At the end of this past summer I climbed a popular mountain in my area. It's a decent hike and the view from the top is breathtaking. I really did feel like I was on top of the world. What I didn't count on or anticipate was the incredibly gorgeous views on the way up. Tops of mountains near or glimpses of valleys in between the mountains. Equally as stunning.
Same with my personal journey. There have been glorious breaks with amazing lookout spots along the way. And the more focused I have been about getting to the top of my "personal mountain" the less I've noticed these wonderful, encouraging views.
I struggled with my faith because I couldn't name it. Or wasn't able to comprehend not having a "thing" to believe in when the whole time I had faith in my spiritual practice. It was there the whole time. It's me. Mindfulness, meditation and loving kindness. Once I stopped and just took a look around it became clear. And now I believe wholeheartedly in the power of my spiritual practice. It gives me strength. It protects me. Once I had compassion for myself, my soul just opened up. I now meditate and listen to Dharma on a daily basis. Buddhism has been there all along and once I stopped fighting...well, I felt "home".
I struggle with my anxiety. I have to get over my anxiety. I shouldn't let it control me as I do. I stopped and looked around at the view. My anxiety used to be masked by intense anger and rage. My anxiety and my fears were once transformed into a weapon against everyone else. I rarely experience deep anger. In fact, historical anger is so rare to me now that I feel physically ill when I experience that feeling. I've made huge progress. To let go of anger and understand my anxiety is incredibly significant. I know most of my anxiety and fears are still from childhood and that awareness alone should be celebrated.
I still have a long way up the mountain. But I have an appreciation for the moments of beauty along the way. What's the point of reaching the top if I haven't enjoyed, honored and loved myself through the process?