Hello and thanks for stopping by!
Have you ever experienced one of those things in life where you really, I mean really want to do something but it just seemed insurmountable as all you could see were the hurdles and road blocks?
I remember the agony of reading about a workshop for photographers in California. (Enter Gather California hosted by the lovely Kim Klassen and Xanthe Berkeley) where photographers and creatives would gather, connect and share. How incredible to contemplate what it would be like to hangout with people who truly “get” you and don’t find it weird or frustrating that you see life as a series of beautiful images just waiting to be captured.
It sounded too incredible to be true but I knew instantly that it was exactly what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be. There was just this one problem though and I’m embarrassed to tell you but. . . I had never been on a trip anywhere by myself! Not one airplane had I boarded on my own nor one airport had I navigated. How on earth was I going to pull this one off!?
I’ve been incredibly blessed with one of the worlds most wonderful daughters and I remember telling her about the workshop. Without missing a beat she said, “Mom, what are you waiting for? Book your ticket!”
As I typically do in any situation where I’m filled with fear and self-doubt, I marched out all of my excuses and she countered each and every one of them with common sense and logic. One of the beautiful things about Heather is her faith in humanity and her belief that you can conquer anything you set your mind to. It was an odd moment where I felt like she was parenting me – we had switched roles somehow and yet I knew what she was saying was true. I could do it if I really wanted to. I just had to set my mind to it.
My daughter had travelled extensively with her career between England and Columbia so I had to ask myself why it was if she could do it that I couldn’t? Gosh she was half my age when she started travelling internationally on her own. I suddenly wondered how I had produced such a brave and confident young woman when I felt anything but.
She pointed out to me that no matter what had happened to her with delayed flights or lost baggage that there was always a way around it. Sure sometimes it meant having to ask for help (I’m not so great at that) and sometimes it resulted in an unplanned layover but in the end she assured me no body parts were lost and the sun still came up the next morning. I knew she was right and so the question remained . . .how bad did I want it? Did I want it enough to face my fear of flying on my own, of facing the unknown head on with the belief it would all be worth it?
I have to say the times I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone or off my own personal ledge as it were, are the times I have experienced the most growth and have found the greatest rewards. Let me add the caveat of “mostly.”
Flying to California turned out to be so much more than anything I could have imagined or hoped. Did the Universe manage to ensure I got the most from my experience? You bet it did! Right down to a snow storm the morning I left that delayed my departure by almost an hour and set a chain of events into motion that ultimately resulted in my missing the one and only connecting flight to Huntington Beach.
Yes I ended up having to over-night in Vancouver and I missed the first day of the retreat complete with what I heard was a phenomenal welcome but I had gained in ways I never expected.
As I sat alone in my hotel room (another for the book of “firsts”) I couldn’t escape the feeling of accomplishment that washed over me. I had faced and confronted every single fear I had voiced prior to boarding my flight out of Calgary and sure enough, I had survived just as my daughter said I would.
And you know what? . . . Do you know what the best thing of all was? . . . As a result of being willing to confront my fears I had the most incredible experience where I lived and breathed my passion with the most wonderful and supportive women you could hope to meet.
Since then, I’ve often thought of how many incredible experiences I’ve missed out on or denied myself in life because I was fearful of the unknown. I’m just so incredibly grateful to my daughter for giving me the gentle nudge (OK swift kick in the butt) that ultimately led to the most incredible experience.
I’ve pulled from that experience a lot this past year and I encourage you to take a leap of faith the next time you experience any sort of fear of “flying on your own” in your life. Ask yourself . . What’s the worst that could happen? And then ask yourself the ever so important question . . . What are the gifts that might be realized on the other side of that fear?