July 30, 2019

Do We Know What We’re Capable Of?

Purple and orange shades on sandstone walls of Lower Antelope Canyon with text: Grab Opportunities by Avoiding Self-Rejection

I’m finally back (and mostly recovered) from my not-relaxing-at-all vacation. *grin* All my thanks to Angela Ackerman, Kassandra Lamb, and Lisa Bell for filling in for me while I was gone.

If you missed their posts, Angela shared 7 ways to keep our character descriptions active and meaningful. Kass shared her tips on when to use multiple points of view and how to do it right. And Lisa gave advice on 6 things we can focus on to keep our peace of mind when life interferes with our writing career. Check them out!

Do you self-reject? What opportunities might we be missing? Click To TweetThose of you who have been following me for a while know that I’ve struggled over the past few years with various health issues. Those problems made me (and my family) worried about how I’d do with this very-active vacation.

But we often self-reject too easily. We think we can’t succeed at something just because it’s hard, the chances are low, or we’ve struggled with it before.

I learned this truth during this vacation: We’re often capable of far more than we think. *smile*

Determination Counts for a Lot

Last year, I finally got the okay from my foot doctor to resume “normal” activities. I’d finished 2 years worth of physical therapy to rebuild and strengthen torn tendons in my feet that were exacerbating my nerve damage. (At my worst, I couldn’t walk across a room.)

Since that time, I’d been able to walk around the block and occasionally do longer easy walks (like 12000 steps on a flat surface). But 4 weeks before our vacation, I had a debilitating nerve flare up in one foot, and 2 weeks before our vacation, the rug on some steps slipped, and I fell down the stairs and sprained the ankle on my other foot. *sigh*

In other words, I had no business attempting a week-and-a-half’s worth of 10000+ step days—especially not as hikes on very uneven surfaces. But I’m stubborn.

Very single-mindedly, determinedly, stubborn. *grin*

Rather than self-rejecting, can we be smart about taking risks? Click To TweetI wasn’t going to miss this vacation with my family. So I babied that sprained ankle for a week, pulling out my foot/ankle braces once again, and then slowly started making it work again to build up some strength.

And you know what? It worked!

Of course I was smart with my stubbornness. Jousting at impossible windmills is just a waste of effort, but determination plus a plan can equal success.

During the vacation, I wore high-ankle hiking books and my foot/ankle braces on both feet—both for prevention of any other sprains and for support with all that hiking—and I didn’t injure my feet at all. Yay!

Worth It—An Incredible Vacation

I’m so glad it all worked out, because regardless of how much this wasn’t a relaxing vacation (and that we had to cancel our plans for one day because I got heat sickness, but that’s another story), we had tons of amazing experiences.

Check out my Instagram posts for some of the highlights…

Our first stop was Lower Antelope Canyon. A slot canyon along the Antelope Valley of the Navajo Nation, the Lower canyon is less famous than the Upper (and requires lots of stairs and ladders rather than the flat Upper), but we enjoyed it far more.

The Lower canyon is V shaped, letting in lots of light to create amazing colors on the canyon walls. (The following Instagram posts each have multiple images. Click on the right arrow to scroll through them all.)


View this post on Instagram


#nofilter Lower Antelope Canyon was AMAZING!!! Our first stop on our vacation, and it already made the whole trip worth it. 😍😍😍 I took *hundreds* of pictures, and I’m almost in tears trying to describe how moving the experience was for the whole family. Located on the Navajo Nation outside of Page, Arizona, our tour guide, Nicole of @kenstours, is a local, and she made our trip a magical experience. ❤️❤️❤️ And can you believe these pictures were taken with just my no-settings phone camera? LOL! I think it’s impossible to take a bad picture there. 😉 #arizona #antelopecanyon #authorsofig #authorsofinstagram #authorlife #vacation #northernarizona #writersofig #writersofinstagram #magic

A post shared by Jami Gold (@jami_gold) on

(Picture #6 is known as Rocky Mountain Sunset, #8 is Chief (sometimes Howling Chief), and the last picture is the exit and you can see the crack in the ground where the sunlight illuminates below.)

We also did a raft trip of Glen Canyon (below the Glen Canyon Dam that creates Lake Powell reservoir), where we traveled through the famous Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado river (picture #2, and #3 is looking up at the people-dots of those taking pictures of Horseshoe Bend from the top, like the image below).

