Oh Yes, I Was Very Afraid And It Is A Very Good Thing

An update of where I've been

Dear friends,

I know, I know - It’s been a while and I’m sorry. I really am. It seems I may have broken the cardinal rule of blog writing which is consistency. But wait…I have a good reason. I promise.

I didn’t abandon you because I was bored or lazy. I stopped writing because I had to keep a promise to myself and it consumed me. And for the first time in a really long time, I was very, very scared. I had crossed the fine line of fear where arousal occurs and instead, it tipped over to stressful fear. Exhausting, emotionally draining fear. As you can imagine, that is not a place where creativity lives.

You see, I have two promises to myself that I strive to keep every year. The first is to always make friends with fear. Never to avoid it or suppress it, but to spend time with it and be comfortable in its presence. The second is to try to learn a new physical skill every year. It doesn’t matter if I actually master it but it is important to always be a beginner at something.

This year, the activity I chose to keep both promises was paragliding. Yup, that’s me. All by my lonesome - suspended in air with a thin piece of fabric and some lines.

It’s easy to imagine the magic of being completely alone up there above the mountain peaks and it’s also equally easy to imagine the terror when something goes wrong. Well, something did go wrong and it was a close call that could easily have ended my life.

It reminded me again of the importance of always confronting fear. Fear is like a good parent - it helps to keep you safe and helps you understand where your limits lie. But most of all, fear reminds you to stop wasting your life. This time, my relationship with fear did both. My fear helped me make the right choices and my ability to be calm in the presence of fear saved my life. Coming in close contact with fear also made me re-evaluate my priorities.

What’s important? Why do I wake up every day? What brings joy? Who brings joy? Who is there at my most vulnerable?

And the answer always comes back to connection. After my incident, what helped me stopped avoiding fear was people. No amount of my own physical strength, skill, or emotional resilience could have done what an amazing group of people did for me.

I feel the same about many of you who are on this email list. When I experience self-doubt or fear in my writing, many of you reached out in ways that were meaningful. You saved my writing life without ever knowing. So, this community made it on my list of priorities in life. Fear helped me re-choose this connection. I’m sorry I ever left.

I’m working on new articles but for now, I will leave you with this article I wrote a while ago. The article is essentially asking, “What would you do if you were never afraid?” and gives you three questions to help you know the answers for yourself.

Read the article here

What is your relationship with fear? Is it like a big bully that stops you from doing most of the things you want? Or do you use it to feel excited about things and as a metric for self-growth? Write to me, I’d love to hear about it.