Stepping Out to Love and Forgiveness

  • Rolex Awards: Rodrigo Jordán

    Rodrigo Jordan at Rolex Awards Chilean mountaineer Rodrigo Jordán talks about his experiences with an extraordinary group that climbed Mt Everest and says it is great teams and not individuals that accomplish great things.

  • Moving forward through nature hikes Trust, teamwork, love and forgiveness are some of the lessons conveyed through collaborative hikes led by Vertical Foundation of Santiago, Chile. Image Credit: Vertical Foundation

  • Moving forward through nature hikes Trust, teamwork, love and forgiveness are some of the lessons conveyed through collaborative hikes led by Vertical Foundation of Santiago, Chile. Image Credit: Vertical Foundation

  • Moving forward through nature hikes Trust, teamwork, love and forgiveness are some of the lessons conveyed through collaborative hikes led by Vertical Foundation of Santiago, Chile. Vertical founder Rodrigo Jordán is shown leading a hike. Image Credit: Fetzer Institute/Kellen Manley

  • Moving forward through nature hikes Trust, teamwork, love and forgiveness are some of the lessons conveyed through collaborative hikes led by Vertical Foundation of Santiago, Chile. Image Credit: Vertical Foundation

  • Moving forward through nature hikes Trust, teamwork, love and forgiveness are some of the lessons conveyed through collaborative hikes led by Vertical Foundation of Santiago, Chile. Image Credit: Vertical Foundation

Stepping Out to Love and Forgiveness

From the windswept peak of Mt. Everest to the dense neighborhoods of Santiago, Chile, Vertical Foundation and its founder Rodrigo Jordán use experiential outdoor education to promote awareness of the power of love and forgiveness.  

Jordán led the first South American expedition to reach the peak of Mt. Everest in 1992. During that climb he hatched the idea of Vertical S.A. Since then, the multifaceted leader – trained with distinction in engineering and philosophy --  has pursued his love of the outdoors and teamwork as an antidote to poverty.

“When our group was hiking down from Everest in 1992, we said to one another: ‘Look what we did, working together,’ “ Jordán told Penn University’s Wharton Leadership Digest. “…. There may have been things that bothered me, but I tolerated them, because I didn’t want to diminish our relationship.”

The Fetzer Institute is partnering with Vertical to sponsor 75 reflective hikes in the area of Santiago in 2013 and 2014. Diverse groups of participants—couples, parents and children, classmates, grandparents and grandchildren—will be invited to complete the hikes and reflect on their experiences in groups of approximately 25 people per hike. 

Participants will engage in reflective activities before, during and after the hike and will share their insights through small group discussions, a mural, newsletters and social media.   The reflections are focused on creating a supportive, accepting form of team interaction that can be applied to sports, work or educational settings.

Through the hiking activity, silence and structured reflection, the expected 1,500 participants will be encouraged to identify and strengthen their awareness of love and forgiveness in their daily lives and relationships.

“At Vertical, we take people on retreats and put them in a totally different situation, away from their work setting. To deal with a new issue, it helps to be in a new environment,” Jordán said in the Wharton interview.

At the conclusion of each hike, participants are invited to leave handprints in paint on a large mural, along with their personal commitment to love and forgiveness in their lives. The completed mural, along with email reminders and social media posts will bring a lasting commitment to the concepts learned during the hikes.

The Awareness Hikes project has about 70 hikes coming up over the next few months in natural areas around Santiago. Six of the 75 hikes have already been completed. 

This is a project of the Fetzer Advisory Council on Sport and Embodied Spiritual Practice.