Last June I jumped off a 12-metre platform. It was a huge struggle for me. I battled paralyzing fear. There was weeping and embarrassment involved as people started to gather at the bottom and stare up at the grown woman strapped in a harness, labour breathing like a champ and generally freaking out.
Somehow logic refused to prevail.
“It’s ok Sarah, you’re attached to a pulley system that will slow you down and you descend toward the ground.”
Not soothing words when you are working your way up to stepping off what appears to be half of a pallet suspended in the air.
I did it! Somehow I managed to close my eyes and make myself fall off the edge. Screaming all the way down and then laying on the mat at the bottom sobbing with relief. Yup, I was a spectacle for the tourists that day folks.
I’m not sure that I would say I was brave. My friend Twyla reminded me recently that “bravery is not the absence of fear, but rather, acting in spite of the fear.” So maybe sometimes. in the moment, brave doesn’t feel brave.
I don’t think we can talk about being brave without also opening up the conversation to include bravery’s nagging companion. Fear.
Being brave is not about fighting fear. When you declare war on something it will turn around and attack you back. I for one don’t want to be attacked by my fear.
As Elizabeth Gilbert says:
I tell my fear that me and creativity are going on a road trip — and I INVITE my fear to come along with us. I explain to my fear that I won’t try to kill it, or to exclude it. I explain to fear that it is very welcome to join us, and even to have a voice. But I also explain to my fear that it won’t be allowed to make any decisions along the way. Only creativity and I will be making decisions. As I always say to fear, “Get in the minivan with us! You are part of this family, and you are coming along for the ride!” I say, “Thank you for your input, but with all due respect, you don’t get to choose the route!”
I think it is extremely brave to include fear in the art of living, but set up boundaries to make sure fear stays in it’s place.
[bctt tweet=”set up boundaries to make sure fear stays in it’s place. #wholemama”]
Of course, this sounds strong and powerful when I write the words. Walking the walk is a whole different story. Relegating fear to third row of the minivan is not a do it once and then it’s done sort of thing. It’s a daily, sometimes hourly practice.
I choose to take these steps because there are six little eyes who watch me. They see the choices I make and they will make some of their life decisions based on my example.
I want them to learn from me to seize the day, take risks, go on adventures and say yes to big scary opportunities. I want them to try new things and collect fantastic stories and memories.
Hannah over at The Big To Do List had this to say about being a brave mama;
“Having a child has made me braver. It’s amazing how you can handle your fears when you have someone else who is counting on you and learning from what they see you do.“
I would agree. Our babies make us braver. They make us better advocates for the things we believe are true and good. They help us to prioritize the things that really matter in life. And they remind us to rediscover the things the world has to offer us.
Be brave Mamas!
This post is being linked up with #wholemama at Overflow.