Lesson 45: Mountaineering … change and success

2014…a year of adventure, battle and overcoming. I knew it would be a year to be reckoned with but as with most things it is often just as well that we don’t truly understand the degree to which we will be challenged.

So 2014 lies behind me but the lessons learned and all that I have overcome will ever be with me. So I can honestly look back with no regret. There are moments I would have preferred had run a different course had they been in my control but such is the beauty of life – it will run its course. The moments ventured through that are less than comfortable are often the one’s that result in shift.


Sign of changeChange is painful. Telling yourself it’s not, more than likely adds up to being in a deep space of denial. No matter how prepared you think you are to face it head on, it has this devious way of getting into all the nooks and crannies and seeping through like a most unwelcomed friend.

Imagine a little fishing boat – freshly painted and bobbing about on the river.

Most of the boat is reasonably well sealed except for one tiny little hole just below the water line. Only a few millimetres trickle through at a time but it’s just enough to keep your feet damp and make sure you are horribly aware of its presence.

Change, also brings relief – it is both perplexing and profound.


Essentially it can tip the boat or slowly sink it or it can rage you through the rapids. All of which lead to the age of feeling of: Can I do this? Have I got what it takes? What if I fail?

Asked and answered…

Well what if you can’t do it?

What if you don’t have what it takes?

What if you do fail?

Does it really matter?

Is it the end result that matters or is it the moments in between?

Climbing mountainsIn between…

I believe it is the moments in between that are what validates and certifies us on this journey. It is not the fluffy moment of success at the top of a mountainous trail. It is the full enchilada – getting down counts just as much and going up.

You may not have even made it all the way up but on the way you traversed boulders, skated glaciers, dodged avalanches and found your way out of a rock slide.

The summit – if you get there – is just a moment.

After you summit, if you do, you have to expertly find your way down and that comes with its own unique road map. How you navigate that one is of utmost value – it determines whether you get down in one piece or not.


Failure, judgementThe interesting and sometimes, a little heart breaking truth is this: If you haven’t summited that mountain – in the eyes of so many you have failed.

Turning around half way due to severe blisters, altitude sickness or a snag in the weather would result in your trip being branded as an ineffectual attempt at mountain climbing.

You may never give it a shot again. Others might tell you to give it up or find another mountain that is more elementary and matched to your paltry ability.

So it’s filed as an ‘almost but not quite’ mountainous failure.

What am I getting at?

Whilst the summit is desirable and what we as human beings work so hard to secure, it is in fact the journey taken up that mountain that should be esteemed above the summit. Every one of these arduous obstacles and challenges we face is what make us more reputable climbers.

Every one of these set-backs bring about some kind of change in our plans – they force us to think beyond the expected, to adjust our course and to develop new skills.

Every one of these predicaments impels us to re-evaluate behaviour, responses and to look deeper into who and what we believe we are.

An easy accent…

An easy accent would result in a less than victorious outcome. Never having a moment’s doubt about who you are or why on earth you picked this mountain to climb would be the failure.

When we question our actions and who we believe we are, what we are capable of and why we picked the selected precipice (and we question not to simply fall into despair and reckless self-doubt) we start to find the answers; we could also start to make the changes so necessary to enable our growth.

It’s called overcoming.

It’s called an arduous climb, of overcoming obstacles and challenges, discomfort and even pain.

It’s called becoming.

Growing into a stronger, wiser, braver mountaineer.

Seeing the mountain as not something to be conquered, but the climb as something to be remembered. The decent as a time of reflection.

The summit becomes a fringe benefit when you have this outlook on your life.

Self-doubt is par for the course.

It is how you look at yourself.

How you manage the judgement of others, their perspective of you.

Self-doubt doesn’t need to last – it really is your choice. You either take it on or you let it go.

Change and challenge is going to stay part of our lives – there is no way around it. It has to be faced head on – that’s how you grow, that’s how you learn.

It is simply how you learn to love yourself and the life you have lived up until now.

Every step has counted towards something – make it work. Make every crappy thing count.

Summit the mountain topThat is how you summit…

Romans 5:3 – 5

But not only that, let us also boast in our troubles; because we know that trouble produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope; and this hope does not let us down, because God’s love for us has already been poured out in our hearts through the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) who has been given to us.




  1. I have to mull on that for a bit. It is wonderful post and very very true. It is so thoughtful that I need to give the comment an equal amount of thought. I’ll be back!

      1. Hi Mich! The reason why i had to think for a while is because I had a really lousy 2014 and i was matching your words to my life to see if there really was any hope. First of all, I agree wholeheartedly with the summit agument. From my point of view, the summit changes continually – and in fact all summits are random in height. For instance Everest at 27k ft could have been as easily 25k ft or 31k ft (or any other number). There is actually nothing magical about summits – you are exactly right, it is the ascent and descent that is the meat of the journey – the reason for its existence – the overcoming of obstacles.

        My medical condition continues to worsen and dialysis has resulted in peripheral neuropathy – the degradation of both sensory and motor nerves in my legs. This means I can barely walk and am very unstable when i do. I found out last week that the dialysis has also produced arthritis in both knees, so now it is painful and difficult to stand up or sit down. I can barely make it and the problem will not ever get any better only worse. There will come a day , perhaps soon, that I will not be able to stand or walk. I tried for 2 years to find a job after I was last laid off but even though I sent out over 500 resumes and went to numerous interviews, i could not get a job. I have a detailed knowledge in my field and a blue ribbon education and I interview well. The problems are my medical condition and my age. I have given up on looking. It is pointless. There are various other medical issues that are a result of the dialysis , some of which may turn out to be life threatening. These serious obstacles feel more like floor boards missing in the boat than a leak. This boat ain’t never gonna float again.

