I can see you. Swathed in camo gear and sweating with the effort. Your war paint hides the tired lines on your face. Your hiking pack is full of tools and you swear to me you’ve tried every one of them. You are stuck. You dig in your heels and set up camp. You could be happy here right? Sure the wind whips fiercely through these parts. The sun burns unrelenting through the day while the frost threatens to steal fingertips and toes under cover of darkness. The thought of moving further up your mountain is unpalatable, gets stuck in your throat, refusing to settle. Making you gag, leeching the colour from your weathered skin. It is too hard. Has already been too hard. Can’t. Cope.
You may survive here but you won’t thrive.
Let me tell you, your mountain is beautiful from where I stand. Can you see the one I am climbing from over there? No of course not, you were caught up in your struggle and that’s ok. That’s normal. You also missed the wonderful things about your mountain. You had your head down, bum up waving your quick dry North Face pants in the air. Your hands are cut, fresh blood trickling over old wounds congealing with age. This is not a new journey and yet it is. Look at those hands covered in scars, telling a million stories of your battles along this track. New wounds open up with each new assault. You have been focused completely on your walking track, never lifting your gaze to see the world around you. It is beautiful though.
I can help you get to the top of your mountain. The view from up there is breathtaking. I can suggest which pick may get you up that sheer rock face. Throw you a rope to suspend you safely as you scale that ridge. Don’t think for a second I know how to climb my mountain. I am struggling with my journey every day. It’s just that I have a perfect view of the track ahead of you from where I stand on my mountain. I can see which tools you will need to get you to the pinnacle. And I know the power of a trek companion. Someone to urge you on when you fall on your millionth rock. I am here to encourage you to enjoy the journey, not just thirst for reaching your goal. It is possible.
I see people like you every day. Some come into my office, throw down their bulging hiking pack and say “here, sort through this” the handle on their pack wrapped in travel labels Hell and Back…Bermuda Triangle…Azkaban…
No matter who you are, what horrible situation you are living through, you can choose how you come out of it and how you react through the journey. You can choose to live a mindful life based on your values, not based on your rogue thoughts and uncomfortable feelings. Psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, Victor Frankl, believes in the possiblity of the human spirit to shine through all trauma…
“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Follow my journey by chucking your email into the side-bar or hitting the “follow” button at the bottom. While I am climbing my mountain over here I’ll occasionally pause and yell out some guidance, from where I have an unbiased view of the journey you have ahead of you.
We all struggle. Let it be.
Disillusioned with life? Check out Victor Frankl’s chronicle Man’s Search for Meaning
The photo is from a trip I took to the Land of a Thousand Hills, Rwanda. Those misty mountains have seen things that most of us could only imagine, shaped now by the footsteps of those left after the genocide of 1994, the earth home to the 800,000 bodies that were butchered. What is that saying? Ah yes. It could always be worse…