but even adult traumas happen, and largely you don't get to talk to the rest of the people involved, mostly because somebody doesn't want to come to the table. They don't want to take responsibility. And so you're left having to move through it yourself. And that's why we need a system of psychiatrists and psychologists. my truest belief is that I've read about Africans and they just sit on a park bench and hash things out until they're done and they they have very little, very little of a psychological system over their psychological support system. It's a peer support system. It's a it's connection, basically human connection.
And yes, and I didn't know about this and that's very interesting. In Africa, the whole thing about, you know, the blame game or labeling, I always had a problem because I studied mental illness and psychology in university and it always bothered me when people would point and especially people with addiction, or alcoholism, or any of that, instead of seeing, labeling the person versus that's just a behavior that they have, it's not the person. So I always had an issue about that from since that was very, very little. And I also had in my family different addictions, I think everyone has, you know, those hidden closets you don't want to talk about because you're scared that, you know, people aren't going to label you or push you aside or, you know, no love or all those labeling I do not like labels never have. So you share that, that the you know, you have a message that depression has a voice and you need to give that voice to the voiceless in the context of addiction, mental illness. How do we do that as a culture then?
Well, number one, mental illness is a cluster of symptoms that somebody falls under. And the symptoms exist for very real reasons. Nobody's born a drug addict, nobody's born an alcoholic circumstances of our lives, put us in a situation where we need to dull the pain of our traumas. And so we use substances for that some people use gambling, but for the purposes of this conversation, my addiction was street drugs and alcohol. And so we live in a culture that likes I mean, who doesn't want something to be snappy and easy to fix, who doesn't want to take a blue pill and have everything go away. But that's not the way our psyche works, it's not the way our soul works. We need to work through these things. So mental illness and addiction are closely aligned, because people use addictions, to help them cope with what we call mental illness. You could also call it emotion sickness, because the the seat of the illness is actually not mental at all. The thoughts that we have rolling around in our head, and one of the main thoughts for me growing up was you are worthless. That is a thought. But underlying the thought is actually a belief. And under that is an emotion, the feeling of being worthless. So how do we the conversation as a culture that we have to have is not what is the next drug that's going to help people with mental illness? The next conversation we have to have is, how do we unpack what we call mental illness now that we have enough knowledge that it's based in trauma, and that it's a cluster of symptoms that someone's exhibiting, it's not something inherently wrong with them?
Mm hmm. And a lot of us have that, not unworthiness, you know, or, or whatever we say to ourselves all the time. It's not necessarily what we're sitting outside, like, you know, I'm even judging ourselves, like, I'm not skinny, I'm not smart, I'm stupid, or whatever we say, but that I'm worthiness versus we're, we're worthy. Just because we're born, we're here. And I think you say that in the book that our worthiness isn't matched by the outside stuff. It's about just we're worthy being this human being living the spiritual life. And as you know, this adventure, and adventure with trauma and different areas in our life. Now, if you say that unresolved trauma lives in side the body, and a lot of people are fearful to go there. So they do that they go numb it or, you know, get busy even just so they don't have to look at it. But really, you have to dive deep to start that healing journey. How did you start doing that? Do you have an exercise that you help people that you work with to do that to start to unravel what you just said, but worthiness, belief, emotion?
Well, I encourage everyone that I work with to write. I journaled for decades before I published my book, and I used my journals to remember events and emotions when writing my book. So journaling is one of them. The other thing I encourage people to do is define the emotions underlying your personal problems. And if the problem is that you didn't receive something as a child, or an adolescent or an adult, then the obvious answer is to give that to yourself. So let's go back to the idea of feeling worthless. You now need to give yourself hugs, feelings of worth, write a page of things that have gone right in your life that you did well in your life. It's about tipping scales. There was a point when my life was 95%, darkness and 5% light and I just slowly tipped that scale. The idea of a instant pill to cure all mental ills does not exist. And so what we need to do is the work. And the work is I have symptoms, because of something I didn't get as a child so that I could develop and grow properly. How do I give that to myself? Now, as an adult, if you're lucky, you can talk to your parents, or your caregivers about what went wrong. But most of us cannot, because we live in a culture that doesn't want to look at the scenes of trauma and a culture that likes things to be clean and neat and packaged up with a bow. We don't like messy and, and healing from trauma and looking at one's mental illness is messy work.
