Stepping Through Fear


Standing at the face of the rock wall, I felt exhilarated and nervous. It was my grandson's sixth birthday and we had come to the climbing gym to celebrate. Adults weren't supposed to climb that day, but the kids had finished and were off to other activities, so Jeffrey asked if he could give it a try. When I saw him belting into a harness, I wanted to climb too.

So here I was facing the wall, standing next to this six year old girl climbing next to me. I was a little shaky as I'd never climbed before, so answered honestly when she turned and asked if I was scared. I acknowledged my fear, which made her wonder why I was doing it anyway. I told her that even though I was afraid, I thought I'd regret it if I didn't at least give it a try. We both wondered aloud if I'd be able to do it at all, but I knew that's not what mattered. What mattered was my willingness to try something new, even though I was scared.

I focused on the wall in front of me, all 60 feet of it, quieted my breath, relaxed my body, and started to climb. Intently focused on the wall in front of me, I searched for each new handhold or placement for my foot. Once I began, it felt effortless as I climbed higher and higher, stretching out to place my foot or hand on the next grip, pulling myself up to the next level. My son and husband urged me on from below, kind of amazed at how I was scampering up the wall.

I felt exhilarated and light on my feet, knowing my yoga practice had contributed to this ability to stretch out and connect to the wall. I could have kept going, but at 35 feet I began to question how I'd get down. Somehow the idea of the belay was lost on me, and I thought I might have to get down the same way I got up; one hand and foot at a time.

But no, I settled my breath once again and recalled the words of the guide. As I turned my body to face the wall, I held the belay line with both hands and safely descended, bounding on and off the wall. Wow, is all I can say! It was so much fun and I'm so glad I stepped through fear that day.

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