I’m sorry for not drawing from Hagakure and The Book of 5 Rings in these last few weeks. During the toughest times, I tend to focus inward. Which I know might seem counterproductive to some people, but different times call for different remedies. And this is what I need right now.
Sometimes life gets hard. It feels like you are pushing a rock up a hill. A hill which is tall and steep. Maybe there is no clear path up…maybe you can’t even see the summit. It feels like you’re going to be climbing this hill, with this heavy rock, forever.
Life is sometimes even harder than that. And you are pushing many rocks up that hill. Too big to carry all at once, you leave one stone on the side of the hill while you go back down to pull another one up. And while you’re climbing, one of the rocks you let sit, slips and rolls down a ways. Putting an incredible strain on you, just to get it all the way back to where you left it.
A question popped in my head today, am I pushing the right rocks up that hill? Am I fighting the right battles?
There will be times when it’s the right decision to just let go, and let that rock roll back down that hill. It may be hard, but just turn away, and don’t look back. Take the other rocks up to the summit.
There is a crucial lesson in life to be learned…that is to understand difference between incorrectly quitting something just because it’s difficult and having the smarts to let the wrong things go. It is not easy to make that distinction, but look into your honest heart, and you will get a pretty good idea.
The rocks you let roll may be the big or the small. The light or the heavy. The slippery or the sticky. If there is little benefit to bringing it to the summit, why even carry a feather up there?
I don’t know what goes on in your life. I don’t know what your rocks are. And it’s hard enough for me to decide which to let roll down my hill. So I couldn’t tell you, even if I knew you well, what to keep pushing and what to release. But I do know that there are times when it is so much better for you to just let go. Maybe even give it a shove on its way down, to distance yourself from it as far and as quickly as possible.
That rock could be a project at work or your whole career. It could be something you’ve carried all your life, like guilt or shame. It could be a friend. While I’m obviously not a fan of abandoning a friend in need, there are some people you must distance yourself from. Let those leeches use their own legs to walk up the hill. You have enough to carry on your own.
There is a summit out there. There are piles of summits out there that you have the potential to reach. And if you can’t get to this first one, or this next one, because of one rock, maybe it’s time to let that rock go. Maybe it’s time to let a bunch of rocks go. Send an avalanche down if you need to, of all the things and people that are doing you no good…and get yourself to that summit.