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The Mountain, Part II

by Silvia Hartmann

The Mountain, Part II

In 1999, a so called "motivational story" made the rounds on the world wide interweb that seriously annoyed my young firebrand of an aspect. To the point that she wrote a second part, The Mountain Pt II, to counter it, to END it. Please be advised that "The Mountain, Part 1" is that annoying story which was NOT written by me, but Mountain Part II was. With this out of the way, let's begin with the first one ...

The Mountain, Part II

Date: 03 July 1999 21:48

The Mountain, Part 1

I tried to climb the mountain today. As I inched my way up the path, I felt overwhelmed, so I had to turn back.

I tried to climb the mountain today. On my journey, darkness started tofall, and I was full of fear, so I had to return to a safe place.

I was ready to climb the mountain today. But it was so hot outside, I thought I better stay in my nice air-conditioned house and rest up fortomorrow's attempt.

I was about to climb the mountain today. But I had so many other thingsto do, so instead of climbing the mountain I took care of much more important tasks. I washed my car, mowed the grass and watched the biggame. Today the mountain will just have to wait.

I was going to climb the mountain today. But as I stared at the mountain in its majestic beauty, I knew I stood no chance of making it to thetop, so I figured why even bother trying.

I have forgotten about climbing the mountain today; until a friend cameby and asked me what I was up to lately. I told him I was thinking aboutclimbing that mountain some day.

I went on and on about how I was going to accomplish this task. Finally,he said, "I just got back from climbing the mountain.""For the longest time I told myself I was trying to climb the mountainbut never made any progress. I almost let the dream of making it to thetop die. I came up with every excuse of why I could not make it upthe mountain, but never once did I give myself a reason why I could.One day as I stared at the mountain and pondered, I realized that if Ididn't make an attempt at this dream all my dreams will eventually die."

"The next morning, I started my climb." He continued, "It was not easy,and at times I wanted to quit. But no matter what I faced, I placed onefoot in front of the other, keeping a steady pace. When the wind triedto blow me over the edge, I kept walking. When the voices inside my headscreamed "stop!" I focused on my goal never letting it out of sight, andI kept moving forward. At times, I was ready to quit, but I knew I hadcome too far. Time and time again, I reassured myself that I was going to finish this journey. I struggled to make it to the top, but I climbedthe mountain!"

"I have to be going," my friend said. "Tomorrow is a new day to accomplish more dreams. By the way, what are you going to do tomorrow?" I looked at him, with intensity and confidence in my eyes, and said, "I have a mountain to climb."

(So called "motivational metaphor story," author unknown. )

Here is the response story by me, Silvia Hartmann - The Mountain, Part II.



The Mountain, Part II

The next morning, the alarm clock I had set for 5am for an early start tothe mountain, woke me with shrill beeps.

It was early and I was still tired, but I remembered about the mountain, andmaking your dreams come true, and so I forced my weary body out of bed.

All the way into the bathroom, into the climbing clothes and down thestairs, I could hear my friend's voice in my head, over and over: "No matterhow much the voices howled, no matter how hard it was, no matter how much Istruggled".

I tried to brush it away, set my jaw and gritted my teeth, and found myself a mirror into which to shout a few Zig Ziglar type affirmations "Yes, yes, you can do it, you're the greatest".

But even then I noticed that my voice was quavering.

It took a long time to get everything ready, ropes, water, snacks, backbackand by the time I had everything assembled I was feeling faint and my heartwas beating painfully and hart in my chest.

I stood in the kitchen, my fingers digging into the work surface, and I could feel tears coming into my eyes.

"What the hell is wrong with you?" I berated myself. "It's only a mountain.Your friend did it, easily, in one day, and here you are, making such a bigdeal of it. That's bloody typical of you, you goddamn loser! You'rehopeless, you got no willpower, and all those who told you you'd never getanywhere in the real world, they were right, weren't they. You're just all talk. You've just don't got what it takes in this world. Weakling. Loser.Yeah, go crawl off back to your sofa. At least there you can't hurt yourself or anyone else."

I closed my eyes and dug for the deepest reserves of my strength. As though my legs were made of wood, I forced them forward and toward the back door to start the journey to the mountain.

"Just one step, he said," I hissed through clenched teeth, over and over, like a mantra, "Just one step infront of the other."

I barely got myself outside and there was the damn mountain, far away, impossibly high, impregnably grey. At the sight of it something in me froze.

"I can't do this, " I whispered, "it's the truth. I'm not strong enough. I simply can't." and I sank to the ground, right on the spot where I was standing, covered my face with my hands and sobbed a flood of tears of shame, of dissappointment with myself, all those years of never having been good enough, never having been able to do enough to earn my own respect, all of it cascading down on top of me, right down from that god awful mountain.

I sat there for a long time, just crying, until I heard a voice from somewhere, and it said, "What are you crying about?"

I couldn't look up with my puffy face and swollen lids and red nose so I just mumbled, "Because I can't climb the mountain."

"So what? What do you want to climb it for, anyhow?"

I quickly glanced up and saw a small elf resting against the sundial.

"Well, ..." I hesitated, "well, I guess I suppose because I have to."

 "Who's making you?" inquired the elf without much interest and pulled up a blade of grass.

I had to stop there and think for a moment. Of course, I was making myself.

But what for? What was I trying to prove to whom? Why was I torturing myselflike this? What insanity had befallen me?

I looked up then, to say something to the elf but it had disappeared.

I sniffled a bit more, then smiled to myself, got up and dusted myself off. Fishing in my pockets to find a tissue so I could blow my nose, I went back inside and stripped out of the mountaineering clothes. Unpacked the backpack. Got the water out and the snacks and went and sat in my underwear and with my feet bare, on the swing in the garden.

The wind was sweet and morning soft, and the birds were singing. The biscuits tasted really nice, and the water washed it down cool and well. I was feeling better by the minute.

Perhaps, I mused as I watched some clouds drift overhead, perhaps I was going about this all the wrong way. Perhaps it would be better to go inside and sort out all that was causing me so much pain, so much conflict. Perhapsit might be better to look on the internet for some help, some therapy to enter. I certainly did have a lot of problems.

There was certainly a lot of work - inner and outer - that needed to be done.

But I was through forcing myself against myself. Through battling and berating and beating and injuring myself. I'd been injured enough already.

Now, it was time to heal.

I'm smiling as I remember this. Because, two years after the day I just described to you, I was showing a friend a photo album, and there was thispicture of a beautiful sea of clouds, taken from the peak of that mountain.

That time, I had wanted to climb it, you see.

I had enjoyed every step, stretching and reaching, exercising my muscles and feeling my heart beat strong and fast. I had enjoyed being buffetted by the strong winds near the top, safe in the knowledge that I was now an accomplished climber. And when I stood on the top that day, above the cloudsi n the eternal blue and sunshine, I had not even thought to congratulated myself, nor felt proud of my achievement.

I had been far too busy marvelling at the beauty of creation thus revealed to me.

Silvia Hartmann 1999


On top of the Mountain - got there the right way.

  by Silvia Hartmann
"I honestly had no idea I could be this creative." Gen Woodruff

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