Week 13 – December 19, 2011
One step at a time
Yesterday I had a vision. It was one of those crazy visions. It was one of me climbing up a mountain faced with all these obstacles that were preventing me reaching the top of the mountain. It stressed me.
There was a previous reflection that my husband had had of us as a couple climbing the mountain of life together. He put this down in a drawing to me. It appeared to him that each time we felt we were near the top of the mountain, obstacles would come along and get in the way (family illnesses, crises, financial strains etc) and these would drag us both back down the mountain a bit or into the valley and then when we turned around we would find that there was another mountain to climb before we could realize our journey’s end of peace and happiness. His reflection was more specific and continued that I – the optimistic and determined one – after being faced with each adversity, would take a deep breath, then take his hand and keep going, I would keep climbing the mountain.
Then as our relationship ended, I found a further reflective drawing he left behind, one of him walking down into the valley – by an easier path – while he left me to trudge up the mountain on my own. In the distance for me, at the very top of the mountain, instead a glorious view there was yet another mountain to climb – the inference being that I would always find another mountain to climb, that we would never get to our destination.
Since our separation my vision kept returning to his drawings and the vision of the mountains. Yes – there was now another mountain I had to climb (the emotional turmoil of the separation). Yes – there was another mountain I had to climb (the abhorrence of the divorce process). Yes – there was another mountain I had to climb (getting my finances as a single person back on track). Yes – there was another mountain I had to climb – (learning to live my life all by myself).
My thoughts kept returning again and again to the mountains I had already climbed and that now there was yet another one – or two – to climb. Again and again I kept thinking about the mountain. Again and again, I felt that I could not face it. I had already been through so much. I felt that I was now done with climbing mountains, of coping through life’s adversities. Life was just proving too difficult. Like him, it felt easier for me to take my chances down in the valley. To run away.
I tried to think positively. I tried to think how great it would feel when I reached the top of the mountain. I tried to think of the view that I would get from the top, how I could look back and see from where I had come and think – “Yes, I have done this, I have reached the top of the mountain”. I even thought that maybe I could write a book when I reached the top. I would call it “Climb Every Mountain – reaching your goals despite setbacks and trauma”. That was a great vision to have, to strive for. But always, always there was this vision of the mountain. Always, always there was trudging up a mountain. And here I was, yet again at the bottom, yet again looking up and dreading the climb, yet again my spirits weighed down by the dread of having to trudge all the way to the top – and this time – all by myself.
All by myself. What did that mean?
I thought of what I had done in the three months since our separation and how far my life had come. What had I achieved? Initially, I thought that I had achieved nothing. Then I thought of the house. The house had been tidied out and spring cleaned and there had been the “spring-cleaning” of the sheds and the block. In the first weeks after separation – during my most bleakest of days – I decided I wanted the house to be readjusted as MY space, as my home. I needed to take it to a place that felt better for me. When I had first looked at what needed doing, it seemed like a huge mountain. Thirty seven years of accumulated “stuff”. Thirty seven years of half- finished plans and now discarded dreams. Then I decided to tackle it. And in doing it, I did it my way – one step at a time. First one box, then another. First one cupboard, then another. First one room, then another. First one shed, then another. First the backyard, then the front, then the area up the top, then the paddock down near the dam. Asking my children and other people to assist when required. One thing to sort, tidy, clean, paint or consider at a time. Tackling it as I could – one step at a time. Before I knew it – it was done. The mountain of frustration of the huge house and block that needed attention was conquered – without stress – one step at a time.
Then today another vision came to me in a blinding flash. It was my vision. The vision of the mountain, that life is always difficult, that achieving your goals is stressful and hard. That was his vision. This new vision was my vision and my vision was different.
My vision that came to me was how my life in front of me could be. In my vision there was no mountain to climb. Instead there was a long winding path along an easy track going through fields and meadows. In my vision it was sunny. Sometimes the path went through forests where the track was not so clearly defined or where the path ahead was obscured and sometimes it passed through some boggy ground where stepping stones were placed to take me over. Sometimes I would reach a river where there would be a bridge to cross or someone’s hand held out to lead me through the stormy water. And sometimes there were obstacles in the way that I would have to climb over or walk around or that I would need to figure out how to dismantle before I could continue. And sometimes I needed to rest a little while before I could continue. But in this new vision, in my vision, the vision of MY life, there was no mountain to climb, there was me finding an easy path through the forest or across the water or around the next bend – one step at a time.
And in my vision, as I went along the path, I was looking at the sky, I was smelling the flowers, I was enjoying the sunshine – and the occasional rain – and I was singing.