You have a destination in mind. We all do. Trouble is, it’s on the other side of fear, just a step or two outside your comfort zone. You know you deserve to get there. You have no doubt getting there will change your life completely.
So you step forward. You see what’s between where you are now and this Valhalla of yours. And you step back. You take a deep breath and close your eyes. You’ve seen you’ll have to brave a gauntlet of fear and opposition. You step forward.
Your fear takes a swing. You dodge the first blow, but your fear strikes you in the gut, taking your breath away. It’s poised to strike again, but you block and strike back, knocking fear to its knees. You kick forward, knocking fear onto its back. Down and out.
So you move on.
Suddenly you are faced with an abyss. So very far across, and so deep that you can’t see the bottom for all the darkness.
“I can’t make that leap,” you say to yourself, “I just can’t.”
But you know you have to. You take a step back, then another and another. Your strategy is to make running start at it and leap.
You hear a voice from behind you: “Don’t even it try it.”
You close your eyes and sigh. A voice from your past, one that you’ve heard seemingly infinite times before.
The voice again: “Don’t even try it. You’ll fall into the abyss. You’ll die.”
Your legs suddenly feel a bit weaker. Your breath, shallower. You bend over, hands to your knees, and try to shut out the voice.
Again. More insistent. “You’ll die.”
You fully stand and half turn to address the voice.
“Go to hell,” you say.
You break into a dead run. You leap for all you’re worth at the edge of the abyss. You reach the apex of your jump and start to fall.
You’re not going to make it.
You stretch forward with everything you’re worth. You crash into the other side of the abyss. The impact pushes the breath out of your body… but you made it. You hold on and manage, barely, to pull yourself up. You take in great gulps of air and stand.
You’ve only just caught your breath when a strong, sinewy arm comes from somewhere behind you and wraps around your neck. You try to pull the arm away, but you barely have any strength left.
Everything is going gray. You’re starting to fade.
You start seeing visions. You wonder if this your life flashing before your eyes, as these visions are as vivid as life itself.
You see the teacher who told you that you’d never amount to anything.
You see the kids who taunted you everyday, just because you were smaller and different.
You see the former lover who told you what a disappointment you are.
Then the visions shift...
You see your friend, down and out, who needs your example to prove he can rise up himself.
You see your future love take your hand and not let go.
You see your child, the one who so desperately needs a hero.
You are suddenly possessed with enormous strength. You twist the arm off your neck and throw your assailant to the ground. You look down.
It’s your own face you see.
You face one another, standing toe-to-toe.
“Why?” you say. “Why would you try to stop me?’
“I’m trying to protect you,” comes the reply.
“Protect me?” You shake your head. “From what?”
“From what lies ahead.”
You turn and see a mountain before you. It’s rocky, yes, but not too steep. You know you can handle the climb. You know that your destination is just on the other side.
“I’m fine,” you say. “I got this.”
Your other makes a furtive grab for your arm. You pull away.
“Let me make something clear to you,” you say, leaning forward. “Do not try to stop me. If you try, you will fail. Do we understand one another?”
There is no reply. Your other steps back and you make your way to the mountain.
The climb was vastly harder than you thought, but still, you made it. You pause at the summit, looking down at what lies ahead.
You passed the gauntlet.
You climbed the hill.
The country ahead has beauty aplenty… a lush forest is not too far away, edged by a smooth, clear lake. There are perils as well… a murky swamp to pass through and a raging river to brave, but no matter. This undiscovered country is your destination and your land to conquer.
You smile ever so slightly and begin your descent down the other side of the mountain.