There was a morning when I was at my wit’s end. This was during the warmer months. I took a walk at sunrise and found my way up the blue trail at the base of a nearby spot known as Cobus Mountain. The sun was on its way but the temperature was already high.
I made my way up around and through the trails. I climbed the elevation and bled my sweat that drenched my hair and dripped down the bridge of my nose.
As I said, I was at my wit’s end. My frustration was beyond control. I was tired and fed up. I was angry that life does not concern itself with us or the things we wish for.
I ran up this mountain as fast as I possibly could. I endured the strain and the pain. I tripped a few times and I fell. I beat the dirt and hit the rocks but each time I fell, I stood back up and returned to the trail at a faster pace.
I had a destination in mind. I had a place to go. This was a place where the cliff overlooks the mountains. It was not quite at the top of Cobus but the overlook was high enough to be above the world and feel far enough from my frustrations.
Maybe my pace was too quick and I tried too hard. My breath escaped me and my ankles hurt. Regardless though, I could not and would not stop.
I had to get to this place. I knew of this spot because I saw this place before.
I saw this place when I took my first hike up this very same mountain. Keep in mind, however, I was much heavier then. I was overweight and had no source of direction. I had no inspiration either. As far as I saw it, I was fine to remain humdrum and neutral.
I had no motivation to find my true inner self or recognize the wealth within me. As I saw it, this was the best I could ever be. I never thought there was a possibility that I could overcome. I never believed in my ability to do more. I believed this was it, that mediocre was the best I would ever be.
At the time of my first hike, I was instantly regretful. Once the incline became too steep, the train was too much for me. At the start, I was out of breath before the real hike began. I was not alone. I was with a friend that kept pushing me, telling me, “Its okay,” and that, “Its just a little ways up.”
Basically, he lied to me the entire time. And basically, I hated him the entire time as well. I was breathing heavy. I was sweating like a prisoner in a dungeon. Meanwhile, I was a prisoner. i was a prisoner to myself. I never realized that it was me who held me captive more than anyone else. I allowed this to happen, which is why I was so angry.
I could barely breathe until—
We approached the overlook and I stepped to the edge. I looked out. I saw the world from an entirely different view. I felt a surge of energy course through my tired, weeping body, and instantly, I felt a sense of rejuvenation. More accurately, I felt redemption. This was a validation of my efforts.
I had climbed up to a cliff of a mountain and saw myself above the trees. It was perfect enough to cause my eyes to fill with tears. And yes, I wept. I wept for several reasons. I wept because I learned that i could have been free all this time had I not held myself back.
I never forgot that walk nor the feeling of redemption, which is why I chose to make this early morning pilgrimage to return to that moment of Zen.
There was no one around. I pushed myself. I forced myself and no matter how many times I slipped, tripped, or fell, I would not give up on my pace. I didn’t care about the pain. At this point, I didn’t care about anything else except for making my way up to the overlook.
The hike was tough but so is life. I felt beaten. I felt used and betrayed. I was angry about some of my recent performances and angry about my interactions with certain people that I no longer wanted to interact with.
I was angry about my interaction as a father. I was angry about who I was as a man. I was angry because I argued with too many people.
Put simply, I was angry that I felt myself regress back to a point of depression.
But rather than give in and rather than feel pain, which I had no language to describe, I took to the trails. I beat the trails the same way they beat me. As fast as I could move, I moved faster. As hard as I could hit the ground with my boots; I hit the ground and made my way up.
Close to my destination, I had an experience which I consider to be similar to the story of the last temptation of Christ.
I heard my internal voice teasing me with easier, softer ideas; however, none of which would pay me more. Instead, all of which would leave me in debt —and of all debts, there are none more bankrupting than the emotional bankruptcy felt from depression.
I knew that if I could make it to the overlook, I would find that feeling I felt back when I saw this place for the first time.
But in times like this; the climb took forever. The pain felt like it would never go away. I wasn’t sure if I could take anymore.
I wasn’t sure about my endurance or my ability. But just when I swore I couldn’t take anymore, just when my body felt as if it was about to shut down, I saw the overlook in my sights.
I saw this ahead of me. I saw the view. I saw that regardless to the pain and suffering; I made it to my spot. I made it to where I felt my sense of redemption. I was there, high above the world. Regardless to the internal lies that come from outraged emotion; I made it to a place where I found redemption.
When I stepped to the edge, I looked out at the sea of trees that rolled in waves across the intertwining mountaintops. I felt the new morning sun on my face. And yes, I made it.
I made it and my body felt resurrected. I made it and a surge of emotions overwhelmed me. I made it and I screamed. I screamed as loud as I possible could. I shouted from the mountaintops until there was no more screaming left. Then I stood there to see what i had accomplished. And this was good.
This was good because I defied my doubts. I defied my depression and I defied my insecure anger. I made it, which meant that I am capable.
Although there are times when I feel this way and although there are days when I think nothing will work; there are times I find myself unacceptable in too many ways; truth is I know I can make it.
Sometimes, I just have to push myself.
I think we all do