facing difficulty

I’m climbing.
It’s a huge crag, one that takes learned skill – training, practice and experience – before climbing. This is the crux point, the toughest place on the climb where I have to muster up every ounce of strength to trust my training and ability in order to keep going. Soon it will get easier.

I could let go.

Safety precautions have been taken and the rope will hold me. The belayer has my back.
If I let go, I will survive.
If I let go, it is between me and my belayer.
If I let go, I will have a choice to make.
Start over and try again.
Take a break and come back later.
Or…  Give up and never go back.

Have you ever felt this way?

I’m not a rock climber, but for the past few years I have been on the climbing adventure of my life. Gradually I have stepped into situations that are more and more difficult, sometimes letting go, sometimes taking a break for awhile and sometimes WANTING to give up…
But never actually giving up.

Again I ask, have you ever felt this way?

When you are at the crux point and you want to give up… When you are tired… When you feel helpless, hopeless and incapable…
THAT is the time to think back and remember where you started.
Are you further along than you were a  year ago? Do you know more now?

Every climber must start with the basics. You learn about harnesses and rope and carabiners. You learn that it takes muscle strength and proper body positioning in order to reach the next hand or foot hold. You learn the basic lingo and get brave enough to use those words even if you’re worried you might get them wrong.
Eventually, through practice, those words become a normal part of your climbing vocabulary. Recognizing holds as well as using your body and your stronger muscles to reach them becomes second nature. Putting on a harness and figuring out how to use carabiners is no longer a puzzle.
By pushing through difficult situations you have learned so much and have come so far!
And yet, you are in a difficult spot.

When you are facing difficulty, be encouraged by the knowledge that when you push through, YOU GROW. 

Then next year you will look back gratefully because you will be able to see just how far you’ve come.


proceed with caution

There’s a golf course near where I live with a wonderful fitness trail around it. The grounds are so beautiful that if not for the occasional ping of a golf club sending that little white ball flying yards across the fairway and the cars speeding noisily by on the busy roads surrounding three sides of the course, I might forget that I’m not walking through the forest while touring the perimeter.

See the chipmunk??

As I was walking this trail today for the first time in over a month, I questioned myself. Why don’t I come here more often? Previous summers I would walk the trail three or four times a week but this summer has been different. It was HOT here in Portland. With over twenty-five days above 90 degrees, and many of the others in the high 80’s, I just couldn’t bring myself to brave the heat.

Being a naitive born, web-toed, third generation Oregonian, a  Pacific Northwest girl through and through, I LOVE the sunshine when it comes out, but I definitely prefer high temperatures around 80. A week of hot weather is fine but after that, I’m done and ready to move on to cooler days!

Enough with the excuses…

While walking this short trail today (a website tells me it’s two miles but I’m not convinced), a thought occurred to me. I wonder what would happen if I did this every single day. Several things came to mind. A few pounds might mysteriously disappear from my body. My legs would tone up and become stronger. My heart would be healthier. My emotional state would be happier.
Then the negative, limiting beliefs started up. It was as if my mind saw a great big sign that said,

There are pitfalls to this crazy idea!

The list of negatives flowed freely and quickly as if desperately trying to save me from myself. What if I don’t have time? What if it’s hot? What if the air is filled with smoke from forest fires? What if it’s cold? What if it’s freezing? What if it’s raining? What if it’s windy or hailing, or snowing? What if there’s a criminal on the loose? What if the zombies are attacking? What if… What if… WHAT IF!!!

Stupid lizard brain!!! I don’t need your protection!

The truth is, I’m sick and tired of not doing things because I might be a little uncomfortable. The truth is, getting uncomfortable is a really great way to open up my world and to grow. The truth is, if I open up my world I might have a better idea about what to do with my life.

The truth is scary. Proceeding with caution is much, much easier. That’s why I have a little tattoo on my wrist reminding me.

fear not

I am grateful for the instinctual protection my reptilian brain gives.
I am grateful for the knowledge that I don’t always need to listen to those warnings.
I am grateful for the growth that takes place through frustrating times in my life.

I am grateful.