Fear. It is quickly evident in rock climbing when fear holds back the climbers ability. Their leg shakes. They double check their last gear placement. They "shake out" and assess the situation. They call out to the belayer to "watch them." On rare occasions you'll catch them singing, praying, or making loud breathing noises that would rival any yoga room.
Then, one of two things happen: either they accept the fear and glide upwards; or they fight it, sometimes flailing sometimes still making up to the top, but full of effort and strain. It becomes a battle instead of a dance.
There's a reason that fear is one of the hottest topics in climbing. It's what makes the toughest climbers the most bada$$. Accepting fear makes them excel. Once the fear is addressed and accepted, it enables the climber to live entirely in the moment, the most beautiful and freeing feeling... a feeling so beautiful it encourages untalented climbers, like myself, to enjoy free soloing easy routes just for a taste of it.
Arno Ilger wrote a famed climbing book, "The Rock Warrior's Way," and it's sequel (the more climbing specific) "Espresso Lessons." These books detail how to assess and accept fear while climbing. His lessons are applicable not only to the limitations fear can place on climbing, but to the limitations fear can place on running and life.
There's more of course. There's the big plan to fufill what you're working towards, the mini-steps, and the re-assessments along the way. There's the distractions to keep the mind from dwelling on the fear and instead to force it into the movement and moment of progression. In essence, it's a very meditative attempt to focus solely on the current moment, a moment where fear does not exist.
Yes, this is all very "my aura is yellow." But limiting fears are real. What fears exactly? Here's some of mine. I'll share them, even though I don't really want to.... it'll help me address, accept, and move on.
|I run this trail, so does he! YIKES!|
There's also physical fears. I am afraid of mountain lions and rapists. All who run with me know when I trail run alone (especially in the dark) I carry both a knife and pepper spray with the intention of using them if I need to. I have yet to decide that if carrying these things is accepting and moving forward, or if I need to "surrend" to the mountain and run unarmed. But in the big city, at night... yep, I carry them. I'll go with this as moving forward.
I am afraid of being sick. I'm not hypochondriac. I hate being sick and I'd rather not be, but when I AM, I get scared because I don't like to be weak. I don't like anyone to see, or know. When I had hypermesis in my early pregnancies, I didn't want anyone to be able see. I remember my mother-in-law offering to come over during the days I was home and be there for me. I snobbishly told my husband, "What's she going to do, hold the throw up bowl for me? No thanks." I later watched her care for a sister-in-law with the same illness, and friendships that were hatched along the way, and felt guilty for my inability to let her see my weakness.
In a roundabout way, I am afraid of girls. I had a few girls do mean things in middle school and high school, but at that point I was such an emotional depressed train wreck that I didn't pay attention to much of it anyways. In college, I remember. I remember getting locked out of my apartment with nasty notes left by my roommates to embarrass me in front of my dates. I remember my roommates eating my groceries I purchased with my hard-earned money, or worse eating meals/cookies I prepared for others, despite when hid it in the darkest of cupboards. I am afraid to return to the days where all the girls go silent when I enter a room. (I must say, in my last 7 years of life I've been welcomed/ accepted/ befriended by more women than I'd ever expect! I am so grateful to them, and am trying to reroute my fears and focus on this.) ...But I am slow in forming relationships with other women, afraid of being hurt again.
|NEVER try taking a "jumping" photo a few hours after running an ultra.|
If you can't tell if I'm laughing or crying-- yes, to both.
These are some of the things I'm afraid of. But guess what, I'm not afraid to admit it! If I'm committed to something, it's because I know what I'm in for, and I accept it.
What fears do (or don't!) hold you back?