The climb was going well. We were physically ready, working well as a team, and all was going to plan. The peak was in sight. Suddenly the storm clouds appeared. We tried to ignore the warning signals: high winds, fast moving clouds, and poor visibility..
The climb was going well. We were physically ready, working well as a team, and all was going to plan. The peak was in sight. Suddenly the storm clouds appeared. We tried to ignore the warning signals: high winds, fast moving clouds, and poor visibility. Finally we retreated. Mission over.
So it is with divorce, overpowering disappointments, and other major life changes. They happen, not because we will it, but because they just happen. They are part of life. We have no choice but to redefine ourselves and travel in a different direction. Our lives are no longer the same.
Divorce throws our lives off balance. We are no longer part of a couple. The dream of the perfect marriage is over. Our family is different and our friendships change. As a mountain climber, I've found the emotional challenge of starting over to be the hardest mountains I will ever climb.
I Will Survive
How do we climb the mountains of change? At first we try only to survive. The healing process is different for every individual. Some of us hit the ground running to avoid feeling sad or mad. Some eat too much, and some eat too little. Some sleep a lot, and some can't sleep. Some cry all the time, some are overcome with gut-wrenching laughter. Some are angry and want to seek revenge, while others deny that things have changed. Emotional recovery times vary, too. Riding the emotions is part of letting go of the past and moving on.
Lightening the Load
When the tumultuous roller coaster ride of emotions slows down, we are able to see a different view. The episodes of emotional crisis occur less frequently. Just as in climbing a mountain, our trek is made easier, faster, and safer if the burden we are carrying is as light as possible. Whether we need to clean out the closet and offload material possessions, or extract ourselves from negative people who drag us down, emptying our life of clutter and emotional weights is the first step toward opening ourselves up to new possibilities.
Preparing for the Climb
While travelling light frees us up, fitness assures physical and emotional survival. Exercising, taking vitamins, getting enough sleep, stretching, and breathing all assure that we are ready for the tough climb to a new life. Physical exercise starts the blood flowing, engages the endorphins to promote a positive attitude, and keeps our minds sharp. Honouring ourselves enough to take care of our bodies assures that we are operating as efficiently as possible.
Throwing the Rope
As they travel to the peak, mountain climbers are connected by a single rope. They know that if anyone falls or runs into trouble, those on the rope will use their own strength to help. In the same way, friends, family, and strangers we meet are there to help us. Their strength holds us up as we venture back into the dating scene, terrified and insecure.
As we move one step at a time toward our new life, we gain the confidence to take some risks and move beyond our comfort zone. Painful stretching always leads to new ways to view the world. Everything we try teaches us what does and doesn't work. Confidence builds as we build up experience, and learn that there is no such thing as failure, only lessons to learn. Slowly, we learn how to be resilient in the face of obstacles.
New life and new beginnings are hard, but as survivors of tough times, we will find more strength than we ever imagined possible. After all, we have climbed the hardest mountain of them all.