Lessons From The Mountain

by Lance Ekum on · 70 comments


“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.” ~ Edmund Hillary

Mount Rainier, Summer 2008

This morning I was transported back to a moment in time last summer, from our visit to Mount Rainier, in Washington state.  This picture, my desktop background, 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.  Today we’ll look at the wisdom which resides deep within these magnificent beacons.

Our visit was but a day to this  mountain, yet it’s an awe-filled moment that will live on forever in my soul.

Lessons From The Mountain

  • A mountain represents both a high point and a low point.  And even climbing a mountain, there will be spots 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, we remember where we’re headed on our life journey.  Have we thought about the peak we’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, those 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 we travel, sometimes we’ll be on well-traveled roads.  These roads – the roads of comfort, familiarity,  mediocrity – they are roads traveled by many.  And they are not necessarily good or bad.  They just are.  And they are roads we will travel on.  All of us.  And sometimes, that is good.  Other times, though, if we really desire to reach our mountaintop, we’re going to have to get off the main paths.  We’re going to have to blaze our own trails.  Venture out into unknown territory.
  • As we climb those mountains of our world, or even just heading out into the wilderness near us – there will be times when we fall down. When we slip on a rock.  When there’s a stream to cross, and no bridge.  When there are boulders in front of us that seem insurmountable.  And we might get hurt.  We might have to turn around.  Or we might look for another way.  Life Lesson: Obstacles.  They are out there in our lives.  And we’ll most certainly encounter them as we go through life.  Will they be there on the new trails we’re forging toward our peak?  Most definitely.  We’ll stumble along the way in life.  Our ego’s will be bruised.  We might be broken financially or emotionally.  Yet, that doesn’t mean we’re finished, or that our mountain peak isnt’ attainable.  Maybe it means we 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 us.  This can be a good time for reflection, to really evaluate where we’re at.  And if we come out of that saying it’s the wrong mountain, that’s fine.  As we journey through life, what matters to us may change.  Recognizing this is an important step – so that we can be climbing the right mountain for us.  And if that means retreating because we’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.
  • Our mountain is there to climb, and we do.  We take paths part of the way.  We forge our own paths part of the way.  We go up, down, sideways, stall, and repeat.  Eventually we reach that peak.  And the view from the peak is an awesome one, filled with the vastness of what we can see from here.  And then we realize, this is a moment in time.  We’re not going to stay on this peak.  We’ll retreat back down the mountain.  And while we’ll remember the peak, it’s the path taken up the mountain that made it all worth it.  Life Lesson: With effort, our 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.  It’s a place to savor, for having reached it.  And in reaching this life peak, we also remember that’s it’s the journey of getting there that has made it all so worth it.  And then we move on.  To the next mountain in our life.

Your Turn

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

Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
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{ 68 comments… read them below or add one }

Betsy Wuebker March 3, 2009 at 9:29 am

Hi Lance – Isn’t there just an almost mystical pull when in the presence of such magnificence? I felt so drawn to and connected to Denali – The Great One, and tried to write about the strength of that connection in the first set of posts we did. I got as close as I’ll ever get to describing it here: http://passingthru.com/2008/09/outside-seeing/.

Lance, your analogy is so profound. We need to keep in mind the view from the pinnacle, yet also acknowledge the majesty of the accomplishment while we are still engaged in the task. Great post.

Betsy Wuebker´s last blog post..NETBOOKS – LESS IS MORE THESE DAYS


Rupal March 3, 2009 at 9:43 am

FABULOUS POST Lance!! “With effort, our 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. It’s a place to savor, for having reached it.” I love this. Its such a great message that you reach goals, then you set new ones and journey on your way.

Thanks for this!

Rupal´s last blog post..Sprained Ankles No More


Dr. J March 3, 2009 at 9:54 am

This is really great writing, Lance!

I’ve been doing the “mountain climbers” from Mark’s post. With those I feel like a low-rider compared to a real climb! I’ve always liked climbing, and getting to the high ground.

Thank you!

Dr. J´s last blog post..A few of Dr. J’s favorite sayings


Daphne March 3, 2009 at 9:58 am

Wow, Lance. First of all I’m full of awe that you have climbed such a beautiful mountain. Your Life Lessons are fantastic ones. I like all the points but especially that mountains have high and low points. And we all start from the low to get to the high, don’t we? I love this analogy, because only when we get to the top by hard work do we appreciate the view. Because we earned it. Same with life. We groan about the struggle but it’s what makes the successes sweet. I love this post!

Daphne´s last blog post..Do You Have A Personal Creed?


Cath Lawson March 3, 2009 at 10:33 am

Hi Lance – That is a beautiful mountain and a great comparison with life. Right now, I feel as though I’m on the right mountain. But I’ve definitely wandered off the tourist trail and got a bit lost on the way. I guess the path I’m taking will be longer but at least the route is scenic.

By the way, if you put in between your bullet point items, it will seperate each one for you – I think that is the right code.

Cath Lawson´s last blog post..Dear Blogger – Are You Trying To Sell To The Faithless?


Jay March 3, 2009 at 10:49 am

You know what is funny Lance, I usually skip down to the introduction and “meat” of story and I did that this time, and when I was done the quote that came to mind was the exact quote you put up by Hillary. Well done post Lance- I love the metaphor!

Jay´s last blog post..Inner Noodle’s Guide to Dream Analysis- Step 3


LisaNewton March 3, 2009 at 10:50 am

I love your analogy of climbing a mountain to life’s lessons. You are so right. I’m striving to reach my peak right now by entering a photo contest I’d love to win. Because I don’t know too many people online, it’s an uphill climb, but I’m really trying hard because it’s a dream.

