Accepting Your Greatest Fears
I love rock climbing. Indoor climbing is great for training but there is no comparison to climbing outdoors with the fresh air and sunshine, the need for heightened awareness, little room for error, and the triumphs and tribulations of success and failure. Coupled with the conflict of the fear of trying and the fear of holding back, rock climbing is never a dull sport.
Acceptance and Empowerment
There are inherent dangers in outdoor rock climbing and with them comes a need to accept personal responsibility for whatever may occur...the need to accept death as a possibility. Acceptance can play a major role in empowerment and being able to deal with your greatest fears.
I consider myself to be quite risk averse. I don't even like to play basketball because in my experience, the risk of spraining a finger is too high. However, should I decide a risk is worth taking, I don't tend to hold back.
Functioning with Fear
I certainly experienced fear while leading some outdoor climbs over the years. It was a level of fear which allowed me to still function at a high level while keeping me safe from the clutches of recklessness and careless mistakes. It was a fear that was friend not foe.
The Crux and Fear
There were times when I was climbing rock walls when my feet were well above the last bolt I was clipped into. There were such moments when I knew I couldn't hold on to the rock face for much longer. The crux points in leading those climbs gave me a sinking feeling in my stomach. Yet when I took a big fall onto the rope, I fell with commitment. I fell with acceptance. I fell with a rational mind. I was not paralyzed by fear and fortunately my greatest fears were never realized.
Commitment and Fear
I recall, at the top of climbs I had led, the need to temporarily unclip myself from the rope, 25 meters (80 feet) off the ground, in order to feed the rope through the eye-bolt to be able to recover the rope after abseiling down on belay. It takes A LOT of commitment to clip yourself into a single (or even double) point of failure so far off the ground. If the bolt was to pull out from the rock face where it had been drilled and glued, there would be nothing holding me to the cliff face and not much likelihood of survival.
Facing my Greatest Fears
Facing my fears through rock climbing taught me many valuable lessons. These days I still love to climb playfully on rocks but without taking on much risk. As depicted in this 2014 photograph at the Hammershus castle on the Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea, I explored the rock but didn't make any moves I couldn't easily reverse. Fun and adventure free that is from grave danger appeals to me much more than taunting death. I live a happy and fulfilling life which makes the adrenaline junkie's endless search for a high somewhat less appealing.
Happy Memories of Fear
My outdoor climbing memories are all happy ones. Thinking of them doesn't rekindle my fears. I highly value each and every one of those times and I wouldn't change anything about those experiences.
Your Relationship with Fear?
What things in your life trigger fear?
Are you overwhelmed by the fear or are you able to remain somewhat rational and reasonably clear headed?
Does fear help guide you where you want to go or does it control you and leave you helpless under its weight?
Tip: Fear is only as powerful as the energy you invest into it. If you focus your energy on the outcomes you desire rather than feeding the fear with denial or worry, you may find yourself feeling empowered and your fears somewhat disempowered.
Like any emotion, if you are willing to "experience" fear, it will become an asset rather than a burden, helping you to grow rather than crippling your growth. Knowing and accepting that fact alone is empowering.
Have a vibrant and fruitful day!
In support of your health triumphs,
Ultra Marathon Runner, Certified Lifestyle Coach, Retreat Coordinator, Motivational Speaker