The Law of Faith is about trusting the inherent love and intelligence working through you and all creation.
Trusting in Spirit, The Laws of Spirit, by Dan Millman
The second lesson I’m having to relearn is the ability to put faith in the Universe (God) that it will support me. My Australian adventure was my first test of faith, where I jumped and the net revealed itself every step of the way. My faith carried itself over into Colorado. I moved knowing one person, but through that one person serendipitously found a job and a living situation that worked itself out nicely. It couldn’t have worked out better even if I had planned it. It was proof that the Universe conspires to work in my favor. So why haven’t I learned and embodied this lesson?
Past traumas and a parental example are forefront in my mind. I witnessed and experienced my father completely implode his life, making terrible choices that further impacted him and his family (me) negatively. I catch myself wondering if I’m likely to repeat his karma. At one point during this transitional period, readying myself to move to Oregon, my mom implied she was afraid I’d end up like my dad.
With his misfortunes in the back of my mind, I still press on with my decision to pack up and wrap up my life in Colorado, because I feel in my gut and bones there is a greater force at play. Spirit (Holy Spirit) has been preparing me to make this move since 2021, when Washington/Oregon was first put into my consciousness. Physically, I’m feeling called to the land in Washington, across the Columbia River from Hood River. There’s medicine for me in the land in Washington, possibly even a spiritual teacher waiting for me there. Through meditation, it’s been revealed that my knowledge of nervous system and emotional regulation is my medicine I will bring to the Columbia River Gorge. With intuitive hits, downloads and sensing, I feel divinely supported. Yet, it’s hard to have faith when I’m craving concrete evidence that everything will work out.
I’m taking a big risk in having faith in the Universe. I’m out of my comfort zone, waaaaay past my growth edges! Letting go of control, letting go in general, is not my strength. Not knowing details like a job or stable living situation still has the ability to send me into an anxiety attack. As I’ve been told by a psychic friend, my ability to “logic this out” will be of no use to me, and will even hinder my ability to thrive in Oregon. Fuuuuuck! That’s literally how I’ve survived the past 36 years.
This chapter, this launching off point, feels much different than the Leap I took to Australia/Colorado. My spiritual practice has deepened, and I have more spiritual tools in my tool belt. I can feel the Universe’s supportive energy. I feel Spirit calling me to push myself into significant and expansive spiritual growth. I just need to surrender and believe that the Universe will support me. I just gotta have faith (faith, faith).
Working as a school teacher, there are times when students require that I reteach a lesson to ensure they adequately master content. The Universe, being the ultimate teacher, is circling back on lessons I was supposed to learn during my first Leap to Australia. One of the lessons? Trusting myself.
For my first Leap, I landed in Queensland, Australia. My first week I stayed at a hostel, but quickly realized the hostel atmosphere was not what my soul was craving. I craved deep, authentic connection with travelers, locals and like-minded kindred spirits, so I opted for a work-stay with a local family needing help renovating their rental property. Steve, the father, was a world traveler and we bonded over travel stories while painting and renovating the property.
“I don’t think it’s a matter of trusting the Universe, I think it’s about trusting yourself in your own abilities,” Steve insisted.
To explain his point, he proceeded to tell me a story about a bird, who found himself on a weak, unsteady branch.
“Now this bird has two options, he can trust that the branch will hold him, or he can trust his wings and his ability to fly.”
Cut to present time: After spending two weeks in a victim mentality, stressing about the unknowns of Oregon (specifically what to do for work and where to live), in one day, I had two people tell me, “the Universe doesn’t give you more than you can handle.”
Clearly, it was something the Universe needed me to hear. If this is something the Universe thinks I can handle, I thought, why am I acting like I can’t handle it?
That’s when my mentality shifted from victim to designer of my destiny. I began to believe in my ability to make this move happen, all on my own. And my actions followed. Organize a garage sale? No problem. Get furniture picked up for free? Done. Get a property manager to rent my house? Check. Start an LLC for the rental property? Yep.
