For me, Aha! moments usually go hand and hand with those panicky, “there is no way I’ll ever be able to do that” moments. I’ve experienced it first hand in my yoga practice with poses that I struggle with and then one day, with tons of persistence, I get there. I tell myself over and over that it’s not about the pose, it’s how you feel and connect that matters, but it’s human nature to want to advance. And even when I am able to get into the pose, those nagging, self-deprecating feelings pop right back up with the next challenging pose. These feelings usually translate into the rest of my life, limiting my expectations of myself when I shouldn’t.
I experienced a moment of self-doubt on a recent hike on vacation and the lesson I learned, the Aha! moment coupled with my fear, was to ‘trust my boots.’ So for this Wednesday’s Random Act of Kindness, I decided to give thanks to the person who taught me this invaluable lesson.
Whenever we go on vacation, we sign up for group tours to play it safe in the wilderness. We like our adventures with an emergency kit and experienced guides ;) For the Fiery Furnace hike in Arches National Park, we took a guided tour with Moab Adventure Center. The hike goes deep into Arches requiring some rock climbing, balancing on the side of cliffs and squeezing into hard to reach places. From the many tours taken, we’ve come to expect our guides to be friendly and knowledgeable. Cort, our tour guide, was so much more than that. Although there were varying levels of experience amongst the tour group, Cort was able to give everyone what they wanted.
During one of our breaks, he challenged me to do, what I thought, an impossible climb. I looked down at the distance below and just knew that I wasn’t physically capable of bringing myself back up. My heart was racing. I was letting fear override my desire to have a new experience. All of my previous successes of trying and achieving things went right out the door. I had no faith in myself or abilities. And then he whispered three little words that changed everything, ‘trust your boots.’
We bought hiking boots before we left to Utah to have better traction on the trails. Until that point when he told me to trust them, I hadn’t given them a second thought. Those three words zipped through me and fed every single brave cell I had in my body and I did the climb. He talked me through the entire thing, including carrying my feet in his hands to guide them on the rocks. Cort is the man!
Those three little words gave me permission to trust myself... to believe in myself. To realize that with preparation and chutzpah you can conquer your fears and doubts. You may not immediately see the results, but trust that you can get there. Don’t set limitations on your efforts. And when you do get there, enjoy the moment. Slap it on a biscuit and savor each bite.
Being a big fan of the written word (p.s. have you gotten a pen pal yet?), I wrote Cort a Thank You letter to express to him how much he helped me not only that day but throughout the rest of our vacation and not to sound too corny, my life. There are teachers all around us and if we have an open heart (and ears) we can learn something from everyone. We all have something we are afraid of doing or pursuing because we don’t feel adequate or prepared. Silence those thoughts and replace them with a new affirmation “Trust Your Boots!” You are never going to be prepared enough, or brave enough or strong enough so you might as well take the leap of faith.
OM the moment for your soul this week and get out of your comfort zone by doing a Random Act of Kindness for a stranger. Forget about the fear of approaching someone you don’t know. Focus on the reward of making that person smile and feel good. You never know what lesson they’ll learn from you and your courage.