Funny how I can surf reasonable winter swell, North Shore, Hawaii, or snowboard double black diamonds, but jumping off an (a-hem!) 8 ft. drop paralyzes me completely.
In my head I knew I was being ridiculous. I dove for Christ’s sake for my country club’s swim team when I was little. Greg Louganis even signed my shammy. To see me in this vid, he’d be so ashamed.
Seriously though, standing there on that ledge. What spooked me? Why couldn’t I just jump?
The truth is, I don’t know. But what I do know is that it’s as silly as my fear of roller coasters and all things gerbil/hamster/guinea pig. And how do I handle my fear of roller coasters, you ask? [Discreetly ignoring the latter.] I keep riding the stupid things.
I yell and scream, drops of water fly out of my eyes, threaten to shi-shi myself. And before I know it, it’s all over.
I admit. It’s been a while. I thought about it for a second when I was at Coney Island last. That perhaps it might be about that time to strengthen the fear muscle again. But, since nobody offered … I didn’t want to, you know, make a big stink.
Fear has its definite purpose, yes. When we are in a dark alley and get the sense that someone is following us, we hustle into the light. Even if we’re wrong. Better safe than sorry.
When we are being a big fat wussy pants and not doing something that is totally safe however, that is where we need to create our own intervention. Because fear can also be the greatest guideposts to our passion and purpose and most bitchin self.
Since ego really loathes growth and expansion, it plays its manipulative little tricks on us posing everything as fearful and painfully difficult. Because we are so easily manipulated, we play small, we stay stuck, and we lay the terrific foundation for a future of BIG FAT REGRET.
What does me diving off a rock or riding a roller coaster have to do with creating the life of my dreams?
The more often, no matter how silly, we can push ourselves out of our comfort zones and dis-attach from fear, the less of a strangle-hold our false beliefs have on us.
Had I gone to that stinking rock in Hong Kong and stood on that ledge every day for 30 days, I bet by the end I’d be doing back flips.
And that’s the same with anything: speaking in public, going on a date, riding a bike, driving a car, starting a new business, yoga, meditation, running a 5k, (insert your goal/fear).
We have plenty of evidence in our past proving that we can once really suck at things that we have now mastered. I don’t know if you remember, but learning to walk was a bitch.
Start small. No shame. Take out your list of “I don’t do-s.” Cross out the one or two where you draw the line; for me it’s varmints. And … go.
I leave you with this: Get out there and scare the shit out of yourself, will ya? Within reason, of course. Break up all those knots of whiny I-can’t-do-this crap and broaden the I CAN and I WILL, DAMNIT horizons a bit. Trust me. It’s good for ya.
… to be continued …