I am not an outdoors person. Or at least that’s what I thought till some time ago.
Some four years ago, as part of an adventure based training program, I had to do rappelling Rappelling is a controlled descent down a rock face or a wall using a rope. After the safety and activity brief, we were to climb down a steep wall of 40 feet height.
A lot of participants showed enthusiasm and were lining up on the terrace to rappel down. I was like rooted to the ground. I slipped my hands into my jacket in an attempt to dry them of their clamminess. I had never done anything of this sort earlier. People were oohing and aahing with excitement while I was paralysed with fear. ‘I cant do it’… ‘I can’t…’ kept reverberating in my head. The brief said that we were safe on every millimetre of the rope but the panicky alarm bells in my head were ringing wildly.
The trainer could see through me and gave me a little pep talk. He suggested that I watch the other participants from the terrace. I pushed myself to at least go to the terrace, though I was convinced that I wouldn’t be doing this activity. Even after seeing so many people go down so easily on the rope system, my head and heart were not giving me the ‘Go for it’ sign.
And finally, I was the only person left on the terrace along with the adventure coordinators. They signalled me to wear the safety harness. Fear was writ all over me.
I looked at my instructor and asked him: “Do I really need to do this?” He said: “Not if you do not wish to. But I suggest that you do it. This experience will change you”.
I had a minute to decide. Slowly, I turned and wore the safety harness and stood on the ledge of the wall. The world looked different when seen while standing on the edge of a 40-ft wall. The cool breeze did nothing to soothe the raging nervous energy inside. The crowd at the bottom was cheering me and I was all set to… chicken out. Their motivating words could not reach the fearful stories my head was busy concocting.
And then the instructor asked everybody to keep quiet and looked at me and said, “When was the last time you did something for the first time?”
Something connected somewhere and I ssshed my racing nerves. I focused on the instructions and gingerly took the first step down the perpendicular wall… and then the second… and then the third… And by fourth step, I was like ‘not bad’… and then it was ‘Aha!… and with every step my confidence kept on increasing and a tiny little firefly was buzzing around above my head with excitement.
And when I reached down, the first thought was that wish the wall had more height! This thought amazed me…I mean this was coming form somebody who was chanting the “I can’t’ mantra, moments ago.
I realized that my dread, my fear, had been a huge overreaction. My self limiting beliefs and my fears paralysed me from taking that first step. There is enough strength within us to overcome anything in life… including our worst and biggest fears!! I realized that no fear is unconquerable. All you have to do is TRY and RISE ABOVE FEAR!!
Today, white water rafting, trekking, valley crossing, flying fox/zip line excite me and I can’t wait to explore para-sailing and bungee jumping!