My Sunday was spent practicing an intrinsically important thing – leaning into fear.

Now fear is not a place we normally like to live in.  We associate fear with stress, tension, and generally all things bad – which is usually a good thing!  Usually we are afraid of things because they are dangerous and will likely injure or kill us – again this is essential for self preservation and is a very good thing!

But there is an entirely different aspect of fear which to me is essential to address – that is, the fear of living.

There is good reason to distinguish the difference between fear that stems from self preservation (for example, the fear of being eaten by a sabertooth tiger while being actively chased by one) and the fear of what I’ll refer to as “everything else” (for example, fear of leaving your home because you may be chased and eaten by a sabertooth tiger).  The first “self preservation” fear helps you survive, and the latter “fear of living” keeps you from thriving.

Moving onto my Sunday . . .

I spent the day rock climbing with a good friend in a beautiful area.  The day invoked in me the very reason I am drawn to climbing – leaning into my own fear.

For most who climb, climbing is essentially a mental practice more so than a physical one.

Climbing forces me to confront myself and all of my insecurities – in order to progress upward, I have to practice trust in myself, moment by moment.

Learning to lean into this uncomfortable place always leaves me with a deep sense of peace.  It has helped garner confidence and personal growth.  Most importantly, it has helped me move into aspects of life where I have held back.  Thinking to Brene Brown’s TED Talks on vulnerability, fear and shame is often what keeps us from living “whole heartedly”.

I think it is important to remember that we all experience this fear in some way or another . . . it may be the fear of launching a new career, or the fear of public speaking.

I can’t help but think what opportunities lie ahead if we all spent just a little bit of time leaning into our own fears . . . taking the leap and learning what that experience has to offer.

climbing on beautiful granite