I am deathly afraid of heights, mind-killing afraid. I can charge through my fear and do heights, if I have to. But only if I have a solid piece of ground or a solid, secure ladder beneath me. Alas, though I tried to warn my ex a few years back, he insisted we’d have fun visiting one of the local haunted houses.
As with most haunted houses, we waited in line while listening to spooky music. Finally it was our turn. We walked into a dimly lit room set up like a doctor’s examination room. A recorded voice told us a not-very-original story about how the doctor got involved in grisly experiments, the lights flashed then we were in total darkness. My heart rate went up, just a little. After a moment, emergency lights came on revealing a grisly scene that made me, and the other visitors, giggle nervously. A door opened in front of us and we moved forward. The next room, dimly lit, revealed wax figures in the midst of a gruesome crime. One of the wax figures screamed, eliciting my screams as well (Don’t judge. I wasn't the only one).
As we followed twists and turns through the dark hallways filled with fake screams, animated wax figures and real costumed people paid to frighten customers, adrenaline drove my heart rate up more. We turned a corner, down a narrow, dimly lit corridor. Then I stepped onto a swinging bridge. I couldn't see the bottom. There was only a rope 'handrail.' Nothing was solid. How high were we? Someone, probably one of the house's paid characters, began to shake the bridge. I screamed and stopped, holding on for dear life. I could. Not. Move. No amount of coaxing from my ex could loosen my death grip on the rope rails nor motivate my denervated feet. Much to my ex's chagrin (and the other haunted house visitors' ire) I had to have the lights on to move forward. They took me out the 'coward’s door.'
Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total oblivion. I must face my fear. Must allow it to pass over me and through me and where it has gone, I must turn the inner eye. Only I will remain. Dune, by Frank Herbert.
We all have fears. Big ones, little ones. Real ones and ones blown way out of proportion. Fear is a signal to prepare to FIGHT or RUN. We'd be foolish not to pay attention to our sense of fear if the house were on fire or a burglar was breaking into the house. But what if fear stops you cold? Is it still helpful?
I had planned for the rest of this post to discuss Bob Mayer's book Write It Forward and how his words about facing fear struck a cord with me. But a series of thunderstorms took out my internet for most of the weekend and kept me off all things electronic. So when the my internet was working again this evening I discovered that fear was in the air. Here are a few things I found.
Bob Mayer wrote a guest post (way better than I could) about fear called Fear is a Writer’s Worst Enemy: Attack the Ambush.
WANA classmate, Emma Burcart wrote What’s Behind the Curtain about a fear she's facing.
Did you know that even CEO millionaires like Seth Godin have fears? Millionaire CEOs are interviewed and share a little about facing their fears at Under30ceo.com with Advice on How to Get Past Your Fear In Business.
But the best message I found in my research about fear is in this Youtube video of a little, fourth grade girl who is about to make her first ski jump.
You can feel this little girl's fear at the beginning, but she faced the mind-killer. She was afraid but she knew she didn’t have to be unafraid to do it. Could you feel her triumph after she finished? I love that feeling!
She has inspired me. I'm going after some of my fears, you'll hear more about them in later posts.
I'd love to hear from you. Have you faced your mind-killer fear? What is it keeping you from doing? What is your strategy for beating that fear?