Fear Can be just as much as a driving force as it can be debilitating.
Understanding what you fear, and WHY you fear it can become empowering.
Allowing yourself to know the what and why then leads into “WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?”
Fear is a word we can all relate to, for some it is a fear of heights.. (that’s me), for others it may be: snakes, spiders, planes….
What about when fear is correlated with your health? What if your fear is daily? Some live in a constant state of fear to a point that is becomes “normal”. Our PeaceJam Program Director told us that she was on a Skype conference call with some students from Afghanistan and they asked if she was safe in Colorado. For many of these students they fear not even making it to one of their meetings due to bombings, people being shot, and/or beat up. Fear is a buzz word these days.
When asking people what it is that they fear, the following are at the top of the list:
2. Losing someone you love
3. Getting very ill
I am sure the list can continue, however these seem to be the most common fears… Do you ever face these? I know I sure do.
At what point do we accept fears and at what point to we challenge them and do something about it? This past week I was out west in Colorado at a PeaceJam affiliate retreat and training. Believe it or not, I was in fear boarding the plane.. then I was in fear sleeping the first night….. then I was in major fear on a team building exercise where we shimmied through a tight crevice on a mountain and then stepped backwards down a rock face into a cave… Then, I flew to AZ over the weekend from Denver to see some sweet friends, and felt Fear as we took a ski-lift to the top of the Snow Bowl in Flagstaff.
I have blacked out, had seizures, went numb, had major panic attacks, and seem to be a pro at getting sick… So of-course, MY FEAR went right to everything happening at every one of those places and events. Guess what? I made it through the flight, I made it through the rock climbs, and I had minor problems with my Cryoglobulenemia on the ski lift (only because of elevation and dangling my legs for thirty minutes). All in all, I returned home to my healthy and happy husband and I was juuuuust fine.
All of us have work to do while we are on this earth. Many times fear gets in the way. When I study the lives of the Nobel Peace Laureates that we work with, I am inspired by their courage as they face many dark fears…. Fears that to them, have come a reality, but fears that they held onto to help fuel them towards change. Rigoberta Menchu Tum could have cowered in fear when her family members were being killed. Instead she stood up against the regime and helped to fight for the rights of the Guatemalan people and helped to get a peace accord.
As I prepare for this cycling ride, I also prepare myself for all the “what if” thoughts… or “fear” that whirls through my mind. Last summer I was not even able to drive, now I am back on my bike, hiking, swimming, working, and finding thanks in every breath of my life. Will I have another significant lapse? Will we have more significant natural disasters? Will myself or someone I love be hurt, fail, or die? Most definitely yes.
Why do I work for PeaceJam? Because even though there are a lot of fears out there, there is an ability to understand, accept, and work towards change… Everyone deserves the opportunity to live without fear… and every youth deserves the opportunity to live in a just world where they can walk down the street safely, speak their heart, be educated, have health care, learn how to fail, and find their own voice.. and create their own peace…
And so, I ride on….