I recently spent a few days at Miraval Resort after some big life changes to heal, replenish, conquer some fear and get more comfortable with the unknown. While I was there I participated in a challenge course called “out on a limb” activity. In this, you climb up a utility pole and walk across a suspended log 25 feet in the air while wearing a harness. Everyone has their own reason for doing these challenges such as conquering fear of heights, letting go of perfectionism, being brave in the face of fear. At the beginning of the challenge, the guide asks your intention. I said mine was courage and competence. I also decided to do it blindfolded.
As I climbed up the utility pole, I was terrified. I have a real fear of heights. Knowing you are wearing a harness and perfectly safe didn’t do much to minimize my fear. With each step on the staples as they call them, my fear of heights was in overdrive, heart was racing and I questioned whether or not I’d make it. Once I was at the level of the log, I had to do a little maneuvering to get on it. So there I was, now standing on a log, suspended in the air. Then I put on my blindfold. There were 8 of us doing this challenge one at a time. Everyone is cheering and supporting you along the way.
I would have been happy if all I could do was take two steps. But after those first two steps, I tuned in and felt my way along the log. Believe it or not, being blindfolded helped me stay calmer. I was able to focus on my feet, feeling the log and maintaining my balance and not being reminded of the fact that I was 25 feet in the air. I made it about half way across before I lost my balance. I couldn’t recover so I let myself fall.
Since that day, I have been reflecting on my experience. We fear the unknown because we cannot see what is ahead. We are in essence blindfolded. Yet there is a great gift in this. When you can’t see, your other senses wake up and become your guide. You end up feeling your way through instead of thinking your way through. You allow your intuition to guide you more. Your hearing becomes heightened and you pick up on cues and clues for next steps and answers. When you use your eyes, you formulate opinions and judgements about what you are focused on which creates limitations and can increase fear. When you feel your way through a situation, you are more open to ideas, possibilities and receiving clarity along the way.
So, when faced with the unknown, look within for guidance as to what is right for you. Pay attention to what you hear and be open to what the universe brings your way. Stay detached from what you think it has to look like. Try new things for more inspiration and clarity. Appreciate your bravery.
After the exercise, the guide asked what we took away from this experience. My answer was “to embrace trust and faith”. The unknown is scary. Trust that you have the wisdom and fortitude to navigate it safely and have faith that what you need will come in the right way and at the right time. It will make the journey of change much more pleasant and peaceful. And if you fall, it’s ok. Just get up and keep going.
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