I’ve fallen in love with caving. The groundedness underneath the earth. The ancient rock formations. The physical challenge.

I went caving with some of my partners the other weekend. We went with a large group because being underground can be dangerous and having others who know the way and how not to get stuck is a good idea and just more fun.

One of my partners was the first to nope out. They were facing a lot of fears just to even go in and made it 2/3 of the way through. I’m so damn proud of their bravery, but eventually the physical fear response was just too much and they noped out.

The caving leader assured us that everyone, even he, has a nope point. A nope point where the physical fear sensation is stronger than the rational voice. A nope point where there isn’t any physical harm, but the emotional harm isn’t worth it. There’s another nope point where the rational voice is avoiding physical harm. Its hard to tell which one is which while you are at the damn nope point.

So honor your nope points. Step back. Re-evaluate. Listen to the fears and deeper emotions that come up. Maybe they are telling you that caving isn’t your thing, but its good you tried. Maybe they are saying that caving is awesome, but you need some better gear to try again.

Nope points come up in relationships, especially open ones. Being vulnerable in relationships can be scary as fuck. Maybe the fear is telling you this isn’t for you. Maybe the fear is worth facing again and going a little farther. Only you get to decide.