What a Scramble Up a Mountain Taught Me About Personal Development

We can't stay in the valley. I'm sure you already know that, but this is as much a reminder to me as it is to you.

I was enjoying my walk along the road through the pine woods. It was quiet, warm enough for November in Spain, and I had a few hours to waste in a place I hadn't been to before.

So with camera in hand I followed the road through a small village, and as I came round a bend I saw the mountain. OK it's not a very high mountain, and I could clearly see some people at the top standing next to a large blue cross. But in my book a mountain must have plenty of rocks and crags, and this one did.

It seemed like a good idea to walk up to the top and take in the view from the cross, so I set off at once.

The walk quickly turned into a scramble on the loose rocks and shale as the path snaked up the mountainside between the cacti. It was a little dangerous in places and I had to use my hands to steady myself.

I soon remembered that I wasn't 25 any more - I couldn't leap from rock to rock like I used to.

Still, as I climbed higher, the valley began to open up to me. I could see the old monastery away to my left among the pine trees. I could see more and more houses in the valley I'd just walked through, many more than was apparent from the road.

And I began to be able to see further. Much further. Away to the west the near mountains blocked out the view, but to the east I could see the hill-fort of Sagunto and the Mediterranean coastline beyond. To the south between two mountains sat the city of Valencia.

As I neared the top of the ridge I could see that the summit with the cross was still a climb away, and I was running out of afternoon. I didn't feel any particular spiritual need to reach the cross so I decided to stop where I was and take some photos.

A Spanish man on his way down stopped to ask me where the track was. I apologized for my poor Spanish and pointed at where I'd come from. He apologized for not knowing I was a foreigner!

Up here above the valley there was a sense of perspective. I didn't need to reach the top, but I did need to climb out of the valley.

And as long as I kept moving forward, all the time I was seeing things in a different light. Seeing more, seeing further. Yes it's hard work sometimes. Yes it can be a scramble. Yes it can be dangerous even. But I can't stay in the valley.

This to me is what Personal Growth is all about. It's not about reaching the summit, it's about being there in the moment, on the trail. Knowing that I am growing, I am building, I am living right now.

I've set my feet on a path, I have one eye on tomorrow, but I'm firmly present in Today.