Overcoming obstacles with Optimism

I am thankful I discovered a new way to view mountains I encounter in life.  Like many other people, I used to only see the trees and boulders blocking my way.  I stood before the imposing sight and wondered how I, or anyone else, would ever have the strength to overcome this challenge.  Now I realize on every mountain, hidden deep inside the rocky terrain, there is a smoother, less demanding path.  Stand before your mountain.  Look at the paths in front of you.  Do not fear the intimidating height and overwhelming challenge.  When you are nearing the top, reflect in awe over your accomplishments.  You are conquering the mountain you once feared.  At every plateau, take time to regain your balance.  Smile and acknowledge the gratitude you feel from this accomplishment.

These mountains I’ve discovered have been both figurative and literal.  I  found myself waking up in a hospital bed having my body bruised and battered from the electrical attack seizures created in my brain.  I celebrated my ten-year high school reunion not playing the night away; instead, I was resting in a bed partially paralyzed due to a stroke.  Years later, I was 7,000 feet up the side of a mountain armed with a strong stick helping me walk and weak ankle wrapped in an air cast.  I have come to realize fear and dread can develop into an overwhelming sense of hope and accomplishment.  Climbing the path on these mountains is not easy.  Finding strength to stand again is not simple.  I have learned to accept it never will be.  Self-confidence and joy found when you walk independently out of a hospital or gaze over the rugged terrain breathless and exhausted, observing the magnificent view, would never be experienced if not for the diligence to climb these mountains.  Personal pride could never have been experienced if I were to have said, “This trial is too hard.  Walk on without me.”

While accepting the challenge of mountains, I have found great joy in discovering my own previously unacknowledged strengths.  I now challenge you to seek this benefit from difficult life experiences you were not expecting to encounter.  On June 25, 2003, I went into pre-surgery at 5:15am.  I woke later that day unable to move half my body displaying a smile that could only lift half my face.  That day my journeys in life unexpectedly diverged.  I knew I had a choice to make.  I could lay there with the knowledge my life would forever be negatively changed and accept the grim outcome printed on so many fliers to inform me about stroke recovery.  Or, I could accept that mountains sometimes come from unexpected events but can be overcome with hope developed from unfaltering optimism.  Consciously making this choice would allow me to obtain progress that others would be compelled to write about – progress no one could have ever dreamed of- and defining hope that would inspire others around the world.  Eight years later I am still celebrating this latter choice I had made.  In the words of Robert Frost from his poem “The Road Not Taken”,  “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I   -I took the one less traveled by,  And that has made all the difference.”

Comments on: "Climbing Mountains" (19)

  1. Photos are fantastic testimony.
    Much love, Tara!

  2. Diane said:

    As always you inspire me! I love your spirit.

  3. I was so excited to see your comment. It means a lot to me knowing that you are always out there!


  4. Well, I would just like to echo what Diane said. It is always an inspiration to read your articles and see your photos.

    • And it is always with a grateful heart I see your comments. Thank you for taking time to stop by and not only leave your kind words but also to have shared this post with your readers. This, this is the greatest compliment I can receive. Thank you.

  5. […] was particularly inspired by her latest post, Climbing Mountains. Take a few moments to read the article – your day will be better for […]

  6. A first time for me, Tara, and I agree with everything said above. You brightened my day (not easy in Scotland in October!). And of course that is a great poem you quote. Thank you.

    • Thank you very much for stopping by. That is a great poem isn’t it? I once used it in a contest when I was a school librarian. I had kids scouring poetry books to find it. Weeks after the contest, children were still walking around reciting it. My heart sung.

      I hope you find many bright days this month. I know you brightened my day with your kind comment. Thank you very much!


  7. Jenifer Lewis (Maine USA) said:

    We have no choice about most of what happens to us in life, but we have complete choice about how we respond to it. Unfortunately too many people think the only choice they have is to moan and cry, “Why me?” when bad things happen.

    It is refreshing to read the thoughts of someone who accepted the reality of what happened to her but did not believe her only choice was to stay in that dark vale of sorrow, grieving what had been lost and unable to see her way clear to making a new life on the new terms which had been imposed on her.

    You can probably relate to my smiling response to those who told me during my latest health crisis how much they admired my positive attitude: “What choice do I have?”

    Thank you for that new slant on Frost’s poem!

    • I am very pleased to hear that you, also, have made the most out of the trials and gifts life delivered to you. “Why me?” Because it will make me stronger than ever thought possible.

      Thank you very, very much for stopping by and celebrating challenges with me. Your comment is greatly appreciated.


  8. nelson RN said:

    You are such an inspiration, Tara! I have to read your post twice, as it was very well-written! Thank you for writing this. I am sure many out there would find strength reading this inspiring post of yours. God bless you always!

  9. I was so happy to see your comment on here this morning. Thank you for stopping by and taking time to leave these kind words.

  10. You always amaze me!

    Your comment “While accepting the challenge of mountains, I have found great joy in discovering my own previously unacknowledged strengths.” really struck me. Unacknowledged Strengths! I need to look inside and see what that may be for me. Hmmm!

    Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom and kindness with all of us.


  11. Tara: I enjoy and appreciate your posts a great deal! They’re both informative and inspirational! This was a good day for me to read this particular post—kind of a down, draining day—it lifted me up!

  12. I am glad my posts informed and inspired you! I am grateful you took the time to leave this wonderful comment. I hope your day evolved into a peaceful afternoon. Sending you warm wishes.


  13. […] nine years seizure free.  Now they are back.  Seizures always have been my disease of waiting.  I will be okay though.  I always […]

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