A friend recently expressed her surprise when I spoke of one of my fears. Her wide eyes said it all “you have fear? I always thought of you as fearless.”she laughed. I had recently returned from a solo vision quest in the Inyo Mountains in California and have enjoyed climbing tall peaks around the world. Throughout my adult life I have questioned fear and have felt its hot breath dogging my every step. The thought of someone seeing me as fearless made me chuckle. Fear? Yes I have fear ranging from hairy spiders, the dark of night, the boogie man, heights, you name it, I probably have it. As a child I was always fearful and a night did not pass until my father made sure no monsters were in the closet or under the bed. As a child I would ride along dark forrested areas in the back seat of my parents old chevy and imagine how many scary things lived in that forbidden darkness. I was a scared child.
As an adult I realize that fear is a limitation that has kept me standing still. It has a tendancy to paralyze us in our tracks. As I sat in the dark of the majestic Inyo Mountains, I also sat with my fear and allowed its beginning to come into my being. ” Where did I feel this fear?” I asked. But of course I thought as I placed my hand on the center of my gut. I understood that my fear had long been a pattern of my ancestral line. I understood that fear is taught and passed throughout time. For my ancestors, bad things happened in the night. The night riders came, men were lynched and crosses were burned. The night had always held the ghost of fear. Yet here I sat in the dark as parched dry branches lowered themselves around my tent. I knew I was the missing link, the puzzle piece, the one to transmute the fear. I had began my lessons as I sat through the night and faced the crack of dawn. I gained clarity and the night did not kill me. Nothing came from behind those sinewy trees. There was no monster waiting to claim me. I had survived.
We imagine our fear. We give it more power than it deserves. We believe if we keep it at bay, it will not claim us, we will be safe. As difficult as it may be we will only be free when we slay the dragons of our fear. Look into its red fiery eyes and stand tall. keep staring until one day it turns and walks away. Face those fears.