Cheers, dear readers,
Have you ever had an experience that just blew your mind spiritually and it was literally impossible not to see the metaphors in other areas of your life? Well I had one of those just two weeks ago. It reminded me how in so many circumstances, we question our own ability to achieve success, to get to the top of the mountain, and in this case to get back down again. HOW will we get to the next moment? And then the next… It seems almost impossible, especially on our own as sometimes we need a team – both professional and personal to reach our goals.
The metaphors with infertility are undeniable. When we first learn of our infertility diagnosis, it’s like a shot to the heart and we wonder how and when we will ever recover from it. What will happen next? Will we ever have our own children? Will we have ANY children? What does parenthood mean to us in our lives? How can we ever make these decisions, as well as get through IVF treatment in one piece? And what happens to our psyche during this process? To our our emotional well-being?
To get back to my sharing, I went to visit a fantastic new (and young) friend. We first met at a personal and professional development retreat in Utah last April. This spiritually enlightening retreat was with a small group of people – so by the end of the weekend, we all felt quite close. My new friend was no exception. He fell in love with the area so much that several months later, he moved across the country to live in and enjoy Utah.
When I visited him two weeks ago, I could totally see why. We were mainly planning to ski together. Each time we got off a new ski lift and I turned around to see the incredible vistas, my jaw just dropped at the beauty and magnificence of it all.
By our last day, I was feeling quite good about my skiing abilities having re-convinced myself that I was a competent west coast, black diamond skier. Skiing with really fearless, strong, and jubilant athletes can really increase your confidence! So when this rock star said, “Hey Cath, are you up for doing some climbing on foot to the mountaintop and skiing back down on a double black? I’ve seen your skills on skis and you can totally do it!” I looked at the mountain, looked at my friend and said, “Heck yes!”
Halfway up the mountain after stopping 2-3 times to take a breath, I took a quick rest on my vertical ski that I was holding. I tried not to look down as I was starting to second guess my decision. Yet at the same time, I was so very happy and content – to enjoy that moment, to believe in myself and my decision to go for it, to simply continue on. So up we went. Finally at the top after “stopping to smell the roses” so to speak, I finally looked down off the edge.
Holy smokes! What did I get myself into?
It was high, steep (both of those things I could handle) AND choppy with deep snow that my thin skis would sink into! It’s really the combination that started to have me a bit worried. But I kept looking at my friend and his confidence in me, and my trust in him for believing in me and my abilities. We were not in a rush, so we talked for about ten minutes about various pathways I could get down. I had one stipulation: He had to be able to see me and stick with me until I got down – even if he went down a different forest-laden path on his snowboard. He promised me – Yes! Well, alrighty then…
So finally I took a deep breath, and took that first step. Sideways. Inch by inch, centimeter by centimeter, I slid down in only one direction. I looked like a clumsy, scared buffoon. I got down towards the first sunny, happy-looking ridge, and I saw a ski patrol man. I skied slowly up to him and said “Hi! I’m a little out of my element! Got any suggestions for me to get down? I’m trying to meet my friend at that tree!” and I pointed to a very far off tree that was waaaay down the mountain, past all the choppy bits and a beautiful forest. He seemed a bit amused yet serious at the same time. He gave me several suggestions including following him down to a completely different (but easier) section that would leave me unable to figure out how to re-find my friend. After picturing a helicopter having to swoop in and save me with an unknown aftermath, I said “No I’m going to go for it down here to get to that tree.” He offered to look after me as I got down. I thanked him and said “Yes, please watch me go down.”
I yelled for my friend Mango to see if I was in his eyesight. He yelled back “Yes!!!! You can do it!” I could not see him at all – just hear his voice. It was kinda trippy.
So off I went doing my sideways shuffle awkwardly, ungracefully, yet successfully down the mountain. After I was about two-thirds of the way down, I looked up to see my guardian angel ski patrol man, and he yelled down “You are past the worst part! Good job! Just keep going back and forth – traversing is your friend!”
After I yelled for Mango again, a familiar voice from the depths of the forest yelled again, “I can see you! You can do it, Cathy! Keep going!”
After a full TWO HOURS from top to bottom, I finally got down – even though it wasn’t a pretty sight. My friend never left my side metaphorically speaking. We celebrated with a burger at the bottom of the mountain. Boy, did that taste good.
What I learned on a mountaintop at Park City, Utah:
- Be patient. Patient with yourself and your journey. Patient with others. Patient with the process. You will get through it, inch by inch.
- Trust others and their belief in you. Those that know you and your resolve will cheer you on. Let them! Believe them. If they have your best intentions at heart, listen to their words.
- Believe in yourself, your abilities, and your strength. You are stronger than you realize. Achieve your own impossible. We all have a line that we think we cannot cross. Try crossing it. You might surprise yourself.
- Success doesn’t have to look pretty, but it’s still success. Worrying about what other people think about you and your journey is not empowering. Each of our journeys is different and beautiful. Enjoy yours. You are a beautiful snowflake.
- Trust your intuition, and those voices that guide you. Whether the voice is literal, or words that you remember a dear loved one who past on told you years ago. You are loved, supported and cared for.
- Keep going. Even when you think that you can’t. Guess what? You can! Don’t give up! You may not end up where you thought you would, but you are still OK! Love yourself through the process. Remember that you rock! And you are strong!
- Cross boundaries when needed, whatever that perceived boundary is. Even though my friend (in his late 20s) in terms of fertile status is at a very “baby-making” age in his life and an infertile person could feel jealousy around that, I’m enjoying the silver lining. My friend said to me: “It’s so awesome that I can have incredible friends, even if they aren’t from my generation growing up. Just goes to show that age is but a number and as long as you’re bad ass, you can connect with a variety of people.”
Dear readers, remember that you are a “bad ass”! Go rock your life no matter where your infertility journey takes you.
Please join me next week to hear more about my personal journey down the infertility path. I look forward to speaking with you. I wish you the best on your journey.