So much about how society views life is in the climb (read struggle) to some imagined top of a mountain. But what if the view from the top was just different, not better than the view from the bottom?
You don’t need to climb a mountain to reach new heights.
My very first post was about skiing life’s ups and downs – about how much I enjoyed the downhill run rather than the uphill climb – that sense of freedom, of letting go, of not having to worry about conquering mountains but instead just ‘going with the flow’ (even if I look like some awkward stick insect, all poles and skis flailing). I love skiing!
Nine months ago I birthed a blog baby, or perhaps I’ve just been ‘pregnant’ all this time, waiting with slightly scared anticipation to see where this blogging thing might lead me, and only now, am I ready to give birth to a new ‘live’ blog phase, in which I’m left ‘holding the baby’. I’m not sure – having sadly never had the experience of giving birth or of pregnancy beyond 8 weeks.
I know for sure I haven’t climbed the blogging mountain, and I feel like I’m still at base-camp – but even mountaineers would admit that base-camp is an achievement in itself. And the view, looking up or out, is pretty spectacular.
I’ve been revisiting a book given to Miss Yin by one of her China cousins (one of the girls who were adopted at the same time as we adopted Miss Yin) as it has become a favourite of Little Yang’s.
It’s called “The Wise Dragon”, and its one of those musical lights and sounds books – the pointy bits along the backbone of the dragon on the front cover light-up and flash when you press the button and this mystical Chinese music plays, complete with Chinese drumroll at the end. Needless to say this is the best part of the book for Little Yang. For me, I’m a sucker for a good story.
The story goes that the wise dragon knew that a boy named Shan had always dreamt of climbing a faraway mountain. Dragon takes him on an adventure bringing along (or conjuring up) the friends that would be needed along the way. The soft music plays and a phoenix magically materialises – looking like flames from a fire – the clever bird would provide the guiding light to lead them. But the journey would also require luck, so the dragon conjures a mythical unicorn to bring luck along with him. Finally the dragon recognises that the long journey would require determination and a tortoise appears to demonstrate how you should never give up.
As they travel, the phoenix finds the way when they get lost and the unicorn brings them luck when there are dangers. When they reach the base of the mountain the phoenix flies to the top, the unicorn leaping lightly up the rocks, but Shan and the tortoise struggle to climb the steep slope. Dragon asks for their trust before breathing out clouds which then float into the sky and start raining so heavily that the rain turns into a river and then a lake. As the water rises higher and higher, the dragon, with the boy and tortoise on his back, simply floats with the water level until they reach the top of the mountain. Shan has never been happier, even when he wakes in the morning he finds himself back in his bedroom!
I love how the story teaches us not be afraid to follow the light (our mindful purpose), to allow friends to help us and to never give up, while also asking us for trust and patience that things will happen eventually (with purpose, luck and determination). The mountain wasn’t going anywhere. Shan just needed a bit of serendipity to see that.
In yin yang terms, mountains are considered yang, while water in all its forms is yin. We’ve all seen the power of flooding rains, the inundation that rises slowly yet wrecks such damage. There is strength to a mountain in its steadfastness – grounded in the earth, reaching for the sky. Water is of course fluid – adapting to circumstances and finding ways around and up the mountain.
We need the solid grounding, the desire to ‘grow’ towards heaven, the solidity of knowing who we are and where we have come from. We also need to be flexible – to our changing circumstances, to finding a way even when the mountain is steep (or in just in the way), to letting ourselves float for a while without seeking to ‘go’ anywhere. We need to allow ourselves to be surprised when we end up where we’ve always wanted to be, even when the journey has been far different than we’d ever imagined.
And whatever we do, we need to bring the wisdom of a dragon, the smart guiding light of the phoenix, the good luck of the unicorn (along with the help of our friends) and the determination of the tortoise (and trust and patience won’t go astray). Kinda like a cut-down version of Noah’s ark.
Only then can we conquer mountains and find our flow wherever the universal river may take us. And PS – I think it starts by appreciating the view from wherever you are!
Linking up with FYBF at With Some Grace.