It’s amazing what you can achieve in the dark…

Slate mineBeing in darkness enabled me to quieten my thoughts and as a result I was more relaxed and was able to achieve more than I ever imagined I would.

I recently went on a trip to North Wales with my family and visited an old disused slate mine. It was a fascinating experience I found myself on, in more ways than one. I read a brief description about it in a brochure and although the description was quite vague, I decided that it sounded like a good idea and when I phoned up to book, they told me the only trip (which was 5 hours long!) I could get on was that day in 2 hours’ time.

Without time to think, I told my family we were going to visit a mine (that’s all I said) and when we arrived we were given a safety briefing and given all the climbing gear and ropes ready for our trip.  We had a 45-minute walk up into the hills in a remote village and squeezed through a tiny opening to get into the mine, which was 7 stories deep, it had been disused since the Second World War and some of the shafts had flooded, so we had to bypass these.  The mine was pitch black except for our head torches and had running water to ankle level. The trip involved lots of walking in tunnels, going on a boat, going on a zip wire over some water between 2 shafts, climbing a width of rock face and abseiling down about 60 feet into the bottom of a mine shaft and climbing up 200 steps on a step ladder with running water coming down it.

in the darkAt one point, we found ourselves in a mine shaft, climbing along a ledge of rock about 60 feet across and 60
feet up!! I had decided early on that I would make sure I was the first to go, as I may have changed my mind if I had seen others do it before me. All I remember is being able to just about see my foot and the next bit of rock in front of me, I remember thinking this is scary! But to be honest I couldn’t really see very much and didn’t have much of a reference point to be scared by!

The whole experience took me outside of my comfort zone and looking back required a lot of stamina and courage, but because I did it in the dark of the cave and the guides took us through, one step at a time, I was able to do it, without realising the extent of what I had done.

How can we recreate “the darkness” when we need to?

It got me thinking – How much do we let our thoughts hold us back? How often do we spend too much time over thinking something and in doing so convince ourselves it’s a bad idea? Or think so much about something and in doing this, convince ourselves that it’s hard or difficult and in doing so, make our lives more difficult and stressed.  If this is the case, what can we do to overcome this and not to put such barriers in our own way?  How can we recreate “the darkness” when we need to?

I know that the darkness in that cave enabled me to achieve more than if it had been light!  Seeing how high up I was would have scared me to death and my thoughts would have convinced me that it was too scary and dangerous to do.

Sometimes the enormity of a task can seem daunting and impossible and can worry us, but if we can break it down into small chunks and only look at what is immediately in front of us, then the task becomes achievable and easier and more enjoyable. Then when you get to the end, its simply just the final step! We are also more likely to enjoy the journey along the way, which is the most important point, otherwise, if we aren’t going to enjoy it, why bother!?

Author: Lucy Czakan

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