For as many years as I can remember I have had a re-occuring nightmare of ocean waves rising so high they take over the building I am in and kill everyone. The building changes in my dream but the ocean is always so fierce and powerful that it takes the lives of everyone in my dream.
In my waking world I have not had a negative experience with the ocean and am sure this is because I keep a distance.
Something changed. My last experience with the ocean and my fear just recently happened in Maui Hawaii on a family vacation.
I love standup paddle boarding, I’ve been playing on my board in our lakes during the summer. I feel very confident in my abilities and have been practicing yoga and balancing. I truly enjoy paddling around on the water.
In Hawaii a surfer friend of ours, brought us a variety of boards to play on, one was a stand up paddle board. The beach we were at had two breaks and there were several surfers already out ready to catch the waves. There was a smooth area between the breaks and this is where he told me to go. Seems easy enough. Just get on the board and paddle.
As I stood at the edge of the water watching the waves something in me took ahold of my body and emotions. I froze, my heart started racing, my skin felt cold, my knees started to quiver, I felt like crying but didn’t want my family to see. Then the self talk started happening, I reprimanded my self for standing there, I tried to talk my self into just going, I felt like this other person was pushing me to do something and I didn’t want to do it. The truth is I really wanted to jump on the board and paddle out and this weird fear was holding me back.
I closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths bringing me back into my body. The self talk quieted, the breathing became regular. I had a little talk with the ocean, I told her I was afraid. She said go anyway.
I did, I jumped on the board pushed past the waves and stood up paddling my self way past the breaks into the calm vast ocean. My spell of fear had been broken, what was left was sheer delight. Not to mention two massive turtles swam up to greet me.
The definition of courage is to feel the fear and go anyway.