It was pitch black except for the modest illumination of the head lamps. There was litte to see other than an endless landscape of rocks. We were on the slopes of Mt. Shasta, probably at around 9000 ft.
Underneath our boots, the rocks and boulders shifted precariously. I knew I was walking close to the precipice, but I could not see how far the drop was.
So I measured each step. I knew that each step could be my last…
Hours later, we were headed back down, the summit attempt had failed. And I finally got to take a look at the gauntlet I had run. At the source of my trepidation!!
There was none. No precipice. Just a gentle slope.
Fear assumes failure.
It is defeatist at its core. I am not talking about the kind of fear that leads to self preservation. But the kind , some of us live with everyday.
A fear that is all too familiar. Knocking down any new desires. A silent beckoning, that insists that you live in a box.
A box of your self imposed limits, whose walls are hardened everytime you believe that the box is all you will see.
I am afraid of my dreams. Afraid that I am too cowardly to follow my heart. That my attempts at greatness at anything, will be the butt of jokes.
But there is only one frontier to overcome fear, and its between your ears.
Today I am talking about my fear of heights. And the personal tragedy of my marriage has brought my attention to one simple fact. To be better , stronger, I must rip out my fears. I must remake myself and leave the fears out.
So I am waging a war against my mind.
I sat with a smile, my sides pushed against a thin plastic door . And 14000 feet below, the ground was a patchwork of farms and urban centers.
The scream of the engine and wind signalled that the time had come. I waited for it… the paralysis, the all too familiar , the all consuming fear… But, there was nothing, except excitement and courage.
I trusted my tandem instructor. I trusted that all would be well, and that this was an experience to remember.
And then there was weightlessness.
I resolved to look straight at the ground, an no thoughts of my demise flashed before my eyes.
As you drop out of a plane, the pull of gravity reminds you where you are. But, It was also clear that I was not afraid like I always was. As I broke down the walls of my own prison, I was liberated.