Headaches? Really? Hitting the nail a bit on the head, don’t you think, Doctor?
So today I wanted to tell you about the biggest mental “whoa” moment that I had during my mini-vacation to Manitou Springs last weekend. We visited the Cave of the Winds, and they recently installed a multi-story ropes course that hangs out over the cliff side called “Wind Walker.” It looks like this:
And at this point I should probably mention…I am very, very afraid of edges. Not heights, mind you. Just the edges of heights. Doesn’t matter how far off the ground. I get frightened at the edges of cliffs, roofs, bunk beds…ladders, being composed entirely of edges, are a special little torture. So WHY, you might be asking, would I EVER want to get up on a course composed of tip-toeing on tiny platforms?
I felt like challenging myself that day. Or maybe temporary insanity. Possibly sun stroke.
And for most of it, I did okay. Right until the part where it hangs right over the massive sheer drop and, naturally, they installed all the most terrifying parts of the course there. Bits where there’s a single rope, and everything to hold onto with your hands is out of reach until you’re halfway across.
Cory, being more nimble and fearless, crossed it quickly. I…had a lot more trouble. In fact, I couldn’t get started. I kept putting my foot on the rope and being swallowed up by panic. The perfectionist voice roared up, You have to put your foot down on it correctly, absolutely perfectly, or you’ll mess up and you’ll fall and you’ll be a complete failure. If you don’t start out on the right foot, you might as well not start at all. Three times I put one foot on the rope, and three times I snatched it back. I almost gave up. I almost told Cory, “I can’t do it.”
Then I thought — do I want to look back on today, and have a list of new experiences, or a collections of risks I was too afraid to take?
So I put one foot in front of the other, and I didn’t focus on the steps. I focused on breathing in, and breathing out. I took it slow. I didn’t rush. In and out. One foot, then another.
And I made it to the other side.
Later, I went back by myself, and I did it again. And you know what? It was a lot easier that time.
There are always “reasons” and “excuses” for us not to live our lives. “I just don’t have the time,” or “I’m not good enough,” or “I have to take care of somebody else more than I need to take care of me.” There’s a million and one “reasons” why we can’t try something, or do something important for ourselves. Yet they all boil down to one thing: “I am afraid.”
I never want to live a life in fear.
How have you challenged yourself to overcome excuses and fears?