Someone once asked me, “If you could have any superpower in the world what would it be?” After thinking about it for a second, I wanted to say, to heal emotional pain. I thought it would be great to take away that pit that twists and turns in your stomach at the loss of a loved one, or termination of a relationship. It’s that emotional pain that you can feel physically, and unlike a cut, bruise or break, it can last months. What would be better than healing that pain right away?

My mind wandered to all the heartbreaks I have had in the past. The sick feeling that makes you want to scream, hate the world and smoke Nat Sherman cigarettes, kept surfacing, but so did the Summer of 2007. I had received a heartbreak in March. Now that I look back about it, there was nothing special about her, but there was something special about that summer. Many people deal with the loss and pain in destructive ways; some become reckless, some overeat, some become suicidal, some turn into country music fans, others turn to drugs and alcohol.

Friends and family told me to stay busy. Keep your mind occupied, forget about her. All that advice is easy to give when they are prancing like a majestic palomino, hand in hand with that special someone, just added to my emotional trauma. I was working at a outdoor adventure center that summer, and thanks to co-workers, I learned that jumping into a new extreme activity, was, at least for me, one of the best healing salves I could imagine.

I had always wanted to learn to canyoneer and explore the narrow slot canyons of southern Utah. However, there was one major problem; I didn’t know a single person that was into canyoneering. At that time canyoneering wasn’t nearly as popular as it is now. It was like rock-climbing was in the ’90s. If you knew someone that did it, you were lucky. If you knew someone that would teach you, you were luckier. You were so lucky in the fact that you should buy a lottery ticket, or gamble your toddler's college fund on the outcome of a WWF match.

It just so happened that very summer my boss hired a young man, named Dan who was an experienced canyoneer who had just moved here from Colorado. We became friends, and it wasn’t long before he was willing to take me out and teach me the ropes of canyoneering. Learning to canyoneer was when I discovered that there would be a second problem, I was afraid of heights. I always knew I was afraid of heights I didn’t know how bad. I was about to learn that not only facing a great fear would make me stronger, but it would help me heal.

There was a group of us that headed down to the Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument. It was here that I would have to utilize all the skills Dan had been teaching me at work, making sure the harness fit properly, making sure the rappel device was attached properly, and that I had proper rappeling technique. In a cruel twist of events, Dan decided we needed a warm-up rappel before we did the canyon the next day.

We hiked in to the top of Upper Calf Creek Falls which is a 125 foot waterfall. The bottom 90 feet is a free hanging rappel. At the top, there wasn’t a steel chain or large boulder on which to attach the rope. Instead, we had two people sit down and tied the rope into their harnesses. I sat and watched person after person rappel off the top. I knew enough to know that free hanging rappels were harder than having your feet on the wall. I knew that water rappels decreased the friction on the rope and were more dangerous than rappels where the rope was dry. I didn’t know much about having the rope tied off on people, but I didn’t like it, and it did nothing to calm my nerves.

When it was my turn, I didn’t want to go. I really didn’t. I thought of every excuse not to. My toe hurt, my zipper was stuck, I needed to wash my hair, I needed to run my brother to soccer practice, and my cat needed a massage. I recycled every reason I had been flaked on for a date in my life, nothing worked. At some point I don’t even remember what I was thinking, I only prayed that I wouldn’t expunge my bowels and I would make it down safely. I blocked everything out from my mind except my prayers and the coaching from Dan who was telling me what to do.

In what seemed like an eternity my mind was focused on getting to the bottom alive. Once there, everything the stress and fear just disappeared, and in flooded a joy and confidence I hadn’t felt since my break-up earlier in the year. For the hour leading up to the rappel, the minutes of the rappel, and the hours after, I didn’t think about the lonely evenings. I didn’t wonder what she was doing. I didn’t wonder if she was happy. I was flooded with so much anticipation, fear and enthusiasm, that the first time in several months I was able to focus on something greater than the heartbreak.

During the week, it would start to creep back in, but on the weekend I would find myself, pushing myself through another canyon, another rappel. I didn’t focus on the hurt; I wasn’t able to. By the time winter rolled around and it was time to hang up the adventure gear, I didn’t care anymore. The pain eventually faded away, and I didn’t notice it.

Now that I think about it, I am not so sure I would want to heal the emotional pain. Getting over the emotional pain helped me discover a whole new world. Without the pain, I wouldn’t have discovered the joy. Next time you are suffering the emotional pain, challenge yourself to do something you never thought you could or would do. Let people prance like palomino’s forge your path, face your fears and discover your superpower. Heal your heartbreak, discover a new you.

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Professional Digital Marketer