How does one trust in life again after experiencing two tragic losses? This is a question that I've asked myself since losing my son to stillbirth after a healthy 9-month pregnancy, followed just 18-months later by the death of my husband, a soldier serving in Afghanistan. How could I ever trust in anything again?
As this summer's PRISM revelations shattered tightly held delusions of privacy in much of the English-speaking world, sales for George Orwell's 1949 dystopian masterpiece Nineteen Eighty-Four skyrocketed 7000 per cent. Overzealous pundits lashing out against the rise of something as inconceivable as a Nineteen Eighty-Four-esque authoritarianism are, perhaps consciously, usurping Orwell to divert from the fact it isn't just deceitful democracies that are undermining centuries of struggle for freedom and agency -- it is our mindless culture of empty consumerism and celebrity hero worship.
One of the biggest things that holds people back when they're trying to advance, in either professional or personal spheres of life, is fear of the unknown. If you don't initiate the kinds of changes that you dream of, you'll be pulled along by life, caught up in the tides of change that aren't of your own volition.
Many of us have experienced that moment when we question our career choice and start considering alternatives. It's natural, and our intuition is often right. When it's time to make a career change, a lot of us will hesitate and muddle ahead doing something we don't enjoy. Why don't we make the jump? Because fear gets in the way.
When we have a big vision for ourselves -- and are taking steps toward fulfilling that dream -- it can be time of major transition and growth. When we are in this stage of growth, we need to muster all that we have to make our creative dreams come to fruition. Including our self-confidence. But, often it is not wise to share our vision or dreams with others until we are truly ready to do so. Here's why.
My fear of flying grew into a phobia and this phobia became an obstacle to living the kind of life I wanted for myself. I couldn't get on a plane without taking my anti-anxiety medication. My fear of flying no longer belonged in the "quirk" category -- it made me feel anxious and out-of-control. Those feelings of blind panic took over my whole mind and body and I was unable to override them with conscious thought or reason.
A central aspect of my fitness philosophy -- one that I try to instill in my clients, my readers and myself -- is that the purpose of exercise should not be just to look fit. I hate the fact that people are judged on their appearance. for many the fear of going to the gym and being looked at with a critical gaze can sap any will to exercise. What is worse is that often individuals internalize this critical gaze: we all become our own worst critic.
I'm patiently awaiting my launch onto the Pacific, on a solo 3,100 mile, 45-65 day odyssey from the San Francisco Bay Area to Hawaii. Am I afraid of what I will face out on the Pacific Ocean, alone, up to 50-foot waves, potentially being run over at night by large ships, in a tiny kayak? Of course! But it's called F.E.A.R. -- Forget Everything And Relax!
Looking back at this old life of mine, I realize how many of these fears, both big and small, were unfounded. But life as it is now, is seen through a cancer survivor's lens. Although I will be first to admit that there is the odd time when I have to stare fear in the eye, and fight to back it down, I fear much less today. Cancer has taught me a few things, and I don't scare easy.