Consider this...

By Mike Johnson


I climbed another mountain yesterday. Not only was it a physical climb, but a mental one as well.

During each daily sunrise, McCullough Peaks casts it shadow on the east side of our town. Multi-colored with oranges and tans and reds and browns, the range rises like a 100 square mile mini-version of the Badlands. Behind those peaks, sandstone valleys twist and curl into the distance and antelope and wild horses call the area home.

Since the peaks lie on Bureau of Land Management property, anyone can visit the area. Since we'd chosen a Wednesday and that Wednesday's weather forecast called for showers, we had the place to ourselves.

Our first smart action of the day had us visit the BLM office and get a map and directions. It turned out there were several dirt roads running to the peaks - some designed for trucks and one traversible by car. An hour later we found ourselves parking the car nine miles down a dirt road -- just a couple miles from peaks that seemed to overlook our town.

The hike was moderate and the three of us -- my wife, the dog and I - made quick progress. At our altitude, we could easily see a good 50-75 miles. We quickly identified two other cities in the distance to the north and east. Our target however - our town - was to the west and was blocked by peaks rising directly in front of us.

We'd set a quick pace because we could see clouds spewing sheets of rain in the distance to both the south and north. The wind seemed to be blowing from the northwest so whatever weather lied beyond the peaks blocking our view was heading our way.

If you've ever climbed mountains you understand it is difficult to calculate what your view will be at the next peak. In this mountain chain, there are many peaks - with many valleys in between each peak. Each time you think the next peak will give you the desired view, you're often surprised to see yet another peak beyond the one you just climbed.

Each time we reached the top of a peak, we could clearly see the weather ahead. By clearly seeing, we relaxed in the knowledge that the rain would miss us. We also saw the exact path we needed to take to reach the next mountain top.

Yet, once we hiked down into the next valley that led first down, then up to the next peak, we lost that view. Anxiety arose as to what was happening with the weather and the path to the next peak that seemed so certain before was now merely our best guess. With the gift of altitude came the gift of understanding.

In life, the parallels are the same. When we are of sufficient mental altitude - when we raise our consciousness -- we see things as they are and not how we wish them to be and clearly see what is approaching us and easily determine if it is helpful or harmful. This understanding provides peace of mind and allows us to take the correct actions.

If a stormy person is seen approaching, we clearly see him as the turbulence he is and easily decide not to walk through his rain. We don't hope he is a sunny day when we can see sheets of rain falling from him.

But when we allow our consciousness to drop to the valley floor, our clear vision disappears and we find ourselves having to guess about what is approaching. Uncertain of what we should do, we grow anxious, take the wrong actions and get buffeted by weather we never saw approaching.

Finally, the three of us we did arrive on a peak that overlooked our town. One glance told us everything we needed to know for that moment.

Sheets of rain were on the way and we better get back to the car.


Mike Johnson is an energetic writer & entrepreneur. Learn more about Mike's offerings at