Do any of you have a word that when you utter it you immediately let go of stress and are filled with a sense of peace and joy? For me, that word is Miraval. Miraval (a resort in Arizona dedicated to opening eyes, minds and hearts) is one of the most transformative and rejuvenating places that I have ever encountered. Every visit to Miraval, no matter how frequently one goes, is filled with new insights and self discovery.
On a recent trip this summer, I decided to stretch myself and try one of the challenge course activities. The activity involved climbing a telephone pole to reach a point 35 feet in the air at which time you step out onto a tightrope and attempt to make your way across by grabbing ropes that are suspended in the air. The real life lessons learned? Too numerous to count but below are the three that were the most profound for me…
1. Take time to enjoy the climb. Often in life we are so focused on the end goal that during our “climb” we forget to stop, breathe and enjoy the moment. When I started my climb up the pole I was determined to make it out onto the tightrope. All of a sudden it occurred to me that perhaps the climb was meant to be enjoyed as much as the tightrope walk. At that moment, I paused, drew in a deep breath and realized the incredible view before me. Had I stayed focused on the end goal I would have missed one of the highlights of my experience.
2. When in doubt, always return to center. Once I was actually on the tightrope, the scariest moments were when I was about to take a leap of faith – getting ready to let go of one rope (what had become my comfort zone) and go for the next one (unknown territory). The more anxious I became, the more my body literally began to tremble and I quickly began to lose my balance. It was at those moments that I realized that what helped the most was to ALWAYS return to center. As secure as it may have felt, clutching the rope was not what was keeping me from falling. Being in balance was the key. Once I remembered that I would stop, breathe and find my footing once again.
3. It all unfolds exactly as it should. About half way across the tightrope I fell. And, I learned more from that fall than I would have if I had made it all the way across. My experience had been just what it was supposed to be and both my successes and my failures on the tightrope had provided me with deep insights.
While I highly recommend a visit to Miraval, you can practice many of these lessons as you traverse the tightrope of life. My humble advice…Trust (both yourself and the process). Detach (from wanting the outcome to turn out a certain way). And then watch, as you find your balance and it all works out just as it was meant to. And when you find yourself feeling a bit wobbly, treat yourself with kindness and compassion rather than with criticism. Take a deep breath, return to center and remember to enjoy the climb however long it takes.