I love love love to hike! Hiking easily takes me to my happy place, so much so that when I was 7.5 months pregnant I hiked almost 8 miles. Now mind you, my hips still hurt a bit even a year after having my baby, so don’t do what I did. LOL! But seriously, one of the reasons I love hiking is I get to push my mind past my perception of my body’s limits. Even still, hiking for me is less about physical endurance and more about the symbolism of “conquering” the mountain. It’s a very literal parallel for me. Each time I hike, I always have this image playing in my mind that climbing a mountain is like handling one of life’s difficult problems.
Sometimes life makes us feel like we are in a valley, looking up at an endless mountain humbling us in its presence. Mocking and intimidating us simultaneously. All while fiercely blocking where we are presently and where we desire to be. You know, it isn’t a tiny mountain you can just gingerly skip across on a whim. This is one of those mountains that requires provisions and focused attention because you’re going to be at it for a while and it’s going to take some fight to make it to the top. And let’s be honest those mountains can be overwhelming. Those mountains make us wonder is it really worth the time and the energy? And then there’s the conversation we won’t willingly admit out loud to most anyone. “Can I really do this? Am I strong enough? Will I quit? I mean I’ve easily quit hard things before. Do I even want to go through the hassle? Where I am, though uncomfortable isn’t really that bad. I mean I’m alive, right? So and so encountered a similar mountain but she’s this and that and I’m not any of those things.”
So here’s the deal, that internal conversation you are having with yourself will either keep you from ever attempting to climb the mountain or it will give you enough courage to start the climb. Your problem, like that mountain, will not just go away. It’s there and will continue to be there, waving it’s little annoying, nubby finger right in your face until you conquer it. It’s all up to you. You have to decide, put on your big girl panties and start moving.
I’m not asking you to close your eyes and just endure until your problem is over because chances are it will not resolve itself. I’m not asking you to take a passive position. No, climbing (forward movement) takes strength and endurance. One doesn’t just stand at the base of a mountain and simply hope to reach the top. No. One must put one foot in front of the other. Effort. And push past any physical discomfort until the desired result is achieved. So your mountain looks like a looming divorce. Deep debt. Being a single parent. A dead-end career. Depression. Bad health. Abuse. Infertility. Desiring to be married. Starting a new business. Fill in your own blank. It can all be conquered, if you only have faith to begin the climb.
No mountain is the same; no step on the mountain is the same. But a few things are always present when conquering a mountain.
- You will exert physical energy and you will have to push past all pain barriers – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. At times you might have to ignore your pain just to keep moving. Despite physical exertion you will use more mental strength and energy to keep moving.
- Rather or not you make it to the top is based on your mental capacity. Not only do you have to make sound decisions while being physically spent, but you also have to keep motivating yourself – maybe even out loud. Yea you might look like a crazy person talking to yourself, but you have to give yourself mental pep talks.
- I can guarantee without question you will want to quit at some point. Likely when you are closest to the top (and don’t know it) and it gets the hardest to climb because you are exhausted. What was required to get halfway up the mountain is not what is needed for the other half.
- You will need some sort of a guide like a map. There are some people who’ve climbed very similar mountains before….successfully. Consider seeking them out and learn what they did to win. Granted their story will not be your story exactly, but it might be helpful or inspiring.
- You may have to go seek out reinforcement to help you get up the mountain…a friend, sister, somebody! The more physical energy is needed the more you will need someone else to help support you. And if you don’t have anyone, I’ll cheer for you.
- You may be alone on your climb most of the time and that’s OK. You are strong enough to conquer the mountain by yourself. Everything you need is already in you to win.
- Once you start don’t give up. Consider what you’ve already invested to this point. Don’t let those tears and sweat be for nothing.
- At this moment you could be seconds, minutes, hours, days, or months from beating you problem. Think of this when you want to quit, “I could be seconds away…” Though an end may not be in sight, this is when you bare down, grit your teeth and give it all you have.
When you are tired of circling the same mountain, dealing with the same problem year after year, conquer it once and for all.