Please allow me to use a mountain as my example. Please pictured it in your mind and you are on the base of it, looking up. Half feelings of excitement brew, half feelings of nerves and an overwhelming feeling of smallness compared to this terribly high and daunting challenge. As the old saying says, it all starts with one step. Everyone takes the first step together and you have a lot of help and protection for the first journey. They sherpas teach you and train you how to survive and the useful gifts and tools which you have in your bag. Everyone at the foot of the mountain sees each other beginning. Some people help one another, some people hinder, some people split off and one doesn’t see them again for a long time, or until their paths up the mountain are destined to cross. Some people become your travel buddies and you travel with them for as long as possible.
So the youth reach the school mountain and they are presented with another mountain, with a steeper slope, more challenges, and less protection. You struggle onwards and upwards, the sherpas are still there minding you and advising you and making sure you ration your food. 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 plodding along you reach the plateau on top of this mountain. One has time to breathe, shake hands with your travel buddies and immediately set off again. A smaller mountain but a steeper slope and nobody to guide you up it. You reach the top after three or four weeks and you realise that on this plateau their are fewer buddies and travelling mates. 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.
This choice is often paralyzing. One knows that this choice is a forty or fifty week climb and it is what the previously hard climb was building up for. 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. The 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.
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 rocks. You immediately see more travellers begin behind you. Some get roller-blades or even ski-lifts past you, over your head. You cannot understand the un-justness of this, 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’ve learned and they certainly didn’t see the beautiful red flower tucked into the rocks a quarter of a mile back.
Another wonderful thing is offers to you on this mountain. You get the chance to spend the climb with another person, a person you are destined to climb with, who will catch you when you slip, give you their supplies and teach you secrets of the climb that you couldn’t even fathom. They will also make you turn around, sit down, and look out at the view with them. Some of these partners leave your side, fewer stay forever, and some wave over and help you from a far, next to another traveler who may need them more.
The hill 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. 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 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 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 travelling and climbing although it appears harder than before and the slope has become ridiculously steep, has become far more enjoyable. You remember being at the bottom of that initial hill and how daunting it had seemed…you couldn’t 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 and you had surpassed your limits fifty times over by just keep on climbing. You had fallen and chosen different roots, 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.
You have stopped for a moment, realising your plateau is just above you or a little bit further on and the sun is rising on your face. The thing that you wish you had done more of is the thing that you are doing right now…just looking out instead of climbing. The sky is cloudless now and you can see the whole way to the bottom and little infants beginning their climb, starting out on their root…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.
So you begin again, and eventually, painfully reach the peak. It’s got to be a wonderful feeling, but I don’t know yet because I haven’t finished climbing…but I bet there is a choice up there too. Please keep climbing
All my Love, TigerPaws Junior 31.07.2013