If you have time, I posted about it today…………..:)

Thanks for the inspiration, and I think I’ll go and blaze a trail for myself via a walk in the neighborhood…………:)

LisaNewton´s last blog post..California Dreamin’


Kristin T. (@kt_writes) March 3, 2009 at 10:55 am

I like how this classic life analogy blends the beauty and adventure with the hard work that’s inevitably involved in reaching a glorious spot. This is my favorite line: “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.” I can really relate to that, and it makes the struggle seem more adventurous than treacherous. Thanks Lance!

Kristin T. (@kt_writes)´s last blog post..Birthday-inspired thoughts on getting older


Jannie Funster March 3, 2009 at 10:59 am

Lance, in exactly 8 minutes from now I will turn up the heat (chilly here this morning,) and face my mountain. My mountain includes 30 minutes on my new 3/4 song on guitar while singing, but first I must warm up my vocal chords for 10 miutes.

The second leg of my mountain will be 30 minutes on guitar for my ukulele song. btw, below are how I ended up changing the lyrics to it
Does It Mean I’m Crazy?

1. I play it on my tricycle.
I play it while I’m watching my TV.
I play it eating Jell-o
and I play it while I’m talking to my tree.
I play it for the voices having fun inside my head
I play it for the people living underneath my bed

Does it mean I’m crazy ‘cause
I play my ukulele all the time?

2. I play it while I’m coloring.
I play it while I’m doing arts & crafts.
And while I’m weaving baskets
I can even play my uke behind my back.
I play it from the break of day until I’m counting sheep.
Listen to me close, you’ll hear me play it in my sleep.

Does it mean I’m crazy ‘cause
I play my ukulele all the time?

(Short bridge here. T.B.A.)

3. Here where I am living
all the doctors and the nurses are no nice.
They keep me medicated
and my rubber room is always clean and bright.
I play it in group therapy and everybody sings.
It doesn’t even matter that my uke has got no strings.

Does it mean I’m crazy ‘cause
I play my ukulele all the time?

Does it mean I’m crazy ‘cause
I play my ukulele all the time?

Play my ukulele the time
Play my ukulele the time
Play my ukulele the time…

Then the third part (hey! you had to ask this when I was thinking about what I need to do today!) of my mountain will involve goind over my 5 songs for the 11th, recording them to check for flaws, and correct if any trouble spots present tehmselves.

And the final 30 minutes of my song mountain today will involve working on those charts for the pinaist.

Thanks! You’ve totally helped me set my mountain course for today.

And here I go…!

Jannie Funster´s last blog post..So there!


Henie March 3, 2009 at 11:15 am

Thank you Lance!

With each mountain vista you shared, I took a moment to enjoy the view! :~)

“Sometimes you have to build your own mountain to reach the top!” ~Henie~

Henie´s last blog post..Backyard Splendor


harvey March 3, 2009 at 11:26 am

Nice post! I too am a fan of mountain analogies. One we get to the top of the mountain we must chose between two sources.

harvey´s last blog post..Analogical thinking


Vered - MomGrind March 3, 2009 at 11:57 am

Remaining calm and unfazed in the face of obstacles is a very powerful place to be. I don’t think I’m there yet. Part of me expects a smooth sail and becomes alarmed when the going gets (even just a little) rough.

Vered – MomGrind´s last blog post..Parenthood Has Turned Me Into A Better Person


Armen Shirvanian March 3, 2009 at 12:16 pm

I agree with your point about how the mountain peaks are reachable. If they weren’t reachable, our minds would tell us to quit right now. We pursue them because we have an inkling that the goals we have are attainable. This is a positive affirmation, and should be used to negate any thoughts that come up that present notions of inaccessibility of certain goals. Knowing that the goal is not blocked from our path bolsters our efforts, and can keep up us from remaining quiescent in our actions.

Armen Shirvanian´s last blog post..Getting Reconnected Where You Left Off


Kathy | Virtual Impax March 3, 2009 at 12:27 pm

Lance – WOW!!! AWESOME and AMAZING post!!!

Of course, it hits me “where I live” and speaks directly to a situation I’m in the middle of “climbing”.

In a nutshell, I have a client who hired me to act as her company’s guide in a journey to the top of the mountain. We’ve just begun and it’s apparent the client can’t make the journey. Obviously the journey is going to take too long and apparently, her company is not in good enough “shape” to make the journey.

Before I read your post, I was angry at this client. Angry because she alluded to the fact that her company was “in shape” and could make this journey.

The fact that she couldn’t make it to the FIRST base camp just illustrates the current “fitness” level of her company.

Just because her business isn’t “fit” enough to make this journey today doesn’t mean it never will be. (However, it should serve as a wake up call for her to change the way she’s doing things if she does want to make it to the top of the mountain!)

I now have a NEW way of viewing this difficult situation. THANK YOU!

Kathy | Virtual Impax´s last blog post..When Someone Steals Your Branding


Jenny Mannion March 3, 2009 at 12:46 pm

Hi Lance,
Beautiful metaphor and BOY DO I LOVE MOUNTAINS! I can see some out my window and people that knew me growing up are STILL amazed I love it as I do. (I was a NYC girl through and through). For me, I am humbled and grateful in the presence of mountains. They have stood the test of time, weather, people climbing all over them 😉 , the changing seasons and are always there, standing tall and beautiful whether covered in snow, trees or changing leaves. When I was young (and living in NYC) the picture I always drew was of a house with mountains in the background touching the sky — I am very grateful I get to live that every day now. Thank you Lance….your post made me think, smile and be grateful. Perfect timing… as always – I always know where I can come for inspiration. 🙂

Jenny Mannion´s last blog post..Do You Want to Get in Touch With Your Inner Psychic and Intuition?


Gennaro March 3, 2009 at 2:21 pm

Beautiful image. It’s a lot easy to scale a mountain if it’s the mountain you want to be climbing. That’s true metaphorically or in reality. Either way, great lessons are learned by simply participating in the climb.