All of the necessary moves that needed to happen fell into place, all in the right timing. But this little birdie doesn’t just have faith in my own ability to fly, I also have trust, trust that the Universe is conspiring on my behalf. To provide me with abundance. This is where I differ in my opinion from Steve’s. It requires a combo of trust and faith. Both, and.
To distract myself from the dizziness of packing up 6 years worth of Colorado life, I decided to go see the movie The Mirage, documenting Timothy Olson, an ultra-marathon runner, running the Pacific Crest Trail to beat the previous record of fastest thru hike time.
I connected with his emotional struggle, throughout his time on the trail and especially his recount of addiction to drugs and alcohol and his road to sobriety. What struck me was a quote from the documentary about pushing outside of one’s comfort zone and confronting challenges.
Why would I want this to be easier? Why would I want a red carpet finish? That’s not why I was struggling from day one on. That’s not why I’ve been working on this for years. I wanted this to be a challenge because challenges in life crack you open. -Timothy Olson, Mirage documentary
The last few days have been particularly challenging. I’ve graduated to the part of the hero’s journey where beginners luck has ended. Synchronicities, although still happening, are less prevalent and now I’m facing challenges and obstacles. I’m realizing this transition requires physical, mental, emotional and spiritual purging. A purging of not just stuff, but all of my old belief systems that have kept me stuck or in a holding pattern, resistant to pursue the life I truly desire.
Energetic and spiritual purging is much like detoxing from drugs or alcohol. It is physically and emotionally painful. It has brought out my worst insecurities to the surface in order to be process and released. I’m confronting my fear of houselessness. I’m battling my core belief of worthlessness. I’m confronting my fear of the unknown and my uneasiness to trust that the Universe (God) will provide. I’m confronting my scarcity mindset that has prevented me from living a life of abundance. I’m confronting my past conditioning, my biggest traumas and negative core beliefs. I’ve been cracked open.
It certainly has been uncomfortable to be cracked open. It leaves me feeling raw and vulnerable, whittled down to my purest, authentic essence. But maybe that is what this Leap is about, being cracked open to my most authentic version of myself, so that I can live the life I’ve truly been called to live.
It’s been 6 years and 5 months since first picking up The Alchemist, the book that would forever change my course trajectory of life as I had known it. It was within the first three pages of the introduction that I had the proverbial wind knocked out of me, as Paulo’s words sucker punched me in my gut.
Intense, unexpected suffering passes more quickly than suffering that is apparently bareable; the latter goes on for years and, without noticing, eats away at our soul, until, one day, we are no longer able to free ourselves from the bitterness and it stays with us for the rest of our lives.
Introduction, page xi, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Paulo, in the introduction, was referencing someone not living their personal legend, their calling, their life’s dream written on their hearts by God.
His words penetrated to the deepest depths of my soul and spoke to me with a resonating honesty. His words reflected truth back to me, and I questioned, had I been allowing myself to suffer the slow rot of my soul in its bitterness of not following my personal legend?
The tears in my eyes expressing the suppressed sadness and grief indicated, yes.
I read the introduction to The Alchemist on a Sunday, and by that Thursday I had finished the book and handed in my letter of resignation to my boss, igniting the propulsion of catalytic forces of the Universe to change my life and follow my personal legend. As Paulo explained in the introduction, when making a decision that is in alignment with your personal legend, the Universe conspires to support it.
The words from The Alchemist gave me what I call my “Green Light, Go!”, an indication from the Universe, and an internal knowing sensed by my intuition, that I’m ready to take action.
Between that fateful Sunday and Thursday I formulated my action plan: quit my soul sucking job, move home for two months to tend to my mental and physical health, backpack Australia and then make the move to my final destination, fulfilling my childhood dream of moving to Colorado.
Looking back on the 6 years, 5 months, I remember the anxiety and trepidation of uprooting my life I had known, one I had intentionally and willingly created. But this chapter of my life had me feeling stuck, stuck in a job I hated, stuck in a city (Philadelphia) that no longer felt like home, stuck in isolation from relationships and friendships.
