joy of fear

I’ve been referred to as a daredevil or gambler with a bit of frightening consistency throughout my life. And given the number of broken bones and overall mishaps I’ve experienced, perhaps its a fair assessment.

But the bit that follows next is quite fascinating. People tend to quickly add ‘well, you obviously don’t have fear’. There seems to be a logical separation between people that ‘have fear’ and those who would never dangle from the wing strut of an airplane because they simply ‘have fear’. On the surface, you can follow the logic of the argument. But when looking closer, I can attest to the fact that I absolutely feel fear.

When climbing a mountain and struggling for that thin bit of air; when caught in a blizzard unprepared; when attempting to cycle another 100 km day in fierce cross winds; when facing the empty void of that bungee jump, sky dive, trapeze platform, paraglide or ramp that is just crazy steep for the dirt bike . . .my palms sweat. My heart is bursting through my chest. My breath shortens and seems to only inhale. Disastrous outcomes flood my mind. Does any of this sound familiar? To live is to feel fear.

The choice we each have, is what we do with that fear. For me, being able to feel the fear and do it anyway, is a wholly gratifying and JOYful way to live. Its inspired me to move countries, travel to corners of the world on solo adventures, leave perfectly solid jobs, end lovely relationships, dive into life changing love, and yes, to fall flat on my face. But I did it. Each time. To push through the layers of fright and common sense can be incredibly liberating.

So perhaps don’t limit yourself by identifying with your fears or let them paralyse you next time your palms start to sweat. Instead, see it as a playful layer of resistance that can be out manoeuvred. And yes, I’ll be reciting this to myself as I attempt to cross the Bass Strait in a little boat with sails.

evaporated stress

I just know you’ll enjoy this guest post . . . its by my divine and inspiring partner, Richard. He’s such a wealth of ideas and a master at sourcing JOY and integrating it into his daily life.

For most people the daily commute is a chore. I know driving in busy traffic turns me into a frustrated lane hopper. And bussing makes me feel like I’m a pawn in a human traffic ring. However there are many ways to brighten up the routine. Recently, I have ignored social pressure and found joyful ways to commute. My favourite is via kayak. An option for me as my work is often directly on the other side of Sydney Harbour. The paddle takes about an hour each way, which isn’t a fast commute, but I enjoy every stroke and would like to be out exercising for that time anyway. I do get some funny looks as I walk from the beach to office with little more than a paddle in hand, but most people offer encouraging remarks. I have yet to witness a traffic jam on the harbour, there are no parking issues and I arrive at work (and home) with a wide salty smile. As a bonus, I feel like spoiling myself with super foods on the money saved from tolls, ferries, tickets, petrol, parking, etc. Cycling is another lovely way to commute. Although, it can involve some stress when competing with hurried cars, trucks, buses, and taxis. It’s a little different for me as I’m on a rather tall, 36″ geared unicycle, which is another joy-mobile. Running is a healthy option, although since it’s a long run for me, it’s only practical infrequently. I also enjoy commuting by motorcycle. It doesn’t satisfy my need for exercise, but it is a lot more liberating and faster than driving, and it feels much safer than cycling. Walking is a beautiful option. A 30-60 minute walk is, in my view, much more attractive than a 15 minute vehicular commute. Many people can combine a long walk with public transport, which can be made even more joyful by sharing part of the walk/commute with a loved one. Let’s face it – anything is better than stressing behind a wheel or squished into a bus. Many employers support these healthy alternatives by providing showers, lockers and laundry services in the workplace. I encourage everyone to de-stress by seeking out more active and JOYFUL ways to commute.

Hopefully this leaves you inspired to re-think your daily commute! Get creative and imagine arriving at your place of work with a mile wide smile versus a collection of stressful layers.