A few months ago, I was leading morning meditation and teaching a happiness course at REI’s Outessa Summit—an outdoor adventure event/retreat for women.

In my free time, I would participate in the activities that worked into my schedule: yoga, kayaking, and hiking.

On the last day, I went on a hike with a wonderful REI guide. Mid-way through, she started receiving radio reports that lightning was on its way and that she needed to get us off the mountain… fast. So, instead of hiking we had to run.

Now, I found this to be a bit more exciting than scary, but as I was hustling down a fire trail with women on either side, I looked at the woman to my right. She looked really scared and on the edge of having a panic attack.

What was exciting to me was terrifying to her. I reached out and grabbed her hand, and said, “Please don’t worry. We are going to be just fine.” Reassuring her with a firm look but gentle voice, I coached her: “This is just protocol and safety precaution.”

She was crying now, and I continued to hold her hand while we ran to a group of trees and nestled in, crouching down waiting for the four-wheel drive vehicles to evacuate us. I learned a few things about what to do in lightning that I hadn’t known before. You need to stand on your backpack with your heels together and squat down so that if the lightning strikes near you it runs through your legs and avoids your core. Wow, who knew?

While we were hunkered down in the trees, I decided to share a funny story with the group because laughter has a way of calming nerves.

By now, it was pouring rain. The evacuation vehicles came, and I squeezed into the cab of a pickup truck with four other gals crunched in beside me like sardines.

That day carried a little more excitement than a normal hike to a beautiful lake might offer. Circumstances can change that fast.

Life is an adventure, and we have to lean in when there’s fear. We must band together and reassure each other instead of fanning fear with more fear and hate with more hate.

In these times of political unrest, let’s hold hands, breathe deeply and repeat “This too shall pass.” It always does. It’s a whole lot easier as we stand together in support of one another.

Leaning into the spirit of adventure and leaning into fear is how to live your most vibrant life.

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