As I hang my head back, I stare desperately above at the mountain before me. Closing my eyes I lift my heavy shoulders as I inhale deeply. Allowing the oxygen to fill every crevice of my lungs, feeling as though I may burst, I let go with a determined exhale. Down sink my shoulders and my head hangs in defeat. Inhaling a few more deep breaths I muster the strength to lift my head and once again open my eyes.
Scrutinizing the expanse before me, a familiarity stirs. Having summited a comparable and daunting peak before, I am still struck by the scale of the mass in front of me. This mountain seems particularly colossal. Here I am, once again, contemplating the task of climbing a mountain.
Obscured by a low fog draped extensively around her base, I am unable to visualize a path to the top. In fact, I have no idea how to begin. Overwhelmed with what might be expected of me to summit this mountain, unable to determine even a first step, I stand paralyzed with fear.
Again I breathe deeply, paying careful attention to how my body feels. A calmness wafts through the thick mountainous air. I inhale. Exhale. After an indeterminable pause, I feel the calmness settle within me. Sparks of an idea ignite in my mind.
I remind myself why I want to climb this particular mountain. I remind myself of how, against all odds, I arrived at this particular point in my life. I imagine the countless series of unforeseen events that had to occur in sequence to reach this vista. And I remind myself of possibility: this is possible.
“Courage is not something that you already have that makes you brave when the tough times start. Courage is what you earn when you’ve been through the tough times and you discover they aren’t so tough after all.” – Malcolm Gladwell.