Well, your percentage there, that's interesting, because I want you to define repressed anger and then how did you begin to peel back those layers like an onion to get to the core and the essence of you and literally, that's 95% to 5%. Wow, that's, that's a journey.
Yes. So I believe your question was, how did I go through the layers of my anger? Was that the question?
Yes. And I think you also say that repressed anger is its anger is like, repressed like, so just your feeling and how you share that? And yes, also the layers how you started going, 5% 10%, like started going, tipping that scale at that one point that you and we'll talk about that? When did that exactly happen for you?
Yeah, well, I can't remember the first time it happened. But I do remember the noticing somewhere in my early 30s, that anytime I came out of a depression, it was with anger, I would get angry and feel this power inside of me. I now know that that was my boundaries, we get angry when people transgress our boundaries. I now believe that depression is a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. And that coming out of depression involves getting back our power and empowering ourselves. For me that was getting in touch with my anger towards people, transgressing my boundaries as a child. And a transgress boundary is not getting the love that you as a child need. So I noticed that anger was bringing me out of my depressions. And there's only there's two things that I believe are hard truths about psychology. And one is that anger, sorry, depression is repressed anger. And anger is repressed sadness. So it goes back to the pain. And the pain is why people self medicate. And the pain is what people can't handle. When they exhibit personality traits that we call mental illness. We call it a cluster of symptoms, but it comes from somewhere. But my main message to people is, you have everything inside of you that you need to heal, you have a blueprint for your own healing, but you need to go inside and trust yourself. Yes, experts and friends can put up signposts and beacons of light. But ultimately, you are the engineer and architect of your own healing, and trust that.
That can be very scary for a lot of people. I know that I work with that whole, trusting and having faith and knowing this inner wisdom in there somewhere. And I totally know that we each have a soul blueprint. And it's going in and doing that process. How did you start to do that, like gain that trust again in yourself, gain that faith because there's many times that you lost the faith along the path, and the hope so I'd like to tie in hope, faith and trust. How did those things play out for you?
Well, the first time I ever went ice climbing, I felt joy for the first time in my life without the use of a heavy dose of street drugs. I was surprised I always thought happiness was something other people had. And I didn't get it somehow in my my birth genes. And on that day, I realized that I was capable of feeling happy. And it took something as physically demanding as ice climbing and something with inherent risk, because risk makes you really pay attention to what you're doing. And so I got brought into the present moment where the past the pain of my past disappeared. And my fear of the future, which is the underpinning of anxiety was not there. And I knew it was only a matter of time before I would replace drugs with ice climbing. And once I did that it took two full years I knew it was only a matter of time before I could feel happiness and other Other parts of my life that I didn't have to be dangling off a frozen waterfall, to feel a sense of inner peace.
I love that because you very much talk about the you know, you need that focus when you're climbing this ice, you can't be anywhere else or distracted or you could have a fall or get killed or so I was talking about the present thing. We always know that the present is the gift, but also that whole thing you're talking about the connection to the presents, which is connected to your soul.
Absolutely. And sometimes, socially, we get these society gloves on to things that are very important, but doesn't always know why or where they are. We have people talk a lot about mindfulness, and there's mindfulness courses, etc. I'm not against taking courses, I take lots of courses, and I'm a true believer in mindfulness. But for your audience today, mindfulness is as simple as looking at a chair and telling your mind I'm not going to, I'm not going to pay attention to the thoughts roaming through you right now, I'm going to look at the wood on the back of the chair. Another way to stop the mind from reeling is to go into your fingertips or your toes or some part of your body and just feel your fingertips lie down in bed at night. And instead of letting the mind run in circles, I go into my body and go oh, is there going to scan my body for pain, I go into my big toes, I'm not perfect at it, the thoughts still come and I still get taken away. But at least I've got that practice. And it's something people can do right now in this moment. They don't have to wait till they take a course. And they don't they don't have they don't have to become anything. They need to remember that the present moment exists inside of them all the time, they just need to tap into it.
