If you don’t step forward
you’re always in the same place.
Norah Roberts

I have a fear of heights.  It’s something that I’m always trying to confront because that fear never leaves me.  It’s just a matter of how much I let it control me.

Years ago, I did let that fear stop me from enjoying a vacation.  We were in Moab, Utah at Arches National Park and we hiked to see Delicate Arch.  Anyone who’s been to Delicate Arch knows that near the end of the hike you have to follow a path that has a steep drop on one side and a sandstone wall on the other side.  I kept one hand on the wall while I was walking up that path.  When I got to the top of the path, I could see Delicate Arch below me but to get there, I would have to climb down a bowl of slip rock.  I stopped and didn’t go forward.  I never got close to Delicate Arch.

(Funny and true story:  While I was hiking up the path with my hand on the wall, I saw a woman hiking down the path with both hands on the wall.  I realized that there was no way she was ever going to let go of the wall so that I could walk by her, but I didn’t want to let go of the wall either. When she got to me, I kept my fingertips touching the wall high up and arched my body away from the wall and she crawled under my arm.  We were both able to touch the wall at the same time and continue on without drama and tears.)

Since that time, I’ve been working on this fear.  I didn’t want to miss out on more opportunities because of it, so I started hiking on a regular basis and that included hiking in the White Mountains in New Hampshire.  I started with smaller mountains both in Connecticut and in New Hampshire.  And yes, it took a lot of hikes before I would even look over the edge.

Since then, I’ve been to the top of Mt. Washington three times, Mt. Lafayette at least 4 times and several peaks in the chain that I’ve only gotten to once or twice, like Mt. Madison.   I could have let that fear stop me from getting to the top of any of these mountains.  But I didn’t want to let it control me anymore.  To this day, each time, when I look down from any height, I confront that fear that rides deep in my gut. Sometimes panic even sets in, so I take myself back to what I learned in yoga…I breathe and then I take that next step.

Sometimes doing something new includes confronting your fears.  What fears are holding you back?
What small step can you take to start chiseling away at it?