On a recent family ski trip, I saw the sign pictured above at the entrance to a chairlift.
Initially, it incited fear, especially because I was expecting to ski alone as my family wanted to head inside.
Fear was quickly replaced with intrigue though, as I realized that the message has significance way beyond skiing.
In just four simple words it expresses the (harsh) truth about life—that hardship is inevitable and no one is exempt.
This interpretation of the sign is admittedly heavy. It didn't weigh me down though because it omits the necessary “BUT” that completes the truth.
That is, “No Easy Way Down” is begging to be followed by another four simple words: “But, You’re Not Alone.”
Combined, these two phrases express the FULL truth (about both life and skiing) but for some nonsensical reason, we tend to keep the second phrase a big secret.
That’s just foolish..the secret is what allows us to find a path on the no-easy-way-down “mountain!”
How often do you hear that someone got through a really difficult time or overcame a major challenge by closing him/herself off from others, managing the situation entirely by him/herself, and refusing any support
Our culture may lead us to believe that going “it” alone is a sign of strength and fortitude, but that attitude is precisely what will land us in a snow bank along our personal ski run.
Sadly, when the secret “BUT” remains hidden from our consciousness and we face life’s inevitable struggles, such as arriving to the top of a very intimidating ski trail, our mind is likely to catapult to “Doomsday Mode.”
In this mode, the mind fabricates thoughts associating our difficult circumstances with being alone. This tendency is a terrible trap, a “mindfield” if you will, and we must be one step ahead of it.
One proactive way to suppress Doomsday Mode is to have an accountability partner.
An accountability partner is someone you make a commitment with to have regular check-ins. Often, this partner serves as a support system to help stay focused on a particular project/goal, but we can apply the concept to our emotional life as well.
Having an accountability partner for emotional wellness makes Doomsday Mode less potent, thus diminishing the chances of getting caught in the ever-debilitating “I’m all alone ‘mindfield.’”
Apparently, all of this was instinctively very clear to my thirteen year old son even when he was overcome with skiing fatigue. Upon observing me pause after reading this powerful sign, he decided not to go in with the rest of the family and instead, he turned to me and said these four simple words: “I’ll keep you company.”
At once, my heart melted and my confidence in my ability to get down the mountain soared, all because of the message behind his words: You won’t be alone even though there’s no easy way down.
Now go hop on your proverbial chair lift knowing the best four simple words (even a child knows them ;). You just might discover that they lead you and your accountability partner to the Truth.
Looking to feel supported?…Maybe this could be your sign: Please join me for a free gathering on Tuesday, March 4th!