The Woman Who Tried to Climb the Lake
was a woman who spent her whole life climbing a very high mountain. She began as
a tiny child and could not remember a time before the mountain. Year after year,
she would ascend the steep cliffs; and in the process, she became very good at
the motion of climbing. The muscles in her legs and her back grew strong; and
after a while, climbing felt as natural to her as breathing. As time passed and
she went higher and higher, she didn't even have to try and climb anymore -- her
body did it automatically.
At last, one day, the woman reached the top of the mountain. She was overjoyed
with her achievement and couldn't wait to start out on the next portion of her
travels, conquering her next mountain. As she looked out over the horizon, she
saw a beautiful blue lake, stretching sideways as far as her eye could see. But
being a climber all of her life, the woman had only lived on the mountains, so
she had never seen a lake. In fact, she didn't even know what a lake was. She
watched the strange expanse before her and concluded that it must be some
unusual kind of blue mountain. Since the only way to continue her journey was to
cross over the odd-looking blue form, she decided that was what she must do.
So the mountain woman walked up to the water and began trying to "climb the
lake" with the same motions she'd used to climb the mountain. At first, she
couldn't understand why she wasn't making any progress and, in fact, was
exhausting herself. So she mustered all of the energy in her strong body and
tried to "climb" even harder, placing one leg in front of the other, using her
hands to attempt to grasp the "blue rocks." But her efforts were useless. She
kept falling over and wasn't going anywhere.
Just about this time, when the mountain woman felt like giving up, she notices a
person floating by on top of the blue lake, gently gliding his body through the
water with the slightest movements of his arms and legs.
"What are you doing, my friend?" he called out to her.
"What does it look like?" she answered, her face flustered with embarrassment.
"I'm climbing the lake."
"Good woman," the man of the lake replied, "don't you know that you can't cross
a lake by climbing it? The only way to travel through water is to swim."
"But I'm such a marvelous climber!" the mountain woman insisted. "I've spent my
whole life learning to climb. I can climb any mountain, I can reach the top of
any peak. Surely there must be some way I can climb the lake."
"I'm sure you are an excellent climber," the man of the lake answered politely.
"But that skill won't help you here in the water. It took one kind of wisdom to
get you to the top of the mountain -- you had to make your power stronger than
the mountain. Now you need to learn another kind of wisdom to get across the
lake -- you need to surrender to the power of the water and allow its force to
be stronger than you. You don't have to try hard anymore. In fact, the less you
try, the better you'll do!"
From "Real Moments," by Barbara DeAngelis,
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