        I have always been intrigued by writing and am trying my hand at that. I seem to be doing OK and am guest posting right now on various sites whose owners have been kind enough to invite me. My old laptop does not have the power or memory to open and operate an account at Worpress – i have tried and it freezes. I say I am saving up but that’s not true – there isn’t enough money on disability to put any aside. The other issue, of course is, can writing be monetized? Other than doing a book, which is not likely to be profitable as there are millions of them out there, there does not seem to be any reasonable way to monetize writing.

        Anyway, all of this is not going to end well -no matter how I play it. There may be many learning experiences on the way to the summit but the chances are high that I will be a fatality of the climb – literally (and against my will). There does not seem to be much hope and it is a daily stuggle to find enough hope to do each day – kind of like scraping the last of the Peanut Butter out of the jar in hopes of getting enough to make one more sandwich.

        Thanks very much for your post Mich. It does give food for thought and I agree wholeheartedly with your position – I just wonder if there is enough power to make a difference in my life.

      2. My dearest Paul

        My heart breaks reading your response. Your words are so true – the summits do continue to change and once reached they are soon forgotten. The new summit already in our focus and so we live. Mountain after mountain, some sunny, some treacherous.

        Your situation is by no means easy. I had no idea what you were going through.

        Call me an optimist but I do believe there is enough power to make a difference in your life. Always! I can only pray that Father makes a way for you out of this place and into blessing – where the doors are open and you can follow your passion of writing on a decent laptop, getting paid for what you do so very well!

        The Word says that God gives generously to all without finding fault , James 1: 5. This tells me there is hope. Sometimes my life makes me feel like the mountain is climbing me and not the other way around – but it is in these very moments that I need to kook straight at Him and trust Him for victory, for supply and for hope and the will to go on.

        It is when we are the deepest places of this dark pit that we can truly experience His hand – if we allow it.

        It seems to me that you have already made such a difference with your writing. Sharing your experiences and lessons with others – I know it has made me think beyond the words I have typed out when you respond. I am sure you are just as giving to those who are in your life and not just on the other side of a screen – every day making someone’s life richer because you care.

        I don’t know what lies ahead of you or myself – but I do know that what we fear and what we hope for require the same amount of energy to believe in. So often we see the things we fear coming into fruition more often and I do believe it is because we spend so much time worrying about these things. So I – even though it is a lot tougher on the psyche – choose to believe in that which I hope for, that which I cannot see.

        I hope for you, Paul, to see God’s hand working miraculously, in your life today.

        Bless you my friend.

      3. Thank you very much Michelle, I shall cherish your words. I do have a great deal of faith in God and I don’t doubt that He has a plan – it just has been so long since I have seen enough positive to give me hope. At each turn there is inevitably more bad news, I know that what we see as bad and what He sees as bad are two very different things, and yet as a human it is nice to have a bone thrown my way upon occassion.

        Thanks so much for your reply. I hope all is well with you and your family. It is good to se you back.

    1. I cannot reply on the other comment you left here Sir –
      I would not be blogging still if it were not for you. In fact there are several things that would have changed – for the worse – if it had not been for your encouragement.
      If that makes nay difference to the fact that – though you may not see it – or feel it – or believe it… your presence in this world makes a difference – somehow. AND it SUCKS that you have to deal with the shit you do.. but you do it… so well – with grace and style, humility and charm.
      You said you agreed that going up and down the mountain more important than the summit.
      NOT many people make a difference even when they feel they are going down. I know that sounds crappy… but think about it… YOU have never given up.. don’t you BLOODY dare do it now.

      1. Have no fear, I’m no wheres near giving up Belinda. And that was a wonderful compliment, that I encouraged your blogging. Thank you so much for that – you made my day. It is great to know that I have done some good.

        I was honestly comparing my life to Mich’s post and looking for the hope. There isn’t any doubt that I’ll find a solution one way or another – even if that hope is finding a way to do more with less. Necessity is the mother of invention.

      2. Good….
        You have two emails now 😛
        I have to go to sleep…
        I will hear you tomorrow.
        Rest well – and – did you NOT read my post on hope?! ‘Hope is seen in the faces of others… when we are needed and can give hope – so too will hope appear to us as tangible’ Do I HAVE to write another one or what?? 😉 LMAO!
        …and now… with Mich back… YOU GOTS double the trouble 🙂

      3. I am so happy to read this Paul – and I agree with you! Necessity forces our hand to get creative – and that is often when we discover new possibilities and opportunities!
        Let’s keep looking up!

      4. Thank you B – Paul – how is that our dear friend can give you such a lecture with such flair 😉 her words are so true!
        Your comments and encouragement are worth so much more than you think!
        Just the other day I got a message from a friend via Facebook thanking me for helping her daughter in primary school with her maths – she has just completed school with 75% for maths and her mom felt I had a huge part to play in that result – who would have thought some 8 years later what seemed to me as a mundane couple of maths lessons made a difference …. we don’t understand what we do when we are traversing these mountains, the difference we make when we care.
        I know you will be strong Paul – because that is just who you are.

  2. Reblogged this on Idiot Writing and commented:

    My beautiful, thoughtful, insightful friend is back… and as is her superb style with BUCKETS of encouragement for all of us to remember to savour the moments – good and bad… for each play their part in shaping who we are – and who we will become.

  3. So wonderful to hear from you. I absolutely agree it’s the journey. Sometimes, we simply must change course – are directed to change course. And it’s never about what others think of our direction. And…it’s not really even about what we think of it. It’s about the follow. It’s about saying yes. It’s about embracing the glorious uncertainty of it all. Lovely post, Michelle.

    1. Thank you Susan – so lovely to be back writing and interacting with all my wordpress family. Thank you for your encouragement too – and your words ring true – it is all about trust!

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