Your #hero within

What do these three movies have in common?

I have seen three great hero movies recently. Edward and I saw Wonder Woman at the theater on opening weekend, about a week later we rented Hacksaw Ridge from the Redbox, and most recently watched Disney’s Moana with nary a child to accompany us ;). All of these were classic hero tales – opening with the age of innocence, followed by the call to duty, perseverance in peril, facing an “insurmountable” obstacle, disillusionment at seeming defeat, the climactic epic battle, and the ultimate triumph of good over evil.

Hacksaw Ridge poster

What is it that draws us to hero movies? My personal theory is that we each want to believe we have a hero within. We need to believe that when the chips are down we would rise to the occasion with great courage and integrity like Diana Prince, Private Doss, and the Polynesian princess. I’d like to think so too. I’d like to think I am living in a world among heroes.

What I find to be true is that people don’t always act their best under pressure. Stressful situations don’t always bring out our greatest qualities. These are typically not our finest hours as we would hope. We have difficulty overcoming self-doubt and pain. Instead of rising up, we say and do things that do not exemplify our most heroic selves. This can be a crushing blow, and the worst part is that this blow is delivered by our own hand.

Moana-Poster

But I still believe I am living in a world among heroes. The common factor I find in the lives of heroes is this – one who acts as a hero under pressure is one who has acted as a hero in the mundane. Cultivating heroism in our everyday lives is the key to being ready and able to act with courage and integrity in that defining moment.

What is your most memorable example of a person cultivating heroism in everyday life?

Just another #travel book?

My 50 states travel project for 2017 was born from a crazy, burning desire to write a book. I have always dreamed of being a writer. I know what it is like to feel a deep yearning inside that keeps you searching for an answer. This deep longing finally drove me to give myself the time and space I needed to actually respond. I was excited, and more than a little nervous.

  • Have you ever been in a place like this? Where you felt a deep desire to do something more creative in your life? Responding to that deep desire feels a little crazy, but not responding is kinda making you crazy anyway.

Capitol Reef-4

So I embarked on my epic road trip. My journaling went great! Every day I filled three pages in my notebook with stream of consciousness writing. I was getting a blog post up about once a week. I even sent out a few fun newsletters.

But every time I sat down to work on my book, it just felt totally wrong. I had no idea how to do it. Do I just tell my story in chronological order? What is the point I want the reader to take away? The travel was changing me, freeing me, and I really wanted to write about that, but I didn’t want my book to be just another travel adventure story.

Capitol Reef-2

As the weeks went by I became more and more frustrated. I was not satisfied to just put words on a page. I wanted to produce a quality piece of work, something of true value, something that could really make a difference in the world. (surprise, surprise :)) As mid-year approached, I grew seriously concerned that I would get to the end of the year and have nothing to validate my efforts. Plus, I was running out of money faster than I expected. I finally realized I could not do this on my own. I needed help.

  • Have you ever heard the old proverb, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear?”

I was meeting so many fascinating people on the hiking trails and in the campgrounds, even at the gas station. I started praying that I would somehow, someway cross paths with someone who could help me write the book I dreamed I could write.

Capitol Reef-3

Then I met Dr. Angela Lauria, and I knew my prayers had been answered. Angela has been helping birth books since 1994 and has coached dozens of authors. She is highly selective about the people she works with, and with my application I was asking, Am I good enough? Is my idea strong enough? To my delight, I was one of a handful of candidates selected for her program, a kind of book boot camp that will help me produce a completed manuscript by August 1st!

<dramatic pause for applause> I know, right?!?

What a relief. I didn’t hesitate. I said yes to the call I could never quiet inside me.

I have heard the heart cry of so many other women who have also felt the Call of the Wild. Through this crucible I have discovered that the deep yearning to write a book was actually divine gift, and that I had an opportunity to use this gift in a much bigger way than I had ever imagined.

  • What is it that drives a woman to brave the dangers of solo travel? What is it that stops her? Would you ever choose to hop in your car and drive into the unknown? I am developing an idea that will help us answer those questions.

