Leap: settle or soar

By Ryan Howes | Nov 22, 2017

I was terrified of rock climbing. Anxious energy swirled through my body like a brewing tempest. I walked along a casual hiking trail and likely missed the beauty along the way, because the present moment was fueled by cortisol-raising anticipation of the unknown. “Why are you doing this, Ryan?” Something underneath the fear pushed me farther uphill and I did it anyway.

I have never been a thrill-seeking risk-taker. I am positive that my spontaneous and eager willingness to take risks is not because I have fewer dopamine receptors than those who are more cautious. I believe that my willingness to push farther uphill, to face my fear and climb those rocks was my intuition saying, “Success is doing it anyway; take the leap and growth.”

I call myself a leap-taker. After five years of fearing vertical environments, I began to feel comfortable in them. My passion for climbing and teaching turned into a mountain-guiding career. Having been to the mountaintop, I was able to support others' swirling tempest. I helped thousands of people climb their way to the top of rock faces, frozen waterfalls and alpine summits. I learned through direct experience that people not only experience stress, they tend to have similar responses to failure and success.

Life is challenging. We tend to be really hard on ourselves, which is a learned behavior, especially when we fail to meet our own expectations. The inner critic is harsher than anyone else. It’s that voice that says, “Don’t try, you can’t do it.” It’s that voice that can manifest in outward verbal expressions (mostly for men, sorry, fellas) and negative statements about us personally. I could have turned around at each trailhead, given into my fears and found comfort in the status-quo life.

Are you willing and able to see past your struggles? How long have you been putting off something that could positively change your life? While we attribute most fears to failure, some fears can also be attached to success. We are all meant to shine. We were born to manifest glory. When we liberate ourselves from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. What’s the opposite of fear? Love. Love was the guiding intuition that pushed me farther up hill. Love says yes to you and allows you to have the confidence to leap.

Let’s take a leap journey inside through a short, guided meditation experience. Get comfortable in a seated position. Take five deep and deliberate breaths. Notice your immediate environment. Continue to sit up, lengthening your spine. Then, close your eyes and take 10 breaths. Allow yourself to relax.

So what thought(s) came across your mind? This is important information. I almost guarantee you thought about something that needs to get done. I highly recommend that you conquer that task today. Write it down and don’t forget. The feeling of accomplishment will increase confidence and reduce stress.

Now, go back to your breath and deeply inhale, expanding your belly, and exhale all breath upon contraction. Do this five times. Make sure you don’t push too hard; go easy into belly breathing. Then, close your eyes and take 10 breaths, expanding and contracting your stomach. Allow yourself to relax.

Now what thought(s) came across your mind? I’d be willing to bet that another important task came to light; however, I believe this one requires more attention than a daily task. I believe this thought has been calling you for a while and you have not had the courage to leap. That was your intuition calling, and I encourage you to listen.

A common health myth is that we always have to “be good,” eat according to your diet. Another common life myth is that we always have to “fit in,” act perfectly, and follow the rules. Being good and fitting in means different things to different people, but it generally means following the rules, being a “good” person by putting everyone else before yourself, conforming to societal norms and behaviors, “fit in” and do everything perfectly. These self-imposed obligations can derail our true desires, leading to a lack of fulfillment. How does this resonate with your intuition calling during meditation? Are you ready to leap?

OK, then it’s time to “be bad” and “fit out”. Your priority to be perfect or to not ruffle feathers has held you back for way too long, because it is inauthentic and lacks integrity. I recommend you try doing one “be bad” thing every day. I’m not saying you should rob a bank. No, start out slowly by deleting a day’s worth of incoming emails. Do the opposite of everyone else and “fit out” today. Most people fear judgment from others, but not you!

The purpose behind this exercise is to put you in the driver’s seat. Be in charge of your life; instead of your old belief system about being good and full of integrity, be in charge of your life. It’s time to red-light your pleasing of others and green-light pleasing you. Whatever your intuition is calling you to do, your live, love, leap Wellness Guide recommends these smaller, bite-sized steps to “be bad” and “fit out”.

Your intuition is calling, it’s saying that something big is about to happen and you’re going to need the confidence to scale that mountain. It’s time to challenge yourself, to take a risk and leap into the unknown. Why settle when you could soar?

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