Scaling the Walls of Our Dreams

I was talking with some friends the other day about the movie Free Solo. One of my friends breezily remarked that Alex Honnold was crazy for climbing El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, a nearly 3,000 foot ascent without ropes, anchors or any other protective gear. Before I watched the movie, I would have agreed. After all, the first time I climbed a rock face, I was only three feet off the ground when my leg start shaking, a condition so common it has a name – sewing machine leg.

But when you watch the movie, you see how impeccably he prepared for the challenge. Alex climbed each section over and over again with protective gear, until every move was automatic and if not easy, than at least anticipated.

For me the crux moment is when the film crew assembles to film his free solo attempt and he starts but then calls it off because he knows it’s not the right day. In that willingness under the pressure of expectation and respect for everyone else’s time and with the knowledge that they won’t be able to try again until the next year, he shows how incredibly brave he is.

For me this isn’t a movie about a climber ascending a famous wall at Yosemite. It’s an allegory for all of us about the call to recognize and commit to our gifts. It is about accepting our paths, the unique reason we are all on the planet, and then walking that path.

It contains both the vision piece – and execution piece, the incredibly hard work that we have to do to hone our gift once we accept it. It shows that purpose and practice go hand in hand.

And it speaks to how vital it is to listen to the quiet Divine voice within us. So that if the day, the conditions or the circumstances aren’t right, we are willing to honor the voice within that says “Don’t do it” no matter how silly it could make us look. We can listen, withdraw and wait for the right day.

When my daughter was 2-years-old and we were watching The Sound of Music, she asked why the characters at the convent were wearing habits and wimples. When I told her they were nuns, she repeated back to me, “They are nuts?”

Yes, sometimes when we follow our calling, we might seem like we are nuts. It is hard to get quiet enough to listen to the small voice within. Even harder to put our gifts on display for the world to see and put in enough practice to bring them to bear in an audacious way.

But when we do scale that wall of gifts and dreams, when we stand on top and celebrate that unity of purpose, preparation and performance, we set the world on fire. As Howard Thurman said so well, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people that come alive.”

Are you following your path? Do you have a great example of coming alive?

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(featured photo from Pexels)

13 thoughts on “Scaling the Walls of Our Dreams

  1. I agree, Wynne, one has to be nuts to follow their calling. At least that’s what people assume you are when you don’t follow the mundane path followed by so many. Safety and reliability are the walls each individual wishes to build around themselves. But ask those souls whose walls have crumbled even before they could reach a decent height. Every word I write makes me feel alive. And every word I read written by others makes me believe that there’s so much to share and learn in life. Safety nets and harnesses seem like the saner choice, but how about letting go and embracing the excitement of the moment. Surrendering to that gut feeling may be dangerous but it can also be liberating. The three words that come to my mind are – Just Do It! It is a great slogan. Thanks for the superb post and wonderful question. 🙂

    1. I love this comment, Terveen! The way you write about writing is so clearly charged with meaning and purpose. I love it! Just Do It indeed!!

  2. Wowsers, Wynne, you’ve done it again: delivered a very rich post that has us question ourselves and reach for very deep answers. I agree with what you’ve shared about the movie “Free Solo.” I didn’t see it, but I’ve seen enough video clips to give me a good idea about it.

    I also think it’s an allegory for our lives. Do we have the courage to follow our heart–to reach, and keep on reaching for those heart-fulfilling moments. Divinity is expressing itself through our human vehicles. Am I living my purpose–I believe that I am; and to be honest it was quite scary at first (from the perspective of “Art”), when “i” wondered how people might view me after sharing the information that i do about our essential nature. To the masses, it must seem very bizarre; but it’s happening, and i trust the Creator within me…all the way.

    1. What a great comment, Art! I love when you say that you are living your purpose and trust the Creator within all the way. I believe that’s all we have to focus on and the Universe will take care of the rest. Good for you!

      1. Thank you, Wynne. This is “SO” different than the way “Art” used to live–driven, and driving himself to get somewhere. Honestly, at times I feel like running…but to where?

        Just so you know, you’re posts serve a great purpose. I, and so many others (I’m sure) can feel the depth of them. You raise penetrating questions that cause us to reach deep. 🙏

      2. Thank you so much for that wonderful compliment. Because when I write I feel like I’m squarely in my purpose so I’m grateful that translates to some usefulness for others!

  3. You’re welcome, Wynne. I’m not just saying, I mean it. The way you share experience is very powerful–we can feel that you’re living your purpose. There are books within you, and there is a waiting audience to read them.

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