Balancing Fear and Control
”I needed a more convincing
personal success to overpower
the criticising demons in my system.”
I have just finished climbing one of the toughest rocks of my life. Maybe it is not so high or steep in your eyes, or even difficult. Maybe you are not terrified by the idea of being on a rope with one of the most professional guides you can find. What is there to be worried about? But for me it was like conquering a giant dragon! The challenge I put myself was not to reach the top, or to lose my fear of heights or to be a better climber. No, the challenge was more deep and personal. It was to be able to tell myself, with conviction, that I am able to push myself up that wall without help from others. That it is my own strength, power and conviction that makes it possible to go up and not fall down.
The path that led me here.
My personal path has led me through many types of therapies, courses and learning curves. There I’ve learned that I have what they call a ‘dependent personality’ or merging tendencies. Which means I love being surrounded by other people, have amazing amounts of empathy and can help others feel good and strong etc., but I have quite some difficulty being alone, knowing or supporting myself, knowing my own needs and especially attending to them. So I continuously attract codependent relationships where I lose my sense of self.
Again I found myself in a (relational) situation where I have been indulging in merging a bit too much, so now I want to get back in touch with my own needs, boundaries and desires because. As always friends and family members supported me a lot and finally someone reminded me I need to experience personal success to remind me of my agency and power. First I thought I would just write about all of my successes in the last year. Working and living in Ibiza, doing crazy hours to settle my debts, assisting coordinating a major budget event, making and keeping many amazing friendships and many many more things I have created over the last 2 years. But no…. None of these so-called successes can I, solely, contribute to my own strength of mind, body or character. I needed a more convincing personal success to overpower the criticising demons in my system.
Following the flow
I decided to re-write one of the most hard core Daddy-issue, weak and failure ridden moments of my life. A moment captured in a picture which had been facing me for my years in my family home. Symbolically placed on top of the stairs was a picture of me, and my siblings, around 8/10/12 years old. For years I have looked at this image of me and my siblings hanging on the wall. Every time I saw it I went back to that moment of complete weakness, frustration, disappointment and anger, in my own lack of agency and strength and the absence of help from the siblings and parents around me.
This image came back into my mind when I lay in bed ready to create a true success moment! The moment i took this decision the Flow started to arise. The next morning I got a response to the call I had made on a WA group the night before, I sent another message, 5 minutes later another reply ‘Let’s meet today!’ Wow!
I met them in one of my favourite cafe’s. Two cool, adventurous, successful people ready and eager to hear my story and to guide me on this part of the journey. I can usually feel a little threatened or scared when I meet professional adventurous people like this. Climbers, sailors, free divers etc. But as I started to speak and tell my story (and typically started blubbering and crying right away) I trusted them and felt safe. My inner little me (inner child) was really happy with this couple who was ready to help me take on one of my biggest demons. Alejandro listened to and asked questions in a way I recognize from passionate and professional therapists I have worked with and who have helped me, he instantly took the right energy to support my path and suggested a therapeutic climbing session where he would be the Dad and Danchu (his amazing sensitive and strong partner) the Mum. I looked properly and both at them and accepted.
The monster was chosen,
the weapons acquired,
the skilled companions ready and eager to go –
and so the quest could begin!
In this season of extreme working hours my free sundays and mornings to sleep are sacred and untouchable, but when Alejandro suggested to go right away the next morning (a sunday) at 8am, I said ‘Yes’. I knew we had to keep riding the flow before I lost my sense of adventure and bravery. Also he had claimed the power of the guide, father and teacher in this exchange and I had accepted just moments before. I had made my choice to follow, and it felt amazing!
We met at 8 and my inner child was super present in my thoughts and body. She was really leading on this journey. We went to the place and funnily enough (I love how the Universe and especially Ibiza plays with us like this!) it was exactly in the area where my ex-partner lives and where I had been through some frustrating, merging, losing my power moments with him – absolutely perfect! To find myself in the same place I had lost myself.
I always walk barefoot whenever I can, so the hike and the first climb down I was also barefoot. I like scrambling through woods, over rocks and have done that a few times in relatively dangerous places alone and just for fun. But when that Harness and that hideous helmet came on, I completely transformed back into that little chubby blubbering mess I felt like before. Letting myself slide down a very short sandy rocky slope, hips attached to Alejandro above me, a rope in my hands and Danchu beneath me… from the cool Ibzia local walking barefoot and knowing the way, I had transformed into a crying, shaking and hyperventilating blob. Not all the time, but the effect that this harness and position had on me was really strong! It became even worse when we actually started climbing the beautifully stunning cliff wall on the side of the mountain, facing the sea. Wow!