I was in a perpetual holding pattern, with the inability to get off the spinning hamster wheel, that is until I read The Alchemist. It was as if Paulo’s words ignited a long forgotten spark in me that craved vitality, aliveness and to follow what was written on my heart: moving to Colorado.
Here I am 6 years and 5 months later, sitting in my house in Colorado Springs, Colorado, staring at The Alchemist, like a long lost love, returning for the nourishment and advice, the tidbits of treasure and truths hidden between its pages. It is coming up on my 6th anniversary of moving to Colorado, the place I thought would be my forever home, I find myself in a eerily similar situation.
“Have you read The Alchemist?” She asked.
I sit with The Alchemist on my lap because of the advice of a friend, a spiritual mentor. I contacted her, seeking advice and validation that my personal legend is pushing me toward something more spiritually significant, somewhere not in Colorado.
I chuckled. “Yea, I’ve read The Alchemist.” I replied.
“Maybe it’s time you read it again.” She retorted.
At the last TEDx COS event, I went to the after party and met one of the speaker coaches, Bob. I confessed to him that I aspire to be a public speaker and to give a TEDx talk.
He asked me very poignantly, “Did you make it to the stage tonight?”
I paused and looked at him with confusion.
“You know, to visualize yourself on stage,” he continued.
This past weekend, when I attended the second TEDx COS event, I made sure to take Bob’s advice and get on stage, to look out at the sea of seats and envision what it would be like to tell my story to a large audience.
It was a tad intimidating, AND embarrassing, walking past the TEDx production crew, speakers and volunteers to get to the red dot where the speakers stand and look out at the empty auditorium. Cue my self-doubt : you’re intimidated now, the seats are empty, just wait until they are filled with people watching you! My heart beat faster.
I took a deep breath and told my negative committee to sit down and shut up. I’ll ensure I’m more than prepared to give a talk about my story, I thought. After all, shouldn’t I be the expert of my own story?!
For an introvert, the possibility of speaking in front of hundreds of strangers does continue to make my heart palpitate abnormally fast, yet at the same time, I’m intrigued with the idea. Mainly, I want to overcome my fear of public speaking and I feel that my story is worthy of sharing.
I’m going to apply for the next round of speakers for the spring of 2020, and I’ll see what transpires. But for now I’m keeping that vision of speaking on a TEDx stage in focus, bringing my story to life and speaking my truth to inspire others.
Special thanks to the staff, speakers and volunteers at the September 2019 TEDx COS event who put on a wonderful event. I’ll be seeing you next year!
And to those of you reading who have a dream: speak it into words, tell someone trusted and safe, then tell strangers. Visualize your dream happening. Feel like it has already happened. That’s when the universe will reward you with what you’ve been speaking and visualizing, bringing it to life!
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” Lao Tzu
For the last few years I have been on an inadvertent journey of self-discovery and reflection. I’ve spent an embarrassing number of years avoiding those topics out of fear of what I might find. What little I did know about myself, I didn’t really like because it would mean confronting some hard truths that my insecure sense of self and pride might not be able to weather.
I can write that now with the spark of clarity that comes from two years of various forms of therapy: licensed therapists, self-help books, Youtube videos, journal writing, and most surprisingly Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ).
BJJ is a martial art that focuses on grappling maneuvers and the magic of physics and human anatomy to apply joint locks and strangulation to subdue sometimes larger opponents. When a person concedes the roll (sparring session), they will tap.
I started training a little over two years ago, when a friend, who was a competitive purple belt, and who taught and trained BJJ, suggested I check it out. I was immediately hooked. The physical demands were challenging but what kept me coming back was how BJJ reflected my personality back to me in ways I couldn’t ignore. I learned more about myself in training than every personality quiz, test and assessment I had ever taken combined (and I’ve taken them all). Seeing how I reacted when I felt cornered, what I resorted to when I got desperate, and most importantly what I was willing to put my body through just so I could win was truly eye-opening.
