I went in to work facing mountains of paper and lists of things to do. It was an avalanche waiting to crush me. I sat in a chair, staring straight ahead. I started to work on a small piece of it. It felt like trimming the toenail of a giant I could not conquer.
I went home to another range of mountains. This time, many were posing as harmless crops and fields to be cultivated for the proverbial greater good or a seemingly worthy cause. But, I thought, All of this is killing me, slowly, deliberately, one stressful toxin at a time. I could feel myself suffocating, sweating; headache and exhaustion from the thought of it; fear of a new mountain pushing its head up through a volcanic floor. I needed to move away from the mountains, or move the mountains away from me, or close the admissions window to all new mountain-creating customers.
I asked others if they saw mountains too. Oh, they said, Mountains are everywhere. That’s just how the world it is.
Once I met someone who had actually moved away from the mountains. It was killing me, she said, So I moved. The weather is better. I can breathe. My legs don’t hurt from climbing all the time. I can think. I can rest. I can help other people. She put an interesting thought in my mind. What if there really are better ways of managing the world than my own? How could I know? How could I possibly change? I am surrounded by people like me. We feed each other fodder that supports the culture of where we are. If I want to change, it might serve me to study and observe those who are where I would like to be, rather than where I am... But I was unsure if I had the courage to learn the path, to leave where I was, to go towards success and peace.
Before I had a full time job, I had many beliefs about what it was and what it could do. Once I had one, I learned things that I didn’t know before. Holding a full time job successfully requires a blind discipline to be present, to perform consistently, to negotiate working relationships well, to prioritize the job over many other opportunities, to manage earnings well, to manage my health and family well. Otherwise, I could lose my job. A great full time job is not just a destination, it is ongoing maintenance.
What is entailed in maintaining one’s peace and managing stress well? I see the signs. I hear the voices of those further down the road. You can get here, they say. Start walking. Travel light. Find reasons to love the journey.
I decided to lighten my load, one brick at a time. I feel myself changing directions. The view is getting better.