Gennaro´s last blog post..San Marcos La Laguna: A Peaceful Retreat


Jean Browman--Cheerful Monk March 3, 2009 at 2:45 pm

I’m afraid my reaction is “Been there, done that.” There’s also something to be said for the Buddhist idea of non-striving. My motto is, “Stay curious and open to life. No matter what happens keep learning and growing. Find what you love to do and find a way to share it with others.” Sometimes what others would call work feels like play.

Jean Browman–Cheerful Monk´s last blog post..Are You Conducting Yourself Well?


Laura Neff March 3, 2009 at 2:51 pm

Hi Lance! I popped on over here after reading your comment on my blog, and I’m SO glad I did! This post was so helpful after the morning I’ve had. Yep, there’s a big mountain I’m a’climbin’, and today I stumbled and fell. I’m so glad to have this metaphor and all your clear wisdom about it. Thank you! Glad to have found you!


Laurie March 3, 2009 at 3:10 pm

@Jannie Funster- I dreamed about jello last night…I just thought of that from reading your lyrics. LOL!

Lance, Life is a lot like traversing a mountain. It is only from having been in the valleys that you can recognize and appreciate the peaks. But I think we learn more in the valleys. I loved your point about it being about the journey. There is so much to notice and experience on the journey. That is really what makes the trip worthwhile since, as you say, we can’t stay on the peaks.

My biggest journey from the valley to the peak was over the last few years as I worked to get my family and marriage back together and healthy. The journey was so difficult and painful but the lessons I learned are invaluable. I am a better person for having made the journey. I am now closer to my hub (about to celebrate the 25th) and my kiddos are doing well. Most of all, God kept his promise to take the yuck and use it for good as I am now closer to him than ever. It was all worth it but I do like the view from the mountain top!


Liz Rosenbaum March 3, 2009 at 4:30 pm

Lance – You are a gifted man! I love this so much, I’m printing it out to read over and over again! When I was in my twenties, I always thought that if I was a good person and lived a good life, then life would always be easy and happy! HA HA! Well, the Good Lord figured he better set me straight on that one! 🙂 My husband and I had been on a mountain for a long time – running a successful business. After we got to the peak, we started coming down! LOL! We had several challenges to face that really tried our patience. Finally, we realized we were both on the wrong mountain and are starting at the bottom of a new one! He’s headed to nursing school and I’ve just recently started my fitness business! Here we are in our thirties (I just turned 31 on Friday) and we are starting the trek all over again. But the great thing about this trek is that we are enjoying the hike up! It hasn’t been easy, but the scenery has been wonderful! I know that one day, we’ll get to the top again and that we’ll be able to look back and be amazed that we made it that far. Thanks for your positivity! You’re awesome!

Liz Rosenbaum´s last blog post..Whole Wheat Sugar Free Pancakes


suZen March 3, 2009 at 4:38 pm

The picture is awesome and so is the post! Beautiful metaphor. I’m loving my mountain – have you hugged your mountain today?

suZen´s last blog post..Insight – or – What Teeter Taught Her


Julie March 3, 2009 at 5:02 pm

Hi, Lance. Mountains are some of my favorite things, right behind trees. 🙂 Your analogies are wonderful, so insightful. Funny, though, when I think of climbing a mountain to reach the top, the top’s never my “ta-da” moment. It’s the freedom of racing down the other side, arms high in the air and laughter spilling out of me…reveling in the fun and fantastic freedom-like ride. It’s not being on top of the world for me as much as the fun of FINALLY getting to “ride my bike hands-free!” Sometimes the climb up the mountain is just a nice hike and other times it’s a grueling Mt. Everest trek. Either way, the fun on the other side is TOTALLY worth it!

Julie´s last blog post..The Gift


Bunny got Blog March 3, 2009 at 7:58 pm

Your words are so beautiful. I had to read it twice.

Bunny got Blog´s last blog post..Nellie Bly


BJ Keltz March 3, 2009 at 8:23 pm

Mmmmm, metaphor. My favorite subject. Nicely done, Lance. I could wax poetic, but previous commentors have done a great job expressing those feelings.

Now…I’m going to steal your desktop picture, hehehe.

BJ Keltz´s last blog post..Free or Not to Free?


FatFighterTV March 3, 2009 at 8:53 pm

All I can say is – that gorgeous picture made me miss Seattle even more!!!!! We just moved from there to Ohio about a year ago and over the past couple of months, I have been having serious Seattle withdrawals.

FatFighterTV´s last blog post..How do YOU fight fat? (Starring MizFit)


Liara Covert March 3, 2009 at 9:41 pm

The mountain is symbolic of every human being. We are one. This post triggered thoughts of this timeless poem by John Donne:

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Liara Covert´s last blog post..What is the point of astral?


Karl Staib - Work Happy Now March 3, 2009 at 9:51 pm

My main mountain is starting my own business. I want to tackle it right now, but I’m still building my foundation. As I get stronger and smarter with my tools, I realize what trails to take. The trails that fulfill my needs. It’s a great journey and I wouldn’t trade in this struggle for a million dollars.

My other mountains are exciting too:
– building a stronger relationship with my wife
– preparing to bring a baby into the world
– my own personal development

Thanks Lance for making me think in a different way tonight. I needed to look at life from this perspective.

Karl Staib – Work Happy Now´s last blog post..Give Employees The Freedom They Need to Succeed


Henie March 3, 2009 at 10:47 pm

Oh, Liara!

Thank you for sharing…everytime I read this, it re-awakens something in my soul, particularly the last two lines! :~)

Henie´s last blog post..I Give


Barbara Swafford March 4, 2009 at 3:17 am

Hi Lance – I love the photo and can understand why you have it as your desktop photo. Mt. Rainier is a beauty. I LOVE the mountains. For me, they’ve always had a “draw” about them. Fortunately I live where I get to see them everyday and remain in awe of their beauty.

