The beauty of personal development is that you permit yourself to experience new things; in my case, I experience as many positive things as I can, to push my growth a stage further – as often as I can too! This allows me to challenge my perceptions and transform wonky beliefs – those that are quite irrational – and most definitely limiting.
I’ve tried scuba diving, (which I wasn’t too keen on) to help me overcome my fears of water and discovered that snorkeling was much more comfortable. I could breathe on the surface of the water no trouble and enjoyed looking at marine life beneath me. But I still don’t like water very much – I’ve no doubt the ocean could swallow me up in no time at all.
I don’t really like boats much either. My eldest sister knocked that on the head when she stood up and literally rocked the boat, while we were in the middle of Loch Tay, in the freezing month of February!
The only water vessel I’m comfortable in is a kayak – oh yes, the control freak in me sees this as taking responsibility for my own safety (at least if I muck it up, I’ve only myself to blame). I’m pretty good in them too – once being pushed into Loch Long without an oar, to test my mettle!
My scariest challenges so far have been the stuff I’ve done to conquer my fear of heights. The first being an invitation to work the high-ropes at an outdoor centre, which I blindly accepted as a gift for providing a firewalk for the high-ropes instructor. I trusted him fully – right up until I was ready to step off a ledge, only 20 feet off the ground (ok, 10 but it might as well have been 200!) – and he began speaking to someone close by.
I lost the plot!
‘He’s not paying enough attention’ – ‘I’m going to break my neck’ – ‘shut up and focus on me’ were just some of the phrases I was screaming at him. I was also thinking ‘Omg, my life depends on you right now and you’re not even looking at me!!’
He successfully calmed me down to take my leap of faith, fairly quickly as he realised my panic. My learning on that one was I had to trust other people.
On a beautifully clear Sunday morning, I set off, questioning my sanity the entire journey.
I can’t remember how many people took part but I do remember the young woman next to me, just ahead as we climbed the hundreds of stairs to our point of exit. She wailed and cried right to the top – so much so I became quite agitated; she was irritating the shit out of me and I wanted to yell at her to stfu!
Instead, I looked inward, to the source of my irritation. Me. My irritation. My fear.
Get over it Lesley – use what you know.
So what did I know? I knew that I should shift my focus, for sure. I concentrated on seeing the beauty around me as I climbed higher – choosing to see a blue, cloudless sky – choosing not to look down. I was looking at a Glasgow, the city I love, from a very different angle. I no longer heard her chatter, I’d quickly filtered her, and my irritation out.
She was immediately in front of me so I was able to witness her crossing before mine. She’d squealed her fears the entire climb, then yelped across the rope – I had no intention of making a fool of myself by copying her.
As I stepped over the (dodgy looking) scaffolding up next to the box you see in the picture, I had the urge to jump. My heart leapt and thudded in my chest – another Omg moment as I contemplated this impulse!
Was I suddenly thinking of committing suicide?
I looked below and there were lifeboats circling beneath us like sharks… I felt sure I was going down with a huge plop!
All strapped in and hooked up, I turned to the guy checking everything and asked ‘What if I let go?”
“Aye, you’ll be fine pet, you’re hooked on at the waist”
Then it struck me; I don’t (didn’t) trust myself!
Use what you know Lesley.
I relaxed. I acknowledged that I’m becoming fully me; I’m not perfect and I have plenty of time to learn to trust myself more. For now all I had to do was let go – not of the rope, but of my lack of trust in me. I gave myself permission to be human – to be imperfect.
He got the nod that it was safe for me to cross. In an instant I gathered my thoughts and determined to enjoy every moment of this challenge. I turned around to face the direction I was going in, took a deep breath and cried ‘Freedom‘ until I hit the cushion on the other side, perfectly!
No longer did I have a fear of heights nor a lack of trust; I had an understanding of me. I don’t have the need to go sky-diving, bungee jumping or anything else now, to prove anything to myself.
As always, I’ve written tons of words but didn’t include the importance of participating in Sacred Ceremonies. Part 2 to follow…
Giving yourself the gift of permission, is awesome. Try some today.
Becoming ‘fully me’ has taken time, energy, patience (mostly with myself) and commitment.