I am thrilled to say that one day very soon I will be able to share my finished book with you. Better yet, I will have a budding business in the creative arts that will allow me to support myself and other women as an author who makes a difference.

one decision

Temple of the #Sunriser

I move about the country without a plan. Clarification. I do have a spreadsheet that tells me which state I want to be in each week-ish, but where I go and what I do when I get there is anyone’s guess. I am most fond of following travel advice from other travelers. I meet a digital nomad named Julie in central Texas. She invites me to dinner at her RV and tells me about her favorite route from the Gulf through Big Bend. I meet an artist named Lewis who travels part time to paint sacred landscapes in plein air works. He joins me as I attempt to build fire at my campsite and tells me about the incredible cliff dwellings he explored in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico.

My friend Tom is a retired airline pilot. His wife Suzanne is a geologist. Many of my favorite travel tips have come from this amazing couple. Tom sees on Facebook that I am in Utah and tells me he and Susie loved the scenic byway from Bryce into Capitol Reef. I didn’t think twice. And that’s how I ended up here, miles from nowhere, with dirty laundry, a can of black-eyed peas and a heart all a-flutter. I have yet to be disappointed by a tip from a fellow traveler. Often I am stretched by them.

It was a brief window of opportunity. I had only two days that temperatures would permit me to explore the area, as my pup Justice was not permitted on any of the park’s hiking trails. I expect this now from most National Parks and try to plan accordingly. Sometimes I choose to skip a park entirely. Sometimes I decide to drive the park, if the roads feel interesting. Sometimes I will head out for sunrise shoots and early hikes, aiming to complete my mission before the forecast takes the thermometer above 70*.

Temple of the Sun in Cathedral Valley

Temple of the Sun – the ranger said this was the best place to view the sunrise, after he asked me if I had the right vehicle to explore this area of the park. Access to Cathedral Valley requires navigating a rugged road suggested for high clearance, 4wd vehicles only. #subarulove! I crept an hour and a half in the dark to get here before the sunrise time of 6-ish. #sunriser #messyhairdontcare

Temples-1

Two other photographers were already present when I arrived, and two more showed up moments later. Apparently these creatures travel in pairs. 😉 The best vantage point was a sandy ridgeline, and I scurried up and situated myself for the shot I wanted. I hugged myself against the cold and waited for her majesty to make her appearance. The other photographers were doing the same, but they were each vying for a good line at the temple.

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It was here that I witnessed the *first light glow* that so many photographers talk about. (Ahhhh, now I get it! Wow!!) As the sun ascended in the east, the temple rock gleamed golden in its presence. It was fleeting. It was surreal. It was something truly special to behold. I turned from taking photos of the sun to capturing its glow on the rock formations. I was awed.

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The moment passed. The angel chorus faded. The other photographers were taking down their tri-pods and scrolling through their images. “Did you get a good one?” They asked each other. I skidded back down the sandy ridge, camera flung about my neck, just about giddy. They were staring at me. All of them. Why were they staring at me?

Then I saw my pink pajama bottoms and bare feet skimpering past their jeans and sneakers. I reveled in the blush coming on. Priceless. I straightened my shoulders, tossed my hair back and flashed a grin, “What? Ya’ll got dressed for this?!?” Then I fired up my camp stove and brewed the best cup of coffee evah. Nailed it. #pajamaenvy

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The man and the once colorful #kite

There was once a boy who was given a colorful kite. This boy did not really want a kite, and the boy did not know how to fly a kite, but he tried once. He took the kite out into the wind, and he went through the motions, but the kite would not fly. The boy returned home and tossed the kite into the coat closet, where it lay for many years.

One day, a man came across the once colorful kite. He thought it beautiful, though it was faded and dusty from years of disuse. He meant to take the kite flying. He took the kite out into the wind, but the kite would not fly. There seemed to be a heaviness about it.

The man returned to his home. The kite expected to be tossed aside again, but the man laid the kite gently on his coffee table, and he considered the kite closely.

