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The Effort Expended to Get There...

I am finding in this life that it is kind of a thing - that the places in life I get to are directly proportional to the effort I expend to get there.  In all the things, in all the ways.

I was hiking an arduous hike yesterday - a very steep climb over grand hills to the most amazing beach.  All effort was richly rewarded when I saw the beach that lay before me.   It was absolutely gorgeous and so unexpected.  I would have expected something like that back at home or Hawaii, not Ireland.  Shows you how much I know.  And the weather was perfect!  Warm but not too much.  An easy breeze.  And while I never really thought about not putting in the effort to get there, I was very happy I did because the effort expended to get there was totally and absolutely worth it.

And so this is what I thought about as I hiked up mountain sides, through cow and sheep pastures.  I thought about all the effort expended in this life to get “there,” wherever the fuck “there” might be.  

It seems to me that all of life and all the places I have been (emotionally, physically, spiritually) have all been richly reward by and because of the effort expended to get there.  Somehow in the effecting process, the journey and ultimate vistas are made more acute, more special, more life affirming because of all of the time and effort I have had to put in to get to where I am with whatever it is today.

Motherhood would be one of those - for fucking sure!  Today is Mother’s Day - so a Happy Mother’s Day to all the loving and amazing women who I know that are moms.  Happy Mother's Day to my own loving mom, who has put in more effort into mothering me than was likely necessary! Thanks Mom! I pray that you get a day that is full of the loving mothering tasks (being cared for, appreciated, loved, cherished, revered) and not a whole bunch of the other mothering tasks (cleaning, cooking, parenting, heavy lifting, self sacrificing, worrying) that are also part of being a mom.  I guess what I am thinking of today is that it really is all the effort I have expended being a mom that makes the title actually a worthwhile title.  There are a million fucking ways to be a mom, but really only one way to enjoy it.  And that is to recognize and appreciate for yourself just how awesome, demanding, hard and terrifying the journey of mothering actually is.  The effort expended to get there with mothering is absolutely what makes the journey worthwhile.

Sobriety is another one of those things.  I look at all the effort I have expended, repeatedly, doggedly, lamentingly, bonecrushingly wearily, religiously, routinely and sometimes quite desperately.  And it is this daily struggle that often doesn’t feel like a struggle at all, until the days where I just want to quit life, sobriety, people, relationships, meetings and just move far away from everyone so that life would stop being so acutely painful.  Then I see that that will never happen because I would be there and I am the one that fouls this whole living thing up, again, still.

Yes, the effort expended to get there...the there is constantly changing and moving and rerouting.  But the there is achievable every single day.  And wherever there is, the effort I put forth to arrive makes the journey that much more worthwhile.

Sometimes the effort comes easy, and often it comes hard.  And sometimes it feels like it doesn’t come at all.  But it does, it always fucking does.  Because what I have learned about living thus far is that it isn’t about arriving.  It is about doing.  The dishes, the laundry, the work (all of them  - like the actual job and earning a living but also the spiritual house cleaning work I have to do to keep my soul sparkling and inhabitable).  It is all work and sometimes work we will feel dull and boring and why bother.  Sometimes it will feel so amazingly vital that nothing can deter me.  But often it just feels like a day, filled with pointless and not-so-pointless activities, one after the other, until I collapse in bed at night.

And what I realized as I moved up and down and over and under yesterday, traversing cows and sheep and their attendant excrement (you would be amazed at how hard it is to make your way across a beautiful pasture, that is littered with animal dung - you think the field will just be an easy pass - but then you realize that your course will be anything but direct, unless you are fine stepping in it - literally) is that the effort expended is very proportional to the feelings you get once arrived.  Not always an exact match, but pretty fucking close.  

I hiked hard yesterday and the effort expended to get there matched.  Life doesn’t always feel that way - sometimes, most especially with sobriety and mothering, I feel like I am expending way too much fucking effort for far too little return.  Yesterday I realized I was wrong.  The effort expended is always worth the return...I just don’t always feel like it matches.  But my feelings are not facts and so I do have the ability to set that aside.  I can and do see that, as most things in this life, it is always about my perspective.  Whatever I think becomes true for me, whether I realize it or not.  If I think the effort expended is a waste of time or energy, it is.  

The effort expended to get there is always worth it.  It is in the expending that the change begins and the path is alighted and begun.  I often don’t know that, which is why it is easy to say, to proclaim that I did the hard stuff and it didn’t pay off.  But I realize that my assessment timing was just off.  I was taking too small of a sample.  And so a widening of my perspective and tolerance must be made.

There is compare and despair but there is also wait and see.  I have selected some very hard roads that have felt many times like dead ends.  Stupid follies down paths that were not for me, but, so far at least, I can see that I was exactly where I was supposed to be, fucking shit up, and in all that falling apart and worrying and pain, I was expending the effort to get somewhere else.  And at some time in the distant, or perhaps not so distant future, I would see how all that was being asked of me in that moment would eventually come to be seen from a new light and vantage point.  

Yesterday I saw and felt deeply that the effort expended to get there, wherever there might be, is always a worthwhile endeavor.  Sometimes I will love the vistas and sometimes I will not.  My feelings about the matter are somewhat immaterial.  In reality, I am always being delivered to whatever next I need to grow into whomever and whatever I am needed to be.  Sometimes that meshes with what I want, frequently it does not.  I realized yesterday as I climbed up and up, my heart beating loudly in my chest, that it never matters whether I think the effort is worthwhile, the fact that I am here living, breathing and being granted another day to try again is forever and always worth any amount of effort I am asked to give.  



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