Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.
– Andy Rooney
There are times, in mid-step, I will pause and look to the mountain’s peak and wonder if I’ll ever make it. And then there are those other times, while considering if I will make it or not, the thought comes maybe it’s not worth trying at all. What’s the point? If moving toward what I wish could be requires this much work, than why do it?
I have spent many a day, a week, a year lost in that hopeless place of why even try. That place never got me anywhere other than slumping in my seat with my head hung low consumed in self-pity. Really, all I was doing was thinking about myself so much that I couldn’t move. And the other kicker was I wanted to be seen sitting and suffering, as if there was nothing I could do about it. Maybe it was your fault or theirs or that stranger down the street.
Silliness really, and, yet, oh, so real. I can still lounge in that lowering-of-myself, consumed with placing a microscope over my head and detailing all the reasons why I will fail and will always fail. Gratefully, these lowering-moments don’t last long.
Failing is giving up without attempt. Failing is undermining the possibilities that are always at my fingertips if I exert some effort. I don’t even have to exert a lot; I can begin small and remain small if I want to or I can exert more. It’s totally up to me.
A number of years ago, while reading a yoga article, the writer/yogi mentioned that practicing yoga wasn’t about rigidity within a schedule or a certain kind of yoga, it was simply about doing yoga. He mentioned that yoga was more than just asanas, it was also about principles, and either one or both could be practiced at anytime for any length—there was no right way.
What I’ve found and what I’ve learned, is that practice is a daily attempt and a choice. I love yoga, so I practice it daily, not under a microscope with rigid lines and rules but with an open heart and willingness.
The same goes for practicing loving others or learning to cook or writing or being married or laughing or trying something new. I practice today with what I have, without rigid lines and expectations of what it should look like, some ideal of perfection that is great to work toward but rarely is ever attained, and to be okay with that.
As each day passes and I keep practicing, I find that I’m partway up the mountain, closer to the summit, and with that daily participation in my life I enrich my life, instill it with substance, experiences, joy, sadness, and laughter to pass on to those around me, to my children, to my friends, to my love.
If you asked me today if I had reached my summit, I would say no, I have not. I am climbing the mountain though, and that is a definite joy worth claiming!