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The Grind

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

A few years back, my husband and I had the opportunity to climb the Grouse Grind, a 2 mile hike up Grouse mountain in Vancouver, BC, with 2800 feet of elevation gain and 2,830 stairs up to the summit.

It is called "Mother Nature's Stairmaster" and is a mental and physcial exercise in resilence. The day prior we came off a 10 mile hike and thought this would be simple. The first quarter of the hike up Grouse Mountain seemed easy enough. We were excited, energetic and confident. The reality of what lay ahead had not yet sunk in. As a result we were moving at a fast pace and figured we would be at the summit in no time. In retrospect, we should have slowed our pace and taken more breaks. Albeit we were both in excellent physcial condition, I personally didn't account for the "fear factor" as the trail became narrower to a point where we literally had no more than 12 to 14 inches between the rocky incline and going down a steep ledge. When you are scared, cortisol is released and your heart rate and respiration increases. This doesn't bode well when it comes to conserving your energy.

At the halfway point, similar to many endeavors, it is a great time for reflection and assessment about how you are feeling and how your energy reserves look. My husband's quads were burning and I was simply terrified by the narrowing path and steep incline. For a moment, I sat down on a rock and thought I was having a panic attack. I didn't think I could continue the climb, as I had heard from other climbers there was a point where we would have to climb on our hands and knees to reach the summit. The problem was there was no turning back. The only way down from the mountain was to reach the summit and take a gondola down. I realized it was time for me to readjust my mindset for the remainder of the climb.

At the 3/4 mark, the greatest challenges occured. On Grouse Mountain, this was the steepest part of the climb. Fatigue began to set in so much so that the only thing I could focus on was each step. "One foot in front of the other" was the mantra I kept repeating in my mind. We were 75% of the way to the summit. This is not unlike the mindset when you are focused on a particular goal in your life.

When the summit was finally within our sight, my husband and I felt a burst of energy. We could hear the applause from other hikers who were already at the top. Albeit my heart was racing, I picked up my pace to reach the other hikers. It was exhilarating!

The Grouse Grind is not unlike any big goal. Start slower than you think you need to. Reassess and adjust halfway to your goal. When you reach the three-quarters point remember to remain focused and look forward. Finally, keep that finish line in sight.

June is the month of Yang Fire Horse archetype. This energy has a way of guiding us to realize our inner power. It opens the doorway to understanding who were truly are. It extends beyond our own skin to include our community, nature and the entire universe. This combined energy encourages self-empowerment where we generate the confidence to know who we are at all times knowing there is something beyond individual self. We are able to remain fully connected by letting go of fear. When we let go of fear we are in essence letting go of trying to control situations.

I had to let go of my fear to reach the Grouse Grind Summit. I couldn't control the terrain, but I could control my thoughts. The fear only arose because I believed my initial thoughts. Once I took pause, reassessed the situation, and honed in on the final destination point, I met with success.

Can you let go and look beyond your fears?

"The best view comes after the hardest climb." -Anonymous-

Horse Month House Tips:

The element of metal is positioned to the center of the home this month. Albeit this element depletes the natural grounding impact of earth, it is a reminder to lighten things up a bit this month and be adventurous.

East - Stagnant Energy: Tread slowly with family matters this month as obstacles can arise. Best to place strong metal element here or ring a bell or chime daily to break up this heavy chi.

Southeast - Financial Boost: I love this amazing energy! TIme to flourish finances by influencing others with your leadership skills. Be the mentor or seek one out. Strenghthen your investments by reinforcing this area in your home or office with the elements of fire and earth.

South - Challenges with Goals: Be clear and concise with your goals and intentions as miscommunication can easily obstruct your forward movement. Add a metal element to this portent for the remainder of this month.

Southwest - Relationships & Literature: This is a great month to delve into some great literature. Grab your partner and park yourselves under a shady tree and read together. Add fire element to this portent and spark your romance!

West - Passionate Fun: Think outside the box this month when it comes to having fun. Think about what brings you the most joy from your heart center. Build and bridge this great energy with the elements of wood and earth.

Northwest - Show Me the Money: This energy is packed with financial resources. The market may be volatile but think about your metals for investments. Afterall, this resource star is strong earth and held within the earth are precious metals. Add gold and silver to your portfolio this month! Place water fountain here, pendulum clock, or plug-in incense burner. Keep this area open and active to reap the benefits.

North - Career Tension: Tension and disagreements can easily occur this month. Ease this energy by placing a fire element in this direction for the remainder of this month.

Northeast - Flow with Quietude: Get into the flow of your yoga practice or meditation with ease this month. When the mind is quiet, all things flow in right direction for you. Guide the process with metal element in this portent.

Center - Creative Joy: It's important to push away from your desk, be creative and enjoy the simple things in life this month. Add virtual water element to the center and flow with a creative joyful heart.

Horse Month Personal Tips:

The Horse has enough energy to motivate and carry you through anything this month. This archetype symbolizes personal power, the things you have mastered in your life, your abilities, and natural talents. The Horse also represents success and self-actualization. When you know what drives you, and you put the awareness of your motivations to work, you can get much further and faster than you ever imagined possible.

It's important in the Horse month to release any extra baggage. Holding onto methods, behaviors, or old thought patterns will restrain the horse which likes to be free. This ultimately sets you free so you can achieve mental clarity, growth, and success.

The Horse energy is also about balancing rest with action and moving in a new direction. Essentially, it’s time to move on from whatever is holding you back. Generally, it is the element of fear that is responsible for stagnation in life.

Fear is what keeps us from remaining connected to self and others. It is essential to figure out what our fears are, as it is the pre-requisite to self-knowledge. Self- knowledge is what gives us a harmonious relationship with self.

Fear may never disappear completely from our minds, but when we allow our hearts to reach out to it, we discover from whence it came – not of our spirit but of the mind. If we take time to examine our own lives, we will not only see how fear dominates it but how it influences our interactions and relationships with everybody around us. It becomes the foundation of our opinions and judgments, having both near and far-reaching consequences.

So, what can we do… How about simply Letting Go? Our minds are so consumed with wanting to control, not just ourselves but everything and everybody around us, that we mistakenly believe we are our thoughts and our minds. Our need to control is initiated by our addictive and compulsive fear that arises whenever things are not acting out as we think they should or would like them to be. So fear only arises when we can’t control something that we would prefer to. This is pretty easy to see if you examine what is occurring in the world right now.

We should remind ourselves that the news we hear on the television or read in the paper; the gathering of the ‘professional discontents’ that try to suck us in at work; the worry we feel when we can’t pay the bills – are all energies of fear. As soon as you take any one of them on board, you will automatically attract more and more of it into your life.

Can you let go? Can you look beyond your fears? Before we judge a person, culture or religion from the narrow perspective of our protective bubble, we must be brave. Brave enough to step out and face our fears, embrace our ‘enemies’ and discover in the process – not the destructive power of fear but the creative power of its polar opposite – Love.

One of the best ways to center yourself so you can recognize what is real and what is not is to quiet your mind. Meditation is always the best way to achieve this state. If you are not one to sit in meditation, you can always take a relaxing walk in nature. Another option is to walk a labyrinth. This is a fun and creative way to move the body and slow the mind!

Summer Soltice Celebration Ceremony with MJ

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