During a night out two weeks ago, I was asked a question about a recent blog post in which I discussed a metaphor about the light at the top of the mountain.
“What is the light at the top of the mountain for you?”
I struggled to articulate the answer to the question that evening. The words came out of my mouth: “the light represents the notion that anything is possible.” The question had caught me off guard and I was not prepared to answer it thoughtfully. However, it got my wheels spinning, and when I reflected on it afterward, I realized that the light at the top of the mountain is the guide to push forward when faced with a crux, whether literally or metaphorically.
According to Wikipedia, a crux is the most difficult portion of a climb. The metaphor of “climbing a mountain” is something Ali and I have discussed at length. This past summer, as we walked along the beach in Montauk, escaping our busy lives for a few days of sun, family and ocean, we realized we were both staring directly in the face of another crux. In this moment, I wondered what would help guide me get beyond this difficult stretch.
At each crux, there are decision points that determine the path forward. In the course of training to run a half marathon, Ali and I would hit difficult stretches, both physically and mentally. Each time, we made choices that would allow us to meet our goal of completing the race and living up to our commitment. Other times, I have hit a crux, and in order to move forward and reach the light, I have had to dig really deeply, sometimes looking at the very thing that was causing the difficulty in the first place. At times, it has been as simple (yet profound) as forgiving someone or myself.
Each person is a unique individual, and within each individual are certain parameters that make a crux easier or harder to get beyond it. That said, each person does have the ability to use their unique experiences and learning’s to get to the other side of a crux.
As one of our teachers, Bryn, was talking this past weekend, she said something that made me want to yell: I TOTALLY AGREE (I didn’t do that). She spoke about the “mountain” and that we learn to keep climbing the mountain even though we cannot see the light. WE KNOW from past experiences when it appeared there was no light, that if you keep going, the light will shine again.
We have each experienced moments when things have felt very dark, but that despite this darkness, we have found our way toward the light or past the crux. The knowing and past experience that things will change can help you get past the most difficult portion of the climb.
For me, the cruxes along the way become a part of the journey. You make the decision to look straight ahead and keep going because you know there is a light atop the mountain.