Episode 52: Rim to Rim, a Spiritual Experience Part 2. With Abi Ayres

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Have you ever heard someone share an adventurous experience and it resonated so much with you that you knew right away you were going to do the same thing? Well that happened to me! The first time I heard Abi Ayres talk about her experience hiking Rim to Rim in the Grand Canyon I was immediately inspired to hike it myself.  Mind you, I would not consider myself a "hiker" and this is no regular hike. I know there is so much for me to learn in this experience. Some of it, I have already have.


Preparation is Key

I started preparing for the upcoming hike this last fall. Giving myself almost a year to prepare my body to do something that I have never done before. When I think about the difficulty of the hike I tend to focus on my physical capabilities. However, the mental preparation is equally important.

Abi Ayres related to me an experience she had during her preparation that helped her have confidence she could complete the hike. While hiking a difficult trail near her home she became keenly aware of her physical ability and frustrated at how hard it was for her. She wondered if she would be able to hike the Grand Canyon. Then something inside her changed. As she hiked she felt as though inside she was fighting against herself. She said,

"Every negative annoying thought came to my mind about why I should not be doing this right now. When this very strong part of me that had been buried for a very long time came to the surface and defended every negative thing...you are completely capable. You are completely available to do this. You are strong. You have the capacity to do this. You have been blessed with a beautiful body that functions."

This was a powerful moment for her in her life and for me as I listened. I know what my abilities are but I also know how powerful our minds can be. Abi also told herself, "I am going to do this for myself. I am going to hike Rim to Rim because I can. I want to prove to myself, to my body, that I am capable."

When we find ourselves in those uncomfortable and difficult moments our inner dialogue can change the entire experience. In any area of our lives, our minds give us the power to do incredible things. 

 Go at Your Own Pace

Hiking the Grand Canyon is not a race. When you embark on a journey it is easy to get caught up in the idea that you have to go fast. That is actually not always the best way. Going your own pace, even if it is slow, is the best way to reach your destination.

"Do not stop. Just keep going. Even if it is so slow...At least you are moving in the right direction." ~ Abi

Even though going slow is not my favorite thing to do, it is certainly imperative. In all aspects of our lives! With a job, relationships, housework, even parenting. We may feel at times that the small things we do are not amounting to anything. But they are. Every single step, task, or movement that we do in the right direction propels us forward. Even when we the progress is difficult to see.

People Matter

Hiking with people is paramount. The distraction alone will get us through much of our journey. I will be hiking the Grand Canyon with my brothers and their wives. The people I know and trust more than most anyone else. Much like Abi did with her family. On the last leg of the Rim to Rim hike Abi was paired with her brother-in-law. He was kind, patient, and encouraging.

"Having Lance at the end, those last four miles, to just be there for me, just taking it at my level was so important...Knowing that some had my back, that no matter what. Even if we have to sleep on the side of the mountain, he would have stayed with me." ~Abi

Fact is, the most difficult portion of the Rim to Rim hike is the end. Typically when you hike a mountain you do the grueling incline at the beginning and are able to look forward to the easier portion, the descent. The Rim to Rim is much different. Not only is it 26 miles long but at the end of the hike, you ascend the canyon wall. 

After you have struggled, after you are exhausted, after you have already pushed yourself to the limit, you start to climb. Much like our own lives and personal experiences. and journeys.

There will be times when we feel are on the downhill but in the back of our minds we know that again we will need to climb.  We need to be prepared, we need to remember to go at our own pace, and we need to ensure we have the right people by our side because there will always be another mountain to climb.

 

 

 

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