I like that, I like people to have tools to know they they can shift their state or their focus at any time and that we are really the architects and the writers of our life. And again, there that's for a lot of people to take that responsibility. And really responsibility is really just how you respond to something in your life. But taking responsibility is an area that you literally step into the good the bad, the ugly, you're we're on a journey. We're all learning. We're expanding. There's you say you take courses, I take courses in that whole expansion. When you when you first got into first time your introduction. Were you Climbing on Jasper at the time and you know, that feeling that you just talked about? Was it just like there was the risk? You were focused the exhilaration, did you know that this was going to be the turning point, one of the turning points in your life.
I absolutely knew it was going to be a turning point because I'd never felt happy before. And now I was feeling happy. So I knew instinctively that I was going to be able to give up drugs for ice climbing. I didn't know how I was going to do it or how long it was going to take. But yes, I felt it in my bones. Now the way I described the first day of ice climbing is that I discovered my passion. And I define passion as something that draws you in so completely the rest of the world literally disappears. Another way to define it is the etymology of ecstasy is to stand outside oneself. And now we all we all can remember times, maybe you were at somebody's wedding, maybe you were playing the guitar, listening to a beautiful piece of music. We all can remember times where we were just transported and all of a sudden we weren't Moira Sutton we weren't Margo Talbot, we were so much larger being carried on the wings of life. And then you you come back to yourself, you know, we lose ourselves in movies, we lose ourselves ourselves when we go to a classical music concert. And then we come back and everyday reality, we need both, we need to be that most running around on the ground getting stuff done. And we also need to go up and be an eagle in the sky and take stock of our lives, you know, where the globe globe is going to universe. And so one is not more important than the other. But if we focus on one to the exclusivity of the other, if we're always rushing around like a mice in a maze. We never get that reflective, higher level time to brainstorm and engineer ourselves our thoughts in our lives.
Hmm, that's beautiful metaphor where the mouse running around or a squirrel or whatever it is. I like that. Now, you had an experience and there's people like you've said already, you know, psychologists, psychiatrists, there's there's a place for doctors or for each one of us. But you had a diagnosis that you went from your psychologist down the hall to your psychiatrist, and he gave you a pretty direct diagnosis. What was your reaction when he said that? Please share that
Yeah, I was 22 years old, I didn't really know what was wrong. I went to a psychologist and I, I believe it was my first appointment. We got to the point where I admitted I was suicidal. And she immediately picked up the phone and called someone and I went down the hallway. Now I understand. Nobody wants to see someone committing suicide. I understand why she did what she did. But when I got to the psychiatrist's office, he asked me a bunch of questions. I fit underneath a certain cluster of symptoms and got diagnosed with bipolar at the time, it was called manic depression. Now it's called bipolar. And he gave me a prescription for lithium and said, I'd be on it for the rest of my life. Well, I was on a bunch of street drugs at the time, and I thought, surely I don't need to take more drugs. So I actually ripped up the prescription and put it in the garbage. Simply because of my own situation at the time, I knew that my drug use was covering up very real events from my childhood. And that's what no professional had gotten to the point. Actually, Dr. Gabor Matei is one of the pioneers he and Bessel Van Der Kolk and Peter Levine, they made the connection between childhood trauma and what we call mental illness, and childhood trauma and addiction. And it's been very slow in gaining traction. And my belief is that it's very slow because it threatens an industry that relies on a different narrative. "Mm hmm. Huh" So I thought, well, but you had a question in there. What was the question about the diagnosis?
I think it was more that, you know, you've answered it that first of all, this person didn't really even know you and just put you into a box and gave you that life sentence. And you're only 22? How scary can that be?
