As I take in the beauty of the scene, I am no longer aware that I am in the middle of a rainstorm. This giant Buddha is surrounded by beds and beds of flowers that have all been left in its honor. I am amazed to see that so many others also made the journey up this “mountain” to honor their “god.” I see roughly 50 people on their hands and knees, intensely praying in the fresh mud. As I slowly begin to take in the beauty of this mountain top, I almost convince myself that I am dreaming. It isn’t the beautiful display of flowers or the bronze Buddha, but the dedication that these people are showing for something that is so important to them.
Almost no one goes through life without having any regrets. These “regrets” are often more about not seizing opportunities, rather than about taking risks. The fact is, it is much easier for one to stay within his or her comfort zone, avoiding challenges that are unfamiliar or scary. It is much harder to embrace what is challenging, over and over again. It’s both a hard lesson to remember and a difficult task to sustain.
Three years ago, when I was visiting Japan, I had an amazing experience. Thinking back, I can remember how close I came to turning around and giving up on my goal of climbing the mountain. If I had turned around, I would be a different person than I am today. I learned a lot from climbing that mountain. Beyond experiencing a culture that is so different from mine, I learned the importance of not letting a little rain stop me from an opportunity to experience something new and rewarding.
Be brave…it will make you a better you.