I love your analogies between mountains and life. We all do have mountains to climb. When I think of the “climbs” I’ve taken, I always hope I don’t have to climb the same mountain twice. Do-overs are no fun. 🙂

Barbara Swafford´s last blog post..In Their Own Words


Lance March 4, 2009 at 4:28 am

@Betsy – You’re so right Betsy, at least for me as well – it’s the magnificence of it all the has such a pull. I’ve just read your account of Denali – what an incredible experience to visit such a place! And so well said Betsy – the idea of acknowledging the majesty of our accomplishment while we are still doing it. When we see beyond what’s right in front of us, to what CAN be – we can more appreciate the moments we have in getting us to that pinnacle.

@Rupal – Thanks so much, Rupal! And that’s it – life is a journey, not one that has an end, but hopefully many peaks, of which we reach and then move on to whatever is next for us. Journey is a favorite word of mine, and it fits so well to this concept.

@Dr. J – Thanks Dr. J! Which you’re reminding me…I should be doing less talking about mountains and more doing “mountain climbers”!! I feel the pain just thinking about them! Thanks for stopping by today.

@Daphne – Well, Daphne – I’m probably letting you down here – I didn’t climb this mountain. At least not very high onto her. We hiked several of the trails in the park. And that was awe-inspiring in itself. One day I would love to do a climb, but I’m not there yet. Someday… And with the life lessons – having been at low points, this makes the high points all that much more grand. As do all the ups and downs along the way. When it is earned, is is truly something to savor! Daphne, thank you!

@Cath – Good for you Cath! Being on the right mountain is half the battle. Otherwise we can be making great progress up her, only to discover when we reach the top, this is not a place we want to be. Sometimes we all get lost, and just because the route is longer doesn’t mean it’s any worse than a different route – only different. And that’s okay.

@Jay – What a coincidence with the quote! You’ve heard that great minds think alike… Thanks much Jay!

@LisaNewton – Great job Lisa, in putting your “mountain” out there for everyone to see – you are being bold – nad that’s awesome! You’re doing great on your climb, Lisa! And you are growing new support each day. I will get over to see what you’ve got going on – looking forward to it! Go forth and blaze mighty trails!


Lance March 4, 2009 at 4:28 am

@Kristin – That’s an important distinction you make Kristin, and one that is well worth noting – as glorious as our mountain peaks can be, they DO take work to get there. And adventurous sure sounds better than treacherous, doesn’t it! A great to compare this with these two words, and really how we look at some thing does make a difference in how we perceive it to be.

@Jannie – In exactly eight minutes (well..maybe a couple more), I will crawl under a big blanket and hunker down for the night (chilly here all the time!). What I love about what you’ve put here Jannie – is that you’re talking about the peak, and showing all the paths you’ll be taking to get there – in much detail. I LOVE your Ukulele (that’s a tough word to spell!) song! Jannie…crazy?? (I’m not answering that one!!!). Trouble spots? That can’t be, can it???? Your mountain really is magnificent!! (and I think you may have the record for the longest comment here at the Jungle!!

@Henie- And how was that view for you, Henie? I’m guessing you like what you see. Your quotes you share are always fantastic! What a talent you have, to go along with your amazing photography!

@Harvey – Thanks Harvey. Reflection is a key point, and worth visiting both while your on the climb, and once you reach a peak.

@Vered – Smooth sailing is nice – although it’s never always that way. Remaining calm when those moment of smooth sailing disappear, that’s not always easy for any of us. Getting closer to that point really is calming – especially if we have others who are following with us.

@Armen – Believing. Believing in what can be possible really can help to carry us up that mountain. If we don’t think we can reach the summit, it becomes infinitely harder for us to indeed reach. And it shows the real power our mind and our thoughts, just how powerful they can be.

@Kathy | Virtual Impax – Kathy, thank YOU very much!! And thank you for sharing this example of the “mountain” in real life. I love that you’ve brought up “fitness”. Climbing a mountain isn’t something you can just roll out of bed one day and say you’re going to do. It takes some preparation to be ready to climb. And the same in life – as you’ve illustrated so well. Otherwise that mountain just isn’t ready to be conquered by you (yet). Someday, maybe. What a great example Kathy!


Lance March 4, 2009 at 4:29 am

@Jenny Mannion – So, you’re a city girl from New York City, hey Jenny! No mountain view there, although a place filled with so much culture. Now…you’re in amongst the mountains – that has to be awesome to see so regularly. Do you ever tire of it? Or take that view for granted? Continue to enjoy your mountain views Jenny. This has to be inspiring also. I am picturing your view right now, and I find it to be a peaceful one, taking in this powerful presence…

@Gennaro – Thanks much Gennaro. Great point. How often are we climbing the wrong mountain simply to please someone else? And when we’re doing that, and our heart’s not in it, reaching some milestone, maybe the peak, just doesn’t feel the same. And that’s why the “right” mountain is just as important as the climb…

@Jean – Jean, this reaction is just fine. And your motto is powerful one. Being curious and open to possibilities – not unlike a mountain hike – where we wander off the beaten path – life and being curious can really lead us into some exciting directions. Keep living that motto out Jean…

@Laura – Hi Laura! I believe you’re on the right mountain for you right now, and there are some great possibilities that lie within her. So, maybe yesterday was a bit of a fall. You’ve got back up, found a trail again that is familiar, and you’re continuing to climb. Someday, you’ll be ready to take some more paths off into the wilderness of that mountain. And your experiences from yesterday will become an aid in helping you. Your mountain peak is out there Laura! Keep after it… (and it’s great to have found you also)

@Laurie – Dreaming of jell-o, Laurie! Interesting!! Great point Laurie, the valleys we experience in life (and we all have valleys to some degree) do help to accentuate how much the peaks really do mean. Valleys are our biggest learning moments – I agree Laurie. When we struggle, this is the time when we are forced almost to learn so that we can get out of these valleys. Laurie, I know you’ve worked so hard to get your family to where you are today. You’ve done amazing work climbing that mountain of life, and continuing to forge forward even when you’ve encountered some deep valleys. And this has all brought you to where you are today. So, as you approach your 25 years of marriage – know that your mountain has been so worth climbing. And as you celebrate this peak, your 25 years together, know that I wish you many more mountain tops together – HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, Laurie – to you and your husband!!

