How I Broke Through My Worst Fear
Age 8: My dad is chasing me through our house. I bravely climb out onto the roof. We are not playing a game. Fear consumes me.
Age 12: I am peer pressured into going on a free fall ride at Six Flags Great Adventure. I scream until there is no breath left in me. I completely pass out on the ride from fear.
Age 30: While in Florence, Italy, I am overwhelmed with appreciation for the beauty of Il Duomo di Firenze that stands in front of me. I decide to climb to the cupola. I get in line. I climb the stairs to what feels like the highest place I have ever been. The height of the dome is 375.7 feet, but who’s counting? Panic sweeps over my body! The pathway that encircles the cupola appears to be slanting downward. It occurs to me that there is only a thin layer of plexiglass between life and death! There is no way out. I must continue on the tour to get back to the safety of the cobblestoned ground. This feels like the very opposite of joy.
Age 43: I am writing my memoir. I realize that the scene from Age 8 is why I am afraid of heights. Why I can’t enjoy amusement park rides or climb the Duomo. It is why I can’t live my life with True Freedom. Fear was stopping me from appreciating my own journey. I am angry. I know what I have to do. I have to face my fear. I don’t like it one bit! I read Finding Your Own North Star by my mentor, Dr. Martha Beck.
“The only way to a place beyond fear is to do the thing you fear the most.” Martha instructs.
I close the book. The thing I fear the most is the express glass elevator at Restaurant 42 in White Plains, NY. On my first attempt, I only make it to the city of White Plains, NY. On my second attempt, I make it to the 42 story building. Just looking at the building from a block away makes my hands sweat. On my third attempt, I am standing in front of the elevator doors. I know logically that I am perfectly safe to step in, yet my body is frozen. I am debating aloud with myself whether or not I can step into the elevator. Suddenly, a gentleman came out of the bathroom down the hall from the elevator.
“Do you need help?” He asked.
“Yes!” I said.
“Are you okay?” He asked.
“No!” I said.
“What’s wrong?” He asked.
“I am trying to break my fear of heights. I am terrified to get into this elevator. I want to do it. I just can’t get in. It’s taken me 3 days to get this far!” I said.
“Do you want me to come with you?” He asked.
“Yes!” I said.
I am overwhelmed with gratitude. We introduced ourselves to each other as we soared up the 42 stories. We snapped a photo. I have the biggest smile on my face. All I could do was notice the beauty that was all around me. I had gone to the place beyond fear. It was breathtaking. It felt like True Freedom!
He was at a business meeting, so I thanked him for taking the time to help me. He said something just told him that I needed help. He couldn’t really explain it. I believe that something was actually a someone. My mom had passed away a year earlier. I believe that she noticed I was in trouble and nudged a kind stranger to help me along my way. She sent me my own real life guardian angel.
Now: I know for sure what it feels like to have True Freedom. Joy fills my heart. I smile often. I feel like life is mostly effortless. I feel safe. I feel loved. I love myself. I matter.
Now, I am not suggesting that you do something you feel might be unsafe. I am inviting you to start breaking your own fears by question the stories that are in your head. The stories that are causing you to be afraid. Are you actually in danger or is it just a story in your head? I am inviting you to learn the difference. What I want for you is True Freedom! Contact me if you are ready to start your own journey towards True Freedom.