I Am The Mountain

I wrote this four years ago as a message to myself. When I stumble across it again, as I did today, I find it a good reminder to keep focus on what’s important. You’re welcome to take a look. 

Power bestowed on you by others can be taken away. Whether it is power by position or popularity, if the cool kids don’t like you anymore, that power is gone.

The real power, the kind no one can take from you, comes from within. It comes from understanding your priorities. It comes from balancing your time and energy on those priorities. It comes from calling on courage when confidence is weak. From trying new things, perhaps small things at first. When nothing bad happens, and when sometimes good results occur, confidence builds. With greater confidence comes greater courage. The two feed each other.

Power is in the present, always in the present. It comes from what you do, not what you did or what you might do. To be powerful, you must be in the present with it. That means not indulging in what-ifs. That’s just making up stories. If you want to make up stories about what should have happened or what might happen in the future, do it right. Write them down. Call them what they are, fiction.

Power can be used to create or destroy. (I choose to create.)

Some of the greatest power is in how you react. If someone pushes you down, stand up again. That is powerful.

I am powerful. I am the mountain.


The Mountain. 60″ square. November 2015. Made from stash. Photo by Jim Ruebush.


Still Climbing Mountains. 57″ x 64″. August 2016. Made from stash. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

28 thoughts on “I Am The Mountain

  1. climbforacure2019

    I am climbing Kilimanjaro in 2019 and initially thought your post was going to be about mountain climbing but it was a different message from what I expected but very powerful. Thank you.

  2. Pingback: Creative Juice #83 | ARHtistic License

  3. snarkyquilter

    Another perspective on power – you can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you react. If you’re confident in your own power and abilities you’re ready and able to control your reaction. BTW, enjoyed seeing “The Mountain” again. I decided the black and white fabrics give it power.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Right. Learning to control how you react can be a lifelong process. 🙂 Part of it is habit, of course. Thanks for the comments on The Mountain. I think you’re right. If not for the strong contrasts of dark and light (they are actually navy/white, brown/cream, and black/white, in varying places) it could have all gone to mush. Thanks.

  4. katechiconi

    And another thought: Your power is for you to use. Do not hand it to another lest they use it against you. I love both of your mountain quilts, amongst my favourites of your work.

  5. louisedduffy

    Fantastic!! This goes well with a hard kearned lesson that if I have to wait for someone else to get their act together for me to be OK, I am no longer free. And today, I choose freedom!

  6. TextileRanger

    I love both quilts. And the sentence about the create/destroy dichotomy — I had never really thought of it that way, and you made me think that it really is more powerful to create. Anyone can knock something down or tear it up.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      I like the way you see that. We know too well that knocking things over is pretty easy — look at any 3 year old with a tower of blocks. It took so much to build it and so little to destroy it, but which one was really the powerful act? Thanks much.

  7. BJ

    A good life lesson, to be sure, although I find a bit of retrospection can be helpful in understanding where I might have gone wrong in a given situation. I call it a post mortem and the goal is to figure out how, why, and to whom or what I lost power, and to determine if I care enough to fix it for next time. Sometimes what should have happened would have been for me to do something different, and I want to know that. Thanks for the powerful words!


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