Courage Starts by Saying YES
Courage Starts by Saying “YES”
Courage Starts by Saying “YES”
By Julie Arnan
I was never a hard-core athlete other than trying out a few school sports in my teens. I never took dance
lessons or gymnastics, I loathed running, and my endurance levels were low throughout my youth. I
spent my 20’s having babies and thought I had hung up my downhill skis for good after more than a
decade passed without hitting the slopes.
Start By Showing Up
In my 30’s, a friend invited me to do some workouts with her and a local trainer. I felt so weak and
uncoordinated at first. A few weeks into our sessions, the trainer instructed me to place my hands on a
weight bench and hop over it with both feet from side to side. I remember feeling terrified at this
seemingly dangerous and impossible request. Surely, I wouldn’t be able to get my feet off the ground
high enough, catching on the edge of the bench sending me crashing down.
Don’t Let the Mind Limit the Body
But, my long-dormant competitive edge finally awoke and I marvelled at how much fear I felt over such a
small physical challenge. I was sick of being weak and overweight. I wanted to be strong, to embrace life
and its adventures without fear holding me back. I started saying yes to activities I once deemed too
risky, too hard, too impossible.
A few years later, shortly after my 38 th birthday, I found myself astride a mountain bike at the top of a
lift, heart beating wildly with that old familiar fear. Until the previous day, I had never actually ridden a
mountain bike on a trail. In fact, it had been years since I had done much bike riding at all.
Why had I said yes to this trip? I was in the company of a writer who specialized in mountain bike
publications, an ultra-runner who had just returned from running hundreds of miles in Kazakhstan, and
a New Yorker who ran his own luxury ski media company. And me – mother of three, nearly 40, writer
specializing in food and beverage stories, non-mountain biker.
Embrace the Adventure Life
Then I remembered. I said yes because that’s the kind of person I want to be – rising to challenges,
finding where my real limitations are as opposed to the self-imposed ones, not letting fear of failure
hold me back. I want to embrace life and adventure.
And so, I turned my bike down the trail (aptly called Holy Roller) with near-religious determination. I’d
like to say I conquered that first hill, but, honestly, I was terrified the whole way down. My guide
patiently called out helpful reminders as I navigated hairpin turns and rolling bumps, stones and roots. “Stay loose” turned out to be the day’s mantra.
As we rolled to a stop back at the base of the lift, I thought I might be having a heart attack – so great was the amount of adrenaline pumping through my body. I was embarrassed to discover tears streaming from the corners of my eyes. I didn’t die – not a foregone conclusion when I started the descent. “Ready to go again?” asked my guide. And from some new reserve of courage within my body, I said yes.
Take a Step
The hardest part is that first step. I have no plans to become a mountain bike enthusiast, but I’m so glad
I had the experience. Evolve Retreat Co. offers a chance to experience adventure, push fitness
boundaries, and expand the mind. Retreats provide a safe place to say yes to new things that support
health, wellness, and a renewed quality of life – a life of adventures big and small.
Adventure Experiences with Evolve Retreat Co.
Evolve provides a safe and encouraging environment to experience the natural environment through a range of adventure pursuits. From hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, horseback riding and more, our team of adventure guides will give you the courage to say “YES, I can do this” and the confidence to come back for more.