With tears streaming down my face, I clung in fear to the rock face, not sure where to move next. In my early 20s and a novice at rock climbing, I had gone with more experienced friends to Devil’s Lake, Wisconsin, a popular rock-climbing area.
For safety, each climber was “on belay,” securely harnessed and attached to a rope held in tension by a climbing partner on the ground. I had learned to keep three of my four points of contact in touch with the rock at all times. As I made my way up this climb, I moved from handhold to foothold to the next handhold, etc.
Not too far from the top, I ran out of handholds within reach. I saw a possibility several inches above me and a little to the right. From my vantage point underneath it, I couldn’t determine its exact shape. To grab it, I had to let go with my right hand, push myself up the rock face and hope I nailed it.
If I didn’t make it, I would fall away from the rock and swing from the belay rope while my friend lowered me to the ground. If I succeeded, I stood a chance of getting to the top. Only my pride would suffer, yet here I clung, paralyzed with fear.
Sometimes life calls us to let go of security while we reach for a different situation: leaving a job, moving to new location, changing schools, ending (or beginning) a relationship, traversing through an illness. All these transitions lead us through a time of uncertainty.
As we hang out there on life’s cliff, praying we are securely on belay, it’s OK to feel fear, sadness and any other emotion that comes before a leap of faith. We can cry if we need to. And we can let others support us.
Staying present to our thoughts, emotions and experience, we know when to move. Guidance speaks only into the present moment. If we live in the past or future, focusing on if-only and what-if, we miss it. Staying present, we intuitively know when to stretch for the next handhold.
Finally, I went for it. I gave a strong push with my right leg to raise my body high enough so I could stretch and reach the handhold, not knowing what would happen. I grabbed on – and I stuck it! With the surge of energy this success provided, in a few more moves I arrived at the top.
I felt exhilarated! My self-confidence shot up several notches, and I inwardly celebrated this victory over fear.
If life has squeezed you into a situation that feels uncomfortable or impossible, hold on, stay present, and listen for guidance. Know the situation has presented itself in order to stretch you out of your comfort zone.
It’s the only way to grow.
Dr. Marta, Life Coach in Communication and Spiritual Consciousness, can be reached for comment or for coaching appointments. Call 928-451-9482 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.