Its in Your Hands

27 Oct

This morning I participated in a team building exercise on a high ropes course.  People from all walks of life came together to encourage one another as we met ourselves 30 feet off of the ground.  At first we sat as a group and listened as our instructor share with us how to put our harness on, what to expect and offered last minute words of encouragement.  The one thing that stuck out in my mind at that moment was her caution of “You never know how you are going to feel once its just you, alone, up on the course.”  She challenged us to encourage one another and to be patient.  The reason?  She said she has seen many people totally psyched up to conqueror the course only to find themselves holding onto a telephone pole for dear life while they find the inner strength to continue on. It was something to ponder and think about as we waited in line.  

The instructor then asked, “Who wants to go first?” A young mother of three, Bonnie, and I both jumped up and said, “I do!”   Bonnie was before me and I was second in line.  Last year Bonnie could not go further than the first obstacle.  When she faced the second phase, she could not find it within herself to go forward.  

The moment of truth was at hand, Bonnie went through the first phase with no problem.  I looked on and all of our teammates cheered and encouraged her that she could do it!  When she got to the second phase you could see the inner struggle begin.  She didn’t want to let go of the telephone pole.  You could see the struggle work across her features.  Then with a look of determination, she let go and she started to walk.  At that time another instructor told me that it was my turn.  WOW!  Talk about feeling good about it until it was time to take that first step.  I now understood what the first instructor was talking about earlier.  I had no problem with the first phase.  The second now loomed before me.  While waiting to take the first step of the second phase, I waited until Bonnie finished the 2nd.  She did it!!  I too mastered the second phase.  Bonnie started onto the 3rd phase as I breathlessly came to the wooden block between obstacles.  She made it to the next phase, I was following behind her.  Each ending of her phase was the beginning of mine.    

As I stood there I listened to the instructors around me, time and time again I could hear them offering words of encouragement to my fellow sojourners.  What I heard that struck me profoundly, regardless of which phase of the obstacle they were on, were these words. “YOUR  rope is your security – hold on to your rope and use it!”  What the instructors were talking about was on every phase we had two cables attaching us to a cable above us.  If we were to fall, those cables would catch us.  As we faced each phase we were presented with different supports.  We could choose to hold on to the rope obstacles support or we could use our individual anchors or a combination of both.  I watched as Bonnie chose to use the ropes on the course itself instead of using her own rope.  Now there is no right or wrong process but I watched her as she swayed back and forth and danced within the perimeters of fear.  Wind gusts would blow and cause her to tighten her hands around the ropes.  I watched and decided that if I chose that option it would add to my anxiety.  Instead I always kept my cable as my source of strength and guidance.  In doing so I was able to work through the course quickly and without a lot of swaying to and fro.  

As I zipped down the zip line I could still hear the instructors calling out to encouraging the participants to use their own cable/ropes.  I finished the course amongst cheers and support of the staff.  It felt great.  As I left I pondered the experience and I learned a major truth.  Too many times we grab a hold of the things around us for support and to help us face the obstacles ahead of us.  And where that does keep us from falling, the circumstances around us can cause of to sway and add to our anxiety and concerns.  Instead, the answer is within us – our own rope – is where we find the strength to overcome.  So look around you, what have you been holding onto that you need to let go?  Will you realize the strength is within yourself to overcome?  You CAN do it!

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