The green color of the rushing water was unreal with clarity as you looked to the bottom knowing there was no way we’d be walking across to the next make-shift path. It glistened with a fairy-tale sparkle from the sun rays gleaming down on the mini-rapids. “Shoes on or off?… Are you ready?” I looked up at him and knew, there was no time to think it through, we just needed to make a move. Into the ice cold water we dove, taking my breath away almost immediately. It made me nervous at first move but a slight fear was shed away when we reached the next rock. I overcame the first unnerving challenge of this hiking adventure we had ahead of us. Onward we climbed and swam in search of the beautiful sight we were so eager to find. With each step we took, little by little I found a peace of mind in my surroundings, the lack of people in earshot, and my focus on each step or movement that we made.
Everyone has continued to tell me on this trip that I need to unplug and step away from my computer, turn my phone off, disconnect from the world a bit. There have been several moments along the drive where my stress was at an all time high because I couldn’t connect like I needed to. Each time I heard the same comment, “maybe that’s the world telling you to unplug.” Yet, still, I couldn’t make myself do it. I got anxiety over not being able to check my email, update my clients’ Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. It was my responsibility and my promise to my clients and to my company. I couldn’t disconnect.
When I say anxiety, I mean my breathing would increase, my chest would get tight, and my mind raced with “what if’s.” I couldn’t fathome unplugging, it wasn’t possible… not now… or at least so I thought. However, yesterday, I found it. I found the calm I had been desperately searching for, but in the most unexpected way.
We were leaving our campsite at Big Sur for San Francisco when another camper told us about a hike that was a game changer. Although we had plans to be there by early afternoon for other work engagements with a four-hour drive ahead of us, we made a last minute decision to turn around and hike toward these hot springs. Consciously leaving our phones and work behind, we embarked on the very adventure I needed. An adventure that tested my strength mentally and physically. It pushed me out of my comfort zone into a place of vulnerability and uncertainty.
I struggle with asking for help or even accepting it at times. Though in this adventure I found a confidence in asking when needed but also trusting in my abilities and knowledge. His hand was there when I needed it, but he had faith in my capabilities to work through the challenges of the hike. I became more comfortable in accepting his guidance in footing and allowing him to take on some of the weight of my decisions. For the first time it was okay in not having all the answers, let alone the right ones. My fear of failure was ever so slowing shedding away. The two major falls I had, turned out feeding my desire to make it farther and work harder to reach our goal. Sure, it was scary and my ankles hurt a bit, but the test of strength proved to be successful.
We never found the hot springs, waterfall or cave… but laying on that rock as we decided to turn around I felt accomplished as the water rushed by and the warm sun beat down on my white skin. The fresh air breezing through my tangled hair refreshed my sense of freedom and confidence. I felt a calm and excitement in the uncertainty and unknown. I was able to let go and shake my fears of failure for those four and a half hours. I found something in that moment. I was able to accept where I am in my life, that I don’t have all the answers, that I never will have all the answers, and that it’s not all about finding your picturesque destination as it is the adventure along the way.