Sunday, October 16, 2011

Facing My Fears

Mile High Bridge At
Grandfather Mountain
Facing my fears is never easy to do as I am sure others experience similar moments.  While fears have been plenty in my life, I always keep trying to face them down!  It is the only way I know to keep moving myself forward, even if my knees are shaking so badly that I can barely stand.

Among my fears, one of the ones I struggle with is the fear of heights.  I'm not going to tell you that this recent experience cured me but it went a long ways to helping me do something which I was not comfortable doing.  I believe the little successes and experiences in life build up to the change we desire for our life.  It isn't always about the rockets red glare and the fireworks going off that signify a change.

Traveling to Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina, I knew they had a mile high swinging bridge.  Finding out that this is not a free-swinging bridge made this task easier, the bridge was not stationary by any means.  As we drove up the steep mountain side road, my anxiety level was already high.  I could feel my fingers digging into the steering wheel and I tried hard to not look down.  The road was rather steep with hair pinned curves.

Once I got to the mountain, I saw the bridge and part of me wanted to chicken out and just observe the view.  The other part of me wanted to embrace the moment and experience this because who knows if I would ever get this opportunity again.  Even though my feet felt a little wobbly, I knew that I needed to push past the fears and walk across this bridge.

As I started to go out on the bridge, I could feel it being swayed by the wind.  I took a deep breath.  I then took another deep breath and just stopped for a minute.  While I knew I could do this and others were definitely doing it, my anxiety was saying, "you fool!"

A few feet further on to the bridge and another couple was coming back from the other side.  They could tell that I was scared out of my wits in trying to do this.  It must have been plastered all over my face.  Yet, their comment to me was so ideal in that moment and gave me the needed push of energy to walk across it.  The lady looked at me and said, "if we can make it over, anyone can!"  At that moment, I felt like, here was someone that had already experienced it and they made it over and back.  Why could I not do the same?

Of course, I held on tight with both hands as I shuffled my feat across the bridge.  At first I could not look down and I just focused on the other side, telling myself that I could make it.  Once I arrived at the other side, I felt like I had just walked on water crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a couple of steps!  It was a moment of pride for myself that I was able to do it.

As a reward, I got to see some of the most beautiful scenery there was.  The views were spectacular and there was a peacefulness to being 5280 feet up in the air.  The nervousness and anxiety had gone from my body.  I could begin to feel what it was like to be standing on this mountain peak rather than shut down by the fear of the height.

Sometimes the best thing we can do is step out in faith and hope, knowing that at some point the possibilities will be more than we can imagine.  I struggle with this in life and sometimes paralyze myself with the fear which then robs me of the reward.  I also know that I'm not alone because so many others fight the same thing.  May this story of facing my fears help you or others you know to help face their fears.

Related Blog Posts
1)  Overcome Fear By Facing It (Oct 9, 2011)
2)  Fear Is Real (Nov 19, 2010)

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