Horseshoe Bend (from the top)

We then did a combo tour of a private slot canyon (#4 Rattlesnake Canyon) and the famous Upper Antelope Canyon, which is A shaped (narrower at the top to create beams of light). While the Lower canyon is well-known for its colors because its V-shape lets in more light, the Upper canyon is known for its light beams. I caught a heart formation and a dragon’s eye shape in the rocks there too. *smile*

Then we went to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and saw the Vermilion Cliffs, where they release the endangered California Condors.


View this post on Instagram


#nofilter Northern Arizona: Glen Canyon Dam, #horseshoebend from the *river* (and people dots at the top of the cliff, all taking pictures from the top *pfft* 😉), #northrim of the Grand Canyon, condor release site at the #vermillioncliffs, and more slot canyons. We did a quick trip to Rattlesnake Canyon, which is even more twisty and turny than Lower Antelope Canyon, and then we went to the more famous big brother of them all, #upperantelopecanyon, which is famous for the light beans. We also saw the heart and the dragon eye 🐉 formations inside. (We liked the less famous #lowerantelopecanyon better — check my profile for those pics. 😉) #authorsofig #authorsofinstagram #authorlife #vacation #arizona #writersofig #writersofinstagram #northernarizona

A post shared by Jami Gold (@jami_gold) on

Out of the whole trip, the Lower Antelope Canyon was our favorite, but a close second was White Pocket. Have you seen pictures of The Wave of Arizona?

The Wave sandstone formation

Well, we didn’t do that because it’s virtually impossible to get permits for (only 10 a day are available in each morning’s lottery). But… Just a few miles away, the same geological layers cover a bigger area known as White Pocket.

White Pocket doesn’t require permits because it’s so hard to get to that usually only 20 people a day make it out there. It requires a long 4-wheel drive over deep sandy roads, and there aren’t any services anywhere (not even a pit toilet).

This was my big success day—over 6 miles of hiking over extremely uneven rocks—and no injuries. In fact, just as we got there, my family helped a grandmother who’d twisted her ankle, carrying her a half mile back to her car.

Unlike the Wave, White Pocket’s pattern layers are more stirred around, but one section (picture #6) had perpendicular patterns that we had fun with. We tilted the camera to make it look like we were hanging from a cliff (#7, and #8 is taken from the bottom of the “cliff”). *grin*

I’d love to know the geological events that created this area because it was extremely cool!

Our final day (and right after that big hiking day at White Pocket), we did another remote tour. Most visitors to the Grand Canyon travel to the more easily accessible South Rim. The North Rim gets only a fraction of those visitors.

But only a fraction of the North Rim visitors ever go to the remote Toroweap Overlook. Far from the usual Grand Canyon section, where it’s tough to catch a glimpse of the Colorado River and the rims are so far from each other that it’s not unusual for other erosion formations to get in the way of trying to view them, the Toroweap Overlook is the sheerest and narrowest section of the canyon. The cliffs are several thousand feet steep, but the south rim is only a few thousand feet away, with a clear view of the river in between.

(The normal South and North Rim areas are in the red box on the right. North Rim has the turquoise dot, and South Rim’s view road hugs the bottom. Toroweap Overlook is in the blue box on the left. Click to view a larger map.)

However, the only way to get there is a 61-mile long dirt road (picture #1) that becomes a 4-wheel-drive-only bouldering adventure (#2) for the last few miles. It does have a pit toilet (#7), but definitely no visitors centers or fancy lodges (#10). *smile*

(The first few canyon views are looking east, then pictures #8 and #9 are looking west. Lava Falls, the biggest rapids in the Grand Canyon, is visible below, along with several lava flows on both sides. Over the canyon’s history, lava flows have sometimes dammed up the river and flooded the canyon.)

Stubbornness and determination certainly can’t make everything we want happen. But we should be careful of self-rejecting too much, as we might miss out on wonderful opportunities. *grin*

Have you caught yourself self-rejecting? If so, what for? Have you ever overcome those self-rejecting thoughts and been successful? If so, how did you do it? Do you have any questions about these awesome places?

Pin It

Comments — What do you think?

Click to grab Stone-Cold Heart now!
  Subscribe to emails for Comments/Replies on this post  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Deborah Makarios

Great post! And such gorgeous illustrations! It’s an amazing place.
I have to remind myself, especially when dealing with bouts of tiredness, not to default to “I can’t”. A very valuable lesson my mother taught me was to question my assumptions about what is and isn’t possible. Sometimes the ‘impossible’ is actually possible, if I’m prepared to make the necessary changes or sacrifices. Which is both unnerving and enlivening 🙂

Click to grab Pure Sacrifice now!