I realized that I had lived many years of my life not knowing what I wanted. I approached my rolls with no plan. I just spazzed (technical term) and grabbed whatever I could and tried to hold on for dear life. Unfortunately, that didn’t work against anyone but the least experienced opponents. BJJ taught me that if I wanted to win, I needed to know what I wanted first so I could develop a plan to get there.
This was the first of many lessons BJJ had to teach me. BJJ became an outlet for me to prove to myself and others that I was tough. I harnessed my emotions, and used them as fuel for my training. I pushed myself, increased my pain threshold and my ability to withstand and adapt to all kinds of situations. I learned to breathe, and to approach my training with plans and goals in mind. And I learned that sometimes to gain a better position, you have to let go.
Even though BJJ is an individual sport, you can’t train alone. You need partners, ideally a community of people who push each other to work hard, support each other and improve. The people I trained with became my community. These people have helped me through some tough times and for that, I will forever be grateful. It’s a strange sport where the same people who tried to break my arms and strangle me with my own clothing were also my teammates and teachers, who helped me grow both mentally and physically. Though it might hurt for a while afterward, each injury taught me a valuable lesson and I’ve accumulated a few.
Sadly, my body doesn’t bounce back the way that it used to when I was younger. As I write this, I’m still nursing an injury from a dislocated finger from several months ago and a reverse cervical lordosis diagnosis. Training now would mean pushing past the limits of my body and mind only to satisfy my pride. Of all the injuries I’ve sustained or gotten since starting BJJ, my ego is the one that takes the longest to heal, and it’s been the hardest lesson for me to learn.
In addition to the physical limitations I’m confronting the fact that the anger I used to feed my training is now scarce. When I first started in the sport I was working through a lot of personal challenges and trying to figure out what I wanted. As I learned to spazz out less on the mats I have learned to spazz out less in life too. I’m identifying more of what I want, which has led to a less angry version of myself.Brazilian jiu-jitsu taught me about myself in ways I never would have imagined. I learned many hard lessons along the way, not least of which is that progress is rarely linear. Sometimes moving forward means taking a step back. In my journey to better understand myself and keep myself in balance, I need to respect where my body and mind are at right now. Which means that for now at least, I’m tapping out.
I distinctly remember when I noticed something wasn’t okay. I was sitting in a beginner’s meditation class, focusing on my breath, attempting to do a body scan. My normal pitfall, monkey brain (racing thoughts, the inability to stay present) wasn’t the issue. In an attempt to scan my body, I noticed a disconnect, an inability to feel my chest or from my navel on down. Rationally, I knew my chest, hips, pelvis and legs were in tact, but I looked down just to get a visual confirmation.
Curious to understand, I brought it up with my massage therapist. She stated that maybe my body had experienced trauma and was shut down as a result. She recommended I see psycho-somatic trauma release therapist named Jennifer, and the rest became history.
For my first appointment with Jennifer I was excited yet anxious. Going to multiple therapists before, both in my hometown and current city, and I knew it could be hit or miss. It all came down to “can I open myself up to her, allow myself to be vulnerable?”, ultimately, “Do I trust her?”
Walking into the office, I looked at her set up, her chair in one corner, my chair in the other. “Can I lay down?” I asked her.
“Absolutely!” she responded, “whatever your body needs.”
I paused and took note: whatever my body needs.
I ended up snuggled among pillows and blankets, laying on a pad on the floor.
She asked me where I wanted to start, if I had any physical traumas I wanted to unpack.
“I had a traumatic brain injury in high school,” I commented.
I began talking about my concussion that ended my promising soccer career. I gave her details of the field, what position I was playing, who I saw, what I saw right before I landed. I described feeling out of body afterwards, and how everyone mentioned that I looked drunk running around the field, running in the opposite direction, stumbling.
