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Today’s guest post is by Wayne Bell.

When I look back on my many recreational involvements over the years, it seems that I always gravitated towards those that offered a “mental barrier to cross.”  Rock climbing led me to become a mountaineering instructor. I enjoyed being pushed to the limits of my endurance and welcomed the challenge of dealing with unknown factors such as avalanches and the weather.

The Mountain required something of me that many people today just don’t want to give. I don’t know if they think that they don’t have the time, or are just unwilling to make the commitment. Maybe they don’t think it’s worth the effort, or that comfort is more important. Maybe they just don’t realize how great the reward is that awaits those who can complete or even set out on the journey.

Yes, the Mountain demands more than what is expected on a day-to-day basis. The route to the summit must start within, through trails seldom, if ever used in the past. Physically you have to endure and push yourself past the preconceived limits that you have held to be true up until this point in your life. You feel discomfort and sometimes pain, but still, you keep going.   Overcoming preconceived limits is never comfortable, but possible if you don’t allow them to limit  you, regardless of what these obstacles may be. Regardless of their physical nature, your preconceptions are the real barrier preventing your advance.

While climbing, you mentally face the fear of cold high places and learn to perceive gravity differently. However, the greatest fear is when you look into your own soul and find it looking back at you. Your frailties provide an excuse for you to surrender, but the Mountain waits and watches. Will you surrender to yourself?  Or will you ignore the lie that you cannot do more than what you have done in the past?

During the climb, what you learn most about is yourself and the type of person you are. Commitment, fear and the unknown must become fellow travelers on the journey.  They are part of the what-is and must be accepted, or you will fail.

When you succeed, you are ready for life. The view from the summit is just a small gift the Mountain gives you for your willingness to listen to a voice greater than yourself.

Mountains don’t have to be physically large.  Sometimes hiking up a hill or just walking on a flat path may be enough of a challenge.  There are also many journeys in life that are similar to climbing the Mountain: dealing with a young family, an aging parent, or a personal sickness. Although the journey you choose to take may be difficult, be committed to it. At the summit, you will find peace and satisfaction.

Although there are hills and rocks in Cow Bay, the only mountains that truly exist are those we perceive in our minds.

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