At the End of My Rope

I came across some information about a workshop they were having in California, an eight-day event, and the whole eight days was about pushing through your fears and your limiting beliefs.

I was experiencing a lot of fear and anxiety in my life at that time, because I was getting ready to do something I didn’t know how to do. You know what I’m talking about? That’s what happens for us when we start to step outside of our comfort zone. Fear comes up, does it not? And I’m absolutely committed to moving beyond my fear and not allowing it to paralyze me and keep me stuck in being less than I came to be.

So I signed up for the workshop, and sent in my money (a whole bunch of money!). I flew out to San Francisco and rented a car and drove to the middle of northern California.

The lessons I learned from that experience are continuing to unfold and empower me every day of my life.

Now, honest to God, I do not know what I was thinking about when I signed up for that workshop. I guess I thought what we would do is sit around in this little lodge in northern California, around the fireplace, and we’d have a little sip of that wonderful northern California wine. And we would just share with each other deeply about our most secret fears. And then we would look meaningfully into each other’s eyes and we would do some forgiveness work and we’d all go home. I don’t know what I thought!

But the very first thing they did was load us onto a bus and take us out to the middle of nowhere… to a cave! Then they proceeded to tell us that what we were going to do was rappel… 200… feet… down… into a dark cave! Whoa! Nobody told me this was part of the program! I mean, heights are not my thing. I’ve told myself all my life I get dizzy standing on a stepstool.

A CAVE! For God’s sake, there’s no way in Hell I’m going to be doing this!

And I’m just terrified. I’m shaking in my boots and I’m blabbering. I’m trying to find a way to get out of this without making a complete ass out of myself… and I’ve just lost ALL the spirituality I ever thought I’d had. Who ARE these people? I don’t even like them anyway!

I’m just scared to pieces and they start giving instructions like we’re really going to DO this! And they start saying things like, “Now when you step off this ledge right here… that is the point of no return.” Then they put a little hard hat on my head and I’m blabbering, “I can’t do this I don’t have enough information I don’t know how I just really don’t want to be here and…”

I’ve got on my gold lame tennis shoes, and I’m at least 200 miles from the nearest Niemann Marcus: I’m totally out of my element!

And then they said to me, “Now, look, honey. When you step off this ledge right here, if you do not move this rope yourself, you’re going to be hanging in space for the rest of your life.”

They hooked me up to a harness thing, put little gloves on my hands, and I’m like, “I’m not going to be doing this!”

So I’m shaking in my boots and I’m crying and carrying on and the workshop leader comes over and he gets right in my face and says, “Edwene! This is the first event, honey, of eight days. If you do not do this event you can not participate in the rest of the workshop. You will have to go home. And you will NOT get a refund.”

Then he had my attention.

I have never been so scared to do anything in my whole life. I have never wanted not to be anywhere more than I did not want to be there. I was absolutely terrified. I know there was nothing in me that knew how to do this. I had never done anything physical in my whole life. I had never broken a bone and I never intend to. I knew that I did not know HOW to do this!

Well, what I want you to know is… I stepped off that ledge… and I rappelled… 200 feet down… into a dark cave, not knowing how.

Have you ever seen anyone paying 100% attention? This was not casual attention I was paying here. I was so focused on that rope every time I moved that rope I said, “Jesus… Christ! Jesus CHRIST!”

I got about half way down and the people who’d gone before me were yelling up to me, “Look around! It’s b-e-a-u-u-u-u-u-t-i-f-u-l!”

And I’m going, “Jesus CHRIST! Jesus CHRIST!”

When I got to the bottom of that cave I just threw an old-fashioned Southern hissy fit! I was kissing the bottom of that cave, I was praising God! The man who was trying to unhook me said, “Lady, are you all right?” I said, “I’mfinejustleavemealone.”

The lessons I learned from that experience are continuing to unfold and empower me every day of my life.

What I knew about myself before I did that — and I suspect you know this about yourself as well — was that if YOU had been at the bottom of that cave and you needed me, I would have come for you. There’s no doubt in my mind I would have found a way to get down there for you because you have value.

What I did not know was that I would come for ME: for this little hurt child in me that’s still growing and healing and unfolding and learning to be all that I came to be.

Edwene Gaines, an ordained Unity minister since 1979, has made a 100% commitment to the transformation of the abundance consciousness of the world. She is the author of the book The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity, published by Rodale Books. Her rappelling adventure was at Moaning Caverns.