Public speaking sends a large number of into a state of panic. Heights, spiders, clowns, grass, escalators (another one of mine) and a multitude of other phobias exist to torture us into submission. Today’s world is a hayday (with good reason) for psychologists and psychiatrists.
I recently struck one of my phobias off the list. I’m no longer afraid of heights. Show me a mountain and I’ll climb it (in a car, of course – scaling is beyond my post-vacation plubbiness right now).
I’m excited to try ziplining, rock climbing (eventually), maybe even skydiving. I lost the fear of high places that almost paralyzed me when I drove through the Rocky Mountains eleven years ago.
Poof and it’s gone.
“Cliffhanger,” my eldest daughter said when I told her about my lack of fear. I looked at my palms and they were dry. Any other time, even thinking about the Sly Stallone movie would make my palms break out in a sweat.
Not this time. I was not afraid.
Phobia may be too strong a word for some of the things that paralyze us into inaction. Right now, I’m looking at my after-vacay list of things I need to catch up on. Two weeks is a long time to be out of my world and so far, the list is at #23 and still growing.
Some things on my list threaten to paralyze me, things I’ve put off for months and even years, but I’m trying to cling to my conquest of the mountain to help me. Number seventeen makes my heart beat a little faster.
17. Write. Really write. Heart, soul, bare it all.
Number seventeen is a terrifying prospect to a reclusive writer. However, inspiration struck me in New Mexico as we traveled in the Navajo Nation. I’m about to start a book about a person confronting and conquering betrayal and loss. I’m excited and scared at the same time.
This incantation by the Bene Gesserit from “Dune” by Frank Herbert is a good mantra to follow as we face the obstructions in our lives:
“Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
Now, we’ll see if I can follow my new path. I’m going to try and I’m going to conquer some, if not all, of my little mind-killers. Here is my coffee cup raised in salute to the rest of you as you scale your own mountains. Good luck, Godspeed and watch your step along the loose gravel of life.
Current enthusiasm is co-authoring at Rubicon Ranch