Back in the day I had a horrific fear of heights and so the idea of skiing was aberrant – considering you have to go up a mountain to be able to ski down it. I approached this task like most things in life back then – with focused determination (back then you have to realize that I saw everything as if it was a medical residency program to be overcome rather than life to be experienced).
So I went to my local sports store in Florida and took basic skiing lessons on a moving carpeted hill mind you (that’s right). After a few weeks I actually could stop, turn, and do all the basics. When I arrived in Aspen, my friend (very questionable indeed) told me he’d take me up the easy hill before my first ski lesson.
I protested vehemently stating that a moving carpet in Florida is nothing like the beginners run in Aspen. But he dragged me onto the ski lift and we started to go up, up, up – you get the picture.
Somehow I managed to get off that lift, face down in the snow mind you – and was confronted with my deathly fear of heights not knowing how I was going to get down the mountain. I was shaking – not from cold, but from the distinct possibility of broken bones and mutilating pain.
My so called friend gave me one piece of advice.
He said, “Sheri if you do anything, even if you snowplow the whole way down, make sure you lean forward as you descend. It seems counter-intuitive, like you should be leaning back away from what you fear, but I promise if you keep leaning forward you’ll make it to the bottom.”
As I cursed the very ground he skied on, I leaned forward and made my way down the mountain. Interestingly, I only fell 3 times – and each of those times was because I let my fear get in the way and leaned back.
So what’s the point of this story?
No matter what you’re afraid of in life, consider that your fear is only the result of a fear-based thought-form. You have the choice of either believing yourself or not and taking action in the face of adversity.
When we lean into life we’re engaging fully, we’re 100% present in the moment.
If we lean back due to fear – our skis will slide out from under us and we’ll end up on our butts! Life works the same way. Shy away from what you fear and you’ll receive the kind of outcome that will confirm the very fears you already have.
In other words, if I choose to lean back while skiing I would have proved to myself that I couldn’t do it. That is exactly the outcome my ego-mind was trying to create. My mind didn’t want to give up command to my fearless heart! It would rather have me living a boring, mediocre, limited life of fear.
The bottom line is that a fully realized human leans into life.
No matter how many fear-based thoughts you have, or how much fear you feel in your body as a result of those thoughts – the only way to transcend that fear is through action with clarity – rather than non-awareness.
Okay – if I can get over my immobilizing fear of heights you can get over what ails you too. The solution is simple no matter how counter-intuitive your mind would have you believe it is. Show up for life, lean into to every experience you have, be fully present, and don’t believe any of the things your mind proposes to you, no matter how frightened you feel.
See your mind’s strategies and don’t play into the actions that will confirm those fears. I’ll look forward to seeing you at the bottom of the mountain!
So I’m curious – do you lean into life or do allow your skis to come out from under you? Did this conversation spark any new ideas for you or any new awarenesses? Make sure you post below and let me know.