“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.” ~ Edmund Hillary
As I sit here, I am transported back to a moment from a couple of years back, from our visit to Mount Rainier, in Washington state. This picture – a favorite of mine – jumped out at me. A reminder of our summer vacation, and even more than that – what this mountain, what all the mountains of our world, can teach us.
Our visit – just a single day, yet an awe-filled moment that will live on forever in my soul.
Lessons from the Mountain
- A mountain…it represents both a high point and a low point. And even climbing a mountain, there will be moments where you are going up, and then need to change direction and go down in order to continue to the peak.
Life Lesson:Life is like this. There will be ups and there will be downs. The important thing to remember is that through it all, remember where you are headed on your life journey. Have you thought about the peak you're aiming for?
- Go out on a hike, and depending on where you are – there may or may not be a trail to follow. Along the easier parts of the mountain, paths which are traveled regularly by many – trails are plentiful and in good condition. The closer you get to the peak, or the farther away you get from places that are most popular – the less likely you are to have an easy trail to follow.
Life Lesson:Along those paths in life you travel, sometimes you will be on well-traveled paths. These paths – the paths of comfort, familiarity, mediocrity – they are paths traveled by many. And they are not necessarily good or bad. They just are. And they are paths we will travel on. All of us. And sometimes, that is good. Other times, though, if you really desire to reach your mountaintop, you are going to venture off the main paths. You will have to blaze your own trails. Venture out into this unknown territory.
- As you climb those mountains of your world, or even just heading out into the wilderness near you – there will be times when you fall down. When you slip on a rock. When there's a stream to cross, and no bridge. When there are boulders in front of you that seem insurmountable. And you might get hurt. You might have to turn around. Or you might look for another way.
Life Lesson:Obstacles. They are out there in your life. And you will most certainly encounter them as you go through life. Will they be there on the new trails you're forging toward your peak? Definitely. You will stumble along the way, in this thing called your life. Your ego will be bruised. You might be broken financially or emotionally. Yet, that doesn't mean you are finished, or that your mountain peak isnt' attainable. Maybe it means you have to retreat and regroup. Or look for a different way to the top. Or take a break. Maybe it even means this isn't the mountain for you. This can be a good time for reflection, to really evaluate where you're at. And if you come out of that saying it's the wrong mountain, that's fine. As you journey through life, what matters to you may change. Recognizing this is an important step – so that you can be climbing the right mountain – for you. And if that means retreating because you're now on the wrong mountain, that's perfectly okay. Just as is taking a break, or retreating and regrouping before conquering the mountain again.
- Your mountain is there to climb, and you do. You take paths part of the way. You forge your own paths part of the way. You go up, down, sideways, stall, and repeat. Eventually you reach that peak. And the view from the peak is an awesome one, filled with the vastness of what you can see from here. And then you realize, this is a moment in time. You are not going to stay on this peak. You'll retreat back down the mountain (perhaps traversing a new path along the way). And while you'll remember the peak, it's the journey that made it all worth it.
Life Lesson:With effort, your mountain peaks in life are reachable. The thing to remember, though, is that this peak is a moment in time. The peak is not a place we stay at forever. It's a place to savor, for having reached it. And in reaching this life peak, you also remember that's it's the journey of getting there that has made it all so worth it. And then you move on. To the next mountain in your life.
The mountains of your life are out there. You are climbing them right now. Are they the mountains you want to be climbing? Have you taken the time to really know, deep within, if this mountain of life you're on – if it's the one you're meant to be climbing at this moment? Find that mountain that has meaning to you, and climb!
"Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So. . . get on your way." ~ Dr. Seuss
by Lance Ekum