This is the first blog I’ve written in months. Seven months to be exact… yikes! Just typing that feels uncomfortable. As I was revamping my layout (aimlessly, I might add. I truly have no idea where my blogging life is going or what my goals are) I took a look at the archive section. It made sense— the majority of my blogs on WordPress or Elephant Journal took place in 2013 and 2014. What I’ve come to realize is that I rarely feel compelled to write when I’m comfortable. Those two years were full of heavy, nitty gritty soul searching, a good chunk of pain, a move to a brand new state, two break ups (ish), and the oh so disagreeable feeling of facing your shit.
Luckily, 2015 was pretty much smooth sailing. Okay, not entirely. Actually, not at all. But for whatever reason, navigating the experiences I had throughout that year (moving three times, my fathers open heart surgery, the murder of a friend, leaving my job, etc.) all felt totally doable. It’s not like I didn’t have my fair share of breakdowns, and it’s most likely entirely due to the fact that I fell in love with my best friend, but, needless to say, it’s as if I was able to finally tap into that reservoir of deep inner strength, where I truly knew that I could handle whatever was thrown at me.
Now, am I feeling compelled to write because I’m losing my shit all over again? Quite possibly (joking…….). No, but I am seemingly entering a new cycle of self awareness, and let me tell you, it ain’t pretty here. Don’t get me wrong, my life is wonderful. It’s fun, it’s spent mostly adventuring, and there’s a ton of laughter. Maybe it comes with the territory of being a teacher or maybe its got something to do with stars or numerology, but regardless, old patterns and habits are creeping up and it’s scaring the bejesus out of me.
Those of you who keep up with me know that I’ve fallen into a pretty deep obsession (is there a stronger word?!) with climbing. It was always something I knew I’d wanted to do (thanks, Katie) but I never had the guts to be a newbie at something alone. Conveniently, my lover is an avid rock climber— problem solved! I’ve been hooked since the first moment those hand holds destroyed my baby soft skin. The funny thing about climbing is, the more stuck you are in your head, the more obvious it will be when you attempt a problem. For me, scaling a wall has been an incredible source of stress relief and a great outlet for my anxiety. Until recently that is.
This past weekend we had the awesome opportunity to explore climbs in the Red River Gorge in east-central Kentucky, with some pretty rad people. The canyon is beautiful and massive and there is no shortage of exciting adventure vibes. Everything is catered to climbers: the camping, the food, the whole scene really— it’s truly a climbers paradise. As much as I was brimming with stoke, I was also in the midst of some deep inner discomfort. My thoughts all seemed to have an undertone of insecurity and the self-loathing game was REAL, y’all. And for no good reason, I might add. Timing... It can be a bitch. I felt like I had hit the rewind button back to age 14 and was stuck in the body of a girl who hated herself. I’ll spare you the rest of the depressing details, but overall, I am taking this experience, this cycle, as a learning experience, in true Juju fashion.
I feel like I came out the womb with a desire to transcend and grow and seek, and when I experience myself like I have over these last few weeks, I realize that there is no finale to this growth— it is a constant. When I experience old patterns that I thought I worked so hard to let go of (shoutout to resentment, fear, and feelings of inadequacy) and they raise their little heads to let me know that they’re still around and going strong, I do my best not to be consumed by them, but rather to look at it as an opportunity to find more self love, to find more forgiveness, and to let my heart soften more.
Louise Hay says “The bottom line for everyone is ‘I’m not good enough'”. Everyone struggles with insecurities. At some point, every single person on this planet has likely experienced the feeling of not being enough. Unfortunately, our society thrives on comparison, and so many of us struggle in this inner competition with the people around us. Life is not a competition. As we all inevitably learn, this life is often cut too short, and there is truly no control in the when or the how. So why should we spend it in fear? Why wouldn’t we want to spend it loving every single person we’re lucky enough to see?
A friend recently compared climbing to yoga— the movement, the breath, but most importantly, the introspection. It’s a practice. It’s that space that gives us the freedom to explore ourselves, flaws and all, and still tap into that inner reservoir of strength that we all have. And our souls need that. Without practice, we are directionless. We could continue to meander about, seeking gratification in the artificial, or we could brave the discomfort, find that point and aim, steadfast, again and again to the truth, the real, and the heart, even when it’s scary.
Godspeed, my friends.