"The pathway to the top of the mountain is lined with campsites along the way, occupied by those who yielded to the resistance of walking the path of uncertainty and who weren't able to embody the deeper meaning of commitment to going the distance." -- From "The Art of Uncertainty -- How to Live in the Mystery of Life and Love It"
If the fruition of your vision of a life worth living awaited you at the top of a mountain, would you have the commitment to traverse the unknown elements between here and there and go the distance? The metaphorical mountain top experience we seek can be different for us all: It could be the completion of a college education, or the realization of the career we have long desired. It might be honoring a diet or exercise program long enough to see the results we desire manifest. It could be learning how best to just get through another day by managing a debilitating emotional or physical problem in a manner that allows us to stay connected to a life of purpose and meaning. For many of us, the mountain top for which we dream and strive is a deeply rewarding relationship with a lifetime partner. It doesn't much matter what mountain peak we seek because the power of commitment is equally applicable (and available) to every area of our lives and it is the driving power that will get us to the top.
Over the span of my adult life there have been numerous occasions when I found myself "waffling in the wind" on some commitment I was about to make, or perhaps had already made, and I needed a "sign" to assure me I could do the right thing and go the distance. Sometimes we need a hero (or two) who has demonstrated the power of commitment in their own lives to show us the way up the mountain. My heroes were, and still are, my parents. This week my mom and dad celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary and they are still going strong, like a couple of energizer bunny rabbits. I happen to know firsthand that while they stumbled more than a few times on the many pathways of uncertainty we traveled as a family they always found the courage, wisdom and strength to pick themselves up and continue their journey up the mountain with four wild children in tow. That's what the power of commitment does; it is bigger than our obstacles and it sees us through our uncertainties and temptations to stop short and pitch a tent before we reach the top of our personal mountains -- it's what keeps us keeping on long after others have pulled off the path and set up camp in the foothills of unfulfilled dreams.
By example, what I learned from my parents is that regardless of what your personal mountain may be, and wherever you may be on the pathway at this moment, there is something within you that knows how to get you to the top if you do your part. What is your part, you might ask?
First, enter each day with faith and an awareness of your oneness with a higher power that is larger than yourself, call it God, presence, life, infinite intelligence, the universe or whichever word has meaning to you.
Second, approach your chosen pathway with a persistence that has no off switch (like the energizer bunny).
Third, to echo the words of author Steven Covey, you must "begin with the end in mind": Persevere in holding a vision in your mind's eye that gives purpose and meaning to your life by seeing yourself standing on the mountain top.
Lastly, connect with the passion for life that lives in your heart. Passion is the energizing factor that will bring you to the edge of all you know -- it becomes the bridge that spans the gap between where you are on the pathway and where you want to be. When combined, these four things comprise the essence and power of commitment, which will take you where you may have never gone before; the top of your mountain.
What I know is this: irrespective of the personal mountain you might be climbing, the view of your life from the top is unparalleled; you can take a gentle gaze back and see down the pathway from whence you have come with the pride and satisfaction of knowing that you stayed the course...you went the distance. These "mountain top moments" are among the sweetest experiences you shall ever have in your life and they are the moments most worth pursuing. Commitment is and always has been the secret to going the distance, however, we all know it's really no secret -- it's a choice we get to make daily. Commitment is a prerequisite in creating a life worth living and it's a power that is no further from you than your next thought, and then the next thought, and then the next thought, followed, of course, by a corresponding action. Begin with the end in mind, indeed...but most importantly, just begin.