Expanding One’s Comfort Zone

Peru Dec 2012During a 2-week journey to Peru, we visited Puno, Uros Island, Cusco, Urubamba and Machu Picchu. We visited temples and many Inca sites. To get to some of them, a lot of hiking was required. In the beginning of the trip, my fear of heights showed up and almost paralyzed me. The only reason I made it through and back was because of those who showed up in a big way to hold my hand, to cheer me on, or to give me invaluable advice – your feet know what to do, trust yourself, don’t look down, look at your feet only, you can do it! The fear showed up again in other hikes that were not so difficult but yet scary. Again I counted on others for support, encouragement, and a calm presence which helped me to keep going.

On our last day in Machu Picchu, we were advised that the guide had purchased in advance, tickets for us to climb Wayna Picchu, but only those who thought they could handle it should go. I talked to those who had climbed it at another time. The women explained how hard it was, but encouraged me to go for it. The men mentioned the strength needed and figured I could probably handle it. I was very close to not going, but then I decided that since one of the reasons for going on the trip was to transform myself and to expand my comfort zone, I owed it to myself to go for it. I had also been advised that failing was not an option. There would be no one or no way to go back in case I realized mid-way through it that I couldn’t do it – very reassuring.

Before we started climbing, I created a mantra: I’m safe, I’m centered, I’m supported. I repeated it to myself non-stop on the way up and back. There was no chance of holding someone else’s hands as the steps were too narrow and it was difficult to help each other, as you needed both your hands and feet to climb it. The feeling of accomplishment when we got to the top made it all worthwhile. When we were almost at the top, a friend mentioned that he had never seen me so alive, he was probably right.

Our way back was a little more arduous and scary at times, and I had two friends coaching me through every step. No, I didn’t look down; I knew better not to paralyze myself. I continued with my mantra and when we got back to Machu Picchu, I was feeling fantastic, like I could face any fear with the same mantra: I’m safe, I’m centered, I’m supported. The picture above was taking back at Machu Picchu, and the mountain behind me is the one we had just climbed.

How are you expanding your comfort zone? Can you look back at your new year’s resolution and see how you can take it a step further? Feel free to share your thoughts here.

Happy New Year!

11 Responses to “Expanding One’s Comfort Zone”

  1. Nelson Almonte Says:

    A wonderful and inspiring story; I have a friend who suffers from chronic anxiety; her psychiatrist told her to use the mantra “there is no danger” when she is having an anxiety attack..
    I hope that you post more short stories like this..
    Happy New Year~~

  2. Elisa Balabram Elisa Balabram Says:

    Thank you, Nelson!

  3. Hana marritz Says:

    sounds like a fantastic trip on every level. brava! Hana

  4. Elisa Balabram Elisa Balabram Says:

    It was, Hana. Thank you!

  5. Tanya Kluck Says:

    Wow! Thank You for sharing Your Amazing experience! Thoroughly enjoyed your story, and can feel Your total Joy through Your picture. What an Amazing feat! Congratulations to You for pushing the boundaries xox

  6. Elisa Balabram Elisa Balabram Says:

    Thank you so much, Tanya!

  7. Eraly Says:

    Great, Elisa! The only limit: ourselves! Your experience is a stimulus. A new year and a long life with confort and self-reliance!

  8. Elisa Balabram Elisa Balabram Says:

    Thanks, Eraly! A great year to you too!

  9. Joy Says:

    You are amazing and inspiring Elisa. I’m glad you had an amazing trip.

  10. Elisa Balabram Elisa Balabram Says:

    Hi Joy,
    Wonderful to hear from you, and thank you!
    Hope business is going well and that you keep making people’s days sweeter with your cupcakes.

  11. Webinar on Facing Your Fears with Self-love | Ask Others, Trust Yourself Says:

    […] that has caused the most impact since I started blogging again on AskOthersTrustYourself.com is Expanding Your Comfort Zone, about my trip to Peru and my own journey facing my fear of heights.  In fact, I’m still getting […]

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