Remember the game on The Price is Right with the little singing mountain yodeler who steadily climbs the massive Alp based on how bad you missed the price on Charmin Ultra Soft? Sometimes they would use obscure products, like Polident or some Pepperidge Farm cookies; I don’t trust anything where each cookie comes in it’s own little cupcake wrapper, especially when it’s not a cupcake at all. Sometimes they have things the Piggly Wiggly doesn’t even stock, so it’s very possible your little Yodel Man has gone and jumped to his death (and your loss of a pool table) in about 2 guesses. It’s brutal, this little game, and quite frankly I’m not real certain that as a mental health professional, I shouldn’t be outraged by it. Yodeling lederhosen- wearing men being driven by the power of wrongness to their death and my disappointment right before Mrs. Chancellor and The Young and the Restless crew come on is rather a cruel and bad, bad life lesson.
I feel for that little Yodeler. He stands at the base of that mountain and knows he must climb it. He may die. He may disappoint. But sometimes he stops right at the peak and declares a winner. That’s a lot of pressure. That mountain can be overwhelming.
In the last few weeks I have been feeling a little overwhelmed as well. We all get here, looking at a mountain of confusion and wondering what to do next. Personally, mountains make me want to take a nap. They stop me dead until I can figure out just how and when and what to do, all the while hoping that something will save me. Oh my yes, but I will hang a hammock at the bottom of a mountain and just mull and mull. And for me, mulling is the beginning of depression.
On Tuesday of this week Mark called while I was napping (that’s a straight lie, I was still in the bed at 11:30am). He told me to meet him at the home of his long time friends, Francis and Fred Rawlins, who were also coming back to Americus after having served time in the Atlanta area. He told me he was going to be doing what he notoriously calls an “installation.” The installation has been a long time joke between us Americus folk, because it was a term Mark would throw around but never tell us what it meant. At some points we even wondered if it was legal. But on this afternoon I met Mark, his right hand man, Bo and Francis at the beautiful new home. Upon walking in I saw it—a designer mountain.
The Rawlins have done some fantastic things in their new home, but they were looking at a mountain. In their living room, in their dining room, in their hallways were copious amounts of some of the most beautiful art you have ever seen. Paintings they had collected over the years, each one screaming to get on a wall where it would shine best. Each picture having a story that Francis or Fred could tell, some of which Fred had even painted himself. The collection was wonderful and I was so jealous of all this beauty that lay around the house waiting to find its perfect spot. But y’all this art—it was screaming. Collectively it was screaming, “Me, me, me, put me up, I deserve to be up!” and their voices where mighty and loud. The mountain was here, and I began to feel for Francis as she knew it was a huge task and that is why she called in the expert. Meanwhile, my immediate response, even though this wasn’t my mountain, was to take a nap. Mark likes napping about as much as he loves me to cry. So instead, Francis served me up a Coke and I just watched.
Here is what a partial installation looks like: Mark comes in wearing yet another pair of perfect loafers. Mark walks around saying,” hmmmm.” Mark barks some orders at Bo. Mark catches up with his Francis as they laugh over life moments spent together. Mark eventually surveys the mountain. I can mentally see that he is putting on his lederhosen. He is warming up his voice to start the yodel. And Francis, Bo and I just wait and get out of the way.
Mark makes his move. In this massive space of blank walls and limitless possibilities, he makes the move. He chooses one little piece of awesome out of the art choices and he hangs it. And then there is another little piece of awesome, and another. Until after a while those little pieces have joined to make an army of awesome. Little bit by bit he has reached the peak of this mountain, simply by realizing the next small piece of awesome. The result: Awesomeness.
I went home that day and I began to look at my personal mountains. But this time instead of bedding down in my hammock and being grossly depressed and overwhelmed, I picked a tiny piece of my own awesome to practice. Quite simply it worked, so I started hoping in another piece of my awesome. Next thing I know I started believing that perhaps I will be able to regain my awesomeness. And at the end of the day that mountain was partially climbed with just simple little steps of reclaiming what is awesome about me. So I hope you will join me:
Don’t be afraid of how silly you might look;
Set your sight to the top;
Little bit by little bit in glorious small ways, that mountain, you will stand upon it and call it Mt. Awesomeness. Sugar, go ahead and declare yourself a winner.
Oh…..that hammock? What a better place to take in the view, for there is such a thing as a celebratory mull, its called thanksgiving.