The next week, the man took the kite out into the wind again. The kite could hardly believe it! The man took a soft, moistened cloth and wiped away every trace of the thick, dusty coat that clung to the kite from the years of neglect on the floor of the coat closet. The man lifted the kite into the air. The kite felt a distinct lightness in its body, but it could not fly. The man returned home and returned the kite to his coffee table, and again he considered the kite closely. The kite felt the kindness and curiosity in the eyes of the man.

The next week, the man took the kite out into the wind again. The kite could hardly believe it! The man removed the sullied, limp string and tied a pliant new tether, bright and yellow, to the foot of the kite. The man lifted the kite into the air. The kite felt a rise in its spirit, but still it could not fly. Though the man was learning how to handle the kite, the kite did not know how to handle flight. The man returned home and returned the kite to his coffee table, and again he considered the kite closely. When the man retired that night, he gathered the kite gently into his hands and laid the kite on his bedside table. He gazed at the kite as he dimmed the lamp and drifted to sleep. The kite felt the tenderness and patience in the eyes of the man.

The next week, the man took the kite out into the wind again. The kite could hardly believe it! The man replaced the thin, fragile dowels with strong, scented wood and secured the body of the kite tightly to the new solid, stylish frame. The man lifted the kite into the air. The kite felt positively buoyant! The kite lifted its shoulders and lifted its face into the wind, and for a moment the kite soared into the sky above. The man smiled at the kite. The kite felt its heart smile back at the man. The man returned home and returned the kite to his beside table, and he gazed again at the kite as he drifted to sleep. The kite felt fondness and pride coming from the eyes of the man. And the kite felt fondness and pride coming from its own heart. And the kite felt admiration and love for the man.

Every week, the man took the kite out into the wind, and every week the kite practiced lifting its shoulders and lifting its face into the wind, and the kite did fly and float and flutter for the man. The kite learned how to twist left and how to twirl right and how to swoop in the wind as the man smiled and laughed from below. The kite grew fond of flying, secure in the strong, able hands of the man who had brought it back from ruin and neglect. Higher and higher the kite would soar, and the man and the kite took great delight in each other. One day, the man tied a long rainbow ribbon with many bows to the foot of the kite, and the rainbow ribbon with many bows trailed behind the kite as it sailed. The kite brought joy to the man, and the kite became as colorful and cheerful on the inside as the man had fashioned it on the outside.

Some time later, the man came to the kite with his own heaviness. He took the kite out into the wind, but the heaviness weighted and pulled at the kite. The kite flew with all of its heart, but it could not lift the spirit of the man. The man took no pleasure in the flight of the kite. The man returned home and laid the kite on his coffee table.

Week after week, the heaviness in the man continued. He no longer took the kite out into the wind. He no longer considered the kite. But the kite considered the man. Once in a while, when the kite would feel the eyes of the man passing over, the kite would lift its shoulders and lift its face, but the kite could not fly without the man, and the kite no longer brought joy to the man.

Some time later, the man came again to the kite and considered it for a long while. The kite lifted its shoulders and lifted its face for the man, and the man decided to take the kite out into the wind again. The kite could hardly believe it! The man lifted the kite into the air, and the kite flew for the man with all of its heart and all of its might. Higher and higher it soared, waving the long rainbow ribbon with many bows behind it. Am I beautiful? Are you proud of me? Do I bring you joy?

The wind was strong that day, and the man flew the kite for a very long time. And the kite did float and flutter for the man, and the kite did twist and twirl for the man, and the kite did swoop and soar for the man. As the day grew long and the sun grew low, the kite grew weary of flying and longed to be drawn back in and gathered to the man.

But the man was loosening his grip, and the tether grew long. The wind grew stronger, and the tether that held the kite to the man grew longer and longer. The kite was being blown about, but the man did not see and the man did not draw the kite back in to himself. Instead, he loosened his grasp and allowed the tether be pulled out and out and out from his fingers until finally the kite was released into the ferocious wind.