@Liz – Liz, you are making me feel all sorts of good today!! When we’re young, we sometimes think we’re invincible, and that life will just be a great big party (not the case, right!). Thank you for sharing this personal story here today Liz. This is real life, and that’s what helps to really bring this all home. So, you climbed a mountain, you and your husband – only to find out that it was not the right mountain. Or, at least it had become the wrong mountain for you two (maybe it was the right mountain when you started out). Recognizing this is an important step, and you two have done well to see this. And have the courage to leave the mountain you knew, for new ones. Enjoy your climb up this new mountain. That it hasn’t all been easy will make you appreciate the view so much more from the top. I love your attitude – you WILL indeed get there. Liz, you are going in directions that I believe you really want to be going in – and that’s what makes this climb so great! Enjoy the experience along the way. And…a little late…HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!

@SuZen – Thanks so much SuZen! I’m hugging my mountain right now! And what you’re doing today is reminding me that we should love the mountain we’re on. And that’s a great reminder for all of us!


Lance March 4, 2009 at 4:30 am

@Julie – Mountains are pretty amazing! I love your thought, of going down the other side of the mountain, care-free and wild!! It says to me that we climb the mountains in our life, and sometimes that can be difficult, and sometimes easy – and when we reach the top – there is so much awesomeness that awaits us. Things we couldn’t see because we were on the other side of the mountain. I’m getting my bike ready for the ride down. I’ll race you down!!!

@Bunny – Thanks much Bunny. It’s great to have you here today.

@BJ – Yes, the comments have been wonderfully focused on making this whole metaphor just come to life! And the picture…steal away!! Thanks for stopping by, it’s always great to see you here!

@FatFighterTV – Yes, Seattle is a wonderful city. Last summer was our first visit to this great place. I was especially drawn to the area just north of the stadiums. And visiting Pike Place market is an experience itself! You’re reminding today of all that I miss, not just Mount Rainier, the whole seattle area and culture there. Maybe it’s the winter that’s causing the withdrawals…if so, spring is just around the corner. Anyway, thanks for taking me back to Seattle – my mind is picturing all the great places we visited there.

@Liara – Liara, thank you so much for sharing this poem. We are one. None of us is an island. And that makes us all connected. And as such, our lives, our mountains, are there amongst everyone else’s mountains. What a deeply thoughtful comment Liara…

@Karl – Building the foundation – like packing the right equipment for your hike up the mountain. That’s an important point – do we have what we need for the trek we’re about to embark on? It may mean we spend a little more time preparing. Although the better prepared we are for our hike, the better we’ll be able to deal with those obstacles we’ll face. You know your mountain Karl – and are preparing well! That’s awesome! And your other mountains are also very exciting! And a point about that – it’s not uncommon to have more than one mountain we’re climbing in our life. And that’s okay – they key is in balancing it all out. And you may also find that sometimes, when you reach a pinnacle (the birth of your child, for instance) – this one mountain may change some of your other mountains as well. Or it may not. The thing is to be mindful of that – and open to what you heart and soul are telling you. You’re doing great Karl, and I wish you and your wife the best as you approach parenthood – a new mountain indeed – and one that will become a very important one for you two!

@Henie – I’m with you, the poem Liara shared is so awakening!

@Barbara – You are lucky for the view you have Barbara! Enjoy them always – the mountain views that are but a look away. And another great point – do overs are something that isn’t nearly as fun as the first time. That doesn’t mean we might not have to sometimes – we probably will have to go over some of the terrain more than once. The less we do this, though, signal that we’re moving forward, and even if we’ve had to retreat and come back – it might also mean we’re trying different paths – trying new things – in our journey through life. Thank you for this thought Barbara.


LifeMadeGreat | Juliet March 4, 2009 at 7:12 am

Hi Lance

What I also find is important is to take note of your surroundings wherever you are on the mountain. Check out the view and the foliage. There is usually something beautiful along the way. The journey counts too.


LifeMadeGreat | Juliet´s last blog post..Overcoming The Barriers Of Introversion: Starting The Process


Dragos Roua March 4, 2009 at 10:42 am

Every mountain I see is a paradigm of fulfillment: it takes a lot of energy to get on the top. Once there you realize the view is fantastic, the surroundings are great, and so on. But what matters the most is not the scenery nor the tough air. What matters the most is the journey to that point.

And you start doing that journey again and again, not for the higher and higher mountains but only for the sake of the journey.

Dragos Roua´s last blog post..Wasted Power


bobbi March 4, 2009 at 10:43 am

I love the mountains, and thats why we chose to live in them:) I think my mountain right now is training for life. Every one dies, but so little people truly LIVE. I want to live the life that God has given me to the ultimate. Not being stagnent in anything, relationships,health,work,family,etc. My mountain is trying to do this with Grace and Humility. This is the climb that I am on. Thanks Lance:)

bobbi´s last blog post..Her Wednesday Workout Tips: Lean & Fit in 7 Minutes!


Audra Krell March 4, 2009 at 10:59 am

I read Laurie’s story and thought she was writing mine. We have been married 16 years though and we are finally well on our way to 25! Amen to you Laurie and I praise God for the great work He has done in you.
Putting a marriage and family back together is one of the hardest things a person can do. There is nothing worth more though, than loving the people most precious to us, with a Christ-like love. There isn’t a more valuable climb. Thanks for another great post Lance!!!


Robin Easton March 4, 2009 at 11:23 am

Dear Lance, I think this is THE BEST post you have ever written. Probably because I so relate to the mountain analogy, and of course nature.

