Today Kilo and I decided to go hiking. We picked a moderate to hard trail but really had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. We started at the South Mesa Trailhead outside of Eldorado Springs, headed up Towhee Trail back over to Mesa Trail and then straight up Shadow Canyon South. And when I say straight up, I mean straight up…over boulders…not little rocks, BIG rocks…with very few switchbacks until right before the we hit the saddle. Factor in the ascent to 8200 feet or so and you have the makings for a long day of hiking…about 6 hours of it to be exact. 4 up and 2 down.
A little over half way up…after hitting the rocks and increased incline…all I could think was “how much further???”. There was no way of knowing for sure without asking the few people we ran into on the way down. Each said 20 minutes…no matter where we were on the trail…ummmm, thanks but you were all wrong!
At one point, I started to think about going back down and became a little overwhelmed. Sure, going down is always easier but the rocks we were climbing over were so big…uneven…and the trail was difficult enough that I knew going down was going to just be a different kind of hard. I thought about crying but that wasn’t going to make the trip end any faster.
Instead, we agreed to slow down…and to look up. Both lessons that can apply to any aspect of life. Too often, we’re in such a hurry to reach the goal that we speed through and miss the experience of the journey. We don’t remember what it felt like to be in the middle of the “doing” because we aren’t present in the moment…our minds are half way up the mountain thinking about what it will feel like to reach the top, instead of being present and feeling our way along the path.
We keep our heads down…eyes to the ground…nose to the grindstone. We forget to look up and take in the picturesque views…to see the flowers…the butterflies…the potential bear and bobcat dens. We miss all the beauty and wonder that is right in front of us…surrounding us.
These two pearls of wisdom — slow down and look up — kept us tuned into the experience and less focused on the end result. I mean, we had committed to making it to the top and that’s what we were going to do so there was no reason to get caught up in it. I never thought we wouldn’t make it…that we couldn’t do it. We had decided and so it would be. And guess what….we made it!
The way down was hard in its own way but the victory of making it to the top helped to create enough momentum to carry us to the bottom. As we made our way down, I was struck by a couple of things….
First, I’ve been living my life small. I’ve been playing it safe and not really putting myself out there. Leaving my job was big — sure — but other than that, I’ve been in control…calculating the level of risk I was willing to take on. And on the side of the mountain, I knew it wasn’t enough. Feeling encompassed by mountains…trees…boulders…I felt like how I had been living…small.
We’re each given a set of talents and a personal legend to accomplish. I think I’ve figured mine out but I’m not really applying myself yet. It’s time…no more taking the easy trails. It’s time to suit up and tackle a hard trail. I have the time…the ability…and I’m surrounded by people that love and support me.
Next up was some real talk from Kilo about how safe I’ve been playing my relationship with Mr. Universe. She’s seen some of my walls come down but she still sees the ones that are up. It’s time, she said. This seems different so I need to stop letting that societal voice in my head dictate how quickly things move and what happens next. She said it’s time to live from my heart…and she’s right. I’m so much closer to doing that than I’ve ever been, but I’m still holding back a bit…playing it safe…playing it small.
Finally, I realized that the words “I can’t” never came out of our mouths…despite how nervous we might have been. We made it to the top because we said we were going to. Because we’re healthy women who believe in themselves. Because that’s what you do when you go to Colorado…you climb a mountain. We were fortunate to have the opportunity before us so we were going to make the most of it…and we did.
So many people have the opportunity to do something and they don’t. They’re too afraid of what might happen if they actually do it. What if they are different after…what if their life changes in some way…what if they realize that what they’ve been settling for, isn’t enough anymore…what if they realize they want something they told themselves they couldn’t have….what if that’s the point???
So many what ifs that drive us to simply saying “I can’t” so we just never try….It breaks my heart. In 99 days I’ve waded through so many issues…personal shit that I’ve been carrying with me for years — even a lifetime. But that was the point…to focus on my shit and get healthy. To finally meet and get to know the real me. To push through whatever wall was standing in my way so I could find complete freedom. Never did I think I wouldn’t accomplish this goal…never did I say “I can’t”. I didn’t think I’d make this much progress this quickly but I knew I was going to achieve what I set out to do.
To what are you saying “I can’t”? And what happens if you stop saying that and just go for it? Why don’t you go climb a mountain….