Overcoming Fear

I went skiing yesterday.But that wasn’t the hard part. Riding the chair lift almost paralyzed me.

You see, I hate heights. Really. And fast rides that make me feel out of control. I tried skiing a few years ago at Snowshoe, and I almost fainted when the lift stopped halfway up to rescue someone who was injured. Humming, staring off at the beautiful view, breathing my yoga breaths–nothing seemed to help. I swore I would never ski again.

So when our friends asked us to join them on a quick trip to Seven Springs, I hesitated, knowing I would have to ride that lift again. And then, I thought: “what’s the worst that could happen?”

I guess I am tired of my fears controlling me. I’m a worrier, even when I have no control over whatever it is I am worrying about. All my reading about mindsets and mind-body connections has convinced me that I can–that I should–let go of some of this.

We packed up food for several days, rented a condo, and drove up Sunday morning. My first test was Sunday afternoon, when my friend suggested tubing.

“How scary could that be?” I wondered. At the top of the mountain, I hesitated. The longer I waited, the faster my heart beat. And then I watched a 4-year-old go down. Geesh.

I jumped in, spun around a few times, held my breath–and made it. Not only did I have a wonderful time, I even went down face first on my last ride.

By the time we hit the first ski lift, I was ready. And you know, it wasn’t so  bad. I can’t say I was completely at ease. Getting up and off that contraption took a lot of focus and mental effort. But each time, I realized I was relaxing more and more. I would have missed a great three days if I’d let my fears keep me home.

How often do we anticipate the worst? How often do we let our worries control our emotions and actions? Why do we need to have such control in our lives?

Letting go is sometimes all it takes.

First Night in Fredericksburg

Last night we walked around downtown Fredericksburg for the city’s version of First Night. Now that our children are grown, we find we head to the music venues rather than the street vendors trying to sell everything from burgers to plastic, flashing glow sticks. Though hundreds of people roamed around somewhat aimlessly, we enjoyed these guys and others in small, out of the way places instead.

On our way to and from, we had to make our way through the crowds on the streets, and I kept running into my old students.

“SCarter,” they yelled, which absolutely made my day. That was their nickname for me, a part pirate, part email moniker (scarter@fredericksburgacademy.org).

And I got hugs, too! “We miss you!”

“I miss you, too!”

A friend of mine once said our town reminded her of Bedford Falls. We seemed to say hello to familiar faces on every corner as we made our way to my favorite breakfast spot a few blocks from home. She’s from Northern Virginia so I can see why she thinks of my town as “quaint.”

So as tacky as last night’s event was (the smell of grease, the costumes, and flashing lights can seem so over the top),  it’s worth it to see a small slice of our Virginia town. And though we headed home early and missed the lighting of the First Night Pineapple, we were able to see the fireworks from our back porch!

Not a bad way to start the year.