Imagine you are perched on the side of a mountain at about 8,500 ft - a massive granite slab sloped at a 45% angle with a drop of hundreds of feet below you. And above you hundreds more feet to climb before reaching a safe resting place.
Last week I climbed Half Dome in Yosemite National Park with my family. This is an 8 mile hike each way with a 4800 ft elevation from valley to summit. The final 400 feet are a hair-raising venture up a slab of rock with cables installed for you to hold onto as you go up and down. The cables were truly a godsend; without them you could easily fall to your death.
Halfway up the cables, I looked down. It was hard to believe where I had just come from. My legs felt like jelly, already exhausted from the long day's hike. I looked up. The cables seemed to disappear into the heavens, the end was out of sight. The more I looked down and up, the more impossible the task of going either way seemed. I was frozen, paralyzed by the incessant chatter inside my head. I could slip and fall. Die. Leaving my children motherless. Devastated. Alone. La la la la la. I knew that to dwell on where I had come from or where I was going to was both pointless and an obstacle to me moving in any direction at all.
So I shifted my focus to my feet. Where my feet connected with the mighty mountain. In this moment, and this one, and this one. One step and then another. Savoring each step, each moment, each movement. Feeling the power and majesty of Half Dome flow into my body. Suddenly I knew that everything was possible, no mountain too high, no valley too low. Everything within my reach. With ease. With freedom. With confidence.
I experienced in my body the power of being present in the moment, not looking ahead, not looking back. Not waiting for a future to emerge, not regretting the past. Just being fully in the now, experiencing my own vast potential and the liberation that goes with it.