Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Do you face fear when it is "just like riding a bike?!"

 "Oh, it's just like riding a bike!"

When ever I hear this, I can't help the wave of heat I feel come over my chest. My face tenses and I have to take a long. Deep. Breath. After my big "S" this phrase has meant something entirely different to me. I stand firmly that it is NOT just like riding a bike.

About a year ago, I was just re-learning to ride a bicycle. I was riding around my hilly neighbor hood almost every day. I was actually getting better and better too. One day, I was going up this hill. I dreaded that hill. I was going up up up, but then I started to drift to my right. Now drifting you think would be an easy task to recover from. But, for me my dear friends, there is was no such thing as a recovery.

I kept drifting over to my right, heading right at a car parked on the side of the road, and eventually dumping over the side of my bike right onto someones drive way. There I lay splat on the ground, catching my breath. I was calm and there were no tears running down my face (which was a surprise because when it came to my emotions then, there was often no control in the matter). I looked at the damages: two bloody scrapped knees, two scrapped palms and a sore wrist. Not too bad right?

The next day my wrist was worse. On a pain scale only about a 6.  Still not too bad. But as time went on I found it harder to do plank in class, which I was teaching mat almost every day. Over this little pain, I developed a severe fear of getting back on the bike. I did not get on my bike for almost a year. If I even touched it, I would start to tremble.

I let this "fear" of a bicycle get the better of me for too long. Now in all other cases, when I am fearful of something physically demanding or doing something really challenging, I just say to myself, "Come on Hill! You've had brain surgery for heaven sakes!" This usually helps me push through. So a little bicycle is what I was afraid of?!

Today I got back on my bike. I looked at it and said, "Today is the day. You are after all, just a bike." I didn't give myself a chance to think about it. I hopped on and said, "Its just a bike," and off I went. I focused on my breathing and staying balanced. I did not care about the cars that were behind me. I just stayed focused on staying straight.

I was feeling good and let my mind wander on something not very important and I felt myself starting to drift. AH! Damn that drift! I drifted over to the right, headed for a parked car. Again. But this time I let out a yelp and my little right leg reached out and put my foot down! My right hand had to gently reach out and touch the car. I was saved!! My limbs did exactly what they were supposed to do!! The dogs in the near area all went crazy from my yelp, but I was quickly off again.

I rode around my neighborhood for a long while. When ever I would get nervous, I would just take a deep breath and focus on going straight. When I arrived home and dismounted gracefully and a wave of emotion washed over me. I was overwhelmed with pride and accomplishment. While it might seem silly to some, that was one of my biggest tasks to finally achieve.

Overcoming my fear was one of my biggest accomplishments. 

I love this lesson. Fear has been playing a bigger part in my life, I feel, more than ever. I have learned a lot today in that I can not let fear just sit in me for almost a year, or even for a day.

If there is something you are afraid of, like doing something physically challenging, entering that contest, taking that class to develop a new skill, or even just practice using your voice for something you want. Don't let that get the better of you and let that fear have control over you not reaching the places you want to go. 

If you are faced with fear, think of my story and...

Take a deep breath, stay focused on staying straight, and keep going until you are home.

Practicing living gratitude daily,

Hillary Brown

I vow to never let fear sit in me for almost a year.

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