Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Climbing Behind a Waterfall (an allegorical anectdote)

This photo was taken in September of 2004, while I was on a Grand Canyon trip. This exact spot is called "Elves' Chasm," and it truly looks like a place where you might expect little people to pop out of the crevices around you. The waterfall is stunning, and you can crawl up behind it and jump into the shimmering, clear pool below you. There are seven pools you can explore, each one more dazzling and more difficult to access- in fact, I know of someone who fell to their death while trying to climb to the top pool (that's another story). There is no safety net. There is only your impetus to explore, and your awareness of your actions.

That's how I feel right now.
Acutely. Aware.
Of all of these things.

Those who know me know that I have an incredible fear of heights, to the point that even bouldering in a climbing gym terrifies me. I've made it to the base of the cables on Half Dome and couldn't bring myself to go further.

So the fact that I took this picture is actually very sacred and telling to me. Even though I was afraid to climb behind that falls, I did so, and I was rewarded with this amazing, dynamic view.
And guess what?
In the end, it wasn't that bad.
And guess what else?
I jumped.

I jumped into that clear blue pool below and laughed and cried and was given hugs and then I climbed up to the next pool, and the next pool, and the next one. I haven't been to the uppermost one because it was just too treacherous at the time and we didn't have the equipment to get there. But I pushed my boundaries, explored, and was rewarded with an awareness of a place that I will never forget, and one that I long for.

There are pieces of me that I have missed deeply, and I am reconnecting with them now. I feel like I've been neglecting aspects of myself that are central to who I am.
And I'm ready to climb a little bit.

Nursing is like that every day, and yes, I'm talking about nursing and stepping out on a limb and being afraid of what I do and the consequences that my actions have for others, but I'm also not talking about nursing.

I'm talking about life.
I'm talking about love.
I'm talking about living.

My meditation lately has been:
Meditating on the idea that courage comes from love (coeur, corazón), and fear comes from the unknown. I embrace unknowns; I choose courage.

This saying has been one of mine since the end of high school. It has every bit of the same importance right now in my life.

We must be gentle and kind to one another, and help each other explore. We must help each other reach those pools, those places that are difficult to access, but open us up to a world of beauty. It requires trust, faith, and patience.
Regardless of if it's nursing, or if it's vulnerability, or if it's acknowledging each other and ourselves for who we truly are, and loving that especially.

That's all.
Oh yeah, and here's Elves' looking up at the waterfall (different perspective is always good)

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