Sometimes facing our fears is exactly what we need to do and sometimes fear is there for a reason. Knowing the difference is something that comes from inside.
When I was a small tom-boy little girl we (mostly the neighborhood boys) were playing near a culvert much smaller than the one here. We were crawling in and out and racing to see who could get to the end first. Well boys will be boys, so some of them decided to block the ends so a few of us in the culvert could not get out. I can remember this like it was yesterday. I panicked. I was so afraid as it was dark and cold and I did not like the feeling of being trapped.
I will never forget that day and now many, many years later I can see that other fears I have had in my life bring up these same feelings. Many times I have felt like I was in the dark, I felt cold, I have had a feeling of being trapped and not in control. Paralyzed with fear. But what happened the other day gave me some skills to deal with fear.
While visiting my son's home I decided to go out for a walk with my camera. I came across this culvert that goes under the highway. I knew it led to a nice park at the other side but that culvert was standing between me and a beautiful walk in the woods.
First thoughts were to go another direction, but my curiosity of going somewhere new and different was pushing me towards it. It was early morning, so not to many people were around so I knew no one would be coming through at the same time. Also as I viewed through the culvert I could see the other end. I knew many people used this to cross under the highway so it was not like it was dangerous. But that old childhood feeling was creeping in telling me not to go. I stared for a few minutes, and said to myself, it is time to face this and move through it.
I slowly entered the culvert, heart beating, and a lump in my throat. But I pushed myself through. The further I got the better I felt. I was even noticing all the graffiti sprayed on the walls. So I began taking some pictures. As I went along I noticed the fear was gone and I was enjoying being in the culvert. Then as I reached the end I snapped one more shot. As I stepped out it felt liberating. I did it! I faced the fear and moved through it.
The park was beautiful, with a stream, wildflowers, benches and friendly people walking their dogs in the early morning light. Many said hello and asked me if I had taking found some nice photos. I just smiled realizing not only did I find many interesting subjects, I felt wonderful. So much beauty in this park and filled with friendly people. This was my reward for having faced this small fear I carried with me for so many years.
I hope to use this experience again as I am facing a time of transition in my life right now. Many days I feel paralyzed with decisions, cold from the unknown, and trapped because I do not have the answers. But what I learned on this day of walking through a culvert is that I need to just keep moving forward, just walk on through because what I just may find on the other side will be worth the effort.
I believe the bigger the fear, the better the reward.
Would love to hear of some of your fears.