It was 4am, pitch black out as we got dropped off at the Kaibab trailhead on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We were all filled with excitement and nerves as our headlights flickered on. Scott made sure we were set with water and food, took a picture of our group, and then climbed back into his truck. As he was getting ready to leave he rolled down his window and yelled “Don’t forget to look up once in awhile”. My brain was still waking up and didn’t comprehend more than the words themselves. Our headlamps illuminated just enough space to see our feet and about 1/2 a foot in front of us as we approached the edge. Although we could not see the drop my body could sense the danger and I continued down the steep trail, lined with naturally made steps, cautious not to misstep with my head down and focused.
We chatted and continued on our journey for what felt like only a few minutes but as I took down my guard a bit I realized the sun had appeared from behind the rim and I didn’t even notice that I no longer needed my headlamp. I turned it off but continued to focus on my feet and about a foot in front of me. This strategy slowed me down but I didn’t care because it made me feel safe knowing that chances are, I wouldn’t trip if I was focused.
As I drifted into a trance like state of concentration, my mind wondered to lots of thoughts but the one that stopped me in my tracks was Scott’s warning … “Don’t forget to look up”… so I did just that. I looked up and saw the most amazing sight. I was about halfway down the canyon wall, it was breathtaking and beautiful and filled me with a pride I couldn’t of expected.
This moment got me thinking, If I had not looked up, what would I of missed?
In life we are under so much pressure to put our heads down at a young age and grind with hopes that it will get us to our goals. I am someone who was very much raised with that mentality. We are told to drown out the noise and watch our steps, make sure not to make mistakes or fall, to be safe. We go through life following the path in front of us never really looking up. Our Goals are the endgame and when we achieve that end game we are supposed to emerge from the path with more knowledge and character. But what do we give up when we put our heads down? We hear countless stories of people achieving their goals and still not finding themselves any happier, their one last regret that they didn’t spend more time enjoying the journey but what happens when we slow down and look around, speed up and stop worrying about falling, and only putting our heads down when it is absolutely necessary?
This simple phrase is one that has been told to me in many ways throughout my life but has only taken shape in meaning after this experience. It has propelled my passion for enjoying the journey, learning through experiencing, and not waiting till you are “ready”. This blog is a way for me to experience, learn, and live this idea of not forgetting to look up.
I challenge each and every one of you to stop and look up at some point today … you never know what you will see!