I am 60 feet in the air, currently balancing on a wire no thicker than my thumb. I have no idea how I got here, just that there’s seemingly no way to go back. I am afraid of heights, mind you. The worst part? I am forced to stare straight down and constantly notice my predicament so I don’t misplace a step. A rope two feet to my right is seemingly there to give the illusion of support but I know better – both wire and rope are strapped to trees a hundred feet away from each other making stability a joke. How did I get into this mess? How do I get down without dying? At this point those thoughts don’t matter and all I can do is focus and push forward. “Almost halfway there, keep going,” “Halfway there, you’re doing it,””3/4 of the way, you’re a monster!””10 more feet til victory, don’t lose focus!” Five minutes later, which easily seemed like over an hour, I fall forward onto a small wooden platform and hug the top of the tree like a long lost friend. I made it. Safety.
My experience then acted as a metaphor to propel me in other aspects. There are many situations we face which seem insurmountable. We don’t remember how or why we got there and we certainly want someone to help get us down yet there seems to help in sight. A sick parent, mental illness, loss of a loved one, end of a relationship… All of these are intimidating and shake us to the core. Our hands shake, we struggle sleeping and regardless of our efforts can’t seem to get the ‘what if’s’ off our mind. We all have these moments and we’ve all gotten through them. In the end, we find our lives continue and potentially head in new directions with strength we previously lacked. Why then do we struggle to understand how we can ever move on in the now?
The tight rope is where I found my strength. A sudden realization that without the fear I would not have the adrenaline needed to push forward. Trying to calm down and make sense of things worked for a moment but quickly began to hinder my progress. I needed an extra oomph… I needed fear. Fear was easy to find with all the uncertainty – embracing that fear and letting it loose on my circumstance was the challenge. Accept where you are, accept you won’t know where you’ll be. Remind yourself you’ve been here before and made it out. We can use our fear of the unknown to steam roll through what is to come. We are truly challenging ourselves to grow and is that not the entire reason we’re here?
Challenges beget fear and fear begets power. We all want power – we just need challenges to get us there.