How to Climb Your Personal Mountain
I prefer to work with clients who have undergone really, really tough challenges in life.
Because these are the people who go on to change the world.
The brightest stars I've ever known—those musicians who write songs that connect with millions, the leaders of movements who change society, the researcher who discovers a cure—they all have one thing in common: they've gone through some super tough shit in life and through it, became exhilarated.
I, myself, have had a tough life.
But everything changed for me the day I made a choice to approach my travails with open arms rather than giving up.
I'll tell you how it happened.
Litigation in family court has been the dragon I’ve had to slay many times on my own heroines journey but this was the hardest battle ever. After years of fighting, I made the hard decision to hand over primary custody of my children so we could all just get on with our lives.
But I was absolutely crushed with longing for my children. I couldn’t see a life without them. Everything I knew about myself was shattered.
Well-meaning friends told me that it would all work out with time, or to look on the "bright side.” But their comments only made me feel worse.
While they were right, I felt hopeless and uncertain about how to make my way out of the tremendous darkness that surrounded around me.
The next two years were spent unable to move from my bed. The slow-moving time punctuated only by waking up several times in ICU after unsuccessful suicide attempts.
I remember that last hospital stay.
I found myself face to face with a social worker visiting my room. She warned me that if I were to remain suicidal, she would pursue a court order to have me committed to the state mental facility.
It was at that point that I realized there was no way out. I realized that I’d never regain my life, or my relationships, unless I did the hard work to get myself out of this mess.
I couldn't see how, but I decided I would go on. I reached out to heaven with open arms and asked God or the Universe or Whomever, to show me the way up.
The famous mountaineer Greg Child describes what happened next when he said, "somewhere between the bottom of the climb and the summit is the answer to the mystery why we climb."
That day, instead of pulling the covers over my head one more time—I faced down the mountain before me and took a terrifying step out.
I had absolutely no idea how I would deal with the obstacles that lay ahead. The journey began with no map, no skills, no training for the adventure ahead. I needed a teacher, a guide. Someone who had done this before and knew what to do.
But where? All I knew to do was to pray, "help."
Was anyone listening?
And then, unexpectedly, not one, but my many sherpas appeared.
They came in different forms: the head of a non-profit organization whose children had gone through the same thing, a super-smart therapist, self-help books and support groups.
For months I made my way up that mountain with my new guides. When I was alone, I made unlikely friends with and found courage from the little flowers who pushed their way up through rocky crevices.
And found entertainment in the energetic baby mountain goats who glided up and down the steepness with ease.
When I finished my journey, I was stronger and more sun-kissed then when I began. My broken heart healed stronger than before.
The journey had such a profound effect on my life that I devoted my life to helping others climb to the top of their esoteric mountain. More importantly, to help them discover the magic of that awaits them—finding their unique purpose. The place where they find ease and certainty.
And things worked out just right with my kids, and we are all very close today.
Of course, the mountain is just a metaphor for my journey, and for yours, if you are facing something that leaves you feeling unable to comprehend.
If you happen to find yourself on a slippery slope, utterly exhausted and afraid, you know the feeling my clients often experience. It feels like there are two options: just get it all over with and hurl yourself off the cliff, or begin the trek with uncertainty.
But you were meant to be mighty, resilient, brilliant.
And you will find your way up that mountain as others show up to guide you.
One day your own sun-kissed face will radiate peace and purpose and the meaning behind it all.
And then you will encourage and support others in their journey.