Life and Its Mountain Challenges Are Beautiful Teachers

Today I'm linking up with A Happy Girl for her blog every day in November challenge. (I may not post every day, but I love all of her prompts!) Today's challenge is to share one of the best lessons life has taught you.

It is only in the past few years that I've really taken to hiking. Words that come to mind as I consider a new challenging mountain hike are exhilarating, satisfying, healthy, and happy. But more than anything, hiking is humbling.

Being in the great outdoors has taught me one of the most important lessons I need to embrace daily: I am small. There is this great big glorious world out there, and I am but a tiny speck. As in life, mountains can seem insurmountable precisely because we are so small and insignificant next to them. Starting at the base looking up, we have to embrace the fact that what stands before us is a challenge that will be a lot of wonderful things - but easy won't be one of them. Not if we're aiming for an incredible view at the end. (Around here, a mole hill doesn't provide a lookout above the city smog.)

Mountains have been used as a metaphor for life's challenges for millennia. Without offering some cheesy Miley Cyrus quote here (it's the climb?), I'll just say that mountain pursuits have given me the opportunity to see life in all its fullness more clearly. While putting one foot in front of the other to make my way to the top, the beauty of the hard stuff (an uphill climb, for example) comes into focus. At the same time, I am humbled to realize (for the umpteenth time) that I share this world with such tremendous natural majesty, which in turn makes the hard stuff pretty insignificant. For thousands of years, people have struggled with minutiae, not realizing that that's what it really is. Meanwhile, the mountains look on - changing little - and demonstrate that there is nothing new under the sun, and if we would just extend our gaze upwards and take it all in, much of our anxiety would melt away.

So hike your mountains, be they real or metaphorical, and take comfort in the fact that you are small.