No longer tethered to the man, the kite was taken hold by the wind and the wind tore it into the heavens. The kite did not know how to fly without the man and was at the mercy of the mighty wind. Up and up the kite was blown, farther and farther from the earth and farther and farther from the man. The height made the kite dizzy and the wind made the kite weak. The earth was tumbling below, or was it the kite that was tumbling? The long rainbow ribbon with many bows was ripped from its feet and flown far away. A sense of terror gripped the kite. There was no earth. There was no man. There was no tether. And the wind blew on and on.

Kite Girl-1

Turning my project back into a #journey

I caught myself in the mirror, and the sight surprised me. I stood there, squared into the reflection, my eyes wandering over and taking in what I saw before me. This is not the old, familiar image anymore. I can hardly believe this is me. I move a curious step closer, take a deliberate breath, and then I slowly let it out again. I see the face of a 44 year-old woman attached to this body, the lines of consternation and time are evident but graceful. I am drawn further in toward the mirror, toward the reflection of this face, tilting my head and regarding her more closely still. Deepening laugh lines play at the corners of my eyes. I smile and make them come alive again.

“You are doing this, Sonya,” I say out loud to the person behind my eyes. You are really doing this. I gaze deeply into her and catch the glimmer of the person I always wanted to be. I knew she was in there. I didn’t think it would take this many years. I didn’t think it would be this hard. I regard her carefully, looking even more intently into her eyes.

Bloodshot? I take a step closer, until my nose is almost touching the mirror. I tip my forehead forward, now looking from under my lids, rotate my head to the right, rotate my head left, and back to center again. I lift my chin and draw my eyelids wide and back. Tiny red rivulets run from the bright white outer edges toward the morning blue center. Why are my eyes so bloodshot?

I had turned this trip into WORK.

I have a dream

I have dreamed of being a writer all my life, and now I am chasing that dream with all that is in me. This trip is not a year-long joyride. It is serious business, and it has a deadline – Thanksgiving. I am reinventing my life, and there is no time to waste. I’ve leveraged everything I’ve got, so I’ve got one shot to get this right. My future is on the line, and I went all-in on the flop.

With so much at stake, I defaulted into tackling this trip like I had tackled every other lofty goal in my life. I was using all of my familiar masculine energy: being driven, gritty, strategic, relentless; wrestling my dreams into submission. I demanded the most of myself every day, marching my way across the country, monitoring my pace, cracking the whip at my to-do list. Morning pages – crrrack! Affirmations – sssnap! Hike the canyon – pop!pop! Fuel your body – crrrack! Choose the next destination – sssnap! Drive on – pop!pop! Make camp, Bunk down, Day complete, Now sleep! I said SLEEP. EXECUTE, SoldIER!

I had regimented myself to maximize my odds for success. I hated it when my circumstances would not comply with my regimen. I was frustrated if Justice was moving too slowly, or if she was stopping and sniffing too often. I was irritated if the McCafe did not supply the public outlets I needed to charge my laptop. I lamented when the Internet did not reach my campsite. I seethed when a technical hiccup erased the newsletter I had spent two hours working on.

Week 13 #1000Miles1Year #50States

Week 13 of my project (to log 1,000 foot-miles across all 50 states in 2017) took me into Texas. I contemplated the state mindfully, deciding where I wanted to concentrate my time and attention. I had never been to the Gulf area, so that was quite appealing to me. However, Texas is a BIG state, and I knew that the deeper I drove in, the longer it would take to drive back out. Did it really make sense to go all the way south to the border? I calculated my drive times and fuel expenses for several route options. It was entirely illogical to splurge on my resources and spend my time in the Gulf. But my heart argued with my head.

North Padre Island

I arrived in Corpus Christi, crossed over the Intercoastal, and continued several more miles out to where I would camp. It was a beach site, located on a thin stretch of sand, nestled between Mustang Island and Padre Island National Seashore. Under adverse weather conditions, this tiny strip of land would be fully submerged under the mighty Gulf waters. But today is far from adverse. It has been sunny, the temperature in the upper 60s, a persistent coastal current streaming over the shoreline. The orb of the sun is hypnotic, embarking on its descent behind the dunes, kicking up pinks and purples behind her. I study the high tide line and pitch my tent beyond it, spreading out my footprint amid the grassy dunes but maintaining a direct sight line to the sea.

