joy of fear

I’ve been referred to as a daredevil or gambler with a bit of frightening consistency throughout my life. And given the number of broken bones and overall mishaps I’ve experienced, perhaps its a fair assessment.

But the bit that follows next is quite fascinating. People tend to quickly add ‘well, you obviously don’t have fear’. There seems to be a logical separation between people that ‘have fear’ and those who would never dangle from the wing strut of an airplane because they simply ‘have fear’. On the surface, you can follow the logic of the argument. But when looking closer, I can attest to the fact that I absolutely feel fear.

When climbing a mountain and struggling for that thin bit of air; when caught in a blizzard unprepared; when attempting to cycle another 100 km day in fierce cross winds; when facing the empty void of that bungee jump, sky dive, trapeze platform, paraglide or ramp that is just crazy steep for the dirt bike . . .my palms sweat. My heart is bursting through my chest. My breath shortens and seems to only inhale. Disastrous outcomes flood my mind. Does any of this sound familiar? To live is to feel fear.

The choice we each have, is what we do with that fear. For me, being able to feel the fear and do it anyway, is a wholly gratifying and JOYful way to live. Its inspired me to move countries, travel to corners of the world on solo adventures, leave perfectly solid jobs, end lovely relationships, dive into life changing love, and yes, to fall flat on my face. But I did it. Each time. To push through the layers of fright and common sense can be incredibly liberating.

So perhaps don’t limit yourself by identifying with your fears or let them paralyse you next time your palms start to sweat. Instead, see it as a playful layer of resistance that can be out manoeuvred. And yes, I’ll be reciting this to myself as I attempt to cross the Bass Strait in a little boat with sails.

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