Fear is horrible. We all live in so much fear daily, and have become so accustomed to it that sometimes it’s hard to distinguish what should cause genuine fear versus what’s probably irrational! Fear is an emotion felt by the threat of danger or harm. Our gut instinct is what has kept us alive through the years, our ancestors were able to protect themselves when in danger, in danger of a bear that would 100% kill them. Fast forward to today, fear lives in many, irrational fears as well as constructive fear, sometimes we don’t know how to separate both.
Is you boss about to pull you for being 30 seconds late or is a bear chasing you for dinner?
Experiencing fear day by day can be draining. It takes away your energy, puts a hold on everything you are trying to do and leaves you with constant worry. It makes it very hard to face the things you are afraid of, so you avoid them. By doing that, you limit your options in life. You turn things down and live in your own comfort zone, where you think it is safe.
My head was filled with fuzziness today, mainly post holiday blues but there’s also a lot else going on in there. I threw on my trainers and went to one of my fave spots for a run.
What I didn’t realise was that my casual run, would turn into a story, I told myself as I ran along. A story that reminded me of comfort zones, fear and moving further.
The rain was nice and light, the kind that wakes you up without making you wish you were cuddled up in bed instead. I started off slowly and ran as far as my usual spot without any magical moments happening, as usual, we all have that one point we usually turn to go back, don’t we? My head still felt heavy and I wasn’t yet properly sweating, aware that I hadn’t yet got what I needed from the run, I ran on further. Further than ever before, which suddenly seemed odd to me. WHY had I never ran further than this particular spot?
This was me leaving my comfort zone, our comfort zone is the first bump in the road with fear. That comfort zone keeps you in your current state, it doesn’t allow you to take one step further. As soon as I ran a few steps past my usual turning point, I instantly felt better. Almost excited! Crazy? Maybe!
Lesson: Take one step further, to see where it leads.
Not long down the path, literally 20 steps, and I came across the most beautiful wee wooden bridge crossing the river. I love nature, I love exploring and I love finding wee idea gems like this, so I smiled from ear to ear at the discovery of this new spot I found. I sat in a daze for a while. Straight away, my thoughts were “Why on earth did i not run this far before? This place is beautiful!”
Lesson: Magic is just around the corner, keep going.
Delighted with myself, I kept on running, admiring the view, and soon came across many hills, corners and then, the woods! It was 6pm in the evening but being in the middle of the woods, with the massive shadowing trees, made in so much darker. Suddenly, i was very aware that I hadn’t been here before. I slowed down to a walk and looked all around me as I walked. The more I looked, the more I imagined and the more fearful I felt. When I was younger, I loved running through the forest at my Granny’s house, but it had been so long that now I felt… scared. Scared of the unknown. I started remembering movies I watched and news articles I read. I completely convinced myself that I was about to have my first supernatural encounter, or that a random angry animal would come after me, or that there was a man watching me from somewhere, waiting to pull me into the darkness of the woods. Crazy you may think, but my thoughts were running wild. I stopped to turn back, just incase. No one will hear me out here, let’s turn around and go back. I took a second to check myself, to tell myself I was being irrational and then had a “fuck it” moment. So I starting running again and very quickly saw the sunlight beaming in around the corner, where I was met with a gate and the end of the forest.
Lesson: Don’t let your fear win, the gate leading to your brightest gift is waiting for you right after the darkness of your fears.
I laughed at myself and called myself a loon as I ran through the gate, turned the corner, and then stopped dead in my tracks. There he was. I was in the middle of nowhere late in the evening and there was the man that was probably hiding a knife behind is back, about to kill me stone dead. I stopped running and kinda just looked at him. Within those 4 seconds, I considered running past him or turning and running the other way.
Until he spoke! “Keep on running girl, you’re doing great, keep going!”
He didn’t have a knife and he encouraged me! Whaaaa?!
I wondered as I half smiled, half said thanks and half skipped along past him, looking over my shoulder for the knife as he still encouraged me to run along.
What was the chances of me imagining a murderer in the woods, to then laugh at myself for even considering someone else would be out that far in the woods, to THEN bump into someone who instead of kidnapping me, threw some nice words at me!
Lesson: Not everything is as it seems
Amazed at the coincidence and feeling a lot calmer and at peace, I started enjoying the run for what it was, and felt excited to discover more wooden bridges, rivers and woods. I felt a new sense of curiosity. I realised I was finally sweating, which was all I thought I came out for in the first place. Many corners passed and I came to a crossroads. Left looked clear and straight and right looked overgrown and unsure. I took the right road, since it looked less travelled, remembering the lessons I learnt from my favourite book The Road Less Travelled by Dr. Scott Peck.
Corners and hills and more corners passed, with nothing amazing at each stop. It was one of those really windy roads, where every 20 strides is another corner you can’t see past. I kept looking ahead, waiting for more, talking to myself and telling myself to try the next corner. “The next corner will have something pretty to look at”. After another 20 minutes, I started to give up, there’s NOTHING past each of these corners and I can’t see further ahead to see if it’s worth spending more time out here. I stopped and stared at the sky and told God to stop messing me around. “Seriously, show me a wooden bridge or a random puppy or even another random stranger to smile at. Show me this story is worth telling, or why am I running this road.”
I spotted the next corner and told myself that it would be the last one. You WILL find a pretty river here. I reached the corner, no river, no bridge, no puppy. Just more trees and grass, the same as the last 2 miles. So I stopped and breathed the air in, opened my eyes and spotted a purple flower in the grass. It reminded me of when I was younger, me and my sister would pop the flower buds and they would make a popping noise. I stared at it for a while in a bit of a daze, took a part of the plant and put it in my pocket. It was then I realised they were all around me. There was so many of them, I just hadn’t noticed them the whole way here as I was too busy looking ahead and waiting for the next miracle. How had I not noticed these along the roadside for miles? I used to love these plants, How did I miss them? When you’re reminded of something from your childhood, it brings you right back and sometimes makes you realise the journey you’ve been on so far in your life.
“You’ve made it this far in life, you’ll be ok, you’ll so much further to go“.
Right there and then, I found what I was looking for at all those corners, Ironically enough, it had been there the whole time, I was just too busy “searching” to find it.
Lesson: Don’t get so caught up in the end result that you miss all the amazing moments waiting by your side each day
I ran back towards my car, through all the corners, hills and the woods. I really had to pee, so this time instead of merely running the road through the woods, I went in through the trees, where it got darker and… just peed, you know. Judge me if you want, you know you would too. I literally pissed on my fears. (Had to throw that in there) Anyways, it now seemed ridiculous that only 30 minutes ago, the woods terrified me and here I was, not caring.
Lesson: Nothing is as terrifying the second time around
I made it as far as the first pretty bridge I found and sat enjoying the peace for a few minutes. Until I realised I had left fish in the oven, timed and knowing Ru would be home in time to check the oven. This time fear won, “What if he makes other plans and isn’t home?” Visions of my house burning down entered my head so I jumped up and ran back to the car. I guess some fears are unavoidable and completely ok 😉
Back at my car, I not only sweated out the grogginess and fuzziness in my head, but I also realised some damn important things. A simple run through nature, reminded me of everything I needed to know. It made me think about fear, and how we sometimes let it win, when in reality there’s nothing to be scared about.
Break through your fear, whether irrational or real, you’ll find beauty on the other side, there’s no other option. Life is happening now.
Push past your comfort zone, keep moving when darkness shows up and realise it’s ok to stop and see the miracles right in front of you, instead of running too fast towards your future