The shifting sand is a baby-fine granule and feels silky under my feet as I load my sleeping bags and pillow into the tent body. Rain is not expected tonight, so there is no need to cover my quarters with the nylon fly. The mesh top alone offers a 360° view of what will soon be a starlit sky.

I bemoan the fact that my camera battery is dead, as my last three McCafe stops did not yield a single public outlet. Shame to miss photos of this amazing place, so I snap a few with my smartphone instead. Internet and cell service are totally sketchy here, so I sigh, and settle into the tent rather unplugged. I face south toward the crashing waves, sit up tall and cross-legged, and finally breathe in deeply, purposefully, trying to let it all go. Here I am, Gulf Waters. What do you have to teach me?

rumi heart

#Sunriser

I rose with the sunrise the following morning, raised my head and my phone to catch a photo or twenty. I have spent leisure time on other beaches, Atlantic and Pacific, and I was anticipating the pacifying, rythmic echo of the waves crashing one after another: ka-churrrrr, ka-churrrrr, ka-churrrrr… But the waves sound entirely different today. Here the wind is blowing so relentlessly that there is no lull between the crashing of the waves. The current just pummels the shoreline continuously, so the waves ROAOAR more like a constant whirring jet engine. My tent concaves politely under its pressure.

I decide to spend the whole day right here and log our miles strolling up and down the beach. As the sun continues to rise, and with it the temperature, I throw the rain fly up and over the tent body, snap it firmly into place, velcro it tightly to the tent poles, and tie back the sides, creating a little cabana for myself and Justice. I envision reading and writing to my heart’s content in this retreat from the heat. This will be a productive day.

The wind increases early and steadily. Seawater hangs thickly in the air, such that I taste its saltiness when I lick my lips. The fine-grained sand is picked up easily and carried swiftly by the current, so a layer of grit clings to everything it graces. My sleeping bags are covered in it. My glasses, cell phone, lantern and car windows are filmy from it. I cannot bring any books or writing materials out into this. Work is thwarted once again. I spin the hair around my face and pin it into tiny buns to keep the ragged strands from blowing into my eyes. The dazzling sun, the warm, moist gale, the roaoaring waves lull me into near listlessness. I finally find the time to meditate, something I have been meaning to do for weeks.

A turning point

This time was a critical turning point for me. Obliged to slow down and truly drink in paradise, I frankly realized I had turned this epic journey into a project. I had even started *calling* it a project! And I had assumed the project manager mode instead of allowing myself to be a journeyman. I was not really nourishing myself. I was not giving myself time and space to be present, to be impacted, to be changed.

There were things I wanted from this journey, other than a career change. Beauty. Creative. Spirit. To become more connected, feminine, and free. To find my voice, my message. Where was I making time for these?

It was all too easy to stumble. I am all too good at being a project manager. I have no idea how to just let go and be a journeyman. What if I get it wrong? What if I miss some critical detail? What if Thanksgiving comes and I just end up broke, with no leads and no dream because I neglected to create and execute a viable strategy?

Then again, what if I gain the whole world and lose my soul? Isn’t that what I have been searching for? And wasn’t the land calling out to me?

I am venturing into new territory, on so many levels. I don’t know how to do this. The person I have always wanted to be is right here, making her debut. But I can’t make this happen. Intuition tells me this only comes about when I allow myself to be unmade. I need to stop following my regimen and start following my bliss, and permit that joy to do its own special work in me. It does not need my planning to accomplish this. It does not need my execution. It needs me to be more open, receptive, and paying my attention to Beauty. Creative. Spirit.

Back to my #roots

Pop is worried about me. He has been watching my video logs on YouTube, and he says I am getting too skinny. He thinks I should be eating more rich foods and drinking hot coffee in the morning. He suggested I take a library day to review my goals. He begs the question: How are my present personal sacrifices being leveraged for my future happiness?

