Today I’m trading guest posts with Jillian Dodd. You can find more about her at the end of this post. Hop over to her site, http://www.jilliandodd.wordpress.com, after you read this, and read my post on winning a karaoke contest.
We all are on a journey somewhere. Sometimes we feel like we know exactly where we’re going, other times it seems like we bound around endlessly. A few months after my husband and I were married, we took a trip to Japan. It was the first time I had ever been out of the country, and it was an amazing experience overall.
We traveled with another couple, and stayed with our friend, who was working there at the time. One of the many things we did was climb Mt. Fuji. Mt. Fuji is gorgeous and the journey to the top is believed to be a spiritual one. Here’s a photo of me and hubby getting ready to head to the top.
Our group was packed and ready to go. We stopped at the base of the mountain and bought really cool walking sticks, and we got marks on the sticks the higher we ascended. The goal of the group was to get to the top.
Of course, I was with them. I’ve always been athletic, but I’m also a total klutz. If someone was going to get bit by a Japanese snake, break their ankle on a rock, or fall down the mountain, it’d probably be me. Nevertheless, they let me go with them!
We started out quickly, lots of energy. We focused on one thing. Getting to the top. Mt. Fuji is beautiful. Climbing to the top is supposed to be a spiritual journey. All you have to do is look around and you can’t help but revel in God’s ability to make such beauty. But we weren’t reveling. We were following each other up the mountain like pack mules. One after another. Really my journey, for the most part, consisted of staring at my husband’s butt. Not that it’s a bad thing to stare at, but I don’t think that’s what the Japanese considered spiritual.
We got about three quarters to the top. It was starting to get late, and the group was in a big hurry. They needed to get to the top and get back down before it got dark. Everyone picked up their pace, except for me. All of a sudden, I felt like my muscles wouldn’t work. I could barely pick up my legs to take a step without huge effort. Pretty soon, I had a hard time breathing.
Obviously, I had altitude sickness. The group felt really bad for me. Bad that I wasn’t going to reach our goal. That I wasn’t going to make it to the top. I let them continue on their way, telling them that they shouldn’t turn around for me, that they should continue to the top and that I would walk back down by myself and just eat something and wait for them. That’d I’d be fine. They were eager to go, so they continued on. Here’s a photo of the group at the top, without me.
I turned around to head down the mountain, and I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. How had I managed to miss all this beauty on the trip to the top.
The walk to the base of the mountain took a few hours. I immensely enjoyed the trip down because I was all by myself. I was able to stop and sit on a rock and just stare down at the lake, at Tokyo in the distance, at the greenery, and at the people on their trek up the mountain.
I learned some great lessons on that trip.
1. No matter what your mountain is in life, no matter what your goal, be sure to enjoy your trip to the top. Don’t follow others blindly.
2. Don’t be afraid to take your own path, make your own way. Just because going to the top in record speed is right for someone else, doesn’t mean that it’s right for you. Blaze your own trail and don’t apologize for it.
3. On your journey to the top of the mountain, whether you are trying to get to the top of the best sellers list, the top of your profession, or even just to the top of the stairs, be sure to turn around and appreciate your progress. Take in the beauty of what’s around you, of where you’ve been.
4. And know that sometimes you don’t have to get to the top to win. Sometimes not getting to the top is more of a growth experience than actually getting what you thought you wanted.
Have you ever had an experience like this? Where you’ve sort of followed people blindly and once you broke away, you felt so much more wonder? How is your journey to the top going? Are you enjoying it? What could you do to enjoy it more?
Jillian Dodd is the author of the romance novel, That Boy. She’s currently working on the sequel, That Wedding, which is set for a Jan 2012 release. She blogs at http://www.jilliandodd.wordpress.com. She’d love for you to come visit her there, where she discusses some very important issues. For example, Monday is MANday, where you vote on which hot, shirtless man is your favorite. Wednesday the focus is on relationships. Philanthropy Thursdays focus on people giving back to their community. Friday is Movie Review Day. If you are interested in checking out her book, you can download a free preview at http://www.jilliandodd.net
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Great post Jillian!
And David, I’ve given your blog an award. Love the variety of posts (especially the writing encouragement) that you always have. You can learn more about the award at http://marjilaine.blogspot.com/2011/10/yummy-new-blog-award.html
My first blogging award. Thanks, Marji.
I really enjoyed this post Jillian – your message can apply to so many diff things going on in my life rite now. My often frantic life with my children…and how busy i can get on just getting stuff DONE and miss just enjoying them. With my book launch and looking ahead to the launches in Samoa and NZ, i can get caught up on that treadmill of racing to just meet deadlines – and then i catch myself to think ‘Wait up, youre really doing this! Your first fiction novel is really out there and real live people are really reading it! Breathe, savor it, enjoy THIS. Stop panicking about tomorrow and next wk and what the book is supposed to be doing next month. Enjoy now.
Thank you for the reminders
Good advice, Lani. Thanks for commenting.
Thanks, Lani! With five kids and a hot man to take care of, life can be understandably chaotic!! And you should savor the fact that you did it. That your book is finally out there for people to read. The reviews are all fantastic. The more people hear about it, the more the sales will build. I think back to how excited I was to sell like 10 books in one week, now every time I look at the sales, I’m shocked at how it’s growing. The internet is a wonderful thing too, since through it we met. My kids kinda laugh at me when I say I have a friend in NZ, but it’s true!!! One of these days we are gonna meet for cocktails. (preferably somewhere tropical, where there are lots of hot shirtless men, who are there simply to serve us.) Sorry, David, for saying the s word on your blog 🙂
What an fantastic post to highlight some crucial points to living life fully and in the moment! I’ve had very similar experiences hiking – or rushing to do anything in life – where I’ve suddenly stopped, let the “target” go simply to enjoy where I was in the moment. You never regret taking time to enjoy what’s right in front of your face!
Wonderful post Jillian – MUAH!
Thanks to David for hosting the beautiful Jillian!
I agree, Natalie. She is beautiful, but she’s smart, too – except in football. She’s a huge fan of the traitors at Nebraska who left the Big-12 to join another conference. We’re best friends, though, as long as we don’t talk about football.
Thanks for the comment, Natalie, you are much too kind!! And I agree. You have to enjoy the ride. It’s hard sometimes when we’re so busy in our daily lives! But I’m super excited about your joining Row80 and starting your novel!! Whatever you do will be great!
Great post Juillian! I so needed to hear this today. It’s easy as a writer to feel insecure becasue everyone else is published or they all seem to be able to crank out a novel in a month. Carving your own path sounds like a good idea to me!