Monday, January 4, 2010

Overcoming Fears

I am not unlike so many who hesitate, reject or discount opportunities as perceived deceptions because our fears have such a grip on us. Often, too, I pat myself of the back as challenging my fears when I write or ride. In truth, however, they are but stage props giving me the illusion of mastering my own world.

With writing, it is often the fear of ridicule that keeps me from expressing what is in the heart and soul. The exposure is too perilous, like exposing my underbelly to barbs or shards of glass. I recoil from writing about what truly moves me, to just a hint and suggestion of the fire that burns inside.

With motorcycling, it would be a lie to say that I do not experience those “holy crap” moments, where fear sends the adrenaline coursing, causing my legs to jump unbidden with such a quaking as to knock my knees against the tank. Yet I persist, take a breath and move on, remembering that about motorcycling which gives me the purest pleasure.

While I have learned to share what I write, knowing criticism may follow, or admit that times on the bike can scare like hell, and feel smug that I challenge and overcome my fears, the reality is that the deepest of them stay safely hidden below the surface. I take great measure to circle around, avoid, and even deny they exist. Yet, not thinking about a thing doesn’t make it not so, and sooner or later, we all must face the ultimate truth.

What are my deepest fears? I have buried them for so many years that I may not even recognize them until they surface; and all fears do in time. If I were to point a stick at any circumstance, I could easily find some fear great or small that keeps me where I am. From fear of unemployment, rejection, crowds, germs, what have you, they are there. I have even heard comments from others saying to me “this is who I am” accepting their circumstance as inevitable. My question to them (and to myself) is this; is it serving your purpose?

With these thoughts rolling around my head as I said goodbye to one year and hello to the next, I used one of my fears as a symbol of all that keeps me from serving my purpose. I climbed aboard a hot air balloon and took a tethered ride; because fears should be overcome in baby steps. As the balloon ascended and I looked over the side, my stomach lurched, and the vertigo began. My hand clenched the side in a vice like grip. I dragged my eyes back into the basket, looked at the other faces around me, gazed up at the flame, and marveled at the size of the balloon, and it was good.

My symbolic challenge to overcome my fears was an excellend way to begin the New Year, and while one day may look much like the next, in my heart and soul, I know it is not. A new and yet unchallenged side of life is awaiting me, with new adventures, people to meet, experiences to be had, and yes a boat load of fears to dispel and overcome. Give me your best shot 2010! I’m restless for you to take shape.

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