Deciding and showing up is the biggest challenge:Taking On the Rope Challenge Course at Miraval

By Suzanne Holman • April 5th, 2011

Have you ever decided to go ahead with something because you knew you really wanted the experience and yet wandered if it would be something that you really could accomplish?
I felt that way when I signed my name on the  list for "Swing and a Prayer", a challenge of swinging in a harness from 35 ft above the desert floor.
"Deciding and showing up is the biggest challenge."

Those were the words of Steve, our guide for the ropes challenge at Miraval Resort in Tucson.
It was surprising that there were only six of us who showed up for the experience after many more had taken the allotted slots or were on the wait-list.   We all sat in the comfort of the lounge as Steve explained what we would be doing and checked to see if we were prepared with proper clothing and water.  

He talked about the perceived danger in swinging at that height. It is only natural since from the time we were born, falling is an inborn fear.  

- You can see in the photo the support being given to Laurie as she prepared for her challenge.

Steve shared that there actually was more danger in getting to the course!
He said there were more injuries slipping while walking down the path or from people swinging their arms and making contact with cactus needles than there were from swinging high in the air.

Steve went through each segment of the experience in great detail so that we knew exactly what to expect for each phase of the challenge.  My apprehension dissolved after this preparation and very detailed explanation of the process they created and follow.  All the elements of the process for this activity are put in place so that each participant feels safe and supported.

We learned the correct way to enter and adjust our harness and to get our helmet on securely and comfortably.  Each person chose a number as to the order we would like to participate.  My preference was for being second.  I knew I wanted to experience someone else doing the challenge before doing it myself.  However, I chose to go second in order to move forward so that I could enjoy the swing without building up too much anxiety.

As I watched Kyle going through all the steps of getting hoisted up to the 35-foot position, I visualized my own body doing each of the movements.  I learned that it was that first moment of letting go of the rope that would allow the initial strong swing down that would be the thrilling one!  Each of us had a specific role in making his experience a safe and supported one.  

Then it was my turn.  As I climbed the steps of the ladder that would take me to the position of getting hooked into the ropes, I recalled past enjoyable experiences of rappelling freely through the air after climbing a rock wall.  I was excited to feel this sense of flying once again.   

Together they pulled the rope that hoisted me higher and higher to the 35-foot point.  It was my decision as to how high I wanted to go and when I would release the rope that would free me to swing between the two high poles. The view from that vantage point was totally breath taking.  Mountains and blue sky and cactus.  And then at that moment of release was amazing!  The strong first swing that took me flying across the area was exhilarating.  Feeling the breeze as I moved through the air is a sensation I'll always remember.   Gradually the swinging slowed and I was safely brought down to the ground, ready to support the next adventurer.  

How grateful I was to have gone ahead with the opportunity to do the challenge.  I walked away feeling stronger and more confident to take on the next seemingly difficult challenge in my life!

In my next post, I'll be sharing some of the insights I took away from this experience.  It was an amazing metaphor for much of what we experience in our lives.



Suzanne – Loved this story and the visual imagery. Congratulations on literally taking the plunge. We all have fears and then, when we overcome them, we realize most of it was in our heads. Whoever thought I'd become a pseudo "techIe" and manage my own blog. It's a great feeling.

So true about showing up being harder than being there. Thank you for sharing this exciting adventure with us!


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