July 14, 2016

No one Climbs a Mountain Accidentally—A Lesson on Letting Go.

mountain sunset alone

No one climbs a mountain accidentally.

Every step is an affirmative choice, a decision to push, to seek, to ascend. It must be wanted, and fiercely.

Questions pervade the experience:

How far do you really want to go?

How much strength do you truly possess?

What will you take with you?

What is weighing you down, and how much of it is unnecessary?

As a resident of an Appalachian Trail community, I frequently find piled around the neighborhood trails the gear-droppings of adventurers who have discovered their limitations. They have abandoned what was unnecessary in order to quicken their pace, or perhaps to take on something more important, like extra water.

Now, I do not like litter. But I appreciate the metaphors my landscape offers.

If you will come up, you must cast off what shackles you.

View yourself with brutal honesty: your health, your preparedness, your vulnerabilities, your distractions.

Whatever you are carrying that does not belong to you, set down. It may not be easy to do this, but you must.

Smash it. Shatter it. Cast it away to the teeth of this mountain, to be recycled like carrion. You will never reach the top hauling all of this crap.

See what drags on you, look at it and name it, and cut it off, step up by step up, through the pain, through the tears, through the sweat .



Do this again, and again, and again, until the summit is attained.

You will know then, what matters most, what was worth carrying, what has always been true, what has always been waiting for you to remember it.

No one climbs a mountain accidentally.


Author: Catherine Oliver

Image: postscapes/Flickr

Editors: Catherine Monkman; Emily Bartran 

Read 11 Comments and Reply

Read 11 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Catherine Oliver