The Mountains

I’m not usually one to drop a blog post with a vague title, but here I am, doing it with a smile.

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“You are not the mountain climber, you are the mountains,”

is my own way of sharing something my dad used to say to my sisters and me: “Be the river.”

In short, he meant that he wanted us to embrace our power over our narratives and visualize ourselves as the river, not the swimmer struggling to tread water. For all my writer and reader friends out there:

You are the author of your story.

You may be in a tight spot because of money, love, loyalty, fear, or some other powerful driver, but you are still responsible for where you are. It’s easy to act like a character, to be the hero or antagonist of your story. It’s hard to admit you’re the writer. I mean, what would you with all that power?

“That’s not true,” some of you will think. “I’ve done everything I can do. I’m stuck. X and X are legitimate obstacles. Life isn’t like a story. People don’t have ultimate control.”

Some obstacles aren’t fictional.

You’re right. Some obstacles have nothing to do with you. I’m not suggesting you are responsible for your inconsiderate, incompetent boss or your lifelong experience with poverty. I’m not saying you’re the reason your partner left or the reason your book didn’t sell.

When there’s no other way… surrender.

I believe strongly in the teachings of Eckhart Tolle, who drew upon many spiritual and religious texts. His principles parallel the modern teaching of mindfulness and provide me great comfort when I’m “resisting what is.”

Sometimes the only way through is to surrender. When we stop resisting, stop spinning stories in our minds that confirm our own beliefs and fuel our toxicity, stop blacking out the wisdom the universe is trying to provide us, stop closing all the doors and windows before anything has a chance to get through, we find that the answer was there all along.

Surrendering doesn’t mean giving up.

Embracing your role as the author and active creator of your life doesn’t mean there aren’t real obstacles, and surrendering doesn’t mean you’re giving up. On the contrary, surrendering means you are stripping the obstacle of its power and changing the flow of energy. You are regaining control even as you release your desire for it.

There is more than one way to scale a peak.

If you’re still stuck on that mountain climber analogy (I know I am), imagine all the different ways a rock climber can trek up a cliff face. There are almost infinite possibilities, all with their own pros and cons. When you pull yourself out of your own narrative and fly over the bigger picture like a crow, you can see possibilities you wouldn’t have seen before.

I invite you to reframe your obstacles with me.

As part of a journaling exercise I’ve been doing for the month of August, I’ve been writing down obstacles and allowing myself time to come up with solutions throughout the month. It’s amazing to see the variation in my thinking over time. It’s obvious to me that I’m looser, more hopeful, and more organized when I’m post-meditation and post-exercise. They both seem to bring me balance and help me to love myself and cherish my body.

I invite you to join me in writing down your obstacles and giving yourself space to come up with solutions over a period of time. You might surprise yourself at how different your ideas will be when you’re coming from a centered, balanced place of surrender and acceptance.

Did you try it? Let me know how it went in the comments!

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