Taking notes, Jennifer paused and asked the simple question, “Did anyone tell you you were safe afterwards.”
Stunned by the question, I hesitated then answered with a single word: NO
Jennifer had me hold the part of my head that hit the ground, and tell it, and my body, I was safe.
Taking a deep breath in, gathering confidence, I stated “You’re safe.”
In a dizzying frenzy, the room spun out of control, I felt nauseous, I closed my eyes. Immediately, Jennifer had me open them and pick out five things in the room that were blue.
In rapid fire, I spit out, “the wall, the tapestry, the light, the vase, the bottle.” My body slowly returning to the present moment with each blue object I found.
That session ended, not before making sure I felt safe emotionally and physically after the reorientation. The rest of that week I felt pretty raw and vulnerable. I equate it to a scab being torn back open to scoop out the festering, putrid rotten insides, to then have the burning sensation from the rubbing alcohol to ensure its proper healing. Although I wanted to do nothing but hide from the world to address my wound in private, I noticed that my generalized anxiety, that heightened sense of alertness, always on edge, had dissipated.
My thoughts were clearer. I was present in the moment. Emotional triggers lessened. I could make decisions faster and with less worry. I felt… myself again.
Over the course of the year in therapy, I’ve had similar experiences where my body reoriented, or re-calibrated itself. After I sent my mom to the moon in a sound proof box (I love you mom!), my hips magically relaxed. After I turned my boundaries, that I originally described as an “open field of grass with a flowing breeze”, into a fortress with locks and motes and alligators ready to attack, the lump in my throat disappeared and I was able to state my physical and emotional boundaries more easily. Each time, I began to feel more and more present, less anxious, less depressed, less triggered. I felt I could give genuinely, from an authentic place, to my students at school, to my friends and family. I was less tired, had more vitality and my creative energy emerged.
Now I pay more attention to my body. I pay attention when it shuts down around certain people and when it feels at its best around others. I pay attention to the still, small voice of my intuition. Now after a year with Jennifer, more often than not, its a loud, decisive voice telling me what I should do or shouldn’t do.
I’m eternally thankful for Jennifer. I no longer call her my therapist but my healer. She has helped me return to my authentic self after two solid decades in hiding. I’ve recommended her to several friends, some of whom have taken my advice and called her. If you are in the Colorado Springs area, and looking for a therapist I highly and strongly recommend her. If you are outside of the Springs and looking for a form of therapy to relieve anxiety, depression, PTSD, OCD, or addiction, then I recommend looking into psycho-somatic trauma release.
If you are looking for resources about psycho-somatic trauma release, read Peter Levine’s books, Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma and In An Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness. Somatic Trauma Release helps relieve trauma symptoms such as anxiety, depression, OCD, ADD, addiction andothers by relieving physical tension/stored energy that haven’t been released since the original trauma occurred. By safely and properly releasing tension/energy, the somatic symptoms of trauma are greatly reduced and in some cases eventually dissipate completely.
(Editor’s Note: Jennifer Kelly is a somatic processing therapist in Colorado Springs, Co. You can inquire about therapy and book an appointment with her at her website Divine Insight . This article was written independently of Jennifer and her business, and is not intended to be an advertisement. I have her permission to publish her contact and business information, at no cost to her. It’s merely a resource for those who may be looking for a therapist in the Springs area.)
Today’s post transports me back to a time when I was still living in Philadelphia, working in Camden, New Jersey as a special education teacher, hating my life, feeling stuck. I worked a job that had little regard for a work-life balance, working ten hour days, 50 hour work weeks and bi-weekly Saturday schools. I’d come home with little to no energy to take on any personal projects of my own. My. Soul. Felt. Empty.
