A Fear of Peaks (and Valleys)

As I stand at the base of the highest mountain I have ever seen, I squint to view its highest peak. I try to appraise what it will take to reach its top. How can anyone possibly live through this painful and dangerous climb? I try to count all of its jagged edges above the timberline, but there are too many to track. I panic. I don’t know anything about the other side of the mountain. I acknowledge that my understanding of this risky venture can only be accurately evaluated by walking to the other side of the mountain along its base.

I have no gear, food, water or succinct direction. I haven’t one single tool with me but convince myself that I will set out on my trek despite its risks. I walk in darkness and light. As I trudge along, while my pace slows, I treasure the breathtaking beauty I see all around me.

In the deepest darkness, I realize I haven’t slept in days. I decide to keep going because it feels so urgent. I am desperate to get to the other side of the mountain.

Suddenly my feet and ankles get stuck in thick mud. I try with all of my might to walk, but I can’t move. I shut my eyes to try and will my feet to move forward as they sink further into the stubborn earth. I yank my swollen feet out of my shoes and leave my socks behind as well. The ground is anything but kind to my bare feet.

As the sun rises, I am exhausted, parched and too sick to reach my goal of assessing the arduous climb. For a moment, I wonder if I have acute mountain sickness (AMS), but then remember I haven’t yet climbed the mountain and AMS only happens at higher altitudes. I’m too depleted to know much of anything, but at this point, I am almost hoping I’ll not survive the journey. I can be relieved of my own obsession to understand nothing I know I’ll never completely understand.

I fall to my knees at the base of the other side of the mountain. My head is too heavy for my neck. I shut my eyes tight and pray…

Please help me. I don’t know how to do this. This is unknown territory and I’m lost. I know I need to trust this process and have faith that I am being guided. I have always landed in exactly the right place. H E L P.

As I pray, my head gets light. I look up at the majestic peak one more time as minimal tears and perspiration from my dehydrated self stream down my face.

A sense of peace, calm and clarity washes over me when I recognize that this isn’t my mountain to climb. I had wanted it to be my mountain to alleviate someone else’s struggle.

During my walk around the mountain, without gear, water, food, proper shoes or any clarity of purpose, I failed myself. Plus, my actual role was never to climb a mountain that was never my mountain to begin with, but to provide the necessary elements for triumph or at the very least, safety.

For me, whether I’m ascending, descending or just staying still, I will have the right gear, water, food, proper shoes,

And love

And prayer

And hope

And compassion

And empathy

And boundaries

And truth

And a sturdy tent that is protected from the most menacing of elements, but will never be a perfect structure. No tent is perfect but the foundation it rests upon is unflappable and will travel with you no matter where you wander… from the brink, to the ridge, up to the pinnacle and down into the deepest valleys. The safe tent and its foundation will be available with replenished tools at all times.

It is up to you to enter.

Author: PKW

Writer, Speaker, Facilitator, Trainer, Fundraiser, Strategist, Listener, and Lover of Humans. My love for humans and relationship building are a part of every single thing I do, except for maybe using the bathroom.

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