The Climbs In Our Lives

by : Cheryl Perlitz

I grew up climbing mountains. Mountains are beautiful and challenging, majestic and all powerful. They also have lessons to teach us: lessons about life and how to live it.

Every mountain has a surprise around the corner, an obstacle in the path, or a storm brewing minutes away. During every climb you’ll find yourself teetering on a ledge, knowing you could fall, and then rounding the bend and seeing a pristine light blue mountain lake nestled in the cradling arms of a snow capped peak. You may struggle to take one step at a time, and then be inspired by a mountain goat teetering on the ledge above you. Mountain climbing taught me how to deal with the unexpected.

But, LIFE taught me this: the hardest mountains we climb are the ones we can’t see. Just when we think we have life figured out and we know where we are going, and how to get there…. something changes: we lose a job, a loved one, our health, a dream, a goal. There is a mountain in our way.

“Life is full of mountains to climb. The climbs are challenging and often painful. If we chose to climb, and follow our route with purpose, preparation, persistence, patience and in partnership, those mountains can become vehicles for wonderful new beginnings."


At first we must try to survive … only to survive.

Initially change is shocking. Sometimes we react with anger and sometimes denial. We feel sad, terrified, overwhelmed and out of control. We are lost in the foothills, and until we are able to become emotionally stable, this is where we need to stay as we attempt to find ourselves again. We must first find our footing so that we can move on and prepare to climb the mountain of transition.


Once we have our footing, we may start to a make the climb to new life.

We visualize the peak, pick a route, and start to move.

Next we prepare for survival. We must be physically, emotionally, and mentally prepared. Preparation means getting ready to do our best and persist through the tough times ahead.

We must lighten the load. We are able to travel further and faster if we carry a light load.

Maintaining an adventure attitude helps us persist. Attitude is a personal choice. The adventure attitude looks at mountains as an adventure and opportunity for positive change.

We take risks, and step out of our comfort zone. Finding a new life is all about the painful stretching that leads to new things.

We take one step at a time to get there. It involves sweat and struggle, but we can travel day-by-day, hour-by-hour, step-by-step and make progress.

We handle obstacles along the way. We know we will always encounter unexpected obstacles along the path. Those challenges make us stronger and teach us many lessons. We get stronger with every obstacle we meet, greet, and defeat.

We throw the rope to others. The support and help of friends, family, and strangers we meet along the way helps us attain success.


As we climb to the peak, we understand the strength we have acquired through the struggle of the climb.

SOARING above the mountain of change, we find that it is our responsibility to share the lessons we have learned to help others.

Copyright © Soaring 2004 by Cheryl Perlitz

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