Yeah, and I think a lot of people, I know a lot of people who went through a similar experience to me, and, you know, later on in their life, got off the pharmaceutical drugs or, you know, looked at their childhood went to talk to their parents, etc. pharmaceutical drugs have a wonderful place, let's just say, You're suicidally depressed, and you need to get yourself out of the ditch and back onto the road. Well, you could use SSRIs, or antidepressants to do that. You can use a bunch of other things, too. But I see a place for it, especially with suicidal people. But the goal, as far as I see it, is get yourself back on the road, but then do the work of figuring out how did I become depressed. I look at suicidal depression as the opposite of vitality. When you're suicidally depressed, you literally have no more energy left to live your life. And you're in a lot of existential pain. And the opposite of that, is when you feel vitally alive, you've just had a day on the beach in the sunshine swimming in the salt water, you feel incredibly alive, like a fully charged battery. And so everything in between, that's a spectrum and we move on the spectrum constantly, you could be having a great day, your friend could call tell you she's getting divorced, all of a sudden, you know, the, the feeling inside of your body could change. And we all need to have tools, not just the suicidally depressed, but we all need tools to navigate life. And some of us were given really good tools when we were young, and others, the neglected people were not given good tools and good coping mechanisms. And that's what we have to give back to ourselves. And that's what we have to teach ourselves as adults.
Fantastic. Well, let's just segue into that, you know, this expand on your vitality spectrum, your program and how you help people, as we said in the beginning, maximize their mental fitness, you know, building resilience, enhancing their vitality, and I love the one reclaiming your mojo. Can you expand on that?
Yeah. Well, you touched on something earlier. You mentioned responsibility, with your own healing and with empowerment, the two are bedfellows. You cannot be an empowered person without the responsibility, peace. And another way to say that is you can't be a victim of the circumstances of your life and empower yourself at the same time. It is literally like a switch. I'm not saying that it's not okay to go into periods where you go, you know, well, if I hadn't spent my entire adult life dealing with my childhood trauma, who could I have been? What could I have done with my gifts? I'm not saying don't go there. I've certainly gone there before. What I'm saying is don't get stuck in the victim side. The victim side should get you to a point where you then want to move into the empowerment piece and the you know, taking responsibility. We don't have to take responsibility for the trauma that happened to us but we take responsibility that Well, now I'm 30, or 40, or 50, now I'm an adult, I can no longer ask my parents about it, because they don't want to talk or they've just they've died. And so now I have to take responsibility and work with where I'm at, in this moment, to get myself to the other side.
I like that in this moment, like, just be in the moment. And you know, we have a choice point in every moment. So it's what you said before with the climbing, you're, you're not in the past, you're not in the future, you're like, in the present moment. So just in the moment, be kind to yourself and gentle and then decide, you know, what it is you really want? That's my message, what do you really want in your life, and and then start taking those steps as you did from 5%. You know, from 95%, in the darkness, to 5%, to the light to now you're in the light. Now, you were put into jail, they told you why they were having you in so they didn't tell you the truth. And you were put in jail. That must be very scary. Was that a major turning point for you?
Well, a lot of people get thrown in jail, and it's not their rock bottom. But it was for me, I grew up in a situation, an environment that was so out of control that I spent the time as soon as I left home, I spent my time seeking freedom, and stability and having control over my life, it was a very big theme for me, well, getting plucked out of everyday reality, and getting thrown into a six by 10 foot concrete cage is the opposite of freedom. It had an incredible impact on me. And it was it did end up being my turning point. And it was a blessing in disguise. I knew that in order to not risk losing my freedom again, I had to get drugs out of my life. And between that and and being introduced to ice climbing, those were the two campuses that were big enough to cause me to turn my life around.
That's a great message. You know, I have a book coming out my next book, second book can be called "What is the Gift in This"? because you also see that, you know, in our lives, our biggest challenges can be our greatest teachers and opportunities for growth, transformation, enlightenment. For people to do that, again, for people you work with, do you just guide them through that what you were saying early journaling was good in their life? Having gratitude, we both know that gratitude is very important for every part of our life, because we're here, we are a miracle. Is that is there other steps you have to do? Or I know when you take women predominantly out for ice climbing for, you know, retreats in that? Are they coming to do healing? And are they going through that, you know, seeing that that's a challenge in it, it affects the other areas of their life, with their their growth for doing that, and then enlightenment and all that. Tell me some stories for some of the women that have gone through your programs with you.
