This is the powerful question Maura Ratcliff asked me during last years Return to the Source.

Accepting Our Emotions

As we were traversing Whatcom creek. I caught up with the group to see her eyeing up a jump over the creek between two large boulders just upstream from a waterfall. Paul Graves another student at the event and experienced parkour coach was already set up and ready to spot her and encouraging her that she could do it.

I jumped in and spotted the other side of the jump. “We believe a 100 percent you can make this jump,” I told her, “but you don’t have to, it’s your choice no one will judge it.” I pointed out her options if she didn’t quite make it and what the rock was like underneath the water.

She walked up to the jump repeatedly, prepared and but was unable to pull the trigger for several minutes and finally she asked “Is it ok if I cry while I jump?”

We said yes and moments later she hurtled through the air and landed the jump with ease. As she walked away tears streamed from her eyes, but she was smiling. I walked with her and we spoke of accepting our emotions as they come and growing through them.

In Maura’s Words

This is what she had to say about the experience.

“It’s odd to think about how powerful that one jump has been in my life. I mean, speaking literally, it’s just a jump between two rocks, but I draw on that experience all the time. Not JUST when I’m faced with physical challenges, but when I need to find the courage to speak up, to be more authentic, to be vulnerable, to try something new, to stop the internal dialogue that says “who are you to think you can do this.”

I still have a large fear response to all sorts of things, but instead of experiencing those sensations as panic, and something I need to get as far away from as possible, I can experience them, know that I know how to work with them, and move forward. And feeling like that expands my world and the possibilities in my life more than I probably even realize.

Turning those two rocks into that experience would never have been possible if you and Paul Graves as well as the rest of the staff hadn’t shown so much patience, caring, and acceptance of my tears and fear response.

I would have shut down, been too embarrassed, felt ashamed of my tears, counted it as another example of me being weak, and waded through the water instead of jumping.

I think just accepting someone and their process, regardless of whether you really understand it or not, can be one of the most powerful things you can offer someone. Sooo…THANK YOU! For all the times you’ve done that for me.”

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