Just a few weeks ago, I took on an enormous challenge of hiking the length of the Christchurch Port Hills in the dark. For eight hours I wandered on 30 kilometres of trails that I knew like the back of my hand in daylight, and yet in the darkness my mind was filled with doubt and uncertainty. Familiar landmarks were non existent and the little light I had only illuminated a few meters of the trail in front of me. My eyes were constantly tricked by the shadows and I wanted to give up so many times. Was I scared? Absolutely. As the night wore me down and doubt and fear crept in, I had to constantly remind myself that in those moments I was most afraid — those were the moments I had to be strongest.
I find myself now in another situation of heading into the unknown. This post Covid world is filled with social and economic uncertainty — it’s shown us that everything we think is stable in our day to day lives can be turned upside down in just a jiffy. It’s important to acknowledge that sometimes these are things that we can’t control. What we can control is how we respond to it. We need to be prepared to be uncomfortable, to make mistakes, to fail, and to leave things that don’t serve us behind. Uncertainty is bloody scary, but without it — we would never take risks. We would never dare to push ourselves into new dreams or opportunities.
When navigating in the dark I had to hold on to all the things I was absolutely certain of. It was the only way to stamp out that fear of the unknown. It was the only way to keep myself from getting lost. I had to be vulnerable. I had to recognise and acknowledge that I was scared and that I didn’t know what to do. I remember telling myself in one of those very low moments that okay yes I am absolutely bloody scared out my mind — but that was the most crucial time for me to be calm and logical. To stick to my beliefs and my values. I had to make hard decisions to pull myself out of that dark place. Most importantly, I had to fully trust those decisions even when all the elements were conspiring against me.
That night I had dared to step into the unknown. I pushed through until the end despite the fear. The unknown is quite often where we learn our greatest lessons. There’s a profound wisdom there that we can chose to ignore or embrace. What the future holds — I do not know. But we need to be open to it. Even in the darkness we have to believe we can still find our way.