I found myself thinking about mountains today. I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Michelle Choi, host of the Lost or Found Podcast, recently for an episode of the podcast (Ep. 06) and she mentioned climbing mountains in the context of her personal and professional journey. How she needed to climb one mountain to get to the next… I thought it was a beautiful metaphor.
It got me thinking about how maybe our lives are more like mountain ranges made up of a series of climbs and descents… peaks and valleys. And maybe we need to climb that first mountain to be able to see ahead to the next, and the next?
We don’t live our lives on mountain peaks and we don’t live in the valleys either… but I believe there’s joy to be found in both places and in everything in between.
In the past I was so focused on getting to the “top” that I dismissed anything that didn’t look like a straight path to success. The path is never straight, I’ve learned. It weaves and wanders and I’m learning to accept that more every day.
One of of my favourite guided meditations is called the “Mountain Meditation” by Jon Kabat-Zinn. It’s more about being a mountain than climbing one but I love the way he speaks about embodying calm, unwavering mountain energy:
I did an incredible hike a few years ago with my partner, Evan. It was the most challenging hike of my entire life. At one point, I burst into tears – deathly afraid and paralyzed with fear by a steep drop-off that we had to navigate. When we eventually got to the top I was exhausted (physically & emotionally) and cold to the bone.
We were surrounded by a heavy fog when we fell asleep in our little tent.
But we woke up in the morning to the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen. Mountains for miles, alpine flowers, and beautiful warm sunshine.
We just sat there in awe and appreciation of what had been hidden behind the fog the night before.
Every blister, tear, and drop of sweat suddenly seemed so worthwhile.