Embrace the Space Between Fear and Joy
I’ve taken up snowboarding in the last few years and have been stuck in my progression. I think of myself as quite daring and adventurous so it’s been frustrating to me that I hadn’t gotten to a point when I could “let loose” and really have fun with it. You know; that way of being when you feel the flow and freedom of movement.
Fear has been my stuck point. I really don’t want to fall and hurt myself because healing at this age takes so much longer than it used to. So I’ve held back, doing what I could to make sure I didn’t fall and even if I did, it wouldn’t kill me. So for the last couple of years I’ve been sticking to the green, gentle runs and controlling my speed as much as possible.
But this last week-end, I decided to challenge the fear and not let it fully control me anymore. In practical terms, this meant I went on some stepper, harder, longer runs. Once at the top of the run, there was no choice for me but to find my way down the hill however I could. I had a couple of options. One was to simple use the safest technique of snowboarding I knew, which was to just stay on the back edge of my board. It was safe for sure, but I knew it would be absolutely no fun and it wouldn’t bring me any joy.
The other option was to simply try. Yup, face my fears and just snowboard down the hill and see what would happen. Maybe I would fall and I would and hurt myself. Scary! But maybe I wouldn’t fall…or maybe I would fall and I wouldn’t hurt myself.
So trying is what I did. I pointed my snowboard down the hill and used all the same skills I had developed on the easy runs. Going from front edge to back edge, leaning into the hill. It was clearly not a lack of skill or knowledge that had been holding me back. I just needed to push myself beyond my comfort zone to discover the confidence that I could manage something harder. It certainly helped that I had my partner with me for encouragement and support.
The best thing about getting beyond my fear was how much fun and joy it created for me. They were still moments I was scared of falling and sometimes I pushed passed the fear and kept on going. Other times I decided to regain control by going slow again. It was empowering for me to know I could push myself when I wanted and step back when I wanted. Sometimes I fell, and I didn’t kill myself or anyone else.
If you read my writings with any regularity, you know that I love to find lessons in my experiences and share them as a form of encouragement to others.
Doing something easy and expected keeps us safe. But it also prevents us from feeling full joy. Embracing the space between fear and joy gives us conscious awareness that our choices are powerful. We can choose fear or joy. We can choose hate or love. We can choose judgement or acceptance. We can choose stuck or we can choose growth.
Fear is the biggest barrier that gets in the way of people living their life to the fullest. Sometimes we just need to acknowledge it. Sometimes we need to develop more skills. Sometimes we need someone to hold our hand when we venture into the unknown for the first time.
I so want people to get beyond their fears. There is a lot of joy to be had out their, if you’re ready to choose it. The more people who are experiencing joy, the more positive energy there is floating around out there to be shared with all human kind and the other than human beings.