It was a time when I was searching for something, anything, as a sign for what was next. I got that sign in the form of the book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It was the second and third pages of the Introduction that became my “sign”. Here Paulo writes about a personal calling (what you were put on earth to do, igniting enthusiasm within you) and the obstacles that one has to face in order to achieve it. But what really stood out to me was this:
“Intense, unexpected suffering passes more quickly than suffering that is apparently bearable; the later goes on for years and, without our noticing, eats away at our soul, until, one day, we are no longer able to free ourselves from the bitterness…”
Upon reading this, I wept uncontrollably. I was living the bearable suffering, too scared to chase my personal calling. I felt my soul being eaten away by my job and by my place in the world. Bitterness had started to creep in.
I read that on a Sunday. By Thursday of that same week, I walked into my job and resigned. It was such a quick decision I hadn’t even called my mom for fear of her talking me out of it. After I had given my letter of resignation, I called her to state my plan.
My plan: I move home for two months, backpack Australia for a few months and then head off to Colorado to start a new life. As much as I was adamant about this plan (deep down I knew it needed to be done), somehow I felt like a failure. Maybe I wasn’t cut out to be a special ed teacher? Maybe I wasn’t good enough to be successful at that school? Maybe I wasn’t good enough to continue with the life I was living?
NOPE. N-O, shit naw. Wanna know what ACTUALLY happened?
I FINALLY FIGURED OUT MY WORTH!
I was worthy of so much more than what I was getting out of my job and my life back in Philadelphia. That was no longer my path and I sensed it. Kudos to me, because as Paulo stated in his introduction some people never figure it out. And I’m so very thankful for the friends, family and my therapist at the time who helped me to remember my worth.
Two years after moving home for two months, backpacking Australia for four months and then moving to Colorado I can tell you I am that much closer to realizing my personal calling. I still have a few hurdles to jump, some decisions to make but I know it’ll be worth it AND that I AM WORTH IT.
So if you are living your life thinking that this current path just doesn’t feel right, but you think you’d be a failure for quitting, please know, please deeply understand and feel that you aren’t a failure. You’re coming to realize your worth. You’re starting to understand your path, your next steps in your journey, following your own personal legend.
Coelho ends the introduction of The Alchemist with this:
“But if you believe yourself worthy of the thing you fought so hard to get, then you become and instrument of God, you help the soul of the world, and you understand why you are here.”
Help the world by following your personal calling, by knowing your worth, by knowing when to walk away.
“So Why Are You Afraid of Intimate Relationships?”
Those were the words a friend asked on Sunday that have still stuck with me since spoken. The question hit me like a punch to the gut. I broke down immediately.
It was a topic my therapist had also sneakily asked when I was separating my fears, a visualization exercise to help me separate my own fears and my mother’s fears that she instilled in me growing up. I was taking stock of my fears and packing up ones that no longer served their purpose.
“Fear of intimacy?” She asked. It took a second for me process, as it wasn’t a fear I had identified on my own prior to the sorting exercise.
“Keep,” I responded, my therapist glancing at me with a smile, both of us knowing it was a short term protective measure I’d be revisiting soon.
Why the fear of intimacy? Intimacy requires a high degree of vulnerability and trust. It requires Opening myself up, all of myself, the light and the dark, to be seen and deeply understood.
Maybe my fear stems from opening up and being hurt in the past. Maybe I’m afraid because my models for intimate relationships were completely dysfunctional, whereas instead of equating intimacy to trust, compassion and respect, I equate it to abandonment, loss and rejection. Maybe I’ve felt safest keeping those I love at a distance. Maybe in order to be intimate with another I must first love and illuminate the darkest parts within me, to make peace with them.
Since Sunday I’ve been ruminating on this. Since Sunday I’ve known this is the next fear I need to tackle. Since Sunday I’ve been an emotional wreck, waiting with anticipation to unpack and process this fear in therapy.
Last night I had the privilege of hanging with my two climbing partners Adam and Greg at Go Vertical in Philadelphia. It had been at least 7 months since I had climbed last and even longer since I had had a regular climbing routine in the gym. Walking into Go Vert, I set my expectations fairly low, thinking I’d start at 5.6s and maybe I’d be able to complete 5.7s by the end of the night. I was trying to avoid disappointment by my inability to achieve the 5.9/5.10s I was once tackling before I decided to step away from the climbing scene. Nonetheless, I was excited to get back on the wall and see how far I could push myself.
