Beliefnet
When a defining moment comes along, you can do one of two things. Define the moment, or let the moment define you.
-Tin Cup

From "Healing Words for the Body, Mind and Spirit," by Caren Golman:

In 1988, I went on a rugged Outward Bound sailing expedition for adults off the coast of Maine. The famed Outward Bound courses are designed to be physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding experiential learning adventures. Many people claim Outward Bound changed their lives. I'm one of them.

On Outward Bound, I attempted things I had never done before. I plunged into a 47 degree ocean. I lived with twelve other adults on a boat that had no galley or head. I slept sardine style on top of oars. I rock-climbed to overcome a fear of heights only a klutz can have. I lived solo on an uninhabited island for two and al half days, and I did a high ropes course that is so challenging it's used to train soldiers. By the time my expedition ended, Outward Bound had taught me plenty about facing my fears, but not as much as my shipmate Gerald did.

Gerald, a Roman Catholic priest in his fifties, approached most exercises as we all did-with some trepidation countered by an overriding determination to get on with it. That is, until we got to the infamous ropes course-a series of graduated challenges strung amongst trees overlooking a high, rocky, cliff. On the second level, Gerald froze. Faced with having to make a small leap in mid air to get from his log to another, he became paralyzed. After all our attempts to encourage him failed, one of the leaders asked Gerald one simple question. "What's stopping you?" she shouted up. "I don't know. I don't know," he wailed back. "Would you like me to help you?" she asked. "No," he barked angrily. "I'm just stupid Mr. Bumbles, stupid Mr. Bumbles."

"Gerald!" she said. "When was the last time someone called you that?" Shocked, he sat down on the log to think. "I was twelve," he answered softly. Then, before we could wonder what would follow, Gerald grabbed his support rope, hoisted himself up, set his sights on the other log, leapt across the tiny chasm, and just kept going-higher and higher toward the top.

* * *

Also on Beliefnet:

  • Facing Fear: Quotes From Sacred Texts
  • Prayers: Coping With Fear

    Sign up to receive Health & Happiness insights in your inbox everyday.
  • Join the Discussion
    comments powered by Disqus