I believe each of us is a leader in our own unique way. It can be in our family, community, organization, nation, or in worldwide innovation. I also believe we’re destined for more than we can imagine. “There is a space for you in the world with your name on it . . . and your part is the lead part. No matter who you are, it’s the lead. Because only you can play it, and without you it doesn’t happen.” ~ Flo Aeveia Magdalena, author of I Remember Union [Read more...]
Several years ago a friend of mine suggested we take a trip to Sedona, AZ to relax, rejuvenate, and re-connect with nature. The plan was to hike everyday in the beautiful red rocks for a couple hours and afterwards we could read, shop, relax, or tour the area. My answer was “sure, let’s go, I’m up for the adventure.”
Keep in mind; I’m not much of an outdoorsy kind of girl so the hiking was going to be a huge stretch for me. The reading, shopping, relaxing would be lots of fun (and I know I excel at it). My friend assured me we would take it slow and I would easily be able to keep up with her (she’s an expert level athlete) – especially if we trained ahead of time. I agreed to the pre-trip training – figuring it was a great way to get in shape and prepare for the hike.
Let me tell you, I was not prepared for what happened on this trip. The hiking was not your ordinary trail kind of stuff. The nice easy trails that I pictured in my mind six weeks prior to the trip, turned out to be more like climbing and scaling rocks!! From day one, I really stretched my comfort zone and noticed as day three rolled around . . . I was more confident in my ability to “hike.”
My friend sensed my new inner confidence and decided we could explore a sacred spot on day four. What started out as a two-hour hike, ended up being a seven-hour life-changing event. It turns out this sacred spot was tucked inside a steep multi-faced rock formation, 500 feet above an uncharted trail. (“Uncharted trail” – now, there’s a clue.) Yet, I trusted my friend . . . she said she had climbed to the spot several times over the years and she felt I could do it.
The temperature was quickly approaching the mid-90s as we walked the 2-mile uneven terrain before beginning our 500-foot steep assent to the sacred spot.
I’ll cut to the chase, about 450 feet up the mountain (approximate height of a 40 story building) I became “paralyzed.” I couldn’t move another step forward or backward while the high-noon sun beat intensively on us. (Did I mention that I’m afraid of heights – my toes even curl on a 1-story escalator ride, plus we were almost out of water.) For the first time in my life, I wondered if I would ever stand on solid ground again. The overwhelm was unimaginable! There was nowhere to go! I stood frozen – suspended in time and had a complete meltdown (panic, crying, all that kinda stuff) on the edge of a ledge.
My friend watched, provided lots of support and encouragement . . . yet, there was nothing she could do for me. The next step was up to me. She was going to the top and I could wait for her on edge of the ledge.
What happened next literally saved my life and helped me experience life at new heights. I heard a small voice whisper “breathe.” (Hmmm . . . what a novel idea, why didn’t I think of that?) I instantly began to apply the conscious breathing technique that I’ve used many times – especially when feeling overwhelmed or stressed. It’s really simple. Take a DEEP breath in. Hold it for a count of three and exhale slowly. Practice with me . . . INHALE … 1 – 2 -3 …. and then EXHALE. I noticed my shoulders dropped and I began to feel the overwhelm and panic ease-up.
I repeated the conscious breathing about five times. This simple exercise allowed me to re-connect with my breath. The more connected I was to my breath, the calmer I became. There was also a mantra (an often repeated expression) I recited over and over again in my mind . . . “I’ve come this far … I CAN do it, … I CAN Do it. … I CAN DO IT!! Yes, I can do it!”
In case you’re wondering . . . I did make it to the enclosed sacred spot where the temperature was at least 30 degrees cooler and I was able to rest my wobbly legs and shaky spirit for about 45 minutes. The descent down the mountain was without incident – in fact, easier than I expected. The final challenge: a 2-mile hike to the car without becoming dehydrated.
We made it back safely. And, yes – believe it or not – I still talk to my friend and our friendship has grown. As a matter of fact, she called the other day and asked, “Do you want to go to Sedona again?” In my mind, the real question is, “how much do I want to stretch and experience life at new heights?”
The top 3 lessons learned from this adventure can be applied to the everyday . . .
1. Breathe to maximally experience life!
2. Stretch – expand the comfort zone and in turn grow more confident.
3. Choose to experience the sacred power within that’s capable of so much more than can be imagined.
In the words of Thomas Edison: “If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”
If you’re looking to experience life at new heights and liberate overwhelm – pick up a *F*R*E*E copy of my Overcome Overwhelm Toolkit.
MaryAnn D’Ambrosio’s passion is to work with individuals who are ready to “leap” and live a more vibrant on-purpose life. MaryAnn teaches heart-based entrepreneurs and professionals how to access the language of creation by tuning into their inner wisdom to create their heart’s desire. If you’ve been merely surviving instead of thriving be sure to pick-up your F*R*E*E Overcome Overwhelm Toolkit at: www.LeapWithoutLimits.com