Wednesday, August 10th, 2011...1:01 pm
Climbing Trees by Dark…
I don’t typically arrive home at night planning on unexpected adventure. By day’s end I am usually in a reflective mode, quietly examining events of the day…looking inward … quieting my mind and pondering peaceful rest.
Alas, I recently found myself climbing a 15 yr old 70+ ft high tree to rescue two cats who had conveniently left the comfort of the ground in escape of being chased by a wandering lost dog. I couldn’t quite sit comfortably with the comment from my neighbour that ”cats can climb down by themselves” and found myself borrowing a 30 ft extension ladder to begin my ascention into the massive tree that I admire daily for its beauty. Tonight it’s massive trunk and dense branches were wet and slippery from the day’s heavy rain. These cats had not ever been in a tree before and certainly not higher than roof level.
I think tree climbing is easier done by daylight!
Yet, the quiet stillness that you experience high in the air nestled against a wide trunk and looking up into the night sky might remind you of the magic and beauty of nature all around you….and of something alive, protective, and fierce that you can only experience once you become one with it.
Consider when you last challenged yourself beyond your comfort zone. Consider when you last took up a challenge that was in front of you.
(1) Any challenge you embrace is best done with the mental fortitude that you can do it! Metaphorically speaking, trust that some of those lighter “branches” (in life) will hold your body weight and that your “grip” to a “new resting place” would hold you as you continue to climb.
(2) Become one with the object or nature of your challenge. To embrace anything that may be a challenge you need to assimilate with it, while being respectful of it’s place and purpose in the world.
Think about the daily mental and emotional challenges that you already face: talking to someone who is angry with you; speaking honestly with a co-worker who has spoken unkindly about you; admitting you were wrong; talking yourself down from your anger toward what you perceive as someone’s disrespectful behavior. One might say that since we have so many self-engineered psychological challenges, the last thing we need are physical ones.
And then I remember words like: self-esteem, empowerment, and self-actualization and I find myself smiling inwardly, knowing the importance for creating challenge in our life.
To challenge yourself is to embrace a possibility for learning, growing, and transforming.
A challenge is a way of opening you up to overcoming fears, teaching yourself (and then knowing with certainty) that you can master what you set out to do; and for bringing into your life: a sense of accomplishment (A thought of: “WOW! I did that!”)
To often we let challenges go by untouched. We shy away from speaking candidly with our boss, we let someone else convey our sentiment or true feelings, and we settle into our comfort zone (sometimes ‘hiding’ in what is safe) rather than doing what is bravely different.
Closing yourself off to discovering so much more from life by not seeking out challenges can explain why you experience discouragement, apathy, fear, depression, and uncertainty. It explains why you may feel a lack of motivation or interest for life.
Challenging yourself with something you’ve never done, experienced, or learned is the best way to honour life. It says: You are capable, you are valuable, you are important.
You may not need to climb a tree to rescue an animal…but challenge yourself in ways that move you to grow outside of your comfort zone:
Some ideas for challenging yourself:
- Say: “I’m sorry” because you were wrong, or because doing so will help heal a relationship.
- Give up a behavior that is not serving your highest good.
- Honour yourself (be kind, respectful, thoughtful, caring of YOU) for no other reason than ‘because you can’!
- Be the first one to smile
- Offer random acts of kindness that challenge you to go beyond what is expected of you, and what you might typically do. (You will always be surprised at how good YOU feel doing this!)
- Stand up for yourself while maintaining a respectful attitude. (What you do comes back to you tenfold…aka the Law of Karma)
- Give of yourself in a way that doesn’t necessarily come easy (something that you have to make an effort to do means more to you and also challenges you to grow)
- ALWAYS keep working on YOU. Even as you are painfully reminded that you are not perfect, perfection is in the continual effort, and not only on the outcome.
- Try a new sport (No you won’t be playing like a professional athlete the first time out, but you will experience the ‘game’, feel a sense of exhilaration that is unmet els and what it feels like to participate!)
- Be brave enough to “let go” of a ‘friendship’ that is really not adding to the quality of your life. Just because someone wants to be your friend doesn’t mean that they are a good friend.
- Let go of your need to solve someone’s problems or fix them. It quickly becomes a futile effort to do for someone else what they really need to learn for themself.