I grew up terrified of deep dark water. No one could make me jump into a murky cold lake or swim in an ocean where I couldn’t see the bottom. When I was a teenager, I attempted to swim across a tiny local lake and stopped midway as a huge anxiety attack pressed against my chest, cutting my breathing in half.
My friend had to haul me back to shore and I was embarrassed beyond belief at my incapacity to swim across a small lake despite my great swimming abilities. For years I swam in safe clear pools or played in the Caribbean waters, always seeing the bottom everywhere I swam around.
When I began my shamanic path at 21 years old, my first spiritual teacher told me a phrase that echoed in my head for months; “You don’t know what love is because you’re stuck in your fears. Face your fears and you will begin to know what love feels like.”
His statement brought uncontrollable tears rolling down my cheeks and for weeks I sat with these words, realizing how many fears controlled my life and my happiness. I had never realized how afraid I was deep inside.
Might As Well Jump In
Several years later, I found myself on the coast of sunny California, facing a wild and ferocious dark blue ocean. The surfers called this ocean “The Blue Lady” and hung Saint Christopher amulets around their necks as they paddled out in the pounding surf zone. I was frozen in fear as I watched the thundering waves crash before me and couldn’t motivate myself to enter this chaotic whirl pool which resembled a nightmare to my eyes.
The friend I was visiting turned to me and encouraged me, saying that he would have my back and would be right next to me the whole time. His great swimming skills reassured me and gave me courage. Might as well jump in, it’s now or never, I thought to myself as I gathered all my courage and waded out with my friend nearby.
Swimming in the Blue Lady was the most frightening experience of my life. I had to dig deep down inside me to find a courage I never knew I had and push it to the surface like a life vest around me. I prayed to my guardian angel to keep me safe as I navigated the strong currents and duck-dived under 6-foot waves that seemed more like 10 feet high that day. When I crawled out of the Pacific Ocean thirty minutes later, I lay on the beach and closed my eyes, feeling a power inside me I had never felt before. I had survived!
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Since that day, I swim in the Pacific Ocean every chance I get and dare myself to swim further and further each time. In the middle of January when nobody but surfers are paddling around, you will find me swimming past the surf zone, smiling to myself and sometimes even speaking with the Blue Lady. I have developed a deep love for the Pacific Ocean because every time I enter her, I must practice the art of trust and surrender to something greater than myself.
Now Is A Great Time To Let Go
We all have fears but when we let our fears dominate us, we shut out love. We shut out freedom. We shut out new worlds and new experiences. Facing our fears forces us to have faith in something bigger than ourselves and at the same time reconnects us with our spirit, the invisible force guiding our daily existence.
When we surrender to Spirit, we allow it to guide us in the right direction and protect us at a level our minds cannot fathom. Whether you are afraid of heights or sharks or dark water, tell yourself that you are protected and that now is a great time to let go of that fear and let love in a little more.
We have been programmed since youth to indulge in our fears. We are even congratulated when we kill that terrible scary spider or stay on the beach while others swim out in the huge waves. People are conditioned to stay on the safe side of life rather than jump into the unknown.
Facing fears is not something easily done but with determination, patience, courage, and encouragement, you can do anything you set out to do. And when the anxiety mounts in your chest like it did for me that day I tried to swim across the tiny lake and failed, tell yourself that there is no time limit to overcoming fears. No one is going to laugh at you if you fail the first time. No one is judging you. Face your fears for yourself alone and then lay back, close your eyes, and let love in with a deep sigh of relief.
Exercise: Overcoming Fears
Write a list of all the fears you have. Next to each fear, write when you think you started having that fear. Was there a trigger? Did somebody hammer it into you or did you develop it yourself?
Write a new list after that which you can name Overcoming my Fears. Under each fear, write how you can begin to face your fear and how much time you think you will need. Write the name of someone you know who can accompany you in overcoming that fear. Having a friend nearby can give you the extra push you need to finally connect with another part of yourself you never knew existed.
(Subtitles added by InnerSelf.)
©2015 by Nora Caron.
Book by this author:
Journey to the Heart: New Dimensions Trilogy, Book 1
by Nora Caron.
Watch the book trailer: Journey to the Heart - Book Trailer
About the Author
Nora Caron has a Masters degree in English Renaissance literature and speaks four languages. After struggling through the academic system, she realized that her true calling was to help people live from their hearts and explore the world through the eyes of their spirit. Nora has studied with various spiritual teachers and healers since 2003 and she practices Energy Medicine as well as Tai Chi and Qi Gong. In September 2014, her book "Journey to the Heart", received the Living Now Book Award Silver Medal for Best Inspirational Fiction. Visit her website at: www.noracaron.com
Watch a video with Nora: New Dimensions of Being