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How I Became a Kiva Diva

How I Became a Kiva Diva

Last Spring I spent a weekend in Santa Fe with friends. While I was there, we spent a day hiking in the ancient ruins of the Pueblos Native Americans in Bandelier National Park. We took the extra loop of the trail to visit a special Ceremonial Kiva from the 1200’s carved into the rock face of a mountain (A Kiva is a place of ritual and spiritual connection for the Pueblos). The problem was, in order to get to this special cave, we would have to climb wooden ladders up three steep cliffs. Did I mention I have a terrible fear of heights?

On our way to the ceremonial cave, there were signs that read dire warnings: “Do not attempt to climb the ladders if you have health problems or have a fear of heights.” I immediately STOPPED enjoying the hike. Everyone around me was chatting away, having a great time. In that moment, I secretly hated everyone there. “Don’t they know they could fall off and die!!” I thought. “What fools!”

I decided I was going to skip it. Even though I would be the only one out of seven who was going to miss this adventure. No one was pressuring me. It was totally fine by them if I wanted to hang back.

Then my friend Wendy, a transformational life coach, casually mentioned how it “was going to be SO worth it. A once in a lifetime thing.”

Ah jeez. I’d hate to miss that. And then I overheard another person in our party, also a deeply gifted wellness professional who I respect, saying how the energy of the Pueblo Kiva is something that never fails to blow him away. He’s done it many times before!

“Oh no! I don’t want to miss this!” I thought to myself. “I’m going to have to do this.”

I was shaking. But I knew the longer I sat there thinking about it, the more my “fear” would rationalize my staying put on solid ground. So I hustled myself right up the first ladder. First in line. Gulp. (The trick is to not look up or down – just at the next rung. And being first in line was not a bravery thing, it was me avoiding having to watch my friends climb ahead of me and letting the fear build even stronger.)

After ascending the first ladder, I was shaking, yet still considering going back down to avoid the next two. But then my friends where right behind me.


Gotta keep going.

You had to take turns with the people coming down as the climbing route is very narrow, and in order for my friends to get up the ladder as a group, I had to keep going. I made it up the next two ladders. Whew! We took some quiet time to enjoy the energy of the ceremonial cave and had some dark chocolate to celebrate.

Only one problem.

I had to get back down.

That was a bit harder. Every single muscle was firing, shaking and saying NO! Each time I started on the next ladder down, I would go through a 5 second thought process of…

– holy smokes, I can’t do this

– maybe Drew can carry me

– Drew can’t carry me

– I am terrified

– I have no idea how to get down

– I can’t get down

– I have to go down

– A barely inaudible whimper would come out of my lips (yes – I whimpered in public!)

– This sucks!

– Aww jeez!

– Here I go!!!!!!

Obviously, I survived. My legs and arms felt like jello afterward from the stress of it all. And yet, I must admit, I felt like super woman.

Was the Kiva really worth it?

It was really spectacular. And I’m glad I didn’t miss it. But what was really powerful for me is that this was the second time in my life where I wasn’t letting this fear of heights guide my choices. That’s what’s possible when you are in a group of people who are focused on going beyond what your mind says is possible. You automatically up level what you can do.

Just like that.

Energy is truly contagious.

Who you hang out with profoundly affects what you can achieve. Had I been on my own, I would have not climbed those ladders. And deep down, I knew that would have been another score for fear leading my life. I’ve had enough of that and it doesn’t lead me to what I want.

So who will you be hanging out with when thinking about your practice goals? Will they be like my friends who inspired me to overcome my fears? Will they be like my hiking friends who encouraging me to see that on the other side of my nerves and fears is a new level of self-esteem, confidence and personal power?

Energy is contagious.

Going beyond your fears is so worth it.

You are so worth it.

Your vision for what you want to contribute to the world is worth it. What will you choose, your fear or what’s on the other side of fear?

Hang out with me and 80 other Wellness Pros in the life and health transformation field and you’ll get where you want to go.