Through the Eyes of an Educator: The Climb, The Awakening, The Comeback—Learning to Embrace the Journey

by Stacey Ebert /
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May 01, 2023 / 0 comments

“I can almost see it, that dream I’m dreaming
But there’s a voice inside my head saying you’ll never reach it
Every step I’m taking, every move I make feels lost with no direction
My faith is shaking, but I, I gotta keep trying, gotta keep my head held high” - The Climb
, Miley Cyrus

The real-life Hannah Montana has a new docu-series on Disney+. Miley Cyrus’ The Climb shares the story of her journey from then to now. While the double life of a teenage superstar is her story, each of us has our own. The show, and its eponymous song, denote a journey, with all the highs, lows, awareness, understanding, imagination, and a reemergence. 

Growth isn’t easy; it’s messy, it’s a whole mucky process—yet, when you finally reach what we might call the other side, the air is different. There’s a clarity, a bit of authenticity, an easier breath. The butterfly doesn’t show up to flap her wings without going through the process first. On the journey to the magic of whimsical flight, she may flutter or stumble or get stunned along the way, but when she gets there, it’s truly a beautiful experience. People have the same power; we just don’t always talk about the messy middle or the difficult yet powerful comebacks. 

What if we did?

Through the Eyes of an Educator: The Climb, The Awakening, The Comeback—Learning to Embrace the Journey

What if that next generation heard about the effort and the struggle, the lows amidst the highs, the grit and shifts, the feelings—all of them; the triumphs, the downtime, and the comeback…all of it. In the world of social media everything, so often we see the aftermath, the aha moment, the big reveal, but the process isn’t as insta-friendly as the final product. Perhaps, years ago, it wasn’t that different, but it certainly wasn’t in your face all the time on all sorts of channels. 

In an effort to debunk the myth that the butterfly magically appears with her glorious wings and takes easy flight, let’s show the whole picture, the full story, the process beyond the start and the finish. 

If we want to strengthen our students' coping mechanisms, encourage their emotional development, and enhance their tools for growth alongside their scores for core curriculum assessments, we need to pull back the curtain on the journey with everything included. Our favorite artists didn’t emerge from the womb ready to pack stadiums, the authors we love have walls covered with rejection letters, sports legends have dealt with career-altering injuries and recoveries, and like millions of others in all sorts of work, the renowned chefs of today once worked other gigs to get their foot in the door of their industry. Let’s tell the truth: it’s not always easy, there are times of hard and struggle, sometimes we lose our way and even faith in ourselves, but, like the caterpillar and the butterfly, we emerge, we reemerge, and find the beauty of flight.

Through the Eyes of an Educator: The Climb, The Awakening, The Comeback—Learning to Embrace the Journey

The steps: Tips, truths, and tools to light the way

The Climb

“There’s always gonna be another mountain, I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle, sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there, ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side IT’S THE CLIMB” - The Climb,
Miley Cyrus

Sometimes it feels awesome, sometimes it feels like slogging through quicksand without even the possibility of a tree branch or rope assist—still, it’s all a part of the story. Sure, there are tricks for daily mindfulness motivations and strategies to employ, but at the end of the day, it’s about putting one foot in front of the other and continuing to show up. 

Some moments are filled with determination, grit, and endless energy, while others call for rest, a bit of recovery, or even feeling flat. It’s okay, you’re not alone, you’ve got this!

Find a community, engage mentors, talk to others, and take brain and mood breaks. Go for a walk, pet the puppy, change that workspace, invest in yourself, read, shift perspective, and give yourself time for being along with all the doing. 

There will be moments of utter exhilaration, and times when it feels like nothing’s going your way. Sometimes the dream shifts a bit, and other times one morphs into the next. Learn to put yourself first, put that energy where you need it most, and say no to things or people that pull you away from that end goal. 

Along the way, you’re cultivating your own resilience. When you falter, get back up; if it doesn’t all go right, look at it a different way…and know that within each disaster and triumph, there’s a lesson ensuring you become exactly the person you wish. 

