Sometime ago I accepted an invitation to go rock-climbing with a friend, an experienced climber. It was my first climb and something I had wanted to do for years. The experience turned out to be much more challenging than I had imagined.
My objective was simply to reach the top. I had barely begun when serious doubt crept about reaching the top. I realized this was far more difficult than I had expected. But I was determined to proceed as far as I could. At the halfway point, my doubt only increased. Then I said to myself, “I can do this. I am doing it.” That affirmation lasted for another two feet. My friend provided some good coaching and constant encouragement from below. I made it a few more feet only to be stopped, not seeing any way to go farther. I tried my friend’s suggestion of a route to the right. But it didn’t work. By then it was close to sundown, and it seemed that time was running out. I told myself, “I’ll return another day.” From below my friend shouted, “Just relax; let the harness and rope support you.” Automatically, I thought, “Think Chuck.” Then suddenly I thought, “No, don’t think. Just listen. There is nothing to figure out. Just listen and trust.” With calm and deep listening, I scanned the rock columns and repeated to myself, “How ever long it takes, I will stay here until I hear the way.” Then, off to the left—opposite the route my friend had suggested—it seemed as if the rocks were calling me. Trusting what I heard, I moved to the left across the rock columns. Slowly I ascended to the top. The new route worked! My friend’s coaching and support was crucial. Yet, in the end, I had to listen and trust my own heart. There is nothing to figure out. Listen to that still, quiet voice; trust; and turn insight into action.