One of my favorite things is when I lose myself in a beautiful book and am struck over and over by passages that resonate with me. Happily, this happened today.
I was reading Wild, by Cheryl Strayed, and came across this:
Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me…Fear begets fear. Power begets power. I willed myself to beget power. And it wasn’t long before I actually wasn’t afraid.
I am a very anxious person and my internal voice relentlessly reinforces my anxiety, always telling me to be careful or playing out the worst case scenario in vicious, excruciating detail, until I’m convinced that staying in one place is better than moving forward, because of the risk that I’ll trip and fall.
But what if I don’t? What if I take one step, and then another, and eventually wind up in a place so beautiful it takes my breath away?
I’m tired of worrying. When I ask, “What if?”, I want my thoughts to instantly land on the best, most wonderful possibilities, and not the terrible ones. When I pick one word that best describes me, I want it to be strong.
This doesn’t exactly relate to health and fitness, but in a way it does. Because when I was taking my literal first steps forward–that incredible, impossible moment when I ran my very first mile without stopping, and then a second–my spirt was also taking giant leaps forward. Because it finally sank it that I controlled my future, that I could do what I set my mind to if I worked for it, and that I could be really proud of myself.
In Wild, there is another scene where Cheryl, a hiker on the Pacific Crest Trail, senses that a major storm is coming. Cheryl felt “too vulnerable outside, though [she] knew [her] tent offered little protection.” She writes, “I sat in expectant wonder and fear, bracing for a mighty storm that never came.”
Almost always, the thing I fear never happens. And yet, because I focused on it so intensely, I lived through it anyway, for no reason.
Fear begets fear. Power begets power.
It’s time to leave the fear behind and take that first step, run that first mile, and feel that rush of joy and power I’ve been missing.