I posted this picture on my Facebook page about a month ago after my very first completed mountain climb. Mount Monadnock in Jaffrey, NH has a significant emotional meaning for me. Being about 20 minutes from the college I attended (Keene State College), I heard about it for the entire 4 years I was in the area. I never climbed it then, as I just wasn't physically or mentally capable of doing it.
But I vowed, after losing weight and getting in shape, to finally climb it -- and make it to the top.
I had tried climbing it about 5 years prior but wasn't able to make it to the summit. I wasn't prepared to encounter the struggles - I didn't have the right hydration, food, boots, etc. But even if I had all those materials, I was just not mentally prepared.
This time around I wanted it to be different. I felt physically prepared. I was working out more than I was before. I am not the most advanced hiker out there but I'd done small hikes here and there but not a mountain.
This time around, I was preparing myself for the climb. I knew it would take at least 2 hours to get to the top and about the same time coming down. I picked a trail recommended to my hiking partner and I because of its remote access. Perfect. I didn't need too many people around me. Especially because this mountain is the second most hiked in the world, I wanted to be able to take my time.
But even with all that preparation, something came over me the day before. I was on edge and nervous; irritable and disconnected. Fear. Uncertainty.
I was fearful of how I'd do, physically and mentally. Would I talk myself out of it? Would I be able to physically make it to the top? Would all the preparation pay off? Would I dread it? Or would I like it? or even love it? Uncertainty. I didn't like it.
On my climb 5 years ago, I was not prepared for going downhill. The rocks were tough - I was nervous I would slip, break my ankle and need to be rushed to the ER. When I thought about climbing it again, fear and uncertainty again. My mind had me convinced how awful it would be.
Driving to the parking lot leading up to the trail, my heart was pounding. I had to breathe deep and just let go. I needed trust to know this is what I needed to do. That I could do it. To take the risk and go for it and see what would happen. Lead with trust and move into the uncertainty.
And it turns out, I loved it. The trail was perfect, not too many people. My hiking partner and I could go at our own pace, stop at different intersections and check out the view. The day was beautiful. Not too hot. Not too cool. I didn't fall and break my ankle on the way down. I was steady and kind with myself.
Even with years of working on my self-awareness, my mind played a role in my perception of my physical and mental ability. This time around, I pushed myself into an experience that (in my gut) I knew I needed to do for myself. My mind convinced me of fear, dread, uncertainty. The worst case scenario. But I was able to work with it to see the good. The bliss. The joy.
Will you trust yourself and move into the uncertainty of your experiences?
How does it feel to heal your inner wounds? What does it mean to be fully alive?