It was 1998 and I was about to face another fear along the Journey of the Heart that I was on. Heights! This glimpse into part of the 6 month journey across North America that would see my life, my perspective and even my name change hints at the balance required in the physical and spiritual dimensions in order to  truly walk one’s path.

 

Climbing the Silver Cascade Waterfall – So you think YOU are afraid of heights?

Trembling on top of the two-story century farmhouse with an axe in my hand and desperately trying to break the ice weighing down the roof – I thought I had finally faced my fear of heights that record-breaking winter of 1997.  I was wrong.

Apparently that reoccurring fear of open heights was still there.  As early as high school I recall the fear being so strong that I would walk along the outside of my school’s three-story staircase. If ever I got pulled along with the tide of students changing classes to the inside bannister and peered down I became dizzy and would imagine myself plummeting to the basement in a horrific mess.

Flying? Now that was no problem for me as my Dad worked for Air Canada as a CAT( Certified Aircraft Technician) and eventually was responsible for signing off on the safeties for the Atlantic Region. As only a teenager might, I figured Dad thought of me with every signature and would be conscientiously ensuring planes were safe for his daughter’s travel.  So sitting up above the clouds in a metal tube seemed quite safe.  Like him I always had a bit of a gypsy soul and delighted in meeting new people and seeing new places.  I remember assuring my Grandmother, as she was about to take her first flight to San Francisco to visit my Aunt and Uncle, that it was like sitting in your living room, watching a movie and having people with matching outfits wait on you!  Quite a shift for her as she always brought trays of different food for each family member that she waited on.

For the Journey of the Heart though, it was travel by car (enjoyable but without Dad’s safety check) and the open heights fright was going to get seriously challenged. Kathy and I were travelling along the 302 just passed the Crawford Notch in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. It was a partially cloudy overcast day but nothing could take away from the majesty of the mountains rising up around us.  We pulled into a parking lot by the sign The Silver Cascade to find the most stunning view of a waterfall that towered about 1000 feet in to the sky above.  The water plummeted down in vertical drops of over 200 feet at a time and eventually slowed to a babbling brook by our feet.

Now babbling brooks seem innocent enough, but when you hear them calling you forward, you best be prepared for whatever might happen next.  Kathy and I gingerly walked along the rocky train that followed the brook.  She had on a pink t-shirt covered by her bluejean shirt, brown casual denim slacks and her hip, monstrous black and white sneakers completed the outfit.  Sensible and fun all at the same time.  I was wearing a baggy soft red shirt that zipped at the neck and had rolled up the sleeves to my forearms.  The bright red and blue and orange pattern that danced along my sarong as I hopped from rock to rock in my brown Naot sandals appropriately completed my hippy chick look.  It may have suited my personality, but it didn’t overly suit what Spirit had in mind.

As the sound of the pounding water on the rocks below drew us closer to the base of the falls, I heard ‘climb the waterfall.’ I turned to Kathy as I slid off my sandals and handed them to her one by one.  Calmly I said that I had been guided to climb the waterfall. Surely that meant a baptism-like bath in the frigid water, an anointment acknowledging what I had accomplished so far and a blessing for what would come up next on our Journey of the Heart. Being frightened of open heights meant I had never tried rock climbing or waterfall climbing and so didn’t think much about proper footwear, clothing or strategy.  I simply began to climb into the falls.

It was moment by aching moment as I did my best to stay as close to the edge of the waterfall as possible.  About 15 feet into the air I thought to myself, ‘there I have demonstrated faith, courage and discipline – I can get out now right?’  Clinging to the rockface I took a deep breath and checked. NO! I called out to Kathy down below. ‘Double check for me please.  I hear I have to keep climbing.’ Kathy’s face went pale.  Simages-4he got quiet and cleared and checked.  I could not turn around.  I needed to continue.  As a support, she yelled up to me, she would do Reiki and help hold me safe as I continued my climb.  I looked down at her with her hands raised out to the sides.  No backing out of this one, I had to go on.  Onwards and upwards ever so slowly as the spray from the falls was making the rocks slippery to my touch.  Green algae covered many of them, which meant that if I didn’t get a good foothold or grip, I too would be plummeting down the falls to the babbling brook that rested easy at the bottom.

Every few feet or so I would stop and pray.  I was new to prayer.  It was when I was diagnosed with a cancer fungus in my intestines, and in 3 days had turned it to full blown cancer due to my fear, that I had my first real time consciously connecting with God.  My dear Grandmother had passed from it only a few years before and the disease had followed several family members on both sides of the family.  As I sat in the single room that I rented from a Unity Church Minister and her friend afterleaving my second husband, I was terrified that I would be the next victim.  My life had been too short and I was unsatisfied with all of my accomplishments. It was then that I made my first deal with God.  If you let me live God, I will dedicate my life to being of service.  Not mine but thy will God.  My battle with cancer was mercifully easy after that surrendering prayer.  In one month I had it cleared from my system.

