Facing One of My Fears

Pre-Black Trail Oblivious to what lay ahead!

Pre-Black Trail
Oblivious to what lay ahead!

We all have different types of fears. Some are big and some are small. Some are petty and some are significant. The important thing in life is to face these fears. Facing our fears removes barricades and allows us to move forward in life. This all sounds so straight forward, but it can be so difficult to implement.

I never planned to be facing some of my own fears on the last day of 2013. Our family was in Deer Valley, Utah on our annual ski trip. I thought it would be beneficial to take a family ski lesson, mostly to have the instructor show my husband and two children some advanced techniques and some of the black diamond trails. For the non-skiers out there, ski trails are categorized into categories based on level of difficulty: green circle (easy), blue square (intermediate), double blue square (advanced intermediate), black diamond (advanced), double black diamond (expert). The level of difficulty of some of the blue and black trails can be enhanced by the existence of “moguls” of snow that you have to learn to ski around. As much as I enjoy skiing, I am very happy in the world of green and blue trails and I avoid steepness and moguls. I skied black trails a long time ago but over the years I convinced myself that I did not want to do them anymore. Perhaps it was the fear of doing something difficult, the fear of falling, the fear of breaking something, the fear of looking goofy on the mountain, or just the plain old fear of feeling scared. So back to the family ski lesson, my plan was to stay with them for maybe the first hour to pick up some pointers and then let them go do their black trails by themselves. And by the way, the rest of the family is fine with black trails.

I’m not quite sure when I decided to stick around longer in the lesson. Maybe I was just trying to get my money’s worth. Suddenly I opened up myself to the possibility of doing a black trail again. In the picture above, we had just asked the instructor to take our family picture. Notice my smile, I was oblivious to the emotional and physical commitment I was about to make. I guess sometimes it’s best not to over think these situations.

I found myself at the top of a black trail that was both STEEP and full of MOGULS! My two worst things combined. But there was no turning back. The instructor showed more techniques and went down, and the rest of my family followed without a problem. Then it was my turn. My anxiety level was so high. I had to talk myself into making turns on this crazy steep mountain full of moguls and making it down to where my family was. Once I started going down I made sure not to look up, because then I would panic at seeing the sheer steepness behind me. All I really wanted to do was sit on the mountain, cry, and wait for someone to come get me. But these were not options. I was sweating bullets by now and my heart rate was going crazy. I had to convince myself that I could do this. I would see these fearless expert skiers pass me and wonder why it was so easy for them and not for me. And slowly I continued making my way down one mogul at a time. I finally caught up with my patient supportive family. Of course, the instructor took off again and there were more mogul adventures to be had. I thought to myself, “That’s it, once I get to the bottom, I’ll just go in the lodge and let them continue on…”, but then I heard a strange new brave voice say, “I have to do this a second time”.

So I braved the black trails again. I can’t say that I swished down the second time, as a matter of fact, I’m not quite sure I improved, but what counts is that I did it a second time. I was so proud of myself. I felt a weight lifted as I faced my fear of black trails. By facing this fear I opened myself up to new experiences. I felt it was so significant to take on this challenge on the last day of 2013. I felt it was a metaphor for what may lay ahead in 2014. Sometimes, it’s best to just take action rather than talk about it in personal resolutions. Remember, we are the only ones that can stand in our own way. Remove the fears, the obstacles, and embrace the possibilities and adventures ahead. Happy 2014.

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