On Doing the Things that Scare Us
Updated: Jan 15, 2020
My recent backpacking retreat through Olympic National Park has me thinking a lot about the connections between fear and contemplative practice.
To talk business, brainstorm potential wellness partnerships, and celebrate our 40th birthdays, my dear friend of 28 years and I planned this multi-day traverse for over a year. Needless to say, the logistics involved in getting two mid-career mamas of multiple kids, who live 2,500 miles apart into the wilderness for 3 days were intense! Radical prioritizing of our own self-care over and over again was required throughout the planning process when life inevitably crept in and added complications.
Once we arrived on the trail, the realities of the terrain jumped off the map and into my throat. In total we covered over 35 miles, climbing up and down 8600' of elevation. While I was quite confident in my endurance abilities to persist on the ups, the downs quickly brought unexpected fear to the surface. The steepness of the topography combined with the loose, shale-covered trail, a heavy pack that made my center of gravity unpredictable, and a long-time, deep-ceded fear of heights converged in several short, but powerful moments of near panic on our first day.
What if I fell?
How would stop myself?
How far down is that drop?
How far away is help?
How long would it take for help to find me?
What if they didn't find me?
What if my friend fell and I had to go get help alone??
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