Learning trust one rock climbing fall at a time…


The other day when I was in Bend, Oregon my wonderful friend Whitney’s uncle, Swiss Williamson, took us rock climbing. I didn’t take pictures, but the picture above is a free public domain picture that is beautiful and helps you paint a picture. The weather was not prime for outdoor climbing so he took us to the Bend Rock Gym where we had exactly an hour to climb until the gym was closing. During that hour I climbed hard. Climbing every route that I thought I could smash in an hour.

I hadn’t been climbing in probably about a year. The last time I had climbed was outdoors in Arkansas. My climbing experiences have consistently looked the same. I go climbing with people who are way more experienced and advanced than I am and I rely on them for direction. I look to them for routes and advice and motivation to get me through.

This day in Bend was different.

I put on my shoes, grabbed my chalk and just jumped on the wall. I didn’t ask permission. I didn’t see what other people were climbing. I just climbed. I was climbing for myself. I was climbing to feel my own strength. I was climbing to explore my own power and capabilities.

After spending about 30 minutes on climb after climb. Not having climbed in a year or so my arms and hands were spent. But I wanted to try one more route. It was a v1 white tape route on one of the corners before entering a bouldering cave. It looked relatively easy and I thought it would be a great way to end the night. I jumped on the rock. Swiss Williamson and Whitney were watching me from the ground and doing what I love most about the climbing community, being super supportive. I got to about the last three moves and my arms wanted to give out. I began to feel a little panicky because I was pretty far up and what I was holding onto no longer felt comfortable to hold. My hands were sweaty and I began to say two words… “I can’t”. Swiss and Whit were cheering me on from below, reminding me to breathe, telling me to trust that I could do it, and directing me to change my feet so that my hands and arms wouldn’t have to work so hard and could get a little rest. I was so grateful for their words and could hear what they were saying but then those two words just popped right out of my mouth again…

“I can’t.”

As I said the words I let go of the wall and fell from about 15 feet. Terrified as I hit the floor. My feet hit and then my legs buckled a little and I fell back onto the mat floors. My body was prefect and I was just a little shaken up. The weird thing was, it wasn’t the fall that shook me up. It was my lack of trust in the moment. I didn’t think I could do it. I didn’t know anything except for that I couldn’t make the next few moves and that I was going to have to fall. The shocking thing about those two words and this experience was that I don’t really live this way. In my day to day experience I will try anything. I will experiment with my life and my business. I will be adventurous and explore things I have never done. I take risks. Fear rarely gets the best of me. So feeling fear and not trusting that I could do something was a very good reminder that I still have lots of areas that I want to explore and take a look at.

Trust is one of them… especially trust in relationships.

I have a hard time trusting others when it comes to intimate relationships. I don’t want to sound jaded and it is a real struggle that pops up when I think about things like dating again. I want to give myself some compassion because I know that I have been through a lot in the last few years AND I don’t want to walk around the rest of my life not trusting others. I want to learn trust at a new level.

I sat on the thick mat floors pondering the fall I just took and slowly stretched and massaged out my hands and arms and then I decided to try again. I spread the white, dusty powder all over my hands in hopes of preventing sweat and got in position. I took the first moves with ease. Feeling fatigued but strong I made it to the same spot that I had fallen before. Swiss and Whitney were giving me beautiful direction again, helping me see where my feet could give my arms a break. I reworked my feet on the wall. My feet were strong yet my arms felt so tired. I began again to question if I was going to make it. Hearing words about trust and breath below I went for it, missed, and fell. Even though I fell, I felt amazing because I tried.

One of my favorite bits of advice I’ve received on my trip is…

“People rarely regret what they’ve tried, they learn from it.  While many people DO regret what they never tried.” 

The trust didn’t mean I made it to the end of the route. The trust gave me the ability to go for it anyways, try, see what happens. The trust gave me a feeling of accomplishment. The accomplishment wasn’t based on completing the climb or not it was based on putting myself out there, knowing I can always try again, knowing that trust and growth is a process in every area of life…not just rock climbing. Doing things in our lives is not about the end point or the completion of said thing… it is about the adventure getting there. It is about learning and taking beautiful things from every step on the way.

After that day at Bend Rock Gym I became clear that climbing could be the way for me to learn to trust again. I would be on the rock learning how to trust myself at a level I had never explored before, well at least not intentionally. I want to rock-climb more to explore self-trust. In doing so I believe that something will begin to shift in me… because it already has from two falls and one night at a climbing gym.

What helps you build trust in your life? Whether it is self trust? Or trust in others? Or trust in the process?

This exploration feels so new and beautiful to me. I have always known I had challenges around trust and now I want to blow it open, take a look, explore it, investigate it, and open myself up to healing and growth that I can’t even imagine possible. I want to walk through this life with the ability to trust myself, others, and life in general. This does not mean blind trust…but when I meet someone I really enjoy I want to get to know them from a loving, trusting place rather than a skeptical and distrusting place.

Same with my relationship with myself. I want to keep trusting that I can travel, make money, and build my business. I want to know that I can trust my instincts and intuition. I want to trust that I can do anything I set my mind too. This is where is starts. The rest will unfold as it will!

I would love to hear your thoughts or stories about trust. Do you struggle with trust too? Please share with me what is coming up! Share below!




  1. Love, love, love this. Keep kicking ass girlfriend!

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