Is there something that you love to do, or that’s been on your bucket list for a long while that you feel a hesitation rise up every time you consider it? Perhaps you would love to travel but have a deep fear of flying? Perhaps you’d like to try a new style of food but are hesitant to enter into a neighborhood of a culture you are unfamiliar with? Or, perhaps, like me, you dearly love hiking and being in nature but you are deathly afraid of snakes?
Did I say deathly afraid? I meant terrified beyond words that I will somehow not see or hear a snake on the trail and get bitten. Or, I’ll see that slithering motion anywhere within range of me and I will stand paralyzed with fear, unable to move. Yes, I’ve gone through the snake exhibit at Cedar Point and survived seeing them through the glass. Yes, I’ve watched YouTube videos on rattlesnakes to know what to look for when out hiking, or the logistics of how and why they strike. Admittedly, I’m one of those people who when they accidentally stumble upon a social media photograph of a snake, any snake, in any environment, it’s all but guaranteed I won’t be able to sleep that night. I don’t know why I am so afraid, but I am.
And with this severe fear, I also want my life. I want nature. I want hiking. I want what awakens in me when I choose to push through my fear and do it anyway. I hike with a walking stick due to my visual challenges in sometimes seeing the terrain in front of me. In rationalizing, I envision my walking stick as my protector; one a snake might strike first if I were to bump them with it before stepping in their direction. The truth is, this is not a fear that I plan to resolve. It’s not one I plan to seek hypnosis to overcome. Rather, what it simply boils down to is each time I am about to step onto a trail I say to myself, “I respect snakes.” I respect them as animals. I respect that they strike to defend themselves. I respect them as part of the mountain terrain. I respect that I am entering their home if you will. I respect my fear. I respect my courage to step onto this trail. And with that, I do.
What fear do you hold that you feel deep within? That you respect and honor? And that you are willing to acknowledge without allowing it to paralyze you from any part of your life that you desire? Perhaps you are deathly afraid of telling your partner about how their behavior affects you? Perhaps you are deathly afraid to address the traumas of your past because you feel they will overwhelm you? Perhaps you are afraid to be social because you fear rejection? Perhaps you are afraid to try exercise because you fear ridicule or failure? Perhaps you are terrified to leave a job you despise because you don’t know what might lie ahead for you?
Here’s what it all boils down to – what life do you claim as yours? You can, just as anyone can, have the life they desire. The only real brakes to those dreams lie within us. Yes, obstacles may arise, but they are only barriers when we stop seeking a way around or through them. How badly do you want to reclaim your life? Because the truth is if you don’t really want to; don’t really have the drive and passion for the dreams you hold, you will likely never have them. While that might read a bit harsh, in reality, life is unpredictable, and if we don’t insist on having our dreams, it’s pretty unlikely they will just be handed to us. And so, we walk amongst the snakes, and trust in life, and insist on being who we are when our soul is calling, and we own our lives, and we endure the consequences, and we live by choosing, and we hold allowance for the unpredictable, and we keep insisting.
Likely, in reading this you had a flash of something you would like in your life that you have yet to insist on, or claim as possible. You also likely felt that fear arising within that has been keeping you from pursuing it. It’s important to hear those fears; it’s important to understand where they come from, and it’s also all right to hold them in your mind’s eye with love as you step toward the life you are claiming as yours.