The following is the text of a speech I delivered at a Toastmasters event. I hope it resonates.
Have you ever been tired?
Really, really, tired?
I mean, a weariness that reaches to the core of your being, tired?
Fot quite a while now, this level of tired is where I’ve been existing
It seems that life has been getting the better of me, and it’s taking a toll.
When I get this way, and there’s no relief in sight, I begin to dream of a place I call – The Mountaintop.
It’s a place to which I can escape, if only in my mind, and find some much needed mental refreshment.
It’s a quiet place, only the sounds of nature can be heard there – the call of animals, and the wind in the trees. Norman Vincent Peale called it – The music as old as time.
Trails are abundant, on which to hike and explore and immerse oneself in the environment.
Pristine lakes, fed by crystal clear mountain streams, in which to swim and refresh body and spirit are readily available.
The heavens, at night, are filled with a million stars, undiminished by city lights. Absolute heavenly brilliance.
I could spend a month in this place.
As an introvert, I value solitude.
Time for myself, by myself, is a must each and every day.
Stepping away from the stresses and demands that seem to encroach from all sides, and just being alone with my own thoughts is a must for me.
And it’s in that time that I learn, and grow, and maintain my sanity.
The Mountaintop provides the ultimate in solitude. An unbroken time away, with only my thoughts as company.
There is such magic in sweet simple silence.
There was a time, not so long ago, when I could not stand quiet. I had to have noise all the time – be it television, or music, or whatever – there just had to be noise going on.
I was the guy next to you at the stop light with heavy metal music playing at 1000 decibels, unable to tolerate my own company.
As I’ve grown older, and more comfortable in my own skin, I have learned to value quiet.
The Mountaintop is the gold standard in quiet. Only the sweet song of nature can be heard in this sacred place.
A profound quiet that I long for.
Our society is moving at 1000 mph, and it’s only increasing.
Most of us, myself included, are burning both ends of the candle, and wondering why we are dead tired all the time.
I’ve gotta do this, and I’ve gotta and do that – be here, and go there – on and on and on it goes, until we are literally burning ourselves out.
The Mountaintop provides a place to simply slow down, take a deep breath of fresh clean healing air, and move at the pace that nature intended – slow and steady.
The Mountaintop, at least as I’ve described it here, is a place which exists solely in my own imagination.
And yet, I find benefit from going there in my mind – on mini mental retreats- just mentally check out for a little while, escape the stresses and demands of daily life, and purposefully go to a place where there is nurturing for the spirit.
I can only imagine what it would be like to go there physically.
One sweet day I will find The Mountaintop, and experience it for real.