Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Confronting Your Fears

I'm afraid of heights. Actually, I guess it's not the height I fear as much as falling from it...I have no problem with being up high as long as it's closed in and I know I can't fall, but I can't climb more than three or four steps up a ladder without breaking out into a cold sweat.

Last week, while I was in Mexico for my friend Shannon's wedding, I did something I never in my wildest dreams I would ever have imagined myself doing...I rappelled 25 meters into a cenote (an underground cave filled with water). I didn't really want to do it. In fact, the whole time I was standing there watching the others do it, I was desperately trying to figure out how to get myself out of it. But eventually there was no avoiding it. I reluctantly stepped forward and let our guide attach the rope to my harness.  Leaning back off the edge of that platform in preparation to start my descent was the most terrifying thing I've ever done. Nothing will give a person afraid of falling the shakes quite as much as deliberately putting themselves in a position to fall will, after all. After I had talked myself into taking my feet off that platform, and I was hanging there on that rope, I suddenly realized that in taking that step off the platform, I had also done something much bigger...I had confronted one of my biggest fears, and not only that, I HAD WON! After that, the only thing left for me to do was get myself to the bottom. That was the easy part, because that I could control. Although...I was still pretty relieved to feel the first touch of the water on my feet and realize it was over.

This whole experience has been incredibly liberating. I've learned that, although there are things in life that may scare the h*ll out of me, if I'm brave enough to face them head on, I will come out on top. That being said, I don't see myself going home and climbing tall ladders anytime soon.

Until next time,