What do you do when you find yourself in the middle of a challenging situation? How will your thoughts help or hurt you? Join me on a recent hike into the Grand Canyon to find out what the canyon had to teach me.
I agreed to hike into the Grand Canyon with some friends of mine. It sounded so cool like being on the beach in California with surfer dudes and beautiful people. I also believed it would be easy like taking a long walk on a Sunday afternoon to clear the cobwebs out of my head after a big brunch. I didn't anticipate what a mental challenge it would be because of my fear of heights. If you don’t know it already, the Grand Canyon is really deep! It’s not like Disney World with fences and smooth sidewalks. It is rugged and beautiful beyond belief.
It's Your Choice
My excitement and exhilaration blinded me to the steep cliffs during the first half of our hike. We were never in real danger and the scenery was unbelievable. My eyes watched the gravel beneath our feet turn from white to red to green to brown. I was a real hiker with my nifty Keen boots and backpack filled with make-up and an extra pair of clothes. That strap on the backpack that hooks slightly above your chest made me puff with pride. Oh yeah, a real hiker.
After the excitement wore off and the exhaustion set in, I began to notice how close to the edge I was walking. Fear began to wrap her nasty little tentacles around my ankle and threatened to steal my joy. I battled during the second half of the hike and also had a few battles during my stay at the bottom of the canyon.
What I realized in the dark of night was that it was MY CHOICE as to what I would think about. There are always dangers and fears close by but that's not what I want to spend my time and effort thinking about. Focusing on the blessings that abound is a much happier place and helps me to be a more productive and fun person to be around. It is my choice.
What Do You Think About?
What do you think about when things get difficult or scary? Where is your focus? Do you trust yourself to move ahead? Are the fears real? Are you missing the experience because of the distractions around you? Are there others to rely on for help? What blessings are right in front of you that have been blocked by the difficulty? What opportunities are you missing because of your distress?
Go on an Adventure
I challenge you to go for an adventure and belief in yourself. It will bring you to some amazing places. Trust yourself and those around you. Take a risk. Enjoy the beauty. Choose to think about things that will help you along the way instead of those that will hold you back. Your adventure may be going to a new place with a relationship, focusing a different way on your work, delving into faith even though it’s uncomfortable or signing up for an event that you aren’t sure you can finish.
You're stronger than you know.
For my full essay on our adventure into the Grand Canyon, click here.