Do you know that wilderness centers for kids use survival in nature as a basis for teaching kids to find their way out in “the real world”. Learning survival skills or simply being in nature for a few weeks or days can help children make the very connections that you are pointing out here. For a child of any age to have that BODY knowing that they did “thus and such” in nature can give them the confidence to fully be in society. So when they come up against, as you say those obstacles or they hit upon the unknown, they can still keep headed toward their goal. They aren’t as apt to succumb to fear, apathy, drugs, alcohol, defeat, peer pressure, etc. What you are teaching here is the whole basis for Outward Bound and other Nature schools. Only in reverse. This is just fantiastic, Lance.

I loved this line: “The peak is not a place we stay at. It’s a place to savor, for having reached it. And in reaching this life peak, we also remember that’s it’s the journey of getting there that has made it all so worth it. And then we move on. To the next mountain in our life.”

This post is so loaded but I would take up all your space if I comment on all that it sparks in me. You would make a great wilderness guide or teacher for children and adults. Or even doing workshops in nature where you draw the comparisons between nature and “how to live”. A friend of mine and I are actually laying out similar workshops that we hope to do in a nature-based setting. He is an experienced desert rat and camps alone in the middle of winter in Canyon Lands. And I had years in the rainforest and other remote areas.

Very exciting stuff here Lance. I am impressed with how clear you are in your thoughts and feelings. Right to the heart of what is important. I’d be curious to know sometime what experiences have been your “Life Teachers”, aside from being in nature like this post. What has given you your deep wisdom. Regardless it is so refreshing to see and experience here. Thank you my dear sincere friend, Robin

Robin Easton´s last blog post..When did you last feel like this?


Henie March 4, 2009 at 1:16 pm

Thank you, Lance! The views are breathtaking!

“It’s not the mountain that stops you…it’s the grain of sand in your shoe!” ~Chinese Proverb~ (I think) :~)

Henie´s last blog post..I Give


Laurie March 4, 2009 at 1:25 pm

@Audra Krell – Unfortunately there are many with our story. The good thing is we don’t travel alone and I found that many times when I was in the valley emotionally and with what was going on with my family, I was on a peak with my relationship with God. I was raw and honest with him and that brought us closer together. I realized, God could handle raw.

Glad you’re in a better place too.

Lance- looks like this post has really reached a lot of hearts. You have a powerful pen my friend!


Lizwi March 4, 2009 at 2:43 pm

Sometimes the peak may look like it is too high to reach, when it is actually not.I have also noticed that as you come closer to the mountain the peak looks higher than it was when you were far away. This shows that the problem may appear to be bigger when it is about to be solved. I prefer making my own trail than following others. Sometimes there may be too many trails, giving rise to a possibility of chose the one that will lead you to a dead end. If you believe in following you will never have courage to start new things.

Lizwi´s last blog post..Who should take the blame for the Global Economic Crisis?


Tess The Bold Life March 4, 2009 at 3:24 pm

I’ve been hiking regularly over the last couple of months in the mountains. In life though right now I’m coasting in a good way. Love the photo. Lucky you.

Tess The Bold Life´s last blog post..Magic Mondays with Eric Hamm


Marelisa March 4, 2009 at 3:28 pm

Hi Lance: This is a really interesting analogy. And it`s true, we need to make sure that we’re climbing the right mountain, we need to create a trail if we come to a point where the trail ends, and we need to get up each time we fall.


Hilda March 4, 2009 at 4:18 pm

Hi Lance,

I’m so delighted to have discovered your blog. I love this post. Great metaphor and brilliant lessons! Looking forward to more : )

Hilda´s last blog post..How to stay upbeat during the downturn


Robin March 4, 2009 at 8:24 pm

Hi there Lance – good analogy! I like to climb the mountains that I feel happy and energetic about climbing – if they feel totally exhausting and draining I look for another path.

Robin´s last blog post..The Journey, With Brandon Bays


Giovanna Garcia March 5, 2009 at 2:47 am

Hi Lance

This post came at just the right time for me, I am in the middle of my biggest climb yet. Your post is an great inspiration for me. Thank you,
Giovanna Garcia
Imperfect Action is better than No Action


Vincent March 5, 2009 at 4:07 am

Hi Lance,

There are ups and downs in our life and the mountains does remind us of that. No matter what obstacles we face in life, we need to know that as long we are moving forward, we will definitely reach our destination.

Personal Development Blogger

Vincent´s last blog post..How To Use Google To Increase Your Productivity


Lance March 5, 2009 at 5:00 am

@Juliet – Hi Juliet! Wonderful point. If we just become focused on the peak, then we miss so much that is right around us as we make the journey. And is the journey there that makes it all worth it.

@Dragos – This really mirrors what Juliet is mentioning, and expands upon it. Thanks much Dragos. The journey is what makes it worth the views. And then we start over. And thanks for mentioning that our next “mountain” doesn’t have to be higher. It’s that we’re on a journey – not just to get to the next “high” point – but to get to those points in our life that matter.

@Bobbi – Enjoy your real-life views Bobbi! You bring up a very true statement — “Every one dies, but so little people truly LIVE.” Powerful. What are we doing to really live? Or, more personally, what am I doing to really live? I think you’re doing some pretty awesome things Bobbi! Doing this all with grace and humility – how wonderful. Savor your climbs Bobbi!

@Audra – Audra, thank you for being so open and honest. Relationships are not always easy. That you have worked hard to build yours up to where you are at today – and creating a “home” that is filled with love – this is all a testament to how important your family is to you. God is indeed an awesome God! And you fill be with belief in all that IS possible through Him.

@Robin Easton – Robin, my friend, you are kind beyond words. I had a feeling this post might resonate with you – I know how powerful nature is in your life. The Outward Bound type programs – these really do appear to be great ways to get out and connect with nature – and learn some life lessons along the way. I wonder if this can become like an anchor for kids who have gone through it – when they feel the pressures of everyday life – that they can recall these experiences – and how they got through them in the wilderness – which anchors them toward “right” choices when faced with these pressures.

