March 1, 2014

From the Valley to the Pinnacle

Throughout our lives we are faced with countless challenges and opportunity for growth.  Sometimes, those opportunities arrive in the form of a figurative butt-whooping.

This past year and a half, I have had my butt whooped.  I have fallen.  I have struggled.  And for a while (okay, for far too long), I let myself stay down.  But I feel that sometimes we need that time.  It is okay to not always be a bubbling ball of joy.  It is okay to be in the valley of life so you can experience the joys at the pinnacles.

During the trials of my current valley, I have been able to do a lot of soul searching and arrive at several important self-realizations.  They are personal and I won't be sharing them, but they were needed.  And an even greater comfort was being able to share and realize these things with my husband by my side.

Now the time for growth has arrived and I am ready for it.  With these self-realizations coming to light, I have been able to make plans to begin carving my own way up the mountainside towards my personal pinnacle.  This new mountain is similar to mountains I have climbed in the past.  Though this time, the mountain is a little steeper and a bit higher than the mountains of my past.  Despite the difference in this mountain in comparison to past mountains, several of the supplies that I need to make it to the summit are unchanged.

1- I need a partner.  It is always safer and highly recommended to bring a partner with you when going out onto the mountain.  I am grateful to have my husband as my partner.  He will help push me when the path becomes steep.  He will be an extra set of eyes for possible approaching hurdles.  He will be there to help lift me if I stumble or fall.

2- I need a compass.  This compass is the spirit.  This means reading my scriptures daily in personal study.  It means saying personal prayers and constantly having a prayer in my heart.  It means going to church each week and fulfilling my religious obligations.  The spirit will guide me.  It will warn me of possible dangers on the path I am making.  The spirit will also direct me towards paths of safety; providing hidden views of majestic vistas, views that will provide motivation to continue on to the peak where the grandest view of all is visible for those who endure to the end.  But without using the spiritual tools I have been given, I will not be able to hear the spirit as it whispers to me what I should do.

3- I need practice.  This practice is what I need for the endurance to make it to the pinnacle.  The practice is my physical health.  I'll need to exercise and become more physically fit to be able to make the journey.  Before running a marathon, one must train.  You can't expect to finish a marathon if you've never run more than 2 miles at a time.

4- I need proper nourishment to keep my body fueled for the journey.  A candy bar may taste good, but it's not going to give me the proper fuel my body will need to continue on.  I need to begin supplying my body with the proper fuels.

5- I need perseverance.  I will trip, and most likely loose my footing from time to time.  But these stumbles don't mean I must turn back because the path is too hard.  These stumbles are a reminder that focus and concentration are needed.

6- I need direction.  It is easy to loose site of the destination and to go off to explore the lake up ahead, a cave, nature, a flowing stream, or to rest by a tree and enjoy your lunch.  But it is important to be mindful of the time and of where you are and how much farther you need to go.  Meandering too long can get you lost.  Or perhaps in your meandering you have gone a bit back down the mountain instead of climbing upward, without even realizing how much ground you have lost.  Instead of giving up because of the time and the miles you have lost, you need to observe your surroundings and get back on the journey.  If not, that lovely little stream you were enjoying may have led you all the way back to the base of the mountain and you'll have to begin your journey again on another day.

When beginning my journey from the valley to the pinnacle, I often loose direction.  This is one of my biggest struggles in climbing my mountain.  I start off focused and dedicated to the journey ahead.  I begin with fast progress, steadily making my way up.  And then I trip over a tree root.  But instead of getting up right away and continuing on, I sit down.  And while I'm sitting I'll throw a few stones and watch them bounce down the mountainside.  While watching the stone bounce down the mountainside, I'll see something that catches my eye.  Next thing I know, I'm making a new path to find my source of distraction.  It is only when I am totally off course that I realize what I have done.

I should have kept moving when I stumbled over the tree root.  I didn't need to sit down.  Actually, I really did feel fine.  Excuses were made so I could sit.  Perhaps I wanted to triple-check my shoes.  Or that small scratch I just received really wasn't that bad.  So why did I stop instead of continuing on?

It is an unknown fear of succeeding.  I have no idea where this fear came from.  Though it seems as though each time I am about to accomplish a goal, I self-sabotage.  Why, I do not know.  I don't even realize that I am self-sabotaging until it's too late and all that I had worked towards had been undone.

This was the most important self-realization that I had.  This is why I need tools 1-5 above.  I need tools 1-5 to maintain #6.

Armed with this knew knowledge, and a very supportive partner, I am ready to begin my journey again.  This journey will not heal all of the troubles of this past year and a half.  But this journey will make me stronger and more capable to conquer trials of the future.  This new journey will unlock some of the potential in me that I have blindly refused to unlock.  It is time to conquer the fear of my potential.

And now, if you'll kindly excuse me ... I have a mountain to climb.

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