"Don't you know that there ain't no mountain high enough
Ain't no valley low enough,
Ain't no river wide enough
To keep me from getting to you, baby"
Songwriters: Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson
I recently learned that Ain’t No Mountain High Enough did not start off as a love song. Back in the mid-60’s a young Nick Ashford was down and out, as a struggling dancer and artist. As he walked the streets of Central Park he noticed how the tall buildings looked like mountains. At one time homeless, he feared that he would not be able to remain in the city. Then these words came to him, “ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough, ain’t no river wide enough to keep me from getting to you.” The “you” was not a person, it was a goal. He wanted to succeed as a writer and artist. And he didn’t want anything to stop him! Co-writer Valerie Simpson loved the lyrics, and they collaborated to write the song as we know it today. The rest is history, as they say!
While the fears lurked in the corners of Nick’s mind as he walked through Central Park, the answer arose from somewhere deep within. After walking this earth for 53 years, I have had similar experiences. I suspect you have as well. One of the reasons that Rachel and I believe so deeply in meditation as one of The Four Seeds of Self-Care is that it is precisely this ‘going within’ that reveals the answers we are seeking.
Whether it is a personal or professional goal, when we spend time in quiet and stillness our next steps are made clear. I often hear how difficult it is to cultivate a consistent meditation practice. As much as meditation is becoming more mainstream, I think there are still a lot of myths and misperceptions. Luckily, there is no one size fits all meditation, so your practice does not have to look like mine!
“I have always thought a mountain is a magnificent metaphor for life. From a distance, the ascent looks clear and smooth, but once you actually set out for the summit, you discover unexpected valleys and precarious ridges along the way. If your internal compass isn’t set to keep climbing, every stumble will give you an excuse to turn back. Over the years, there have been many times when I’ve found myself climbing a steep rocky road and there have been setbacks which threatened to overwhelm me or stop me in my tracks. But I’ve learned to keep going and to tell myself, ‘This too shall pass and I will be better for it.’ Oprah Winfrey
So often we’re like the dogs in the beloved P.D. Eastman book, “Go, Dog. Go!” In our fast-paced world we spend so much time go, go, going, that we hit the ground running and frantically act before we even know which way to go! Each time we come to a fork in the road by way of those unexpected moments (losing a job, becoming sick or injured, etc.) we frantically act before we even know which way to turn! How often have you said “I don’t know what to do!” How often has someone asked you “What should I do?”
We would save ourselves so much stress by turning to this age-old practice. My personal meditation practice varies, depending on the day and circumstances. The quiet of the early morning, before the rest of the house and world awakens is a favorite time for me to set my mind right. Sitting up in bed, taking some deep breaths and repeating a prayer or mantra before my feet hit the floor is the best primer for my day. I also revere a hiking meditation, spent in the sanctuary of nature. Some of the most insightful ideas have dropped into my head while cooking, showering, or journaling.
Our next ReConnect Retreat is in three weeks, on Friday, June 18th. Our ReConnect Retreats are designed to recharge your batteries and cultivate self-care practices that are essential to your health. We begin the day on Lake Allatoona paddling or kayaking and afterwards head to our beautiful, relaxing space for the remainder of the day eating delicious, nourishing meals, and connecting with each other. Participants enjoy chair massage, meditation and breathing exercises along with workshops that will help you to gain clarity about desires and goals that you are ready to pursue next!
Take the day to enrich yourself. It’s very easy to get caught up in the day to day minutiae, letting time slip away from us without doing the things that feed our souls! What are those things anway? If you find yourself stressed and anxious, experiencing little joy on a day to day basis this is your cue. As the famous Neitzsche saying goes, “Enjoy life. This is not a dress rehearsal.” No matter how high the mountain, no matter how low the valley, or wide the river, it ain’t gonna keep life from happening right now! ReConnect to this one and only precious life and you will find that the difficulties will pass and you will be better for them.
With Love and Gratitude,
Kinda and Rachel