Danger in the Dark: Cultivating the Senses for Adventure
The moon watched from above in the night’s darkness. I fingered the cold rough rock face until my fingers found enough traction to pull me up to the next rock hold. My fingers became my eyes as I felt nature’s braille leading me up the dark rock face. Darkness amplifies the senses to minimize the consequences.
Darkness is scary. It brings out insecurities because it adds more unknowns. Darkness metaphorically is seen as an ominous sign or a time of difficulty in life. But what if it were an opportunity to amplify our senses? What if it was a great teacher?
My First Time
The first time I went rock climbing in the mountains I was in my 20’s working at a YMCA in Colorado. I had climbed sporadically in gyms in Miami, FL for a couple of years before I had this opportunity. One day a few of the guys working at the YMCA invited me to go climb. It was amazing. Climbing real rock was a dream come true. A few weeks later those same guys invited me again only this time we were going to stay the night camping out by the routes. I was on cloud nine to be out climbing on these beautiful rocks all day. After dinner, we decided to climb more, this time under the dark sky void of light pollution.
The darkness added a new element to the climbing. At first, I had to use a headlamp but after a few times up the routes, I had the confidence to do it completely in the dark. I found myself seeing the rocks by feeling with my hands and listening to the density of the rock as my hand passed over it. This experience really was mind-blowing. To think I had climbed some in gyms as a flatlander and now I had climbed real rock during the day and now at night too. This adventure is important because it was a progression in both skill and experience. The skill of rock climbing teaches how to ascend life’s mountains with confidence and poise. The experience of doing it in the dark taught me the power of using our senses to see, feel, and hear through what isn’t always obvious.
We experience darkness in our lives, physically through the setting of the sun, emotionally through the roller coaster of emotions we experience, and spiritually through the doubt and fear of not knowing God’s plan for us. Up to now, you’ve managed. Up to now, you’ve been successful enough to survive. Let me challenge you to think about what thriving would look like.
Think back to a moment of darkness in your life and how you overcame it. What was the recipe for success?
Now I’d like for you to think of another time you were in the darkness and you overcame it. What was the recipe for that success?
Are you noticing a pattern?
If you analyze your successes you will find that you have recipes that when you follow you are able to overcome dire and dark situations. When life feels difficult to navigate because the darkness is all around you embrace it. Use your recipe for success to grow in the face of darkness. It may be a unique opportunity to amplify your senses, skills, or thought process to be used on your next adventure.