Go towards fear?

Our first year going into the Boundary Water Canoe Area, Emy and I were full of nervous energy and a lot of that was covered up with bravado. We wanted to hit the water right away at 5am when the outfitters open, so that we could make the most of the first day. The night before we stayed in the bunk house. We shared our bunk house room with others.

There was a group of men that stayed in one room and there was John. John was there from the Chicago area for his annual BWCA trip with his buddies. There was only one problem. John’s buddies all for one reason or another were not going to make it. I was impressed with John, who took all of this in stride and decided he would venture out into he wilderness solo. John also had nervous energy covered up with bravado as he talked about his voyage. He told us about the length of his BWCA adventure and the amount of portaging he was going to have to do. The weather was predicting rain. Emy and I put on our manifestation hats and told John to focus on sunshine and sunshine is what he would get. John was a good natured fellow and took our advise in stride.

We sat on the steps of the bunkhouse that night, all of us nervous. All of us also excited about what our trip would bring. The lamp outside the door blanketed us in a yellow glow. A moth floated back and forth between us as we chatted. Other nighttime insects buzzed around. At this point Emy and I were thinking we were in a little over our heads. I wonder if John felt the same way too. It was a totally empowering feeling to be taking on the untamed wilderness. It was also quite scary.

As Emy and I sat in the rain at our campsite the next day, we wondered if John was sitting in the rain. We wondered what it was like to be out in the wilderness, on a trip that was planned with friends, now taking it alone.

Those things that scare us can empower us. Someone told me recently to go toward my fear. To use fear as a gage that I am doing the right thing. During that first trip to the BWCA, so many years ago, we went toward our fear and our life has been so much richer as a result. Two women, alone out in the forest, surviving with what we carried in and what we could catch. When we planned the trip we didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into. Now we can’t imagine our lives without it.

What things have you done that scared you but now have made you life richer or fuller? What do you think about going towards your fear? Is that good advice or not?


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