If prayer helped me overcome cancer, surely I could get some help with getting up or down or somehow off this massive waterfall right?  No.  Every time I heard to continue to climb what appeared to be a waterfall the height of a twelve-story building.  Kathy was getting smaller and smaller below me with her arms still outstretched. People had begun to gather around her to watch.  Thankfully I was unaware that someone had fallen to their death on the rocks below at this very site just 2 years previous.  That would not have helped my fear.  And while I was praying to find comfort and courage to continue, I had also added chanting to the list of things I was using to keep from fainting or crying as the voice urged me upwards in my red baggy shirt and colourful sarong.  Inch by inch I edged up the waterfall, carefully finding my best footing in each moment and slowly getting wetter and wetter.  Thankfully the sun was out now,  o I was kept warm enough.

It is amazing how still everything becomes,how present in the moment and brilliantly alert our senses become when we feel we are facing danger.  No matter how frightened I was, I could not stop.  The voice called me upward along the cascading falls.  If this had been a TV show like McGyver or the Bionic Woman like what I had watched as a teenager, there would have been a great tension-building soundtrack playing and some fabulous climbing gear apparatus that would pop out of a secret pocket.  But there was only the drumming of my heart, tha-thump, tha-thump and the pounding water smashing so hard along the rock that the sunlight caught in the spray cast rainbows.

My usual impulsive Self was gone.  Minutes passed as I would pause to find the best way to navigate a move along the craggy slimy rocks.  And it all seemed to be going quite well until I got to the overhanging lip at the top of the falls.  I knew I did not have the upper body strength that would allow me to arch backwards and clamber up and over to safety.  And by now, going back down the way I had come seemed impossible.  Even looking down to the crowd of about 15 hikers and tourists who were watching from below was scary.  My body began to shake with fatigue.  I was stuck.  I could not go up.  I could not go down.  The noise of the water echoed against the rocks below the overhang.  The adrenaline that had kept me going could only keep me clutching to my resting spot against the face of the falls for so long.  It was time to pray again.  Dear God, of myself I cannot do this.  I have answered the call.  I have climbed up the falls stopping to pray and to chant as guided and now I can go no further.  Please help me.  Please help me, I prayed.

All I could do was wait, grateful for Kathy’s Reiki and blissfully ignorant of what the lookers on were thinking about the crazy lady in red stuck at the top of the waterfall.

Then, suddenly two angels appeared above me.  I could hear their voices.  A young man and woman were above me on the ledge. (Angels from above or hikers just above, I was not going to quibble!)  Thank you God!  “Hey there,” I yelled to the voices above.  “I am stuck below you, can you please help pull me up?”

They got down on their knees and carefully each of them reached down to take one of my clammy hands and began to pull me along the rock face and up to the lip of the waterfall.  I was panting as I searched for places for my feet to get the best kickoff spots to raise myself up before I would be left dangling.  Eventually I made it up and over the ledge to safety.  My words of gratitude gushed from me gleefully as I was almost delirious with relief to have faced my fears and finished the dangerous climb.

But then it struck me.

They were dry and I knew they had not been climbing the waterfall with me.  Where had they come from I asked.  Sheepishly they pointed over to the forest and said they had come up the path.

A path in the woods!  Seriously! Well yes, that would indeed make things easier.

I got back up onto my feet, thanked them again and began to make my way barefooted down the forest path strewn with pebbles and pine needles.  My thighs were shaking.  Shock was setting in about just how far I had been pushed with this task from Spirit.  The closer I got down the mountainside, the clearer the message was to me.  I must never judge someone who appears to be having a difficulty.  Like myself, they too may have just accomplished something beyond their boundaries and rather than sympathy deserved applause.

As I appeared at the bottom of the trail that did indeed wind around the Silver Cascade waterfall, Kathy walked towards me and offered me my sandals.  “I have never been more scared for you,” she said. “Me neither,” I replied as we made our way over to the truck.  “I cannot drive and I don’t even know how I am going to get up into the truck at this point.  I am totally drained.” She lovingly opened the passenger side door and helped me up onto the running board and slid me onto the seat.  It was Kathy’s turn to be the driver and first stop would be a washroom break and snacks to re-energize us both.  I may have been climbing the falls, but Kathy had been generously helping me to do so each step of the way.

We never walk alone and if we have faith we can face our fears.  Today this means a great deal to me. Perhaps it will comfort you as well.  Many blessings, EagleSpirit

Excerpt from EagleSpirit’s upcoming book, “The Journey of the Heart”

 

ES promo shot sedonaEagleSpirit, a Contemporary Shaman, has worked for over 20 years to help clients relax their bodies, release limiting beliefs and radiate their most authentic selves.
As the creator of Empath 101 Empowerment program she speaks to groups internationally, facilitates the month-long course that has changed lives and is often featured in the media for her grounded approach to spirituality.
Visit here for more details about Empath 101 and contact us if you would like to sponsor the program in your area. Email to find our about personalized Soul Journeys or private sessions. You deserve to feel Soul Good!

 

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