Yes, when women sign up and come to programs, in the beginning, I thought everybody was coming to learn how to ice climb. And I quickly realized that a lot of the clients were going through a transformation, they were either getting divorced after decades of marriage, some of them had gone through cancer. Now I didn't find this out in the beginning. But I slowly started noticing that when people wanted to shake up their lives, they signed up for something. So outside their wheel box, like ice climbing, climbing a frozen waterfall. I think although they all came for different reasons, I would say they were looking for a shift. And they were looking to empower themselves. These were think about a woman who has been a mother for 20 years. And she wants to go find out what she can do. My kids are gone. They've moved out. Can I get to the top of this frozen waterfall? Can I sign up for this course? And can I actually get to the top. And it's it's wild because I it's almost like I watched the women go through what I went through on my first day where I realized Whoa, I am way stronger than I think. And the other beauty of of ice climbing being the the medium through which we we empower ourselves is that women are really handed tools as children or adults they don't. A lot of women don't have never swung a hammer don't know how to swing a hammer. It's very empowering to have the sharp access in your hand hands and these pontoons on your feet. These crampons. It's a very empowering thing for women. It's empowering for anybody. I mean, my youth at risk are largely men. It's empowering for anybody but I think especially for women. And once you see how strong you are physically and see that you can do something that looked impossible in the morning, and by the afternoon you're scampering up this frozen waterfall. It makes you wonder what else is out there and what else you could accomplish that you simply haven't thought of yet.
Yeah, I would think with those big, like, I don't know the equipment, but you were intrigued by the equipment while climbing, you know, the the different hooks in the bolts and you know, the gear and that hole that the claw, one that you put in the ice, and then you have to lean back. That would would be a lot of building confidence with that, I would think.
Yeah, and building confidence is, as you know, potentially, the first step towards empowerment is knowing that you are stronger and more capable than you believe, or that perhaps anybody has ever told you that you are. I think that there's a hidden world inside of all of us. And I once read the comment that all problems contain their own solution. And when you have a really big problem that can seem you could burst out laughing when you heard that. But when I look back on my life, every problem did contain its own solution. And if I could go back to that jail cell momentarily, I was thrown in jail, and it was the, quote unquote, worst thing that ever happened to me. And the solution was to get myself out of jail, keep myself out of prison and change my life. So that never happened again. So the blessing in disguise was figuring out what the solution is, I could have sat there and gone, Oh, God, I had a perfect life. I had all the drugs I wanted. There I was, you know, medicating myself, etc. But it forces you to think outside of the rut that you were on. And some you know, it's sometimes I believe, that that when events happen to us that we think is end of the world. They end up being blessings in disguise because it's it's like life has an intelligence beyond our own. That gives us exactly what we need on our journeys.
I was just thinking when you're saying that, because I was gonna say, when you know, when you had the dark night of the soul experience, which we've all had, I believe, I think everyone has that. And I was tying it into, you know, the darker the soul being the solution with the sole word you're talking about. That's perfect ~ tie those two together. Now you use you met Karen, she was a big part of your climbing experience. Shoot, what could I say she was your best friend. And and probably and she was, it was a new experience for you climbing with women versus climbing with men and how she helped you through, you know, really hard times like your emotional, nervous breakdown suicidal episodes. How did she do that for you? What was it like climbing with a woman for the first time and then continuing to climb with woman too?
So those are two questions. So, Margo, I'm a little chunker and I go on and on with little chunks.
