Healing is like hiking up a mountain.
At the beginning, you are faced with a beautiful challenge and you are full of excitement. You begin your journey with hope, positivity, strength, and energy. As you begin to ascend, you get to areas where you begin to feel challenged. These challenges don’t stop you, because you are still full of that energy and strength. You climb higher without any thought of stopping, sometimes looking behind to see how far you have already climbed. After some more time and some more elevation has passed under your feet, you need to take your first break. You stop to look around at your accomplishment so far and you feel great. You reflect on the achievement, but you are also very aware of the challenges you still face. As you begin to walk again, you feel the distance you’ve already climbed as a weight, lessons learned, but positive ones that you carry with you. You begin to meet larger challenges, steeper, rockier areas that slow you down and make you take more time so that you can move forward without falling. As you press on, and the challenges continue before you, you start to wonder if you should turn back or keep going. You start to have moments where you wonder if it is worth it to go farther, or where you reach valleys that appear to actually be going backward a bit, or you may wonder if you even can continue at all. At some points, you may have to take more breaks, but you believe the view from the top will be worth all of your efforts. As you reach the most challenging areas with not much distance yet before you, you still consider stopping. You say to yourself that you have come SO far, far enough, and the view is already beautiful and fulfilling. If you have loved ones with you, either in person or in spirit, you know they want you to succeed and will support you whether you stop here or continue. You think about things that have inspired you, and what made you decide to start this journey in the first place. You feel exhausted, you focus on your breathing, and you may try to convince yourself that you have gone far enough and don’t need to go any further. Something inside you drives you to continue and as you reach the peak your efforts, your strength, your challenges become more than you can handle. You scream with joy, you laugh, or maybe you cry tears of joy for the success you achieved in getting to the top.
At the top of a mountain, there are many moments to take in and enjoy. You take in these moments without any thought for the fact that you must go back down to complete the journey. You reflect on your journey so far and appreciate the struggles that led you to the top. And as you face the descent, you feel complete.
Getting to the top isn’t the whole journey.
As you begin the descent, you realize that you have accomplished more than you ever thought possible, and you didn’t consider the rest of the path in front of you to hold just as many challenges. Yes, you really HAVE succeeded in discovering and accomplishing so very much, but you must not just plow forward now without any focus. Because if you plow forward as if there are no more challenges, you may begin to move more quickly than you can handle. You may stumble or fall as you move too quickly and don’t give the path the ongoing attention you need to give it. Take control of your descent as part of your journey and you will see that you have as much to learn from this path as you learned from the larger challenges you faced and conquered. Yes, you will reach the bottom eventually, but not without moments where you are challenged, tired, or want to give up somehow.
And just when you think you have finished, there will always be another mountain to climb.