‘What’s a Dumgoyne?’ you might be asking! It’s a bloody big hill just outside of Glasgow that I climbed at the weekend.
As I was climbing the steep, narrow paths it occurred to me that the whole experience was a metaphor for life! Let me elaborate on that further for you….
Having done it before, I already knew that getting to the summit would be tough. I also knew that the feeling that you get from it is totally worth it! Those feelings of accomplishment, wonder at the beautiful scenery and sense of aliveness! It’s not really being on top of a hill that I want, it’s the feeling that it gives me that I’m truly after.
There was fog and frost on the ground and my inner worry wort was asking ‘Is this a good idea?’, so I voiced my concerns on her behalf and was reassured by my partner that the fog would lift and all would be well.
So begins the short but very steep ascent. In no time at all, I can feel my heart pounding in my chest and my breathing becomes shallow and quick. Most of the effort that you need to put in to get to the top is not really that enjoyable but stopping to look out over the fog which had settled in the valley below, gives welcome breaks from the hard work. It felt like we were climbing above the clouds to some magical faraway land.
That voice in my head starts up again. ‘Why the hell are you up at this time on a Saturday doing this?’. ‘I want to stop now.’ ‘This is too hard!’. Our thoughts really are our own worst enemy sometimes!
That is much of life really. An inner battle against your thoughts. When the going gets tough, your inner complainer will pipe up and put their two cents worth in and it’s up to you to choose to let it pass or go down the complaining route too.
There are some pretty hairy bits along the way that are not pleasant as the steep drop down is only a short stumble away. You do get a short respite before another steep climb and just when you think you’ve reached the top, another hill appears! A false summit! Red faced and sweaty by this point, my mind screams ‘I can’t!’ ‘Give up now!’
Isn’t that just like life too? You think you’re there. You’ve got over the hard bit but more challenges appear. At this point you could give up and you really do feel like it but you are only a few feet away from where you want to be. Time to put your head down and keep going.
Then you are there! You’ve reached the top! What a rush! It’s beautiful! I’m above the clouds, the sun is shining and life is good! I can see the mountains beyond, peeking out through the mist. A ‘peak’ moment you might say (sorry!) But this too shall pass and it gets cold and the feelings fade and then it’s time for the descent down.
On the way down, I slip on some rocks and end up on my bum with my shoulder taking the brunt of the fall but thankfully stopping me from going on down the steep slope head first! A close call! I get up shaking, pain in my shoulder and feeling relived. A reminder that things can change pretty quickly!
My fear response kicks in and I wish it was all over and I was safely at the bottom but the only option is to keep going despite the fear. Yes you can feel the fear and do it anyway! I don’t notice the lovely scenery now and keep my eyes on the best places to put my feet without slipping.
Then it’s all over. We’re at the bottom and looking back at Dumgoyne behind us. An impressive scene! We are now onto thinking about the next thing, Ben Lomond next time!
So, the life lessons learned along a steep and slippy walk on Saturday morning in January…
- Negative and fearful thoughts arise but they are just thoughts and you don’t need to take them too seriously or let them stop you getting to where you want to go.
- The path of life can be rocky and you might slip and stumble along the way but get up, dust yourself off and keep going as the lows points will pass. They don’t last forever and serve to highlight the good bits when they do come along! The highs far outweigh the lows and make it all worthwhile!
- You just don’t know what round the corner. You really don’t. Life is short so do the things that make you feel alive and practice being in the moment and taking it all in.