Okay, well, I'll take chunk one here and help me. It's so simple. She listened to my story. Yes, that is the genesis of healing. And that's what I meant in the beginning when I said we go to psychiatrists, because we don't have someone listening to our story. psychiatrists, counselors, they're trained to listen to your story, some better than others, you got to find the person who, who fits. Karen had an ability to be completely present for people and listen to their stories. So I grew up feeling like I didn't matter. I didn't feel like I could tell people things about my life. And Karen somehow drew them out of me and gave them weight. In other words, believe them and believe that these were very important things to me, and believe that they had a place in my suicidal depression. And she was absolutely correct. And even my social worker, Elaine, the woman who helped me the most, she was not more trained than the rest of them. She was a clinical social worker. They were psychologists and psychiatrists. She listened to me. That's all it took. She connected with me. And she listened to me and one of my momentous moments with her was when she leaned over her desk. I was sitting there telling her about my latest plan for how to kill myself. And I'm crying and I'm completely upset. She leaned over her desk looked me straight in the eye and Margo, it's the pain you want to end, not your life. And that was a real switch in the brain moment. Because after that moment, I knew it was true. And I knew that instead of figuring out ways to end my life, I now had to figure out ways to end the pain.
I remember reading that in in your book, and it's very powerful, just that little, like you said, it's just a tweak on the words in which you're looking at. And you know, it's ending the pain like you said, not your life.
And the second part of your question, the second chunk is what did it feel like climbing with a woman, Karen was incredibly supportive. And I like to think that that dynamics have changed between men and women now, although I still see couples out climbing. But I climbed with men that, you know, they wanted to lead everything. They didn't want to, you know, wait for me to lead. Maybe some of them thought I was slower than them or putting more screws in them or whatever, climbing with women, Karen was the first and then I moved on and started climbing with women exclusively, they were very supportive of my lead, they were very supportive, it didn't matter if I took more time, or put in an extra screw that they wouldn't have put in. They weren't judgmental about it, because they recognized that it was my experience. And this was my 45 minutes, or however long it took to lead the pitch. This was my experience, and they were there to support it. And that when they got up to my anchor, then it was their turn to have a lead. And that was their experience. And they knew I was going to be there for them. So it changed everything. And from then on, the only people I would go climbing with were people that would support me the way my women, climbing friends supported me.
And we all know or someone's listening, because a lot of people can be very busy in life. And with this COVID pandemic, a lot of people had to slow down and it was very uncomfortable and maybe still uncomfortable for them to have that quiet time within themselves. Not not keeping busy, like you said earlier that some people feel it, you know, with their pain or their not being able to sit with themselves with addiction, shopping, TV, gambling, whatever, versus just slowing down and being present. And then we know when somebody is present when we're talking to someone, I know that when I talk to a family member, if they're busy doing something, and it's and I'm talking, I'll say, you know, I'll come back when we can schedule or be present with each other instead of on the computer or something because again, we know when people aren't truly there listening. So that was quite the gift and beautiful from Karen. And then you know, climbing with women.
Yes, and what you're pointing to is also the genesis of neglect. neglect can be have many different levels to it. But the message that you don't matter can come across to a child, if you're on your phone all the time, or if you're pretending you're listening, but you're very dismissive, and you're really not listening. And sometimes, let's just say that a woman's husband dies, and she becomes the sole caretaker of a child and she has to go work full time, maybe two jobs. There's valid reasons why people aren't present for their children, or people aren't present for each other. And I understand that that's sometimes a real reality. And that's why it's more important, the quality of the time you spend with someone is more important than the quantity for that reason. So a child can feel like the parent has no time for it, and the child will think that they're worthless, the child does not understand the adult world of having to go to work and make money etc. And so I'm not saying that there's not real reasons for it. And certainly during COVID my first thought when we went into lockdowns was children in homes where they were being neglected or abused women who were being abused, like what is this going to mean for societal trauma? The fact that people are locked down and don't have access to the things they normally have access to?
Where do you feel as collective that we're going with these challenging times? And we're still in, you know, we're still in COVID. We're still you know, if anything, these different types are coming out. I don't have the word for it. But But you know, where do you see as a collective that? You know, because personally, I feel that we're going to raise our consciousness and we're going to connect more on a different level, and more authentically.