My future father-in-law is totally sweet, and I appreciate the sentiment. We have lived very different lives, and I am sure it is difficult for him to imagine why I would be driving alone across the country, imposing mean conditions on myself, chasing a dream that is still largely undefined. You may be wondering the same.

As fate would have it, I am entering the American Plains, a region that holds my roots and many childhood memories. A goal review at this time, in this place, is perfect. We are nearing the end of the year’s first quarter, and I am thus about 25% into my project. Looking toward the future, I take time to remember where I came from – small town USA.

Cotton in the Park-1

Agriculture is the basis of Carnegie’s economy, the main production being cotton, wheat, broomcorn, cattle, hogs and poultry. Here, cotton is scattered about the park playgrounds.

My kin on my mother’s side moved to Arizona from Montana when mom was still a young girl, and the family lived modestly as grandpa continued farming and beekeeping. My kin on my father’s side lived in Kansas and rural Oklahoma, where my grandmother had a cellar and canned her own vegetables and preserves.

My earliest memories are walking my sandles through rusty-colored dirt, chasing the baby horned toads because the big ones scared me, staying in the old converted school bus on grandpa’s farm, making mud pies and a delicacy I called “piccolosherie” from old can tabs, pebbles and other items I could scavenge from about the neighborhood. Did you know that if you trap a grasshopper in your hands, it will spit on you?

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My grandmother’s home in Carnegie, population >2,000.

I grew up an army brat, and my family moved frequently. When my father was stateside, we lived on the army bases. When he was abroad, we often lived with family. He would send pictures and postcards from his foreign duty stations. I was beguiled by the images of these iconic structures and exotic landscapes, and I wanted so badly to be there myself. I was jealous that my father got to visit all of these amazing places, while I was stuck at home, day after day, with the same old dirt and rubble and horned toads and spitting grasshoppers.

At least we got to move around when he was back stateside. Each new duty station brought a new adventure for me. I got to go snow tubing on the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. I got to tap my toes in real blue grass in Kentucky. One time our family actually got to accompany my father overseas. We lived in Germany for a year, and I thought it was the most magical experience imaginable. Though we lived on the base among the other American families, I attended a Host Nations class at school, where I got to learn practical German and practice what I learned on field trips, like going to the market and trying to buy tomatoes for the evening’s dinner salad. I was hooked.

Our military life ended when I was in fourth grade, and we settled back into Carnegie, Oklahoma. I thought it was utterly boring. I thought I would be stuck in that place for the rest of my life. I spent my summers at the park and the swimming pool, running around barefoot, sleeping outside under the stars, going to the pow-wows and rodeos, anything to bring the sparkle of life to my dull, brown world. I spent my winters devoted to school. We qualified for free breakfast and lunch, and I worked hard to earn good grades and ignore the fact that the other girls rode horses and wore leg warmers and I did not. I believed if I got smart enough, I could make the kind of life I really wanted for myself.

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The rodeo and the pow-wow were the highlights of my summers in Carnegie.

I became obsessed with the spelling bee. I found out that the national competition was held in Washington, DC. If I could make it to nationals, I would get to go there. Words were now my very best friends, my ticket out of town. I took home the practice book, which was a thick pamphlet of stapled papers containing column after alphabetical column of words, words, words. I studied those columns of words all summer long, dreaming of climbing the stairs of the Washington Monument and sitting in the giant lap of Abraham Lincoln himself. That winter, I won my school bee and was runner-up the regional bee. I made it to the state competition in Oklahoma City, where I misspelled the word dishwasher. Well… I was never a very good one. 😉

A couple of years later, my family moved to northern Virginia, and my dream of DC became a reality after all.

It took several months of concentrated effort to remove the southern twang from my voice. Adapting myself to a changing environment was exciting, and I was relieved to distance myself from that dull, dirty existence I once knew. I was metropolitan now. I ate seafood and took a foreign language. I saw cherry blossoms on the Mall and masterpieces by Monet. I wore dangle earrings and saved my money for two months to buy a pair of white jeans and a t-shirt by the Colors of Benetton.

