Fear Forward | not being afraid to move forward in the face of adversity, difficulties, and the challenges of life.
On November 12th I conquered my fear of diving. Training started at 10am for about an hour and at the end, my questions were simple. What happens if I get water in my mask? What happens if the mouth piece / oxygen comes out of my mouth, how do I place back in my mouth without choking on water and how do I start breathing again? Of course I had many more of these maybe common sense questions but I didn’t care. All I knew is I needed to prepare for anything. I needed to be guaranteed oxygen.
We geared up and I then had training underwater in the pool where only one fear popped up, BREATHING. I eventually moved past that and was now ready to conquer the open waters. I was now diving and was looking at the most beautiful coral reef and fish, and the further we went down it seemed like I was flying around mountains. The world down there was massive and incredibly peaceful. After about 40 minutes I needed to come up, I was at my Zens limit.
But before I could get out, we rose to about 3 meters and I was held here for approximately 3 minutes to regulate the pressure in my body. It was the longest 3 minutes ever, and trying to get myself back into a meditative state was impossible at this point.
I was now given the signal to inflate my vest and come out of the water. Whew!, I removed my mask and was amazed that I did it, I held my instructors arm as we walked on the rocky waters back to shore. I glanced back to see how far out I had gone, and right at that moment a huge Manta ray flew out of the water with its massive wings spread wide open, it had to have been between 4-7ft wide. So now I’ll remind you that my biggest fear was oxygen and breathing.
Manta Ray symbolism: “Spirit Guardians representing graceful strength and wisdom.” “The name manta—hahalua—can be interpreted as ’two breaths’. Ha, meaning breath, and lua, meaning two. When mantas leap [out of the water], their experience below transcends into our sphere. Their transcendence speaks to things that we don’t yet know.”
The Message: If Manta Ray has glided into your life today, ‘Spirit” is reminding you to go with the flow of life—you can afford to glide along. There is no longer a need to thrash about but instead sit still and wait, that very thing you need will gently float on up to you. But remember what you ‘want’ and what you ‘need’ are two very different things.
I didn't connect the Manta ray message until the next evening. I was amazed to see it but I was ready for my break before the next dive. I was told to rest an hour before we went on the second dive. I ate a bit and was extremely sleepy, but I went back out. We entered the water, I practiced my breathing and gave the thumbs up to dive. I was ready...then I wasn't, fear crept up. I panicked and my chest felt tight, so I decided to call it a day.
What happened from that hour before when I conquered my fear to having it back full force. Maybe I was just tired or full from eating, I decided I would try again the next day on what would be my 2 year sobriety birthday. Of course I had hyped myself up to seeing something incredible that day, or experiencing some life changing event. Instead After gearing up and descending into the water, less than a minute passed and I knew I couldn't continue.
I sat on the shore waiting for my group to return, I stared out wondering what lesson am I supposed to learn from this.
I sat and thought this is my 2 year sober birthday, and I had just overcome every fear I encountered over the last two years, sober and willing. Maybe today was my reminder that I still have a lot of fears but they don't have to control my life. I will slow and steady conquer them one by one.
So what did I fear:
- Fear of failure
- Fear of success
- Fear of not being good enough
- Fear of being vulnerable
- Fear of losing everything
- Fear of not being like or loved
- Fear of being exposed
- Fear of change
- Fear of the unknown
- Fear of getting what I wanted
- Fear of being responsible
- Fear of being happy
Fear Forward is my way of walking through my fears in my time, at my pace but surely conquering them at some point in my life. I will no longer allow it (fear) to be a permanent block in my life. I mean how did I let the above fears mold me, today I can see better ways to train my mind to get through these blocks.
The biggest lesson was my positive affirmations to myself and the ability to turn it over to a higher power. When I was able to say "I am good enough" and was no longer trying to control my future, my fears started to disappear.
So I know working on my fears is ongoing, some that I conquer will return in a different situation and I will again have to face them. I will never again have to face them alone, my support system has grown and I'm grateful. I am currently facing a few fears trying to creep up, change and the unknown as much as I welcome them can make me worry a bit.
But I am stronger today and I have seen the result of moving forward in the face of fear. I am capable of so much; we are capable of so much. What if we could guide the next person through their fears like my dive master did we me. What if we committed ourselves to being of service to someone else and helping to build them up instead of justifying breaking them down.
I'm still learning and like the Manta ray, I will take two breaths and repeat, I will take my reminder to go with the flow because I have always been watched over and guided. So in a few weeks I will go diving again and slowly reconquer that fear.
Mucho Love, Jamie