Alejandro was as professional, kind, funny and tough as you might want from a climbing instructor – therapist. I have no idea what exactly he was saying most of the time because I was really in my bubble, but he made me laugh, reminded me to breathe, didn’t tell me where to put my feet or hands (almost never), challenged me and relaxed me when I needed to. Danchu was at the bottom, holding the ropes and looking up at us with her funny square glasses (I wish I had a picture of that). Alejandro has instructed her to keep quite silent and she did, this was a process I needed to do with the Dad, not the Mum. But still to have her as a holding loving supporting present, holding the ropes that kept me up, down the mountain, waiting for me when I had climbed the mountain until I was ready to come back down and be supported by mother Gaia. woow. Super nice.
Now the whole climb was one big ritual and session strong and wavy like a Medicine plant session, but much more (corpo)real and completely embodied all the way! These are two pivotal moments during the climb that might give you an idea.
1 Taking back control
I was hanging in the harness for the first time (the scariest position for me) and Alejandro/Dad looked down at Danchu/Mum and asked sometime like ‘Shall we?’ or ‘you think it’s time?’ and she said ‘Yes’.
I clenched the rope and prayed. I was soooo scared because I really thought that now she was going to drop me. Just like that, just to teach me a lesson, or make me feel I won’t die or can stand a scratch or something…. of course nothing happened. They only asked me to look down, I did and felt relief and a little giggle about her funky square glasses, then I turned back and continued praying she wouldn’t drop me. WOW
The depth of my mistrust of people with power became crystal clear to me at that moment. No wonder I cannot relax and feel connected. A deep wound of being dropped, crying and being told I shouldn’t exaggerate and scream so much was opened up at that moment. Alejandro took charge, made me laugh, relaxed me and told me to go back to the wall, find my balance and keep climbing. I was so grateful to be back in control of my wight, my hand and feet holding me instead of someone else, who could do whatever they wanted. I felt so much more safe in my own hands than in the hands of someone else – no matter how loving and kind and good. Hanging on that wall again I felt rushing through my body the gratefulness of my own strength, my own power and the faith that I wouldn’t drop me!
2 Fear of Failing
A tiny bit later, or maybe it was 30 minutes… I really wouldn’t know, another insightful moment occurred. I was some higher and Alejandro instructed me to put my foot, no, just the big toe of my right hand foot, on a tiny stone. I didn’t believe it was a wise idea and showed him how easy it was for my toe to slip off. He said something like ”when you do it like that, you create more probability that it actually slips. Believe it will hold, press your foot knowing it will hold and it will.” In other words – I create the future with my expectations, my body and nature follows my imagined future, not the other way around. I know this to be true, so I shifted my thoughts and started to think about going up instead of falling.
I then realised it was not the fear of falling that held my strength back. It was the fear of failing. The fear of looking weak, incapable, ridiculous and stupid, including of course the response of laughter and ridicule of my surroundings, that stops me all the time of taking risks. But this was in the past, we left this down the wall as Alejandro told me and we are going up. So I thanked the little stone for being there, and pushed super hard with my toe. I had almost no hand grip and know now I wasn’t lifted by the rope. So in some crazy way, the big toe of my right foot lifted my entire body up against a vertical wall many metres up in the air…
I succeeded with my own strength, I had defeated my fear of failing in that one simple moment and the feeling of that hard confident push will remain as a memory in my body for the rest of my new life.
These two moments—– climbing up the wall, gave me the same insight, wisdom, healing and truth as two weeks of super guided retreats have done in the past. On the way back I climbed back up the other rope and after the ‘session’ I went to a cliff in the water, scrambled, swam and climbed alone, naked and completely unafraid in a wild natural environment.
Now 3 days later the adrenaline and rush settled down and the bruises on my legs are nicely visible. I have taken some steps to take control back of my life, needs and boundaries. I am writing again and my body feels very strong and relaxed at the same time. I am taking time to be with myself and discover the joy of making my own choices and choosing my own path.
I am very grateful for Mother Gaia for carrying and caring for us all,
to the Flow that brought me to this experience,
for the amazing professionalism, care and strength of Alejandro and Danchu
and most of all for the power I carry within myself
– like each and every one of us –
to achieve my own successes!