On Limiting Potential

Walking off the Ledge

Walking off the Ledge

So, Sundays are my sleep-in days, when the munchkin who can wake up raring to go as early as 5:30, goes and hangs out with her Daddy to watch too many episodes of Dora on Tivo.  Since my solitary retreat last week, when I spent six days/nights alone to transition from a corporate mindset to a writer’s headspace, I have been able to access my dreams again (I will talk about this valuable solo retreat experience in a later post). This morning I woke up at the end of a Tough Mudder dream.

As part of my life’s journey, I have pushed my physical body – hard.  In 2012-2013, one year after the birth of my daughter, I ran two Tough Mudders with my brother and/or sister.  I did them to prove something to myself about perseverance, facing fear and accepting help (you cannot complete these alone) with me opting to skip several obstacles out of safety concerns or starting them and not finishing because I lacked the upper body or wrist strength.  One in particular, the Funky Monkey, defied me; I trained for it with pull-ups and wrist exercises, but could never complete it.  This obstacle is typically near the end, followed shortly afterwards by Everest, a 15-foot half-pike that only the baddest bad asses can get up alone and in full view of a large crowd of spectators (my brother is one of these bad asses, by the way).

In my dream, I started along on Funky Monkey.  Halfway through, I said to myself, “I WILL complete this because I CAN.”  And I laughed at the surge of strength that came as I moved from bar to bar.  Afterwards, during the running stretches between obstacles (including a strange, dream-injected one where we essentially had to walk on water), I felt such joy because I knew I was doing this for fun and my body felt strong and vital and the exertion was effortless.  When I got to Everest, I even joked a bit with the emcee who is usually on hand at that obstacle to coach folks up and over the wall and how to work in teams.  As I waited like a sprinter at the starting line for the cue to run as fast as I could towards the half-pike, I knew I would not only find the strength to get over alone, but I would stay at the top as long as possible to help others over that wall, to look them in the face and say, “I will not let you go.  Today you will succeed.”

Now dreams are our teachers, metaphors.  I know the seed for this dream came from watching my daughter at the playground yesterday.  She is only 2, but insists on playing on equipment intended for 7-10 year-olds.  Fearless, she will climb up rope or rock-climbing walls and cross monkey bars (7 freakin’ feet off the ground!) all so that she can get to the highest slide possible.  And, she repeats the process over and over again, all smiles and singing, getting more confident each time.  The last time on the slide, she came tearing down ON HER KNEES (What??), a “hmm, not sure how this is going to end” look on her face, but I was standing, heart in my throat, to catch her, Mudder-style, at the end before should could face-plant.

The takeaway:  My experience has been that the person who most limits my potential as an artist is me.  As I have been hearing repeatedly from different sources over the last few weeks:  when you let go of the fear, the love (the fun, truth, the answers, the door, etc.) appears.

Who most gets in your way and why do you tolerate it?

What are your thoughts?