Week 13 – No more mountains

Week 13 – December 19, 2011
One step at a time

Taking the easier path

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.

14 thoughts on “Week 13 – No more mountains

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  2. Thank you for sharing this. In the recent past, I have described to my ex the saving of our marriage using the metaphor of climbing the mountain. I have likened it to those who elect to climb Mt. Everest or K-2 … the work they put in is time consuming and difficult and the challenges they face on the way up could even result in death or severe difficulties … yet they do it. For the reward at the end. For the bragging rights to say “they did it” and to see the view from the top. To know, that they defied all the obstacles that were in their way, yet still achieved one of the greatest feats. Needless to say, he was not up to the challenge. It was too much for him to bear. He retreated to the ease of the valley as well, at least as far as with regard to saving our family was concerned.

    I enjoyed the new perspective you shared and I am hoping to take on some of your ideas for a new future for myself.

    – A fellow traveller trudging along, admiring your strength and determination in the face of your challenges.

    • Thanks for the comment. Yes, have thought of the mountain metaphor many times, ‘come on, we can do it’; and all the time being the one coaxing him up the mountain. This time the ‘mountain’ image distressed me because I could not bear another mountain, another adversity, another trudge. It was too overwhelming. The image of the easy path was a real ‘vision’ as opposed to something I had read or something that I formulated by logical thinking; it just came to me and it calmed me. I could find an easier way in life than climbing mountains. I still have a long long way to go and maybe the ‘easy path’ is still slowly climbing up a mountain by a longer slower route than straight up. Time will tell. However, what I am gradually learning is that it is actually easier going there on my own than having to drag him behind me.

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