As we approach the beginning of our journey the next day or two, I reflect upon fear and anxiety. One of the most common responses to our adventure of transcontinental bicycling and thru-hiking has been “Aren’t you afraid?”
I thought I would address this because it not only seems like a pressing question for many, but it also illuminates the bigger question of ‘What keeps people from pursuing their dreams?’. As you may know from my personal blog, this is something of utmost interest to me (http://fluxwritings.com/in-pursuit-of/ ). Ultimately, no—we are not scared. This does not necessarily make us into badass, Messner Reinhold-types. We are simply rational about it, and approach situations with methods of acting and coping positively.
Are you afraid to wake up to a new day, to put one foot in front of another, and to accept that, as much as you may like to believe otherwise, you have no idea how your day is going to progress and what events will actually transpire? Most of the time, people don’t think about what could or could not happen in the present day; it’s mostly the future that scares people. Sure, most of the time routine sets a grid for experiences and expectations to turn into ‘x’ desired outcome, but still—chance persists regardless of routine. Days go ‘not as expected’, and we all do just fine for the most part.
Becoming fearful or anxious often prevents things from even starting, as one may mull through the perceived details of what could happen, going through each stage of the journey, and even going so far as to visualize failure, the thing they fear. Having already experienced the thing in their head, one deems the pursuit ‘no longer worth pursuing’ because they have ‘seen’ the end, and it isn’t pretty! Relaxing in a false satisfaction of comfort, habit, and familiarity, one is overtaken by their fears and anxieties. Thus the journey sits stale; untouched and open for too long.
Fear is normal; what is of significance is how you choose to cope.
“People are afraid of success. People know what failure looks like but they’re afraid of power. But if you think of it, power’s great. Power is what turns the light on. You have to learn to not be a victim of your own circumstance and you have to learn to do that effectively” (Amy Dawidovicz; Life and Business Coach, Yoga Instructor, Nutritional Activist).
Should the unexpected arise in a seemingly adverse way, then step back rationally and put yourself in a balanced mental state, governed not by fears, anxieties, doubts, or stresses. You may wonder how to do such a thing, or even fear that you wouldn’t be able to react in a positive manner. It’s as simple as creating a space with thought and intent that will allow right action to follow naturally. Practice saying what you want to happen in a situation and in life. Use the same energy you would use for disbelief and direct it toward belief that the thing you desire will be the case, will become reality. “Your focus determines your reality” (George Lucas). This is not-too-shabby a start. And a start is the hardest part.
Pay attention to the present day and don’t get caught in fantastical imaginations of monsters and bad people out to get you in the big, scary world. Put one foot in front of another, stay focused on your goals, and when the unexpected—the beautiful mysteries of life—show their fresh faces, greet them without shudder, because neither them nor anything else can keep you from your pursuit, except for yourself.