Shooting up my first 5.6 route of the night, I was impressed that I could remember certain techniques and control my body positioning. I was also surprised at what great shape I was in despite my long hiatus. After belaying Greg on his 5.7 arete warm up route, he asked if I wanted to give it a go. I exclaimed, “why the fuck not”, my new life motto, and gave it a try.
The first few holds were jugs, making it fairly easy to climb, although a quarter of the way up the holds became smaller and foot holds were non-existent. Previously, this scenario would have flustered the hell out of me. My breath would shallow, my mind would lose focus, my fingers and forearms in pain, the overwhelming amount of stimuli would be enough to make me give up. But this time was different. I steadied my breath, focused on the problem, shook out my arms one at a time while resting steadily, trusting my feet. With a deep inhale I positioned my left arm on the arete, anchored it by shifting my weight to the right, stuck my feet on the wall and victoriously reached up for the next hand hold. I was determined to climb the route cleanly, without falling, just to prove to myself that I could. Getting past that one tricky spot, I climbed the rest of the route with ease, tapped out on top and was lowered to the ground with a smile on my face. I was in disbelief that I successfully completed the 5.7 cleanly, exceeding my previous expectations. With that climb under my belt, I was aching to see what level I could max out on.
Following Adam and Greg’s climb, I challenged myself to a 5.8- route with an overhang. In my climbing experience, overhangs have always been my nemesis. Just the anticipation of tackling an overhang has filled me with anxiety, usually stifling any chance at true success. But as I did with the 5.7, I thought, why the fuck not, and gave it a try.
As I had anticipated, just at the point of the overhang, my progress stalled and my shallow breathing kicked in. My mind went blank while my arms and fingers ached, and I let go, swinging out from the wall. Adam who was belaying me asked if I wanted to stay for another attempt. I replied, “fuck yea!”
Kicking off the wall and swinging myself back towards the route I grabbed a jug and pulled myself back onto the holds. I tried to recall how I had scaled overhangs in past climbs. Get your feet high, I told myself. Feet high, hips into the wall, and swing like a pendulum to get to the next hand hold.
After two failed attempts, and some recovery time to regain energy, I planted my feet high, swung my body up and grabbed the hold letting out a loud grunt, with cheers from Adam and Greg below. I completed the rest of the route, not cleanly, but that didn’t matter. I hadn’t given up, which was a success in itself. Before my hiatus, I would have abandoned the route on my second failed attempt. Tonight though, I had a fire burning inside, determined to push my limits and exceed my own expectations. Defeat was not an option.
The rest of the night I stuck to 5.7s and completed one more 5.8 before doing a quick 5.5 to top out, leaving all of my energy on the wall. When the night was over I had nothing but a large grin plastered on my face. I felt exhausted yet empowered, reveling in my personal success.
Coming back from my gap in training, I mentally prepared myself to expect failure. Realistically, There was no way I was going to be able to get back to the 5.9s/5.10s I was working on before my time off, and I knew I had to set realistic goals for myself in the gym. I also relied on self-compassion, allowing myself to be disappointed that I’m not at my best, but I was enough at the moment. This mindset helped me to remain positive when I experienced a set back or challenge, and allowed me to enjoy my time with my friends. I truly enjoyed my time hanging with Greg and Adam, living in the moment, shooting the shit about life, cheering each other’s successes and supporting one another through our personal struggles on the wall.
Returning to the gym and being not far off of my personal best has renewed my resolve to get back into the climbing routine. It’s my hope that I can cultivate this wild flame of willpower to overcome and surpass all of my own expectations, reaching above what I think I am capable of achieving in the climbing gym and beyond. I implore you to also think beyond your own comfort zone and ability. When you reach beyond the limits you set for yourself, the possibilities far exceed anything you may be able to ascertain.