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Presence and Accepting Where You Are

Have you ever heard of a Via Ferrata?

Via ferrata ouray colorado, being present and accepting where you are.

Today I climbed the one in Ouray, Colorado.; which is just a couple of hours from where I live. That's me in the photo!


"Via ferrata is a mountain activity somewhere between scrambling and rock climbing. A via ferrata route is characterised by a metal rail bolted into the mountain, that you clip into and use as a safety line for the duration of the route...

Via ferrata means “iron way” in Italian, hence the metal cables, iron pins and foot holds."

This is something I've been wanting to do, but honestly was a little scared to do and didn't know how to go about it and so I hadn't made it a priority. But a few months ago a friend said she wanted to take me for my birthday and so we set the date - then had to reschedule due to bad weather - and today was finally the day.

My friend had the important equipment: a helmet and harness. I just needed to bring grippy shoes, gloves and a sack lunch. Oh, and a lanyard to hold my phone around my neck so that I could more easily take some photos.

via ferrata ouray colorado, being present and accepting where you're at.

I noticed almost immediately after starting how focused I was. Every step, every hand placement. Most of the time in my day-to-day activities my thoughts are in multiple places at the same time. I didn't realize until climbing the via ferrata just how good it feels to only be focused on what was right in that moment.

When I was climbing vertically, I learned that looking up created anxiety and I only needed to look down to see where the next foothold was. I focused on what was right in front of me and the view from where I was at.

When I moved horizontally, I was very thoughtful about when to move the carabiners from one cable to the next and to let me legs carry my weight rather than holding myself up with my arms, which got tired more easily.

These decisions helped me accept where I was. I didn't question it, judge it, or rush it. This degree of presence was freeing to me. I wondered what would it might look like in my day to day life. And was it even possible?

On the mountain watching each step, placing the carabiner, and securely grasping each hand hold saved me from slipping and falling. And even though the safety ropes would have stopped me from plunging into the river, slipping would have been terrifying, painful and left me hanging - literally.

I was very aware of the safety benefits that being present gave me.

being present, accepting where you are. Via Ferrata Ouray Colorado

There are several emotional benefits to being present as well:

  • Reduced Stress: Being present helps you focus on the current moment, reducing anxiety about the future and regrets about the past. Much like not looking up or down helped me focus right where I was.

  • Improved Focus and Concentration: Practicing mindfulness can enhance your ability to concentrate on tasks, leading to better productivity and efficiency. I moved along the course with confidence when I focused on what needed to be done in the moment.

  • Enhanced Emotional Regulation: Staying present allows you to observe your emotions without becoming overwhelmed by them, helping you respond more calmly and thoughtfully. When I thought of how much further we had to go or how hard it might be ahead, I lost my sense of presence. Staying focused on what I was doing in the moment helped me remain calm.

  • Increased Resilience: Mindfulness can help you develop a greater capacity to cope with challenges and bounce back from setbacks more effectively. At one point a guide along the course let us know we weren't as far along as we thought we were. It took some work to allow that discomfort and remind myself that the only thing that had changed was my knowledge of the distance. I was still just as capable as before.

Other benefits include:

  • Better Relationships: Being fully present in your interactions with others fosters better communication, deeper connections, and more meaningful relationships.

  • Greater Self-Awareness: Being present helps you become more aware of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, which can lead to greater self-understanding and personal growth.

  • Enhanced Physical Health: Mindfulness has been linked to various health benefits, including lower blood pressure, improved immune function, and reduced symptoms of chronic pain.

  • Improved Sleep: Practicing mindfulness can help calm your mind, making it easier to fall asleep and improve the quality of your sleep.

  • Greater Joy and Appreciation: Being present allows you to fully experience and appreciate the small moments in life, leading to greater overall happiness and life satisfaction.

  • Reduced Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety: Mindfulness has been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety, improving overall mental health.

  • Enhanced Creativity and Problem-Solving: Being fully engaged in the present moment can help you think more clearly and creatively, leading to better problem-solving and innovation.

  • Better Decision-Making: When you are present, you are more likely to make decisions based on careful consideration rather than impulsive reactions.

Rather than making mindfulness and presence another thing to get better at - and to get discouraged about when you miss the goal - try first to just NOTICE things.

Notice what emotion you're experiencing. Notice how you reacted to someone's opinion. Notice your thoughts. Notice when your mind wanders when your child is talking to you.

Then bring yourself back to the moment. Be right where you are and accept it, you might even find it more enjoyable.

No helmet or harness needed.



via ferrata Ouray Colorado. Being present, accepting where you are.
Nearing the end, this sky bridge was one of my favorite parts. I was so glad I hadn't given up earlier.

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