What a ride today has been! I’ve been up to summits, down into valleys, and a little bit of everything in between. There was even some time I spent scrambling through the field of scree that was tax preparation. In each of the spots, whether top or bottom, I paused to take in the view around me and find beauty in it.
When I was on top I was immediately joyful and took time to breathe in the successes. I focused on all the hard work it had taken to get to that point, all the challenges it took to get there, and the painful and frustrating moments that combined with the fun moments to create the success. In focusing on the struggles leading to success I found deeper peace. Those moments were when I was frustrated and wanted to quit. Moments in which I just wanted it to be easier and to work out the way I desired, without the painful portions. By surviving in , thriving in, and learning from and through those difficult times I was able to build the strength needed to get to the successful moments today. The difficulties were the fuel that raised me to the summit that I was so enjoying. In taking time to appreciate the difficulties along the way to success I found great joy today. It made the taste of success even sweeter.
Today wasn’t all about being on the summit though. There were a few steep descents deep into the valleys. When confronted with difficult news I paused and occasionally found myself feeling bad for myself, feeling bad for others, and being very frustrated. As I caught myself thinking this way I paused and thought about the times I’ve been to the summit… not just today, but throughout life. In thinking about those peaks I remembered the valleys I’d endured to reach the top. When standing on top of those mountain tops I felt so strong and successful – specifically because I knew I’d faced incredibly steep and difficult climbs to get there. It was the surviving of those treacherous times that made those victories feel so good. I savored those memories of past struggles and pains and then took a fresh look at the valley I stood in. Where there were once steep rock walls I saw challenges that would make the future success greater. I could live in fear of pain and challenge, lay on my back, and look up at something I’d always long for but never reach. Instead I chose to tackle the valley walls head on. By climbing them, pushing myself, and willing myself up the cliffs I will grow stronger than before… and reaching the peak of the mountain will be even more meaningful. I took in the challenges, appreciated them for what they are, and then made forward progress to trek to the top.
How interesting that while on top I remembered the bottoms as they made the top feel more worthwhile, yet while on the bottom I remembered the tops as they reminded me that I’ve been through trials in the past. It’s not always taking the easy call and enjoying the top while on top or wallowing in the bottom while on the bottom… it’s the focusing on what has made us stronger and on where we can draw strength. It’s always a choice we each have. Today I didn’t choose perfectly, not by a long shot, but when I remembered to tell myself to slow down and think I was more often than not on the right path.