It was a beautiful morning in Kauai, Hawaii. My daughter Cassandra and I, visiting for Christmas, had spent the previous day exploring around our east shore hotel. Today, we were ready to venture out and explore the glorious offerings of the island.

For us, having grown up with amazing outdoor opportunities in Utah, “explore” is code for hiking. Lucky for us, the Sleeping Giant Trail was just a mile up the road. Named for the shape of the mountain, it looks like the profile of a giant taking a nap.

Hiking early in the morning is best to beat the crowds and for the comfort of cooler temperatures. The trail was well worn from heavy foot traffic and offered a gentle but persistent uphill climb. Nothing too difficult for these two tough girls from Utah. The beauty of the plants, trees, and roosters (lots of roosters in Kauai) was spectacular. I couldn’t help but periodically stop, put my hand to my heart and breathe it all in. 

In Hawaii, the one constant is the rain. The heavens make frequent deposits here which is what makes it so special. Water is life-giving and in Hawaii, this purity is seen and felt wherever you go. However, as we proceeded up the trail, we ran into one of the known drawbacks of rain. When rain meets dirt, the result is mud and the persistent presence of water and dirt brings slick conditions. It didn’t take long before Cassandra and I weren’t really hiking anymore but slipping up the trail.

Hiking is one of those activities where you need to use discernment. At times, conditions on the trail can warrant the review of the risk vs. reward. Should I press on to the summit or return to safety? While we were not in any big danger, the slippery conditions of the trail had us on edge. The hike required us to be completely present to avoid a fall. There were parts of the trail that looked like short-cuts – instead of traveling to the next switchback, a break in the trail offered the option to leap up to the next level. Given the conditions, I didn’t want to increase my risk but then I got cocky and tried it…. It ended up being a pig trail and I ended up humbly making my way back the way I came. So much for trail blazing on this day.

We persisted on and after climbing up some slippery boulders, we reached the summit to claim our prize. At the top, a 360-degree view of the island. Spectacular! It was standing on the top of that mountain looking all around at God’s glorious creation that I realized, I am a sleeping giant.

I think most of us would say life is fraught with challenges. There are slippery conditions and dead-end trails of various sorts wherever we go. And sometimes our lack of awareness and presence can be the biggest detriment to really experiencing life. As I approach the second quarter of my time here on earth, I will no longer let limiting beliefs hold me back. I am a sleeping giant and it is time for me to rise and become my best self. Get ready world, I am not playing small anymore!

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