- On August 22, 2019
I don’t think I can do it. It’s too high. The rock is too slippery.
“Here, give me your arm, I’ll pull you up.”
No, I’m too heavy. You’ll pull your shoulder out.
(…trying again for a foot hold on the slimy rock)
I don’t think I can do this. (Sobbing)
“Just give me your arm.”
What if I get up there and the whole way up the mountain is like this? I can’t do it.
(Giving up…) I think we need to go back and find another route.
“Here let me help you.”
You can’t. (Finality)
Ok let me try one more thing…
Next thing I remember, I am lying on my back spread-eagled on the top of the 5-foot-high rock wall I had been futilely trying to scale. My whole side was slick with slime. I cannot tell you what I did to get on top of what seemed a formidable barrier to my 5-foot 2-inch self. A barrier that brought me quickly to the point of hopelessness.
Not one of my more stellar moments, yet two things made this emotional melt-down during a much-anticipated hike a significant learning experience for me.
As I was becoming increasingly stressed, I was also acutely aware that more stress was clouding my ability to see options for solving this challenge.
I felt like I was in a movie, watching myself descend the negative energy ladder of frustration, fear, and then hopelessness and giving up. As I was fully feeling the emotional turmoil, I was also observing it like a bystander.
Somewhere in the back of my mind, I decided I was not going to let hopelessness be the end of this movie.
I used my observer status to write a different ending. I chose to move back up the emotional energy ladder to Courage and Engagement to try once more. Fortunately, this time I found myself on top of the rock instead of crumpled at the base.
The big “Aha!” moment for me–the more self-aware I am, the more power I possess to turn the tide.
There was a time not so far in the past, when feelings of frustration, fear, and hopelessness would hijack me and defeat me from moving towards my goals.
Now, I have learned to accept them as part of my problem-solving processing. These emotions have a message for me, however I don’t have to let them dominate my life. I can choose to move to courage and face whatever might be getting in my way of what I really want.
The second big “Aha!” came when my husband, my hiking partner, afterwards said, “I knew you were going to figure it out somehow. You just had to cycle through it.” Lovely to know he has such confidence—and patience–in me, even in my darkest moments!
Have you had a ‘slimy rock’ reckoning?
What kind of ending did you choose for your reckoning movie?
Photo: JMaliszewski, 2019, Rocky trail up Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park, Maine