Sunday, July 29, 2012

Your Personal Mount Everest

What’s your personal Mount Everest? Your mountain that you have to climb? The thing that you haven’t done in your life that you really want to do, the goal that you hope to reach, the obstacle that you hope you’ll one day overcome? The challenge that you face? The thing that looms large, wide and tall in your path that you sometimes feel you will never conquer, tame, or accept?
            I have a few of them (and I’m sure you do, too). Recently, when I was talking to a friend I’d lost touch with during this past year, I mentioned that I’d gone on a yoga retreat in New Mexico (a blog I posted about a month ago). My friend absolutely could not believe it. “You?!!? You flew on a plane? You went by yourself? You camped out?” She was astonished. “Why,” she said, “you have climbed your personal Mount Everest!”
            I loved the phrase, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since our conversation.  I began to think of various people I know and what their Mount Everests are, and I realized that although it’s tempting to think “Oh, that’s nothing!” the fact is some of the hurdles that my friends, family, and acquaintances have faced are even steeper, even scarier, even more difficult than the challenge of climbing a real mountain.
            Just in my relatively small circle, I have friends who have successfully battled alcoholism, who have suffered the loss of a child, who have lost their beloved parents one after the other and way too soon, and quite a few (myself included) who have stood up to cancer. And, in addition to these more dramatic mountains my friends have climbed, I have also known many who have faced the torment of unrequited love, who have stared down extreme shyness, who have learned to live alone after divorce, or lovingly raised kids with special needs, or gotten up the courage to speak or play music in public even while quaking with fear. And, I've found that what may seem like Mount Everest to one person may be a gentle, rolling hill to another, and vice versa.
            Yes, I really like the idea of a personal Mount Everest! In fact, most of the people I know climb mountains every day. 

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