Well, that that is the hope and that's certainly where we need to go. But let me back us up. When COVID was announced and the lockdowns happened, had we resolved all of the other human problems. The answer's no. We've never resolved the Israeli Palestinian issue. We've never resolved, whether you call it climate change or whether you just call it trashing the earth we haven't resolved that issue. We haven't resolved the issue between the whites and the indigenous peoples of Canada. Humans let situations fester and fester and fester. We never bang the lid on them and put them to bed. So when COVID hit, we didn't just have a lockdown, and a pandemic. We had to deal with a pandemic and climate change and an overblown financial system and the geopolitical events of the world. And a And all this is comes back to responsibility and empowerment, the only way we can have a world that's based on responsibility and empowerment is if each individual becomes self responsible and empowered. And so you're right, when you say that we need a shift in consciousness, we're not going to solve the human problems with the same level of consciousness that has created them because that level of consciousness is based on competition and strife, and taking other people down war would be the geopolitical example of the you know, the hatred or the fighting or the tribal mind, the inability to accept everyone, we need to come to a point where we understand that we are one and we will thrive or perish as one.
And I have written about the the C's, which are, you know, moving away from that polarity into the collective, the our consciousness, our contribution, courage, you know, all those "C" words, community, giving back, and if people start and there's a whole bunch of us who are doing this, like, I consider myself a light worker and yourself, like your message, you and Warren and, you know, we're coming together and, and we are the light workers, we are the change agents, so to to state take a take a stand and what we believe in, and, you know, truly get out there and talk about that and not focus on the other things like I know that's happening, but I don't I'm talking about news or that not to focus on the fear that's put out there. But the responsible, like, literally be responsible for what we're being told, you know, to do to help all of us to get together. I'm going to segue differently. Now. I'm going to ask you about your Antarctica experience, what was that like for you that that that must have been just Wow! So out there and that the, you know, in nature, and the whole thing about nature being in control.
Antarctica is nothing but sheer beauty, everything about it, whether it's minus 30 with a 25 degree Windchill, whether it's the blowing snow across the the sturdy wave like patterns in the snow, we think of snow as being this homogeneous flat blanket. Well, with all the high winds in Antarctica, it actually looks more like an ocean. It was incredibly beautiful. It was like everything I had done in my life had prepared me to be in Antarctica, all the ice climbing the winter camping, being out in the cold layering systems. And then being able to take people to these places that in my wildest dreams, I never saw myself taking clients to the south pole or to the summit of Mount Vinson, I thought in Antarctica was incredibly beautiful and pristine. If I ever thought I breathed in fresh air in my life, I didn't even know what fresh air was. And one of the most remarkable things about being in Antarctica was the lack of external stimuli. And so you land there, and at first, it's all exciting. It's a new place, you see the mountains, here's your 10, tents, the cook area, etc. But then after weeks there, I didn't know that a lack of external stimuli for weeks at a time would to allow me to tune into myself in ways I had never done before. In other words, I still remember this experience about two to three weeks in, I felt these these feelings, these these emotions, these desires coming up from inside of me. And at first, I was like, wait a minute, what are those in whose are those I didn't realize that they were my deepest feelings, my deepest emotions. And that's when I recognize that when you live in a constant psychic onslaught, let's just you've got emails coming in constantly. You've got phone calls, people texting you, just everyday life, this business that we talked about the mouse running around in the maze. We live in such a psychic onslaught in our world, that we don't have that time to be quiet, to take stock of ourselves to go inside. So my learning when I was down there, and we're talking about someone who did a lot of therapy, so it's not like I'd never taken stock of myself. But I made a promise to myself that when I got back to North American culture, I was going to keep the psychic onslaught at bay and it's it's a spectrum. Some days are better than others. Some weeks are better than others, but I really try to stop myself when I get overwhelmed in the answer to my overwhelm is usually start saying no, start pushing things away. Don't answer your phone for a day meditate. And I just I just suggest that not everyone's going to be able to get them to Antarctica, but everyone can recreate. I don't know, a nunnery or a meditation retreat, even in their own house in their own daily life.