Hmmm…maybe a new vocation for me! And I say it lightly and in good fun here. Know though, that I treasure very much what you are saying. And you make me think about the journey I’m on, Robin. Is it indeed the right one? Maybe it’s time to retreat and reflect. I would love to hear more about the workshops you are venturing into.

“Life Teachers”…hmmm….maybe that could be a post or two in the future. Thanks Robin! Really, for everything. You continue to lift me up, and give me more belief in myself. Your friendship is valued very much.

@Henie – Breathtaking views – how awesome! And your “I think” – I happen to trust you, you are a very wise lady…

@Laurie – Laurie, thank you for all the support you provide here, and for continually being real and open. Your doing this makes it easier for others to do the same. It makes it easier for me. Thank you, my friend…


Lance March 5, 2009 at 5:00 am

@Lizwi – The idea of how far away the peak can seem – life can be just like that! And that’s when it is good to break that “mountain” down into smaller tasks. Mini-mountains, per se. And when we reach one mini-mountain, we savor that moment, and then move on. And a day will come when we’ll reach the highest peak – one step at a time. Continue to blaze your own trail. There is much to see on your journey this way.

@Tess – Hi Tess. Having mountains close enough to hike in – how wonderful! Do not take this for granted. And in life – that you’re coasting – maybe you’re on a level spot. Or…maybe more like Julie, up above, you’re coming down from a mountaintop – and you have the wind in your hair, and this is a fun and exciting ride down the other side! Whatever it is, it is a good place right now. Continue to appreciate that.

@Marelisa – Hi Mare! It’s great to see you! The “right” mountain…how not fun life can be if we’re on the wrong mountain. We may be successful and powerful and rich. Yet, are we really? If it’s been the wrong mountain all along – and truly we’re not… Thanks much Mare.

@Hilda – It’s great to have you here, Hilda! Please come back often, and your voice is always welcome here…

@Robin – Hi Robin! And that’s really the idea of choosing the “right” mountain to be on. As Mare alluded to also. What I take from this – is how important clarity is – in being able to recognize when we’re on the wrong mountain – and make a change. And that’s a great point to remember Robin – thank you!

@Giovanna – I wish you well on this climb you’re on Giovanna. And may the paths you take be ones that lead you to that mountain-top high! It’s there, waiting for you! Have an amazing and awesome journey…

@Vincent – Like a mountain, with it’s zig zagging of paths to reach the top – our life is like that too. And sometimes we won’t be moving forward, we’ll take a step or two back. And that’s okay, as long as we move forward once again. Or, upon reflection, we decide this is the wrong mountain. Our destinations are out there – enjoy your journeys Vincent…


Celes | EmbraceLiving.Net March 5, 2009 at 5:39 am

Hi Lance! What an inspirational article 😀 I think this is a great analogy of life and achieving our goals. My mountain right now is to establish my personal development business. I’m really feeling excited climbing this mountain now and knowing there’s other mountain climbers like all of you around me 😀

Celes | EmbraceLiving.Net´s last blog post..Ads, Donation, Ebook, Podcasts, and more


Debbie March 5, 2009 at 6:46 am

Hi Lance,

I visit you often, and am you never cease to amaze me with your insight and analogies. I find that, often, your posts are very close to what I am experiencing. I am on my own mountain, right now, confronted with obstacles, and almost “stuck”. The obstacles! It’s time to decide to take a different trail, or stop and rest, or blaze my own trail. This was an inspiration to me today! This is very close to my heart! Thanks!

Debbie´s last blog post..Which Path Will You Take?


Mark March 5, 2009 at 8:39 am

“Obstacles. They are out there in our lives. And we’ll most certainly encounter them as we go through life. Will they be there on the new trails we’re forging toward our peak? Most definitely.” I agree Lance! What a post! Fantastic!


Jennifer March 5, 2009 at 11:18 am

Lance, What a beautiful picture and what beautiful lessons that you drew from this hike up the mountain. The biggest points I’m taking away here is to make sure I have my eye on the destination no matter what and to make sure I’m on the right destination. I feel a sense of peace now knowing that I’m on the right one as I venture out into those all very UNfamiliar territories you talked about. Sometimes the course seems pretty rough, but I know it’s all worth it. Thanks for a great post Lance.

Jennifer´s last blog post..The Four Purifications of Peace taught by Peace Pilgrim


Internet Strategist March 5, 2009 at 1:02 pm

I followed you back from a comment you left in Jennifer’s blog and see that it was a wise investment of my time to do so. I have since shared several of your posts at Twitter, FriendFeed, and cliKball so others will find their way here.

While I usually read blogs related to blogging and Internet Marketing there will always be room in my life for inspirational writers like you and Jennifer.

Internet Strategist´s last blog post..Why You Should Enter These Contests and Giveaways – Send Us YOUR Contest NOW


Yum Yucky March 5, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Wow! Wonderful post. Now I’m gonna go back and read it again. Then I’m gonna print it out and give it to my husband.

Yum Yucky´s last blog post..Free nachos to be outlawed in most states


Caroline (the zen in you) March 6, 2009 at 7:21 pm

Lance, great great post! I feel like I am climbing mountains all the time. Some are tough, but once you get up there, the view is amazing. I have a small mountain to climb that I am not enjoying…but I keep reminding myself that this mountain is teaching me a lesson. Don’t all mountains teach us something valuable?

