Welcome to Insights and Implications!
As summer winds down, we share this story from Sandy about how fear doesn’t always get the best of us. Sometimes we just keep paddling.
All the best,
All of us at Insight Principles
From Fear To Flow
My husband is an avid sea kayaker. For the past 25 years, he has taken a yearly extended trip into a remote wilderness area. Last month he kayaked solo along the northern coast of British Columbia (Canada).
Something unusual happened on this year’s trip. Peter – a skilled kayaker with decades of experience – woke up filled with anxiety and self-doubt. Seemingly out of nowhere, a storm of fearful thinking filled his usually quiet mind.
When he returned and told me his story in the comfort of our home, I was surprised. We’ve been on many kayak trips together and I’ve never seen him nervous. This time, however, he started feeling tense, uneasy, and unsure. Not feelings you want to have while adventuring in the remote wilderness.
The next morning he felt worse, bordering on panic.
Since he was obviously home safely, I asked him what allayed his fears. “That’s the odd thing,” he said. “Nothing happened. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. I did my usual chores – breaking camp, packing the boat, and launching into the water. But it was like being under a dark storm cloud. I tried not to make too much of it and figured that like a real weather storm cloud, it would eventually lift. Eventually, it did.”
While the specific details of Peter’s story sounded out of the ordinary (for him), the phenomenon he described did not. All of us have been gripped unpredictably by waves of unwanted thought that brought with them strong unpleasant feelings. I once heard the enormously successful and talented pop singer Adele give an interview where she described herself as “shaking like a leaf,” “crying like a baby,” and throwing up before her concert in New York City. All just before going onstage and singing her heart out.
As powerful as fear and self-doubt can be, they are no match for the our capacity to keep moving forward and to get things done. New thought is possible even in the most trying circumstances, even when you doubt it. Sometimes the new thought is a profound insight or a solution to a vexing problem, and sometimes it’s simply a practical idea to get in the boat and paddle or get on the stage and sing. Chances are you have an example from your own life of a time when new thought propelled you forward in spite of your fears.
The power to think is like a flowing river. You can add logs or even a dam to stop it, but once the logs are removed, the river moves again. Why not jump in and go with the flow?
©Insight Principles, Inc.