Yesterday I hiked Cathedral Rock in Mount Charleston. It’s a pretty steep hike with a very rocky path and the massive peak looks pretty unattainable from the parking lot.
When you start out at the bottom you think getting to the top of the peak seems impossible. I kept thinking, “How in the world am I gonna get all the way up there?”
About half way through the hike, my breath was short because of the altitude. My mind started racing about how hard this was. How I didn’t like the rocks under my feet. That the flies were super annoying. I was sore from my workouts the past couple days. And then I started to feel a blister forming at the back of my right ankle. Everything was going wrong.
I tried to tie my sneakers tighter but that made it more uncomfortable. It was this nagging pain with every single step, especially as I was walking uphill. I was becoming so frustrated.
I wanted to quit.
My mind was telling me all the reasons why I should turn back around.
Why this was not enjoyable.
That I was never going to make it further. Let alone to the top.
I made the mistake of starting the climb with doubt in my mind and as I moved along, the doubt just grew stronger along with my physical aliments to support it. Causing me to realize I had set the tone by having the thoughts of doubt in the first place.
My reason for hiking was to push myself, to see new things, be in nature and to reach new heights. But how easily I became distracted with my mindset during this mission.
And in these thoughts and moments I had two choices: Give up and miss out on the beauty of the hike. Or keep pushing forward through my doubts and pain.
I quickly decided I would not let the mountain get the best of me. I did the only thing I could think of: I took my shoe off, the source of this pain, and went for the finish. I proceeded on the hike, shoe in one hand and sock on one foot, on a very rocky terrain. It hurt as the rocks dug into the soles of my feet, but I continued anyways.
My craftiness and creativeness in this moment gave me energy. It shifted my thoughts from negatives to positives. Later I realized I could double my sock over my heel to put my shoe back on. I figured this out because I WANTED to find a way.
When there is a will, there is a way – this principle came to life for me yesterday.
I made the decision that I came this far and I wanted to see the top of this mountain that had me awestruck. I became determined. Standing strong in the harder choice to keep going is exactly what powered me through it.
When I shifted my thoughts to thoughts of: I can do this. I will do this. I am determined to get to the top no matter what it takes – that is when the experience became memorable and gratifying. That’s when my strength kicked in.
And that is when I was reminded:
If you quit, you never get to see the view from the top.
If I quit I would have missed out on the sense of accomplishment and the breathtaking sights that greeted me at the top. In this glory, I couldn’t help but think of what an incredible metaphor this is for life.
We are all struggling in our journeys with something. There are so many times where so many of us want to quit. We experience pain and we want to give up because of it. We get in thought patterns of self-doubt and easily become focused on the negatives.
But what if we shift our perceptions of the journey and remember the purpose of the path is to challenge and stretch us? Often when we are embarking on something beautiful, we face obstacles that try to block us or keep us from having these experiences to see how badly we want it.
If you are struggling or in pain and you feel like you just want to quit, please let this story inspire you to keep going. To dig deep. To push through the pain. To remember your strength. To reinforce why you started.
And most importantly, to make a decision that you will get through it. You will see the top of your mountain. And when you get there, you will relish that much harder in the magnificent view knowing you did it.
Namaste from the top.
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