Caroline (the zen in you)´s last blog post..An experimental blog


Lance March 6, 2009 at 7:55 pm

@Celes – Hi Celes! Knowing your mountain is half the battle – and you know what yours it, that’s great! And another great point – that we don’t have to climb these mountains by ourselves – there are others out there climbing right along side of us. And that’s a very good thing. When we stumble or fall, there’s someone to help. And when we reach milestones along the way, there are others to celebrat with. All good…

@Debbie – Hi Debbie! It’s great to have your voice here! Yes, those obstacles that slow us down, make us stop, or even retreat. Listen to your heart, Debbie. And your direction will come. I’m glad you enjoyed this, and thank you for sharing part of your journey here with us.

@Mark – Thanks Mark! Have a great weekend!!

@Jennifer – I love this picture. And yet, the picture doesn’t do it justice – how grand it all feels – being there in the mountains! I think that is one of the real keys here – are you on the right mountain? If you’re not, it doesn’t really matter whether you reach the peak or not, because it’s not that “peak” that really connects with you. So, that you are on the right mountain, Jennifer, you are well on your way to that peak. Some days, yes, will be difficult. And some days, you might even wonder if it’s worth it. And that’s really a question only you can answer. And it all plays a role in your journey toward that peak.

@Internet Strategist – I’m glad you came over here (and I know that if you’re coming from Jennifer’s site, you’re coming from a pretty great place!). And thank you for spreading the word – I appreciate it very much.

@Yum Yucky – Thanks Josie! I’ve read it too, a couple of times…

@Caroline – Thanks so much Caroline! I think that’s part of it. We climb one mountain, reach the top, and then our life journey takes us to a new mountain. With new challenges, new views, and many great possibilities! I wish you well on this mountain you’re climbing now – one which isn’t bringing joy into your life. That’s an important point. Sometimes we have mountains we climb that we don’t like to – but may need to in order to get to that next mountain beyond there that we’re seeking. Or to help out another, sometimes we end up on mountains that are for joy. And I think that’s okay. As long as we know in our hearts that this is the place we should be. All mountains, the real ones, and these figurative ones we’ve been discussing – yes there are many lessons from them all. Caroline, I appreciate you, and your willingness to share here…


Stacey / Create a Balance March 6, 2009 at 9:36 pm

Oh Lance, I just love your writing! I also love and miss Mount Rainer. I think understanding that peaks and valleys are a natural part of your life’s journey makes the journey more enjoyable.

Stacey / Create a Balance´s last blog post..Your Ability to Fly


Jannie Funster March 7, 2009 at 7:09 am

Lance, and wouldn’t you know I just changed up the second verse a bit, but it’s better now. “I play it in the shower, I play it while I take a bubble bath…”

Hey, am I THE “top talker” yet?? Let me post this and go check. 🙂

Jannie Funster´s last blog post..Seriously Weird!


Stacey Shipman March 7, 2009 at 7:38 am

As a hiker and one who loves the challenge of a mountain trail, I love these analogies. Very true in my life. The journey up the trail is a challenge and sometimes you don’t know which path to take, but it feels so good all the way. And it feels even better when with others (support). And once I reach the top, through the challenge, the results are incredible! I savor it just enough before heading back down.

I’m on a climb, and I get tired, but I’ve got my gear and that allows me to rest when I need it so I can keep going! Enjoying every little peak along the way.


Lance March 7, 2009 at 8:43 pm

@Stacey/Create A Balance – Thank you! Mount Rainier is a very special place, and one that I’ll always remember. We had such a great day visiting this majestic place, and I only wish that we could have explored more – although this gives us an excuse to go back again someday! Right – we’ll all have them – peaks and valleys. And it’s a journey through all of this. Remembering that there are peaks out there is a key for those times when we are in the valley. Believing this, gives us hope and strength to continue on out of the valleys, and make the peaks even greater!

@Jannie – I love it!! And…I’m starting to think that uke travels everywhere!! Hey, you’re not the top talker yet…keep talking Jannie…you’re on the cusp!! Amanda’s been busy here the last couple of days!!

@stacey Shipman – The challenges we face in reaching the peaks in our lives – these do make the peaks that much more “earned” and awesome! Sometimes those challenges can seem difficult. And we may want to stop or retreat. And maybe we should if this is not the right mountain right now – if it is though – and we forge forward – there is a grand reward in that peak. And your point of support – critical! When we can have a shoulder to lean on in the valleys, and a another(s) to celebrate the peaks – there is much comfort and joy in this all. Rest is an important point, and one I don’t think we’ve discussed. When we’re rested, we are more ready for whatever we encounter on our hike up the mountainside. Keep enjoying all the peaks along the way Stacey! And…I enjoy getting out and hiking too – and that really helped to bring this whole analogy to life…


Paul U March 7, 2009 at 11:50 pm

I’m just starting to climb my own mountain.

Paul U´s last blog post..Announcing my contest


Lance March 8, 2009 at 6:40 pm

@Paul – I wish you well on your climb!


How I Lost Thirty Pounds in Thirty Days May 4, 2009 at 8:17 am

Hi, nice post. I have been wondering about this issue,so thanks for posting. I’ll certainly be subscribing to your posts.


Pat Nolan November 7, 2009 at 4:16 am

the article climbing a mountain was very inspirational and helpful Pat.


Cursos de Cocina en Barcelona October 21, 2011 at 2:34 am

FABULOUS POST Lance!! “With effort, our mountain peaks in life are reachable. The thing to remember, though, is that this peak is a moment in time.


KerryGlen August 4, 2014 at 3:08 am

Thanks all of you for this nice post. I am rallying inspire of your post for mountain climbing. Every tip is good for mountain climbing. Thanks for sharing this article.


Patrick Gioko November 22, 2017 at 1:32 am

Not to go all religious here, but reading this nice short post brought to my mind that lovely southern gospel song “God on the Mountain” especially the one sung by Lynda Randle. The climb is always long, but the view once you get to the summit is worth it, and so is the feeling of achievement. And that is what life is all about really.
Patrick Gioko´s Last Fabulous Post ..How To Choose The Best Kids Hiking Backpacks and ReviewsMy Profile


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