Saturday, October 8, 2011

Mountains and Valleys

Life is filled with ups and downs. I remember when younger, before traveling on this spiritual enlightenment journey, telling people, “Life is full of ups and downs; you can't have the peaks without the valleys.” I would remember this mantra when facing life challenges in my young adult life, but funny I had not thought of it in the last few years. In doing so now, I must chuckle at the fact I left Colorado, home of the Rocky Mountains, to return to Browns Valley, Kentucky. Oh, the irony! Since then, my life has felt as if its been in a valley. I've enjoyed abundance of hilltop views throughout the experience, but only in the last few months am I feeling the pull of the mountainside – and heading in that direction.

When you've been in a valley for any length of time, the depths of despair, struggle and aimlessness gives reason to pause before taking on a mountain climb. There's usually hopelessness, doubt and an insecurity in making the trek higher. A mountain climber can not make his climb without gear; without it, little to no progress would be made up the jagged and rocky path. Hope and Faith are the “equipment” for this journey. Additionally, the climber focuses on the path ahead, not on the drop of the valley depths below from which he's climbed. Climbing mountains is steep work, and requires we reach far beyond what we believe we are capable of reaching. There's always a risk of falling, and the mountain climber heeds confident awareness in his climb, ever respectful of the distance from where he started to where he is. In traveling up the ascending walls from out of the valley, we may tend to focus on what we've leave behind and have known, the depths of despair and our history within it. A mountain climber focuses on what's in front of him, and travels in confidence of the mountain's new heights and all its majesty await to receive him with open arms.

In my Life's latest Valley, I found commiseration with others who enjoy the comfort in the depth of the drama rendering helplessness, hopelessness, misery and despair. Using every ounce of strength I had left in me, I decided to make my climb out of it. It's a choice; it ain't easy; and the effort requires greater drive and determination as you begin the trek. The Dogs of Despair nip at your heels, attempting to pull you back down into the muck and mire of the Valley's dark depth. The initial effort is the hardest, but with perseverance, you move out of its reach to continue the journey upward.

Out of the shadows of the valley, I feel sunshine on my face once again. I can see a new horizon high above me. This climb requires due diligence, consciousness, effort, and the climbing equipment of Hope, Faith, Determination, Patience and Courage. Many times I catch myself wondering when I'll fall (a.k.a. when is the other shoe going to drop?). In this momentary thought process, my Hope line gets tangled, opening me up to doubt, thus risking my tumble down into the Valley. With due diligence and a consciousness to my effort each step of the way, I secure my Faith which allows me to clear my Hope for a stronger grip as I pull myself upward. I continue on, slowly, intentionally, and with courageous perseverance. I focus on the mountain peak ahead, less on the Valley and all it was. When I briefly look back to assess my progress, I bless the Valley in gratitude for the wisdom and strength mined from within myself to make this mountain climb.

Stopping and resting along the climb is required as it allows me to reassess my travel conditions, reassess my navigational plan, and to recalibrate my intention that carry me towards my vision. I must routinely check and maintain my climbing equipment: Faith and Hope, Determination, Patience, and Courage. These tools are key to the success of this climb. I must also nurture myself along the way, and celebrate the progress I've made.

I'm climbing a new mountain once again. There are times it's exhausting, and the pull of the Valley beckons. In those moments, it would appear easier to give up and give in, a choice many often choose. With a quick nod of acknowledgment, I move forward, keeping my eyes on the peak high above. With that focus, I feel the strong magnetic pull of that which I desire. Often the journey feels slow, but with each step, progress is made. With each day, steps are taken. And in time, the sun's warmth on my face grows stronger and I relish in its glow. It nourishes my Hope, infuses my Faith. I strengthen my hold of Determination and find more Courage as distance grows between the Valley and me. I see the Mountain Peak; it is there I shall stand in the fullest glory of my Life.

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