September 24

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My Personal Dance with Fear

Most of us are afraid of something. We each have our own examples of how fear can be such a huge, impenetrable barrier. It could be spiders, drowning, flying, or for many like me, it’s a fear of heights. To quote Helen Keller: “Fear…some would rather bury it, walk around it, build bridges over it, cover it with medication or another substance, stay busy to deny it, ignore it, avoid it by staying within a box…rather than name it, or even face it head on.”

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Today I’m proud to share the upside of facing your fears. I say embrace fear…embrace it gratefully, joyfully. I found this opens a whole new world. Then, bit by bit, one day that barrier no longer exists. In its place is the strength you have and overcomng the fear you’ve been longing for.

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A Pulse assignment challenges you and fosters personal growth. I never knew it would include descending part of a mountain by rope without a harness. Recently I had the pleasure to face my fear of heights enough to ‘harness my power’ and transform my fear into something fantastic. For me, this was enjoying a glorious view from an incredible mountain summit.

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Those who know me are well aware that I am an adventure junkie. I love fast roller coasters. I run marathons. I scuba dive in hopes of finding sharks. I’d try almost anything once. This is UNLESS extreme heights are involved. I often avoid activities with height challenges. I now realize just how much I have been missing by avoiding things that require me to look down.

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One recent weekend, I had the pleasure of ascending Mount Batulao here in the Philippines. I was touched in a profound way by the raw beauty of Mother Nature. In order to see such an incredible view, I had to develop my confidence and ability to ascend and descend not one, but four mountain peaks.

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Of course, I began to think about the ‘what ifs’ as I ascended the mountain range. One wrong move could easily send you to your death. Yet, I managed to push through and be one of the first in our group to reach the summit.

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Once at the top, I felt so proud. I did it. I made it up to the summit. I felt a huge weight lifted. I had transformed my inner self. I even thought I’d do it again. AND THEN…

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THEN, I learned of the final challenge. I would have to descend a steep rock holding onto a rope without a harness. Yikes!!! My fear reemerged again. There are many techniques to calm yourself but none seemed to work for me at that moment. My palms were sweaty and butterflies overtook my stomach.

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I came to realize I really had to do this. What goes up, must go down. The bottom line is I pushed past my fear, grabbed the rope and walked backwards down the mountain. Everyone there knows I was nervous but I did it. I closed my eyes and did it.

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And just like that, I suddenly wasn’t so afraid. I plan to repeat this mountain ascent with my family over Christmas. “To allow for transformation, is to be completely comfortable with change”, Einstein once said.

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The fear of heights was dissolving for me. I felt this change in me as a second height challenge recently emerged.

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I hiked down to a beautiful waterfall after a field visit with Save.

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I learned of a double zip line ride over several beautiful waterfalls at extreme heights.

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Getting started wasn’t as hard for me this time. I did the zip lines and enjoyed the most spectacular views. Amazing video was also captured of my ride. You can watch it here.

I am guessing as you read along with me you probably can relate. You’ve felt butterflies and had sweaty palms just as I did. Embracing fear isn’t easy but it’s something we all should do. We can soar so far past what we’d ever imagine we could.

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Next up: I hope to conquer my fear of flying cockroaches!!!