There is opportunity for incredible grace…in honesty. Let me share with you a recent experience I was able to share with a group of extraordinary humans.
I volunteer with Colorado Youth at Risk, a non-profit here in Colorado mission minded pair young people with mentors in a grander mission to help them reach for what is possible in their lives. I am a Group Leader in this beautiful community we call Steps Ahead 10. In other words, I mentor mentors and help with coaching to mentors and young people working together, building relationships. Each “community” starts our year long journey with a weekend excursion to AU in Buena Vista, Colorado. Often, it’s a first “trip” to the mountains, or “trip” of any sort for the young people we serve.
We spend a great deal of time in a course room, learning tools we can use in our SA10 community, and hopefully take with us in to our lives. I can share more of that later.
We also spend some time outdoors doing a “ropes course.” This course includes a Freedom Fall in to the arms of your small group as well as many other height challenging, obstacles — all designed to take us one step beyond where the comfort level lives.
Friday night — we learned and used a tool we call “emptying the cup.” Just as it sounds, it’s kind of like word vomit — just emptying the what’s bothering you to a group of people who aren’t here to judge, we’re HERE to HEAR. Enter grace. I shared with my small group this year is my third year of doing the Launch Course, and that I had successfully finished two of the three never having done the freedom fall. I have this tremendous mean girl, you know the one that lives inside your head, tells you that you’re probably too fat to do this thing — what if they drop you? You can’t look at yourself in the mirror because how — just how did you end up THIS WAY? It felt good to let go of my dirty little secret that is the freedom fall.
On Saturday morning we started our ropes course…with… yep… the Freedom Fall. Each of my respective mentors and young people hopped up on to the back end of the truck we perched from — faced their fear, what was necessary to let go of to get where we want to go… took some coaching and fell in to the arms of our community ready to catch them, support them, and as we put it… “have your back.”
And so we were done with that element. Or so I thought. Peter, one of my mentors called me out. It was my turn. Me. ME. Now mind you, I think I narc’d on myself for some desire to finally let go and do this thing… but there it is looking me dead in the eye. Me and the mean girl. What if they drop me? What if I am too fat? What if I just can’t do this?
So the mean girl and I had a conversation. I am tired of whatever self shaming I have going on for what my body looks like today. I am tired of avoiding a mirror, because I don’t like what I see. I am on a journey to reclaim my health, my confidence, knowing that I am good enough just as I am today — and the possibility I have in tomorrow. And so I gave the command…
Me: “Team Ready?”
Them: “Ready Team!”
Me: “Liz Falling.”
Them: “Fall on Liz.”
Okay… reset and try again.
Me: “Team Ready?”
Them: “Ready Team!”
Me: “Liz Falling”
Them: “Fall on Liz!”
And back I went.
And…They caught me. And… then they lifted me… up above their heads. And… I didn’t fall, they didn’t drop me. And when I was lowered, all I had was tears, lots of them. There aren’t words I can find for the gratitude I felt, for these people, these, the ones who said they’d have my back. And. DID. I’m grateful for the grace, I could show to the mean girl, and the scared girl, and the sometimes not so strong girl, and for the girl who was strong enough, to let them all exist and still come out on top.