The little steps make all the difference
There I am, feeling a right nincompoop, half way up a mountain somewhere in Wales, aching feet, out of breath, ridiculously heavy backpack, tearful with effort, wondering what the heck I thought I was doing when I put myself up for this. Mountain Leader Training?!! Hah. Just cos I love being in the mountains, doesn’t mean I need to volunteer to be stuck in the middle of nowhere with two ex army guys, and three hefty outdoor adventure guys, all of whom are secretly or not so secretly wishing I wasn’t there so they can go bounding over the earth like mountain goats instead of waiting for little slow coach to catch up … Character building? I’ll give you character building. You try chasing those chaps up and down rock faces … when we finally got back to the bottom, and I trailed in, an hour after the first mountain goat had arrived, they all stood up and slow clapped me. And I’ll tell you something else too … several years later when my brother went to the same training company they were still talking about me! Talk about notoriety … Ah well, at least I’ll have a story to tell my grandchildren…
Anyhow, I’m glad I went, because I learnt something. I learnt (now pay attention …) that when climbing a rock face, you never underestimate a foothold or handhold. What I mean to say is, say you see a small foothold and it’s only 10cm or so above the one your foot is on, if there’s nothing else available you take it. And something astonishing happens. Your point of view changes. And you see other footholds and handholds that you couldn’t see 10cm lower down, or that weren’t available from slightly lower down. You work out your next move from where you are at the time (though of course you keep an eye on your general direction so that you don’t climb yourself into a bush or something), and you find that there’s always a way up, even if its 10cm at a time.
I think life can be a bit like that. Sometimes it really does feel like an uphill struggle, and there are times when the only available options are less than inspiring. The thing is to pace yourself, take one step at a time, and use those little options, if they’re all you’ve got. And your point of view changes. You begin to see other options that you couldn’t see before. You gain experience. You gain a sense of mastery. You get to feel great about pushing your limits, when you discover you can go farther than you expected. You can start to take joy in the moment too – joy in just being, joy in the privilege of having got this far. Once you begin to enjoy the process, the load seems lighter, and as you relax and start to smile your muscles loosen up just a little so the climb gets easier. Then at a certain point, you notice that you’re actually quite near the top. Your step quickens, and you’re happy to push yourself even harder. You clamber over the last few bumps and … you’re there.
If you’re climbing a mountain you get to survey the view. A beautiful lake glinting in the sunshine. Maybe a few little clouds huddled round a neighbouring mountain top. The deepest blues and the most verdant greens. Waltzing grass and patient rock. A tiny lone figure in the distance. A cooling breeze caresses the smile on your face as you stand there and just be. Nothing else exists but this moment.
If it’s life that you’re scaling, you can also let yourself celebrate those wins – there’s nothing quite like putting in everything you’ve got, and getting results you only ever dreamed you could achieve. When you go for something you truly want, that’s always been a part of who you are, and you get it … don’t you just think to yourself “I could die happy right now!” I love those moments. You feel like you’re stepping more deeply into being yourself. You almost glow, and the feel-good is infectious. People around subtly get the message “If you’re willing to do what it takes, you can achieve your desires”. And so your success becomes a beacon of possibility, lighting the way for others.
In either case, all the blood sweat and tears you put in are forgiven and forgotten as you rejoice in just being … after all, what else is there?
This week live in the moment. Take little opportunities that come your way. Know that you will get there … and rejoice in the process as you move closer and closer to your next summit.
Posted on September 21, 2011, in a positive focus, acceptance, camping, commitment, Difficult Times, Inspiration, Persistence, summer holidays, summer vacation and tagged abundance, acceptance, difficult times, embrace uncertainity, Inspiration, living on the edge, persistence, positive focus. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.