Imagine a mountain – Picture it in your mind way above you and that you are at the base of it, looking up at it into the clouds. Your feelings of excitement brew, you feel nervous and overwhelmed by your smallness compared to this terribly high and brilliantly daunting challenge of the climb. But…As the old saying goes, it all starts with one step. Every person takes the first step together and you have a lot of help and protection for the first journey. You have two guides by your side. They will teach you and train you how to step hard and fast, how to navigate the terrain and how to survive and use the useful gifts and tools which they have placed in your bag. Everyone at the foot of the mountain sees each other beginning their ascent. Some people help one another, some others may hinder you slightly, and some more people may split off from your path and you may not see them again for a long time, until you are way up the mountain and your paths are destined to cross again. YOU meet and become travel buddies with a select few and you travel with them for as long as possible.
So you reach another incline, ‘the scholarly mountain’ and this has a much steeper slope, a more challenging footpath, and less protection by others. You struggle onward and upwards learning to write notes, forge ways and speak to the wind. Your Sherpas are still there to mind and guide you and they advise you on rationing your thoughts and the benefit of physical and mental exercise. You ARE becoming stronger and more independent and have more freedom to learn individually. You learn to trust yourself and others and that some people will give you their hand if it is required and pull you upwards.
Finally after much learning and general trudging along you reach the plateau on top of this mountain. One has only time to take a breath, congratulate your travel buddies and immediately set off again. Next lies a smaller mountain but it has a steeper slope and nobody now will be there to guide you up it. You have learned what you needed to from your past ascents and you set off alone on this one on AN adventure upward. You reach the top after three or four years and you realise that on this plateau their are fewer buddies and travelling mates. This climb was a fun university one but the ledge is small and you must keep progressing onward. What is also different about this plateau is that it stretches the whole way around the next mountain and there are many different slopes that you can choose to proceed up and a few bridges in the distant skyline between the mountain tops. You have a choice of climbs now, each with different paths.
This choice is often paralyzing and AMAZING. You know that this choice is a forty or fifty year climb and it is what the previously hard climb was building up to. One is proficient in five or six of these mountain climbs but the sacrifice of four or five of them by choosing one could be detrimental. Your quest for happiness may not lie at the top of your choice. Some of your previous travelling companions have already begun and look down upon you and wave…not in a bad way but waves of encouragement. Everybody in the world would like you to get up your mountain – You must remember this.
And so you begin, the first steps are difficult as you have never encountered a mountain such as this. It is hard, unjust and rocks keep falling from travellers above you. Pretty soon you learn the mountains heartbeat and learn to dodge these feeble falling rocks as a PERSON. You immediately see more travelers begin behind you. Some get help, roller-blades or even ski-lifts that pass them over you, over your head. You cannot understand the injustice of the ski-lift pass, but then again, you have never climbed a higher mountain. Eventually these ski-lifts stop and these people have to continue climbing by themselves without the extra knowledge you have learned in between. What is certain is that they certainly did not see the beautiful red flower tucked into the rocks just behind you on your journey.
Another wonderful thing is offered to you on this mountain should you choose to pursue it. You get the chance to the climb with another person, a person whom you are almost destined to climb with, who will catch you when you slip, give you their supplies when needed and teach you secrets of the climb that you could not even fathom without them. They will also make you turn around, sit down, AND look out at the view with them. Some of these partners leave your side after a while, a few stay forever, and some wave over and help you from a far, next to another traveler who may have need them more. Time spent climbing with them is the greatest feeling of them all.
Your mountain becomes steeper and steeper, you have been climbing for what feels like a lifetime, your legs hurt, your back is sore and your eyes have become cold with the altitude. Your memories are strong and your wisdom us clear. Some parts of the mountain level off and allow you to catch your breath, some parts are so hard that you don’t think you can climb any more and some people that have become your closest travelling partners reach their peaks sooner than you do. The joy you see in their faces makes you continue climbing I’M sure and with their memory still in your head and their spirits carrying your legs when you don’t think you can raise another boot.
Everything you learn you pass on to others, every view that you have seen you can remember and have stored it in your bag. Every fellow traveler you recall with a warm heart and a frightfully good story of travel times gone passed. And suddenly you realise that although the travelling and climbing has become harder than before and the slope seems to have become ridiculously steep, it has become far more enjoyable. You remember being at the bottom of that initial hill and how daunting it had seemed…you could not have even imagined what was waiting for you in the clouds. That start off small hill had seemed like a giant mountain of magnitude proportion. You are PROUD that you have surpassed your limits fifty times over by just climbing on. You have fallen and chosen different roots, you have altered and side-stepped many times, if a path was too hard or too easy you crossed a bridge and if you needed to take a few steps backwards you had no problem doing so. But every time…you kept on going.
You stop for a moment, realising your plateau is just above you or a little bit further on and the sun is rising on your face. This is the action that you wish you had done more of is the thing that you are doing right now…just looking out instead of climbing constantly with you back to the view. The sky is a blue, cloudless sea which stretches on for centuries and now and you can see the whole way to the bottom. You see little infants beginning their climb, starting out on their root upward and you pray for their safety and success…it makes you happy TO KNOW the full journey they have in store. You shout down to them but they can’t imagine what you are saying. ‘They have their own path to find’ you think to yourself and you thank the person whoever put these amazing mountains here for you to find. The journey up them was amazing, but above all, it was the company of the people who traveled with you that made it so amazing. They broke your heart, your spirit, your energy for climbing, but it would have been a terribly boring climb without them and you thank who ever created them as well and put them into your path. You call him or her God.
So you begin upward again, and eventually, with on last painful effort you reach the peak. Your own personal mountain top. It’s got to be a wonderful feeling when YOU finish. I’m only guessing because I haven’t stopped climbing yet, Not by a long shot…but I bet there is a choice up there too. Please keep climbing and telling us of your stories.
All my Love,