Aron Ralston literally found himself trapped between a rock and a hard place. He was out hiking through a remote part of Utah. He was climbing down a wedged boulder when unexpectedly the rock came loose. The heavy stone trapped his right hand and wrist against the canyon wall. He struggled for 45 minutes to get free, but the boulder would not budge. He was stuck. The only equipment he had was a few bits of climbing gear, a rope, a Leatherman, and a little food and water. The worst part was nobody knew where he was.
He tried to chip away the boulder with his Leatherman. Ten hours later, he had barely made a dent in the boulder. Next, he tried to make a pulley system, but the boulder was too heavy for him to move. By the next day, his hand was dead. He considered cutting off his arm, but the knife wasn’t sharp enough to cut through the bone. After 4 days, dehydrated and starving, Aron stopped fighting death and scribbled his epitaph into the canyon wall. He managed to survive the fourth night, and on the morning of the fifth day he had an epiphany that revealed the secret of the boulder…
When I read Ralston’s book, Between a Rock and a Hard Place. I wanted to know about his life’s journey and what path he had chosen to walk. He quotes John Krakauer’s book, Into The Wild, as his inspiration:
[blockquote]So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endless changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.[/blockquote]
In response to Into the Wild, Aron wrote in his book: “I wanted to taste that joy, to experience that passion for adventure, to cast away the security of my job and let my spirit roam.” He did what many of us lack the courage to do. He quit his nice paying job, sold his new pick up truck, and went in pursuit of his passion.
So many of the people I run into want to taste that same joy for life, that same passion. It seems like everyone I meet out on the road wants to be somewhere else other than where they are. They have grown tired and weary of living an uninspired life. They cry out, “Is there more to life than this?” Some ignore the question and resign themselves to the grind. Others go in search of the answer.
In The Power of Myth , Joseph Campbell wrote:
[blockquote] “People say that we’re searching for the meaning of life. I don’t think that’s it at all. I think what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences in the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.”[/blockquote]
If you want to taste the rapture of life, you must pursue your passion while you still have breath. Don’t let the gift you have been given to share with the world die still inside you. And trust me, it’s never to late to start.