When you are determined to stay on a path of personal growth and transformation, messages are everywhere. Everything becomes a metaphor and a lesson.
My husband, my daughter were making our way through the Ape Cave – a mile-long lava tube, which is an obstacle course designed by nature. You walk in the dark, guided only by a shaky light of your flashlight. Turn your flashlight off – and it is pitch black. There is slime covering the walls and water dripping from above. And you have to climb or squeeze through enormous piles of rocks.
At one point, when we were staring at a huge pile of rocks taller than a house blocking our way, my husband said, “If I didn’t know there is a way through, I would turn back now.”
Wow! What a great metaphor for overcoming stuttering! What a great metaphor for any personal journey!
As many of you, I eventually reached a point in my life, when I felt deeply disappointed and disillusioned with stuttering therapies. I felt I invested so much of my life into trying to become fluent, there was no point to struggle any more. I was giving up.
And then I read a book by John Harrison, “Redefining stuttering”. This book ignited a new sense of hope in my heart. I thought – if John and others, featured in his book, could achieve effortless natural fluency and a state, when stuttering became not an issue, then there is no reason why I can’t do it too. I only have to start doing what those people did. I only have to get the same tools, the same knowledge, the same maps.
As we were making our way through the Ape cave, we came to an 8-foot lava wall. There was a group of people standing nearby and discussing whether or not it was possible to scale it. But we knew it in our hearts – it shouldn’t be that hard – other people have done it, there is a way out. So we scaled it and continued our journey. If I didn’t know other people went this way, I would turn back.
On your journey of overcoming stuttering and gaining natural fluency, you will face moments of despair. Some of then may be very dark and scary. You will feel like you are staring at a huge pile of rocks or a solid wall in front of you and you may be ready to give up. In those moments, what you believe is important. Because if you believe that what you aspire is possible, then a challenge is thrilling and obstacles are only exciting.
There is a reason people go into this dark lava tube and climb over enormous piles of rock, stumbling, slipping and still going forward. When you believe in success, challenge is fun.
I look back and I see many moments of despair. I see many moments when I started doubting that I ever conquer this monster. Yet, at the same time, I had and continue having so much fun. Going to Toastmasters and no longer feeling fear. Chatting with my friends and focusing on what I want to say, not whether I will be able to get it out. Enjoying the experience of connecting, sharing my ideas and expressing myself. I know there are many obstacles still lie ahead. Yet, because I know what I aspire is possible, I intent on having fun with every challenge.
What do you believe? What do you believe in the depth of your heart? Because what you believe matters.