Everyone has dreams and goals, but very few people are willing to reach to the very edges of themselves and test their higher limits to achieve them.
There’s a poignant quote by the writer and spiritual leader, T.F Hodge, “The sky is not my limit, I am”. This is an excellent place to start if you want to be able to break past your own boundaries. All too often, our comfort zones become our safety net. And that’s where we tend to stay.
The sky is not my limit, I am.
But what if you adjust your sense of self, and maybe shake things up a bit, so you could enter into a brighter space of curiosity, inspiration and endless possibilities?
Caroline Van Hemert embarked on a 4,000-mile human-powered expedition from the Pacific rainforest to the Arctic coast. As you can imagine, it took a monumental amount of willpower and perseverance to step over the horizon and overcome not only the physical boundaries but the emotional ones as well.
Change Your Relationship With Uncertainty
Our mind is one of the most powerful tools we have. It fires anywhere between 18 and 640 trillion signals every second, all the while striving to protect us from our surrounding environment and prevent us from taking certain damaging risks.
When your brain consistently whispers about the negatives in the face of uncertainty, you may have to engage in the process of not only talking to yourself differently, but also trusting yourself, relaxing and surrendering to the eventuality of what can happen next.
“I tend to be a planner, and I like to know what’s coming,” says Caroline admitting that uncertainty isn’t something she’s naturally drawn towards. Before her expedition, “There was this sense that, oh maybe we worked so hard and set ourselves up for something that in the end is going to be an utter failure before we’ve even really started.”
“There was this sense that, oh maybe we worked so hard and set ourselves up for something that in the end is going to be an utter failure before we’ve even really started.”
As her journey progressed, Caroline found that the daily challenges were coming thick and fast. She would regularly have to contend with something that was almost completely foreign to her. While this was one of the biggest anxieties in setting off, it slowly became second nature as time moved on, “It really did feel okay to be unsure what I was going to find next.”
Try focusing on solutions, not potential problems and what you can do, rather than your limits. In embracing the impossible, the possible can happen.
Find Your Edge
Have you ever stood on the edge of a cliff? The sun on your skin, wind rushing through your hair, waves crashing beneath. It’s a beautiful scene to behold, yet you’re one step away from danger, but better still – totally free. This idea is similar to ‘the edge. ‘
What is an ‘edge’ I hear you ask? Just like in yoga, your ‘edge’ is the point you reach when you are mentally and physically challenged to your fullest. So, what’s your perceived and real edge?
A real edge could be rooted in real fear, truth or something beyond our mental and physical capacity. Our false edges are usually where we experience self-sabotage, an old story or even self-limiting beliefs.
Once you’ve established your edge, how do you understand which edges are truthful, and which are just self-fulfilling prophecies? Consider tuning in and asking yourself, “Is that edge just head noise and a negative narrative that I’m telling myself?”
We can often fool ourselves into believing that we are weaker than we think, and this is the point where you must remind yourself that you are more, and can be more than you think.
Coming to the edge of your comfort zone always feels a little like stepping off the edge of the world no matter how many times you do it, but if you’re not going to meet those edges, you may end up missing the most beautiful and colourful parts of life.
Understand That All Things Shall Pass
Trust is such a strong word. It implies the warm feelings of assurance, confidence or even security.
We all know that the wildness harnesses a deep power. It can really test and push us into a place of pure vulnerability. Just like every storm, sometimes it’s best to hunker down and ride it out.
During her travels, Caroline developed a mantra, one that she still tries to feature in her day-to-day, “This will pass.” This three word phrase may be a simple notion, but holds a lot of truth. Trust in the fact that your hardships will pass.
“I do think learning to trust my body and learning to trust this passing of time was another element that I do carry with me when things get difficult,” she rationalises.
Although we sometimes forget, it’s good to remind yourself that there is a natural ebb and flow to life, especially when things become challenging, stressful, or scary.
Go Beyond Yourself
Where are your limits? Do you really know?
As a wildlife biologist, Caroline’s depth of knowledge of the Alaskan landscape is vast, but in taking herself out of the academic sphere and firmly planting herself in these intense and highly challenging, life-changing environments has opened up a new path towards digging deeper into her physical and mental capabilities.
“I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the concept of resilience and what that looks like on a personal level, but also on a broader scale.”
As humans, we generally don’t push beyond our limits as often as we could. Creating a space that is balanced between not allowing ourselves to become stagnant, to push ourselves past the limits of what we think is possible not only enriches your life but allows us to truly experience what we are capable of.
To hear more of the amazing conversation with Caroline, click here.