Through the Eyes of an Educator: The Climb, The Awakening, The Comeback—Learning to Embrace the Journey

The Awakening 

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.’”- W. B. Yeats

For me, it started with travel. The world at large reminds you of the tiny space you take up. The cacophony of sounds blended with cultures, aromas, beliefs, geography, and the humans who make up this wide world…immersing myself within all of it flipped my perspective on its head. My eyes opened wider, becoming filled with wonder, questions, ideas, and dreams bigger than I imagined. Yoga and mindfulness continued to shift that perspective, sharpen my senses, and flood my spirit with tidbits of magic pitching awareness into my frame of reference. 

It’s weird when it shows up. It’s like a door opening to a whole new world; as if I suddenly jumped down Alice’s rabbit hole and am now in Wonderland. Perhaps all the things, sights, and sounds were there before, but suddenly they’re clearer to me. 

Meet yourself where you are and begin today. Notice the little things. Listen to the morning sounds of nature, watch the hummingbird mid-flight, savor the food on your plate, take a moment to watch the snowflake fall, dance in the kitchen, focus on the task at hand, pay attention to your breath. It won’t happen overnight, but little by little, the noticing becomes second nature, the aha moments show up more like glittery awareness stars, and a little bit of the cloudy fog ebbs. 

Take breaks when you need, process the learnings as you go, remain open and curious about your thoughts, and trust that you’ll get to where you need to be in your own time.

Through the Eyes of an Educator: The Climb, The Awakening, The Comeback—Learning to Embrace the JourneyThrough the Eyes of an Educator: The Climb, The Awakening, The Comeback—Learning to Embrace the Journey

The Comeback

“A setback only paves the way for a comeback.” - Evander Holyfield

If the recent Oscar ceremonies taught us anything, it’s that comebacks are real and can be a truly golden moment. After a twenty-year acting hiatus, Ke Huy Quan walked across that stage, accepted his well-deserved award, and beamed with tears of joy. In a more than four-decade career, Jamie Lee Curtis, too, had her own well-earned acceptance, shouting her excitement about winning her very first Oscar. The tears were real, elation palpable, and the comeback unforgettably sweet. Like many of us, there were lulls in their careers, times of disappointment, pivots, sadness, course corrections, wonderings if continuing in this direction was a good idea, and people in their corner with encouragement, an ear to lend, and motivation when needed.

A lesson in resilience, depth of strength, and heart, the comeback is that re-emergence of you. 

It’s a notion of beginning again, knowing your worth, sharing your energy, and believing and trusting in yourself. There’s no timeline, there’s no one direction, and no map to avoid persistent potholes. A journey consists of twists, turns, roundabouts, barriers, and all sorts of weird merges. Staying the course isn’t always easy, often lasts longer than we wish, and at times requires effort of epic proportions. Weighing risk and regret isn’t easy. Risking the heart is hard. 

Weaving through the highs and lows of life’s adventure isn’t as simple as asking SIRI, but you are tougher than you think. Since the Hannah Montana persona, Miley Cyrus has had various versions of herself and her career. In her latest release of the mega hit Flowers, she showed up as the human of today and reaffirmed her spot as a powerhouse of the industry. Your reemergence is around the corner: it’s your time to shine.

Your comeback awaits—are you ready?

Through the Eyes of an Educator: The Climb, The Awakening, The Comeback—Learning to Embrace the Journey




Please click the photo below for a collection of my Through the Eyes of an Educator columns:

Through the Eyes of an Educator: A Compendium


Stacey Ebert, our Educational Travels Editor, is a traveler at heart who met her Australian-born husband while on a trip in New Zealand. Stacey was an extracurricular advisor and taught history in a Long Island public high school for over fifteen years, enjoying both the formal and informal educational practices. After a one year 'round the world honeymoon, travel and its many gifts changed her perspective. She has since left the educational world to focus on writing and travel. She is energetic and enthusiastic about long term travel, finding what makes you happy and making the leap. In her spare time she is an event planner, yogi, dark chocolate lover, and spends as much time as possible with her toes in the sand.

Check out her website at for more of her travel musings.