Fear…The Thief of Life

Fear…The Thief of Life

I watched a YouTube video a guy created when he sailed across the North Sea solo during the winter. Crossing the North Sea Singlehanded is the title. It wasn’t across the entire North Sea…I think from Norway to the Shetland Islands, roughly 200 nautical miles…but still. Solo. Sixteen hour nights. Six meter waves….that’s like 18 foot waves. Snowing, sleeting, gale-force winds. I love the ocean but could barely watch it. I kept saying, what the heck was he thinking?

People have asked that same question about me….cave diving, traveling solo in England and Ireland, in Bonaire….leaving the ‘everyday grind’ to follow my heart’s calling. I understand what it feels like to have people question my sanity….just like I questioned the sanity of the guy sailing in insane conditions. Honestly, I was more afraid sitting on my sofa watching the North Sea video that I was during my adventures… except for my start in cave diving.

I think back to times when I had to choose between letting fear keep me stuck or taking the leap of faith into the vast Unknown. I believe the most powerful leaps in our lives always include an unknown aspect. We cannot know how a decision will truly affect us or the repercussions that will happen. It wouldn’t require anything of us if it was all the details were known. It wouldn’t produce growth or help us increase our strength and trust in ourselves. But I know this with all my heart: if we feel called to do something strongly and we gets signs–as in coincidences, synchronicities, etc–we are on the right track. I think the greatest tragedy is when we allow fear to keep us stuck and ignore those little breadcrumbs affirming the path that leads us to greater freedom and joy.

Cave diving….I was a diver already and wondered what could possibly be so great about being underwater in a cave. I was scared the first time I entered an underwater cave with my cave instructor friend. No doubt at all. My eyes were big, I could hardly breathe from getting caught in the high flow of water rushing out of the cave…I could share more ugly details…. but I persisted, even when I was scared. And I learned to trust my intuition completely while cave diving.

For instance, once my dive partner and I were entering a side passageway in Peacock Springs. We had tied a jump reel and everything was fine yet I began to feel really anxious. The hair on the back of my neck stood up and my breathing rate increased. I signaled to my partner that I needed to return to the main line. As soon as I got to it, I was completely okay. I couldn’t’ explain my anxiety but I listened and by doing so learned to trust myself.

Cave diving has taught me the most important lesson in my life: PAY ATTENTION.

Fear is a natural response to change. The way to differentiate between fear that is normal and fear that is paralyzing is to pay attention to how the body responds…at least that works for me.

I know that fear can keep us stuck, keep us from taking the leap into something wonderful. I know this because I have experienced it. But I have also made the leap, many times, and every time….when I really felt something strongly calling me…it has been amazing.

Sailing across the North Sea in winter is not on my to-do list but there are other adventures yet to come…I feel them calling. I’m ready to leap. What is calling you? Don’t let fear keep you from your dreams….don’t let it steal your life.

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