It's beautiful. I know that my sole partner, and Hubby, Cliff, we 32 years ago, when we met, we met and we decided we would sell everything and go buy a boat and live in the Bahamas. And we did that and the whole thing about there we had the freedom, you know, to, to move our boat wherever we wanted to, we could navigate our lives where we wanted to, he dove for fish and lobster. And it was just a very freeing feeling. And when I came back to Toronto, halfway through that I came back, and then I went back to the boat, there was an onslaught of things like you're saying, like the TV, the media, things coming into the door, buy, buy, buy, buy. And you didn't even need these things. And I remember being so drugged, just sitting in front of a TV watching whatever was on it could be just somebody talking on the news, a commercial, and it was just like I was in a trance. And I realized just how, you don't realize that you're away from it, and you come back. So yes, but you know what you're talking about a psyche onslaught to, to really create a space a sacred space for each one of us to to have self love and self care.
Yeah, because when things are coming at us at breakneck speed, there's no there's no capacity for what's coming, bubbling up inside of us that wants to come out. Right now we're on the precipice of very dangerous things, not just a virus and its variants. We're in a very dangerous stage of humanity, we've overpopulated the planet, we have degraded the natural world, we have a, you know, got, I don't even know how many trillion derivatives market 400 trillion in derivatives in the financial markets, we have overblown or overdone things to the point where we really need to come back into balance. Having a virus out there, wreaking havoc is just one symptom of being out of balance, as is the degradation of nature, as is the levels of mental illness in our society, addiction in our society. They're all related. And they're related to living out of balance. And even if you go back to childhood trauma, what happened to me was, I lived at a balance I needed mirroring for my caretakers, I never got it, that's an imbalance. I needed somebody to notice what was happening. For me when I was a child that was out of balance, like these things can be, they're incredibly complex, but you can also distill them down to simple foundational issues. Now simple doesn't mean they're easy, or that they're easy to correct. But they everything can be reduced to its simplest foundational issue. And then if you work on a cluster of symptoms for the rest of your life, which the psychopharmacological model largely does, you'll just go around in this vicious cycle of symptoms. But if you can distill the issues down to the foundational problems, then you're actually every ounce of energy you put into the foundational problem will have a greater effect on the surface of your life.
I think you've covered it but in a little wisdom gem in a sentence or two, if you can do it without I don't want to limit it. So like really why now the timing, you've written your book and you're telling your story. What's the major, major thing you want people to take away from your your mission here and your vision here, and what you want people to learn.
I would like people to know that they are infinitely stronger and more capable than they know that they have everything they need for their own healing. That trusting yourself is probably the most important thing you can do in life. Because nobody knows what you need, more than you, yourself do. And also that we live in a culture that encourages a victim mentality. I encourage a responsibility empowered mentality because that's how you create the life of your dreams. That's how you attain freedom. And that's how you attain happiness and peace of mind.
I love that. That's just beautiful. Margo, could you share this special gift that you've created for our listeners today, because they're very special in my community here and you're part of it. And I want everybody to know all the links to the gifts from Margo, and how you can connect with Margo, learn more about her coaching, her courses, her retreats will be below in the Episode Notes. So Margot, if you could share that?
Yes, first off, thanks to everyone listening today. We've created on the website, a 20%, off coupon for your listeners for my book, "All that Glitters", as well as my one on one consultations. That to help people with the tools I've learned to bring me to this where I'm living today.
It's beautiful. Thank you. That's very generous. I would love to come to a close with you today. It's been such a pleasure, Margo. And if you could read about humanity at the end of - it's an excerpt at the end of your book. And your insights here as we touched we touched upon it a little bit, but I'd like to hear your reading from your book.
Yes, it's the my book was recently republished by Rocky Mountain books and I wrote a separate afterward for the new edition. And the last paragraph begins. "Humanity is on the cusp of the most important leap in its evolution. And what will take us to the next level is nothing short of a shift in consciousness. We need to become an empowered species and live up to our potential as intelligent sensitive stewards for each other and of the planet".
What a powerful message. Thank you so much Margo. Thank you for sharing from your very personal story and your healing journey from your Heart and Soul and your Wisdom on climbing out of addiction into the light. Namaste.