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Climbing: The Art of Letting Go

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Climbing: The Art of Letting Go

By: Arielle Parris

I am swinging back and forth on the ceiling of the rock wall—fear pulling me away from and hope pushing me toward my next hold. I am trying to ignore my arm’s thoughts that they are too tired and let myself believe I can grab the next hold. It’s so far—and I’ve failed so many times before.

Before my brain can stop me, again, I leave the safety of the hold and hope my fingers will catch the next. Stunning, incomprehensible awe rushes through me. The joy is so strong I nearly let go and fall against the padding of the gym floor—but it’s not over yet. Grasping the next hold is just a small part of the rest of the climb.

Rock climbing makes me feel so strong and courageous, but also fearful, angry, and disappointed. Although I made it to the next hold of the climb that had been haunting me for nearly a week, I didn’t finish the route. However, I did break through a barrier in my mind—I changed what I felt was possible in my climbing, and perhaps even in my life.

What I learn each and every time I climb is that scaling rock is far more about letting go than holding on. And the lesson that I repeat when climbing three times a week follows me into the rest of my life. When I feel the most stagnant, immobile, and fearful, I learn that trusting is the only way forward. When I am following the same path as usual and getting the same results, I find new ways of thinking and doing. When I am living most in fear, I find I have the biggest opportunity for trying for uncharted territories, which lead me to places I never thought I could go.

I want to know: how do you gather the courage to take leaps of faith? Do you find courage in one area of your life bleeds into others? And how has walking through fear paid off?




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