Dancing with your fears…

The writer Susan Jeffers has a wonderful book called, “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.” In her book she says, “Often we think, I’ll do it when I am not so afraid. But in reality, it works the other way around. The doing it comes before the fear goes away. The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it.”

In my own life when I have felt heavy with the weight of my fears, I know that the only way to get past that particular obstacle is to do the “thing.” Most people don’t know that I am very afraid of heights and of driving over high bridges especially. To combat this fear, I packed myself up for a road trip to the beautiful Assateague Island in Maryland, a beautiful national park, about 30 miles south of Ocean City, MD. I had to drive across the Bay Bridge. The Bay Bridge might not be scary to some, but it is a bit curved, and very high (in my opinion). I clucked the steering wheels until my knuckles turned white. I looked straight ahead of me, and focused on my destination. My heart beat wild with fear. I made it across, and had the most beautiful day at the park.

Assateague is the sister park to Chincoteague in Virginia. They are known for the Chincoteague Ponies, which are a breed of wild horses that live on Assateague Island. Each July (except for Pandemic times), the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company organizes the herd to swim across the Assateague Channel. It help raises funds for the fire department, but it also helps to control the herd. The horses are a beautiful sight to see—wild, free, and seemingly without fear.

After my day on the island, I had to drive home. I tried to rush to leave before the sunset. Did I mention this was a three hour drive one way? As I arrived back to the bridge, the sun was setting. The sight was so beautiful, the sky looked painted with bold pinks, oranges, and purple hues. I cried because if I had not faced my fear of crossing the bridge, I would not have seen such a magnificent sight. Since that time, I have driven over countless bridges including from Miami to Key West, FL, New York, and in California. With each, I still feel the fear, but I know that if I want to arrive at my destination that I will have to go across, and sometimes make the return journey. I take my time, and each time I have gotten to my destination. Why does life have to be any different?

In her book, “Big Magic,” one of my favorite writer’s Elizabeth Gilbert says, “Your fear will always be triggered by your creativity, because your creativity asks you to enter into realms of uncertain outcome, and fear hates uncertain outcome.” She also mentions that while fear can ride along in the car with her and creativity, fear has to ride in the back seat—it cannot drive.

And that is where I find myself, rather than a drive, I am in a dance—on a dance—a beautiful and elaborate dance with my fears. For many years, I let fear lead, but I have been practicing my steps and I am ready to dance—boldly, loudly, untamed like the horses on Assateague.

Perhaps there is something that you have wanted to do, a vision, a dream, or just the initial tingles of something to come. Take your time, and begin the drive. If you knuckles turn pale, that’s ok, keep driving, keep going. One day, you will find yourself face to face with the most amazing view of something that only you could create. I can’t wait to see it…. Keep driving, keep dancing. ❤