This post was born out of a moment of pure fear I experienced that I want to share. Because we all have them... FEARS-- about one thing or another. Some are tangible and physical and some are just emotional. But all of them seem very real while they're happening. Here's one of mine and what I've learned from it lately.
A couple weeks back, I was at our local summer agricultural fair when my boyfriend and I decided to go on the ferris wheel. Even though I have a pretty intense fear of heights, I've been able to enjoy rides and even roller coasters in the past if I don't let my brain ruminate on the fear too much. On a Disney World trip when I was a teen, my siblings forced me on multiple roller coasters and I made it through all of them (some while crying), but nonetheless, I did it and I was proud of myself for it. On trips to New Mexico to visit my boyfriends family, I've hiked up mountains that were over 7,000 feet in elevation and I've skied on mountains in Colorado that were equally as high (all while feeling scared, but nonetheless, doing it). So it's fair to say that I've spent my fair share of time really trying to face my fear of heights and still enjoy my life while trying new things.
However, this particular day at the fair, it came up again, very intensely. Without even giving it much thought, we decided to go on the ferris wheel because we hadn't been on any rides in a long time, so I immediately said "yes!," thinking that I'd be fine. I had clearly made a solid effort to tackle my fear of heights within the last few years and I felt like "maybe I could go up there and not be scared at all." Boy, was I ever wrong.
I remember feeling a bit freaked out right before the attendant welcomed us on, but I quickly talked myself out of it and happily got on the ride. Even though I had a few moments of feeling apprehensive, I saw my friends calmly going up there and thought to myself, "yeah, it's a ferris wheel, it's no big deal at all."
A few moments later, as we ascended up towards the top of the ride, my anxiety hit a very, very heightened moment and I began to feel trapped, a bit paralyzed and I almost started to cry. It was a bit challenging for me to keep my composure and thankfully my boyfriend helped remind me that I was safe and it was all going to be fine. However, I realized quite quickly, that even though I could rationalize my safety out loud, that my body was just feeling so uncomfortable in the present moment, that I was literally plotting how I could get off the next time we descended downwards.
Since that was a couple weeks ago and I've had some time to reflect back on it, I realized that even though I literally wanted that moment to disappear, that this was actually a learning experience and a clear lesson that the Universe was delivering me.
The lesson seems simple, yet it's so incredibly complex. We don't get to skip moments in life. Even the really, really uncomfortable, anxiety provoking ones. And the reason I know this, is because I am certain that having moments where you experience contrast and polarity (opposite sides of the spectrum or highs and lows of life), gives you clarity. The reason I say this, is because it is the darkness of life that allows you to feel gratitude for the light. It is the presence of fear that allows us to understand and long for the experience of safety. It's the experience of heartache that makes us appreciate love and connection so much.
You see, every experience holds a counter-experience. An opposite side of the spectrum. And I believe we must come face to face with both sides of that spectrum in order to fully appreciate this reality we all call "life."
Let's be real, nobody wants to feel discomfort. But the truth is, it's necessary to our existence. If everything was purely filled with joy, peace and love all of the time, life would be somewhat meaningless. There would be no challenges, no lessons and likely no depth to our existence. And since we are incredibly multifaceted, conscious beings, it doesn't seem right that we wouldn't be required to experience an array of emotions while we're in these physical bodies on this strange planet we live on called earth.
So how did I get through the almost debilitating ferris wheel ride? I breathed through it. Thankfully with the support of a loved one, but nonetheless, I breathed through it in my own body. And as we descended downwards, I decided not to get off the ride, because I realized that if I tried to skip this moment of fear, that I might also skip a million other fearful goals I have that could actually help me grow and evolve. I don't want to seek out fear, but I don't want to stop living my life because it shows its ugly face sometimes either.
So today, my message and lesson for you is this... we don't get to skip moments. We must be present and experience them all. Because if we are constantly bailing on moments where we're uncomfortable, then we're not truly making an effort to grow.
One of my favorite mantras lately is this... "I'm comfortable being uncomfortable." Why? Because it reminds me that being uncomfortable is part of life. It's a phase, it's a cycle. It shouldn't last forever, but it should be experienced for personal growth and development and to give us clarity about what we should appreciate in our lives.
Today, I invite you to reflect on something that really scares you and to ask yourself this:
"Am I allowing myself to experience the discomfort related to the fears that I have when they arise? Or am I constantly running from the discomfort?" "Can I breathe through this moment and still be okay?"
Remember that there's no right or wrong answer to these types of "personal development" questions. The point of asking them is only to bring more awareness to your unique experience of life. Remember to be kind to yourself as you move through a period of discomfort and give yourself permission to feel the discomfort and then let it go. It's healthy to experience our emotions, but it's not healthy to identify with them as who we are. You are not your emotions and you are not your fears. They are simply experiences placed on your path for the greater good of your highest evolution and spiritual growth. Breathe through your discomfort, knowing that it will shift and change and it won't be there forever. Breathe, my friend. Just breathe.
As always, I am sending you so much gratitude for being here with me in THIS moment.