Every day an inspirational email comes into my inbox. Sometimes that little dose of positive affirmation is like a shot in the arm. I gobble it up. Sometimes it’s not such a big shot but I still look forward to reading it.
I’ll paraphrase what came the other day. It said that we shouldn’t try to recreate peak experiences but should accept them as gifts and move on. Also that we can’t stay on that high forever because it would no longer be a high, it would just be a normal everyday occurrence and would eventually end up feeling hum drum and boring.
“So, savor the peak experiences and compliment yourself upon your achieving of them, and expect more of them, and leave everything else out of the equation.”
I thought how true that sounded. Life is full of mountain peaks and valleys. It’s wonderful when we are high on the peak, licking the clouds, savouring the delicious taste. We’re full of energy and smiling at the world. Life couldn’t get much grander.
And yes, it’s true, we often want to stay on that peak forever. It’s a wonderful feeling. Why not? The peak might be higher than any you’ve ever been to before. You’re looking down at the world, waving from above, and it feels as though the whole world is cheering at you.
Of course the publication of any book would be considered a peak. You’re at the very top of the mountain. You climbed hard to get there— first the book, then the launch, the reviews, the signing, the hype. Believe me, it’s a great feeling. A truly wonderful gift.
But then, as my little email reminded me, we can’t stay on the peak forever.
Published authors always talk about what a wonderful experience publication is. I love hearing about other authors’ journeys, finding out how smooth or bumpy their path was, what obstacles they might have had to overcome, the valley they were in before publication, and of course that peak when the book was finally published. I have yet to read about the valley that comes after they’ve been high on that peak. Maybe it’s because no one wants to admit it. Maybe it’s because they think they will look ungrateful to the rest of the world. What have they got to feel down about their dream came true for God’s sake?
But I’m telling you that yes, I’ve experienced that valley. It’s that feeling of “Now what?” You’re book is out, the “hoopla” (as one author called it) is over and you still wanting to be up on that peak. The peak felt good, the wind blew through your hair, the sun touched the top of your head. Your heart was warm. You loved the whole world. You smiled a lot.
What I’ve discovered is this, the sun can still reach you even when you’re standing down in the valley. It just has a little further to go to find you. As great as those peaks in life are, being down in the valley will help us to appreciate the mountain even more. No one ever chooses to be in the valley but it sounds to me as though we’re given little choice.
Sooner or later we’ll all enter the valley, no matter what we do in life or where we go. But you can get used to the scenery there if you take the time to look at what the valley has to offer, and stop lamenting about your time spent on that glorious mountain.
I am no longer lamenting. I’m waiting for the next gift to come along. I’m breathing in the scent of the valley flowers, admiring the trees and enjoying my walk. The sun found me! I knew it would.
Maybe when we’re down in the valley we need to remember that it is just a valley, not a trench, and we’ll get our time on the mountain peak sooner or later. Life goes in cycles. If it didn’t we’d be standing still, wouldn’t we? And tell me what ever got accomplished when we stood in one spot without the courage or strength to take another step?
Where are you in your present life, on the peak or in the valley? If you’d like to share, I’d like to listen.