The Beauty of the Descent

You’ve just made the climb, what’s next?


Have you ever noticed how most of us are always on the climb heading

towards the top of a mountain? We often are setting goals to attain.

This could be running a longer race, incorporating new trails, having

a faster time on a repeated coarse, improving fitness, losing weight,

seeking out a new job, etc. Our goals can be seen as “the next climb”

equating to improving ourselves in some way: becoming stronger,

wiser, and happier.


In many ways the climb can be easy, especially when we have a goal that

keeps us focused, on track, inspired and willing.

But what happens when we reach the top of the mountain? You have

now accomplished the climb. Then what?


Very little time or thought is allocated to the descent. After every climb,

there is the descent taking us right back down to the bottom.

How many of you have actually given yourself time to be in the descent?

Frequently, we are immediately implementing our next goal and

climb moments after making it to the top. Very little time is given

to pondering; “what did I just accomplish?” “How did it feel”? Being

present to our current accomplishment is extraordinary.

The descent has its own importance, making it one of the most useful

places to pause, and to be.


Let’s take a look at what happens in the climb: There is a goal, which

creates a sense of purpose. With this goal and sense of purpose a plan

is established. A routine and or program is developed to follow and to

strive towards our goal with the desire to reach and obtain our goal.

Desire, willingness, consistency, are all key ingredients to the journey of

climbing the mountain.


Now what about the descent? For one, the descent allows us to have

time to reflect. Reflection gives us the ability to look back over what

we just did, and to review what we did, how we did it, and how we feel

about what we just did. Reflection gives us the opportunity to ponder, to

ask questions, to review, to think, to create, to integrate, to change. We

give ourselves time to contemplate what we just accomplished. Time is

a beautiful thing. Time presents space and space allows integration and

change. When we lack being present or experiencing our descent, we

cheat ourselves from the rich opportunity to reflect, integrate, and grow.

I’ve often wondered if many of us loose the benefits we just received

from our accomplishments by omitting the descent.


During the descent, we have time for reflection. It gives us time to

acknowledge ourselves; observing what we just accomplish, and

how we successfully reached our goal. We have time to witness

how we feel about ourselves, and to ask ourselves, do we feel

successful? Could it be that by not taking the time to descend, we

miss out on reaping the joy and happiness that lies deep within

ourselves and noticing what we have just accomplished during our



Observing and noticing the descent has become fascinating for me.

I have spent a great deal of my life relying on the climb, the endorphins,

and the thrill to reach the top of the mountain. Now I’m observing and

enjoying the presence of myself in the descent, integrating, changing,

and growing on my way to the bottom.


As we go into the New Year, we often set new goals to strive for and

to achieve. Perhaps one of your “New Year goals” this year can be

observing, listening, witnessing, and integrating change during your

descent to the bottom. Become aware of what shows up for you. What

do you reflect upon? What pleases you about your accomplishment?

How do you experience joy? What is there for you to learn? What

would you like to change? What do you like? What felt good? What

might feel even better?


I invite you to listen and take a journey within on your next descent.

You may be presently surprised as to what you discover.


Sharon Starika

Dec. 2013.