The risk of blossoming

This is the day. The risk to remain tight in a bud is more painful than the risk I must take to blossom.

Where is this all coming from?  I got my ass kicked and handed to me on a platter this weekend.  It wasn’t pretty.

It wasn’t totally my fault, either, but it still brought me to this point of realization where I need to step up to the plate or let my fears control me.

Here’s what happened on our first hiking adventure.

Our excitement was palatable as we drove 7 hours to Northern Georgia.  Our ambitious plan was to hike 44 miles in three days–the beginning of the Appalachian Trail.  The weather called for a pretty nasty weekend but we were optimistic that weather patterns change and we had this on our calendars so we were going for it.

Our shuttle ride arrived right as we were pulling into the parking lot of the  Tessnatee trail head, Hogpen Gap.  As we pulled up it started pouring down rain.  We had to get ready for our hiking adventure in the back of my SUV.  We were driving all day and just thought we would get our boots on and such when we got there. We didn’t anticipate rain and we certainly didn’t want to be all wet before we event got started.

But it really wouldn’t matter, because about a minute after we got dropped off at the top of Amicolola Falls, we were soaked.  We were able to dry out that night at the Hike Inn even though they were closed for the night (that is a story for another time), thankfully so our spirits were still high that we were on our way to find fun and adventure.

The next day it rained on and off and my pack was digging into my shoulders, and blah, blah, blah, I was miserable.  My knee hurt going downhill (which there are many) and I was out of breath going up hill (just as many).  After 15 miles (20 total for the whole of it) we were freezing, wet, and exhausted.  I was NOT having fun, and this was not the adventure I had in mind.   I knew even if it wasn’t windy, raining, and cold there was no way I would be in any kind of shape to take on Sasafrass Mountain the next day, let alone 20+ more miles of hiking.  So, as much as I hated giving in, I offered up the idea to call a ride and get the hell out of there and to a warm bed.

I gave in.  And, I really wondered what the fuck I was doing there.  Was this all worth it? Was this what I really wanted to commit to?

On the other hand, did I really want to give in?  Was I ready to claim defeat?   My ego, in all its glory, was protecting me.   Was this really defeat?  Maybe I’m too old.  It’s okay, this isn’t good for you.  Maybe I can return all the gear I purchased.

I called my husband, almost embarrassed to tell him that we were in a warm motel room.  After explaining that the possibility of death by hypothermia was real (and he believed me), he said the most encouraging words that I never expected.

He said, “You can do this, Elyse.  You just had bad weather.  Don’t give up.  You just need to train more.  I will help you.”

His faith in me, my strength, and overall amazingness touched me deeper than I can describe.   He could see me for the person that I am to become.   It was a profound moment for me and created another shift.

I got back to Cincinnati, took a bath, unpacked (threw everything into the washing machine),  and had a relaxing night.  The next morning was a beautiful sunny day, so we took the dog for a walk to loosen my legs, and then hit the bike trail.  In the back of my mind, I really wondered, do I have it in me? I have lost my drive.  Do I really want this?

I have a brand new sweet bike and I’m going 15 miles an hour on a flat trail, and this was challenging (to my defense it was very windy and Brad was drafting off me).  Could I ever get my strength back?  Did I want to work that hard?

I started to go down what I call a “rabbit hole” of self deprecation, but stopped.  I realized in a moment that this was all bullshit.  This was a fear/protection mode.  Thoughts started flooding my head about defeat being part of the journey, and about getting up after falling down, and that this is all about finding ourselves and our true, deep amazingness.  Shift again.

Someone posted the above photo  on Facebook tonight:  “The day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

This is that day.  If I stay tight in a bud I will die never knowing what I can really accomplish.  If I go for it, yes, it will be painful, physically, but I know that that is only temporary.  I know that the human body can overcome challenge.  But, what I’m just realizing is that the soul can, too.  And, in this space between pain of challenge and the thrill of achievement, is where we find out who we really are.

I will keep sharing the insights this journey brings.  Your words of encouragement and inspiration are welcome.  Please comment below.  Thanks!


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