Jumping Ship; Finding Land

Jumping Ship; Finding Land

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”- Mary Oliver The body speaks to us; it will scream for our attention by breaking down in any of innumerable ways if we ignore the signs that our lives are making us sick.  I hated my job of 9 years so much that I could barely lift my arms and legs to get out of bed in the morning, but I ignored the obvious for as long as I could. I had chronic fatigue, insomnia, a heavy depression I carried like a weight. I knew I had to make a change, but my fear of the unknown had me trapped. The Prison of Fear For 25 years, I’d lived by a code that precluded risk. I took the usual parental message “Finish college, find a job with benefits, and hang onto it,” and lived it to a degree that shut out excitement, possibility, and my own intuition. While my college friends were out in L.A. working on movie sets, in art school, teaching in Thailand, I was working a 9 to 5 job that offered little challenge or stimulation, and where the boredom at times was so consuming that I contemplated beating my head against my cubicle wall, thinking the pain might distract me from the boredom. This job, working as an editor at a small association, was great for a while. For the first few years I had a kind and generous supervisor who supported me through my crises, both personal and professional. I was good at my job, and my identity became wrapped around...
How I Got Over My Fear of Flying

How I Got Over My Fear of Flying

September 17th, 2012 was my own personal judgement day.  Months of anxiety and nervousness had built up and today was the culmination.  It was time to pay the piper. What in the world had me so scared? Was it a court date? A visit to the doctor to receive bad news? The day aliens finally landed? No, it was the day my wife and I prepared to go on our honeymoon. Two days prior we had a nice outdoor wedding with eleven bridesmaids, ten groomsmen, six flower girls and zero ring bearers. We had been planning the wedding for well over a year but I was not really that nervous about the nuptials; the honeymoon, on the other hand, was a major concern. I would venture to say that this is not the thing that most people get anxious about, as the honeymoon is supposed to be filled with fun, drinks and sex. However, there was one thing that the honeymoon involved that the wedding did not and it was the biggest source of worry for me personally: flying. I was scared to fly. Now granted, I had flown before when I went to Vegas in 2005. I was able to get over my fear of flying then because I had grandiose visions of being a professional poker player and so my desire to visit the Mecca of gambling far outweighed any fears I had of perishing in a fiery ball of plane wreckage.  It also helped that I had seven other friends on that trip and it was a direct flight. I figured I could tough it out...
Frozen In Fear

Frozen In Fear

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” – Jack Canfield I sit on the edge of the sturdy rubber boat, staring at the rare spectacular blue emanating from beneath the water. I wonder about hidden depths of ice below, and my heart begins thumping beneath layers of protective clothing. Sea ice crackles as our driver and naturalist Christian stands at the back of the boat, one hand around a long steering handle, navigating us away from the safety of the expedition ship. I glance around at icebergs everywhere and notice the emphasis of white under vibrant sunshine, cloudless skies and zero wind. This does not look to me as terrain to touch. I feel as if I have been transported either to another planet or another time period. None of us nine passengers say anything. We glide with grace, crunching through sections of ice toward a tall, wide, snow-covered mountain. Cracks, ridges, and one long slope of thick white smoothness covers dark rocks below.  A few whispered “wows” mine included, are all emphasized like I’ve never heard before. It’s like being in the presence of a spectacular cathedral. So sacred, I’m frozen by it. Beauty and wonder exist here, yet a sense of harshness and danger is present too. It is sensory overload – the serene, devoid of smell, emptiness and unknown. I am drugged by it. I glance up at the inchworm type straight lines of five or six specks climbing up the mountain ahead, spread out in various sections. They look like dot to dots along the quiet white ice. They are skiers, my husband...
How Letting Go of Security Changed My Life

How Letting Go of Security Changed My Life

“We spend our time searching for security and hate it when we get it” – John Steinbeck A few years ago, I was living a completely normal life. I had recently finished school, I had a steady job, I was healthy, I had a lovely girlfriend and a large social circle. On the surface, I was living a pretty decent life. And yet, it wasn’t the life I wanted to live. None of it seemed right to me. Yes, my job was alright, but I didn’t love it, and it certainly wasn’t fulfilling. And yes, I had a lovely girlfriend, but I knew that we weren’t right for each other. And yes, I had a large friend-group, but I didn’t feel truly connected to any of them. No aspect of my life was perfect, but I desperately held on to it because it was all I had. Fear was controlling my life. I was clinging so desperately to the securities I had built up, there just wasn’t any room for what I really wanted. I knew that in order to get what I wanted out of life, I had to first rid myself of my crippling fear of losing what I had. I knew that my secure and comfortable lifestyle was standing in the way of me living life to the fullest. And so I let it all go. Everything. I quit my job, I broke up with my girlfriend, I said goodbye to my friends and family, and I sold most of my possessions. I then bought a one-way ticket to New Zealand, packed my last belongings in...
6 Ideas That are Changing the Way I Experience Fear

6 Ideas That are Changing the Way I Experience Fear

I sat in my car next to the tennis courts watching other people arrive. My hands shook and my stomach churned. I told myself I would get out of my car and walk onto the courts the second the clock on the dashboard switched to 8:30. I had just joined a meetup group and was at the park that morning to play tennis for the first time in years with people I had never met. And I was terrified. It seems silly to be afraid of such a little thing like meeting people to play a game. But it’s indicative of the fear I’ve lived with for much of my life—fear of making a mistake or a poor decision, fear of looking silly, of being rejected, of not being perfect. I have often let the fearful part of me have a dominant voice. As a result I stayed small. I didn’t let many people into my community. I didn’t try new things. I didn’t do the things that really excite me. I didn’t grow. I thought I was just a fearful person who was not made to do brave and exciting things. Now I’m learning to change the way I experience fear and opening the door to a more joyful, fulfilling life. 1. My fear is a part of me. Fear isn’t an outside force invading my mind to make me miserable. Because my fear is a part of me I can never really get rid of it. Trying to shut it out or shut it up won’t make it go away. If I don’t allow it to express...
One Simple Change to Live a Happy and Empowered Life

One Simple Change to Live a Happy and Empowered Life

“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken” – Oscar Wilde For many years I wrote in secret. I would only put pen to paper when the lights were dim, when everyone around me was asleep. Also, I wrote when no one was home, I made sure that I was alone because I didn’t want to be seen. I didn’t want to be questioned and I didn’t want anyone interested in what I was doing. In hiding, I filled up journals with words of heart-break, poetry, love, laughter, inspiration, anything that was bubbling to the surface. Those notebooks were mirrors of my truth. I threw them out. I violently ripped out the ink covered pages. I was terrified of anyone reading them. I worried what they would think of me if they really knew me. I worried about judgment, about being misunderstood, about being truly known. All those words, all that truth, was destroyed because of my own fear. What happened when I destroyed my writing was I became further disconnected from my own story, became disconnected from my own truth. As I was unsure of my expression and I was unsure of myself. Over time, I felt fragmented; I felt that the me I presented to others was a contrived version of myself. I was eager to please, a “yeser.” I made sure to stand up strong on a foundation of persona that reflected how I thought I would be most accepted and loved. When I met people and they asked about who I was, what I believed in, or what I did, I said something vague and cliché....