Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Overcoming the Fear

This is a topic that I think we all can relate to in one way or another, whether it has to do with living a healthy lifestyle of weight loss and being successful at it or something as simple as being afraid of heights. I'm only mentioning these two because they both have either been a part of my life in the past or are still somewhat of a fear I am currently dealing with. 

When I first even had the inclination that I wanted to try to get healthy and lose some of the weight I was carrying around, I had no idea what that would look like. I was scared my body wouldn't respond. I was scared of the unknown. I didn't know what to do or even how to do it, and I was even scared with the thought that I wouldn't be able to stick with it. Like I said, I had no clear picture of anything that lied ahead and when I thought of my body looking different and being lighter, my brain when to mush. It was fear. What is the opposite of fear? Faith. I had no faith in myself that I could become better. (Just typing that out makes me sad.)
(I had already lost 40 pounds when this picture was taken.)

 When did that change? It was baby steps. The more I saw a little bit of progress, the more I believed in myself. Instead of jumping my thoughts way ahead to the end and what I hoped things were going to be like, I kept it small. I kept it real. Looking ahead, believing with faith that I was going to reach my next goal, whatever it may be. The more faith I deposited into my baby steps, the more I trusted in God to help me, the further I went, eventually reaching my goals. Kinda like a bank account. The more deposits of faith and "I can do this" statements I added to my account, the better off I was going to be, especially when hit with a rough patch or a plateau. In the end, I had trained my brain to believe I could do anything I put my mind to. 
I tell you this because just this last week, I started to work on yet another fear of mine - heights! I know, sounds crazy coming from the girl who loves to hike mountains, but it's true. I guess I am used to hiking mountains in Washington, where things are lush and green and trees everywhere and you really don't realize you are going up until you reach the top and have a beautiful view of the world below. Not to mention, there are usually plenty of surroundings on each side of you to make you feel safe, even when at the top. This past week our kids were gone at a church retreat for the week so my husband and I decided to do some hiking. He's a big-time backpacker, hiker and loves the outdoors. We decided to hike up Mt. Timpanogos. It's in Utah between Salt Lake City and Provo, about 6 hours from where we live. We had heard many wonderful things about this hike so we were excited to make the trip. The trail itself is beautiful. 
Very well traveled, lots of flowers, waterfalls, wild mountain goats, and things to see on the way up. I was in heaven.

Once we hit an open meadow area, there weren't many trees anymore and nothing but the tip of the mountain way off in the distance. 
(We had already hiked 4 miles by the time we reached the meadow. Up to the right is the "saddle" then you hike up and around the back to get to the top. It was another good 3.5 miles.)

From there is when I started to get uneasy. We had to cross over a few snowfields that were not exactly flat, so no falling or slipping was allowed. 
Then once we got up to what was called the saddle of the mountain, that is where I was pretty sure I wasn't going any further. Literally, a small narrow trail that dropped straight off the mountian. No gradual decline down the side just a straight drop.
(This was taken up on the saddle with the meadow down below to the left.)

(This would be what the trail looks like most of the time getting up the rest of the way. Yep, like I said...straight down! No edge of any kind.)

I kept thinking to myself, "And they say people don't die on this mountain? They say Timp is very safe to hike?" I couldn't believe it! I hiked up to camp Muir on Mt. Rainier last year and this had no comparison. Rainier was a piece of cake compared to this.
(This was the view from the saddle with still 3 miles to climb.)

We took a break for a few minutes and then Steve was very sweet about asking me how I felt and if I wanted to go on. He said he would be fine if we turned back if that is what I wanted to do. In some ways I was done, but in other ways I wanted to get to the top. I came this far, I wanted to make it. It was one of those moments where I sat there on that mountain filled with emotion that my body was even capable of getting as far as it did. It wouldn't have even been able to barely leave the parking lot a few years ago. I then had the thought of fear and what I had to do to overcome the fear of being successful on my weight loss journey. Baby steps came into my head. I was going to take baby steps to the top. Or at least give it a try. I had decided even if I got part of the way, it was a start, and I would feel much better about trying and having faith, rather than giving up and running from fear. Needless to say we made it to the top, little by little, scaling the side of the mountain at a couple points where rocks fell for miles below.

(This is for real folks! Scaling the side of the mountain at a few spots. I was not smiling by the way. I think I was moaning or something.)

I even announced I was done more than once but then something in me wanted to keep going. I was shaking, I was nervous, all the things that were probably not a good combination when climbing up the side of a mountain that had nothing but drop-offs and the city below to catch me. Steve even had to slow down as the altitude was giving him a headache.  I'll never forget the feeling of accomplishment when reaching the little white shack that sits on the top of the mountain.
 I felt like I was on top of the world and could do anything I put my mind and heart to. Whether it was losing weight and getting healthy or climbing 15 scary miles over a 10 hour period, I was reminded again that I am capable of anything.

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  1. You are awesome! I love your attitude and you let us know how things really were, cause it's obviously not easy all the time, even as you have lost all the weight you still struggle! It's nice to see that.

  2. Awesome Paige. I LOVE this post!

  3. Great post Paige! I am so proud of you! You are awesome!

  4. Impressive. I couldn't have scalled that mountain side. Thank you for your spirit. Perhaps I can overcome my mountain like you.

  5. I am SO IN AWE of you!! I was starting to hyperventilate just reading this and looking at the pictures! I am scared of heights and WAS scared of high bridges over water.....I overcame the bridge fear by running over the Verrazanno Bridge in the NYC marathon, but I still have to conquer the heights thing!

  6. "What is the opposite of fear? Faith. I had no faith in myself that I could become better". Love this! Learning that we can change, learning to trust ourselves to take care of every way, is life changing. So awesome to read of your victories, one step at a time :)

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