"Can't keep my eyes from the circling skies" from Pink Floyd's Learning to Fly
Some fear snakes, some fear bears, some fear spiders, tall buildings, open spaces, airplanes and even muppets. I fear ALL these, except muppets. Who would fear a lovely fluffy talking dish rag with eyes??? I don’t get it but as the master of the irrational, they pride themselves on being misunderstood.
I’d like to think I started out like us all, fearless or at least oblivious to the existence of this crippling beast! It wasn’t until after a pretty serious car accident in high school that I faced my own mortality, which in turn brought out my own version of extremely unpractical obsession of horrors. I became fearful of large groups, open spaces, tall building and especially terrified of flying. I spent the good part of 20 years learning how to self medicate and push these possessors of evil deep, deep within. This caused me to give up or forget about my dream to travel the world. But something won’t let up. I felt a nagging feeling that I won’t be able to live my life if I didn’t at least try to face my phobia head on. I asked myself some serious questions.
Why am I so terrified to fly?
Why didn’t everyone else on the flight have the same fears as me???
Was flying really what I was afraid of?
What’s wrong with me???
Can I live a fulfilled life while being controlled by fear?
How can I get over this?
Like I said yesterday, I’ve learned to chill with fear not fight it. I asked it all these questions. I gathered facts. I meditated. I had panic attacks. And I felt like an idiot and a fool for succumbing to such irrational madness. Yet I longed, I yearned, I felt this gut-wrenching want, need, and DESIRE to see the world!
My opportunity to conquer this phobia was soon to come. I was invited to an amazing gather for my friend and a woman I highly look up to, Roz Savage. Her 50th birthday was coming up and she decided to bring a group of amazing innovative, brave, talented, wise, maverick women together to talk about world topics and issues. I was beyond honored to join this powerful lineup of women, who range from CEOs to Nomads to Shamans to Environmentalist and more! Could there be a downside to this all??? Oh, yeah. It would take place in the UK. FFFF********CCCKKK. I’d have to fly, overseas.
Van life has been a great teacher who has shown me what I’m capable of. I knew it was time to get over this phobia but realized it wasn’t actually about “getting over” it. It’s once again welcoming fear (or phobias) with open arms. Sit with it and get to know each other.
In meditation, I was shown that I fear flying because it brings freedom. I also was told I won’t die in a plane crash (ohhhh, still kind of freaks me out to type that!). I was also told that I will start to enjoy it and will be doing a lot of it. I also looked up facts about flying. I found comfort in these statistics.
1 in 2 chance of dying from cardiovascular disease
1 in 14,000 chance of dying from driving cross country
1 in 7 MILLION chance of dying from a plane crash
Two weeks ago I boarded a plane UK bound. I did not self medicate, no alcohol, no Xanax only my pain meds from my UTI (whole nother story there) and spend the flight relaxing. I decided at that moment that I was no longer going to live in fear. That I was no longer going to be controlled by phobias. I made room for my new companion, clicking my seat belt round us both and snuggled in for the flight. Every time I felt overcome by turbulence or irrational thoughts I thought to myself “1 in 7 million, 1 in 7 million.” This set me back to calm.
Upon my arrival to the UK I felt a sense of accomplishment. I did it! I felt like a new women full of empowerment. Still, I wasn’t alone. Fear was still tagging along. But something was different. I no longer saw a big scary beast acting irrational and bringing impending doom with it. I saw a tired little kid wearing colorful flannel pajamas with his drawers drooping, dragging his teddy bear along the ground eagerly trying to catch up.