Facing our fears

Yesterday I hiked to the top of a mountain. A mountain that didn’t look that big from the ground. However, once I was 2,000’ above the desert floor, holding on to cables and very carefully finding footholds so that I didn’t slide down the face of the cliff to my death…the size of the mountain was no longer relevant. If I wasn’t careful, this mountain, like any mountain could end me.

I am not a thrill-seeker, my life’s activities are pretty tame. Half-way in to this hike it became more than I’d bargained for and the rest of the day was an experience outside my comfort zone. As the hike went on, becoming more challenging the higher we got, I met fear head on. I’d done enough research that I knew this hike wasn’t outside my abilities. I looked forward at the obstacles ahead and knew I was capable. I just had to decided if fear would cripple me or empower me.

This is a choice we have. And when we decide to not let fear dictate our actions is when empowerment follows. We learn that fear does not dictate our lives. Fear merely turns up the volume in our lives. It makes us fiercely present and aware of our surroundings. Aware of our mortality and fragility.

But fear should not be a wall that turns us around when it can be a bridge that leads us to a stronger version of ourselves.

The problem with treating fear as a wall is that the more we let fear stop us, the more those walls will close in on us. When fear wins, our world gets smaller. And as we get older, we’ll be more likely to stick to the comforts and safety of our easy chairs than we will be inclined to face our fears.

When we instead choose to face our fears, cross that bridge and see what’s on the other side, we break down the walls in our lives and open up our world. Fear is shattered and replaced with confidence and opportunity. If I can do this, what else can I do?

When I returned to solid ground yesterday I realized my fear stemmed from the crap that was running thru my head, not the act itself. I never had a close call or felt physically incapable. It was the voices in my head telling me I may not be able to do it. Once I’d done it, those voices were silenced. Mark told me he was proud of me for pushing myself outside my comfort zone. While I was too, I’ll be damned if I’m going to resort to an easy chair, while I watch the world go round outside my windows because I’m scared. With every passing year, it becomes more imperative that we push beyond comfort to remind ourselves that life is to be experienced not something to try to protect ourselves from.

Nothing but beautiful things can be found on the other side of our fears.

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By Michele


Hi, I'm Michele, a nomadic wedding photographer and lover of the great outdoors. I live on the road full-time and document my adventures daily. This is my personal blog where I share and record my thoughts on living simply and intentionally with less stress and more joy. Check out my wedding and portrait photography at http://www.oncwest.com


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