Up 60 rungs. First my right foot, next my left, then my right hand, and finally the left. Heart pounding, palms sweating, breath stuttering. I climbed. 80 feet in the air.
When did heights and I stop getting along?
Somewhere between childhood and motherhood. Not that I would tell my daughter until she was long settled in her own relationship with heights.
Olivia was 4 when I first took her to a rock climbing gym. Just something to do on an afternoon while we were traveling through central California to southern.
Little did I know that after she was harnessed and climbed 1/3 of the way up the wall, she'd turn to me and say, “Now it's YOUR turn, Mama!”
Uh oh. I froze. How did I not see this coming? There was no way I wanted my fear to transfer to her, so as I’ve done countless times since becoming a mama, I sucked it up.
Stepping into the harness, getting on belay (the rope that protects climbers from falling), I climbed up that wall.
And you know what? Even though adrenaline pinballed through my limbs, I clambered my way to the top and rang that bell.
I did it for her. My daughter. To model the strength and courage we all possess.
That was the beginning of healing my complicated relationship with heights.
Since then, I’ve climbed walls several times, shedding a little more fear each time.
Last weekend, I graduated to a level I never thought I’d approach.
Up 60 rungs. First my right foot, next my left, then my right hand, and finally the left. Heart pounding, palms sweating, breath stuttering. I climbed.
80 feet in the air. On the platform, I listened to the instructions and before I had too much time to think about it, I took a deep breath, and...
As gravity pulled me along the zip line, I screamed a scream I’ve never screamed before. And after the terror, I felt...FREE. Exhilarated. Another moment of terror. And back to FREE.
If you listen, at 23 seconds, you’ll hear Olivia shouting, “Yay mom! AWESOME!”
Heights and I haven't worked out all our differences, but we’re getting better. For the sake of growth, I’ll keep nudging those boundaries in safe ways to attain even deeper freedom.
And hey, maybe one day, it’ll actually be FUN! 😅
How about you? Do you have any things you avoid? Come on now, be honest.
Have you ever challenged a long-held fear? Please tell me all about it below!
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