I climbed a mountain and I turned around....
August 1st in Switzerland in Swiss National Day. Seeing as I had just arrived, my old friend Tom and new friend Christian thought the best way for me' to celebrate was with a traditional activity. No, not yodeling or cheese and chocolate eating, but by climbing M F'n Mountain Elbenalp. Here are my thoughts on the experience:
Whenever you are faced with something you've never done and never thought you could do, a strange conversation takes place within you. Kind of like the "angel on one shoulder, devil on the other" analogy, but in this case I like to think it's two little goblins (or fairies, pixies, whatever you choose, it's your brain). For me in this case I'm using goblins. And these goblins are named Fight and Flight. Fight can be dressed as a cheerleader, ringing a cowbell, blowing one of those damn vuzuvulas or whispering quiet words of encouragement. Fight is a very powerful goblin, always by your side whenever you face a challenge, especially of it's a physical or emotional feat you never thought possible. Sounds great, sounds like it would be so easy to accomplish or face anything with him in your corner right? WRONG! Because while Fight is powerful, the problem is Fight usually stands alone, or with a small handful of other if he's lucky. Flight on the other hand, that b****** recruits. It brings along his other goblin buddies, Fear, Past Failures, the twins Low Self Confidence and Self Esteem, and the image of every single person you ever said "you can't" "you won't" "I don't trust in your ability" and the like. The only way through that obstacle comes down to a simple basic choice. Choose which side to listen to, concentrate only on the encouragement coming from Fight and that's the side that will win.
No, it won't be easy but the stuff that is worth it rarely is. I used to have a different philosophy, that the right choice should be clear and easy. That. Is a cowards philosophy. A choice still simply boils down to a yes or no, right or left, etc... decision. It's not the choice itself that's difficult, but the path to that choice can be treacherous. And somewhere along the way, us humans have trained ourselves to take the path of least resistance, when we are missing out on much by doing that, by coasting through life instead of living it. Because let me' tell you, the few hours I spent on the side of that mountain, well, not much of that felt good. But I faced and conquered a lot of personal demons that day, cried, laughed, swore fought for air, gripped a chain attached to rock with vice like strength despite my rubbery, exhausted muscles. Noe matter how many times that Flight goblin got into my head and tried to won, I shut him out and overcame. I will say, after hours of internal and external struggle, getting to the top, turning around and seeing the town we stared from nothing more than a speck in the distance and the feeling that you literally are on top of the world, Fight, the two very patient Swiss boys and I did a much warranted victory dance.
Whether it is an actual mountain, or some other challenge or fear, I recommend everyone push themselves past the limits they THINK they are capable of...it's amazing what you can do if you truly try. You may not always succeed, bit the real failure is in not trying.