Such would be the motion of my life over the next thirty years.

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Mural on Main Street in Carnegie.

 

Ironically, the pursuit of my dreams has led me back to my roots. Connecting with the land, sleeping under the stars, finding inspiration in the song of the whippoorwill… I missed the meaning in those simple messages long ago. I am learning to listen more carefully now, wearing messy hair and dirty feet once again. My southern twang is gleefully returning to me. Finding my message and my authentic voice is a journey whose time has come.

I don’t view my present circumstances as a sacrifice. I am living in my happiness. A simple life is not necessarily a mean one. I am discarding all of the distractions and discovering what is truly important to me, as the cotton gin separates the fibers from the seed. I am becoming ever more grateful for every small pleasure, like hot coffee and linen napkins and grasshoppers.

The grasshopper is both grounded and free, connected to the earth yet able to fly with the currents. With a single thrust of its strong hind legs, grasshopper takes flight with a leap of faith, not knowing exactly where it will land. I believe it is imperative for me to do the same. I may not know exactly where this leap of faith will take me, but I trust myself to ride the wind.

Facing #fear

Today’s post is in response to a question I received via Facebook messenger from Sunni in Spokane, WA. Sunni was kind enough to give me permission to use her question on my blog, so that my reply might benefit a larger audience. Thank you, Sunni!

Hi Sonya, Well, I just saw your firepit post, and hope you are staying cozy!!! So, I would actually like to take a long road trip, too, mainly to see some of my favorite places around the country, and friends & family along the way. I would probably write & post a journal or blog, too. Its just kind of a fuzzy idea right now, but at 64 years old, I am thinking about ways I can realize some of my still unmet dreams while I am still in good health and energetic. So, I have been wondering how you are financing your trip, and how you feel about driving and camping in remote places by yourself. I would hate to have a breakdown in the middle of nowhere. I used to take road trips around the NW and camp by myself. Not sure if I am feeling as brave anymore… Anyway, when you have a little time, I would love any insights you can share with me. No rush!! I’ll thank you in advance, and hope your trip continues to be the awesome adventure it seems to be!! Btw, now that you are in Branson, where is your next stop in MO? Anyway, happy travels!!! ❤ ❤ ❤. Sunni

First of all – you GO woman!! #girlpower It tickles my heart to hear my friend describe herself as being in good health and energetic, thinking about ways to realize some of her unmet dreams. Too often we speak poorly of ourselves and sell ourselves short. We should be proud of who we are, and we should believe in ourselves enough to reach for our goals. I applaud any woman who is strong enough to pursue her desires, whether it is a solo road trip, a new career challenge, a greater level of fitness, what have you.

I’m going to answer Sunni’s question in two parts, the first being how I feel about taking this kind of journey by myself. The second, how I am financing my trip, I will address in a second post soon.

How do I feel about driving and camping in remote places by myself?

This question proceeds from a place where fear dwells. So let me tell you how I feel about fear. Yes, I am dealing with fear issues during my journey. I am well aware of the dangers that attend this challenge. It is possible that I may face danger from an animal. It is possible that I may face danger from a human. It is possible that I may face danger from mechanical failure, accident, weather, etc. These are all things that could happen, and these are things that I cannot control. I refuse to let fear of these things rule over me.

Rainier-2

Honestly, facing danger is just a part of living. I know a man who came face to face with a Florida panther in his quiet neighborhood, and he was just stepping out his front door for work that morning. Tornadoes tore through dozens of homes the Midwest a week ago, just a few miles from where I slept safely in my campsite under cover of the very same storm. Can we ever construct a life that is safe, or even safer, by making one set of choices over another? This is not to say that we are to behave in a way that is reckless or irresponsible, only that fear should not be the driving force behind our decisions.

There is a danger I give credence and deference to. I believe it to be a more clear and present danger than anything else that could happen. It is the danger of living a life below my ability because I was afraid of what might go wrong. This is what I fear most. It is the danger of regret. This is a danger I can control, and I summon all that is within me to do so.

marktwain

I made a decision long ago that fear would not be my master. I acknowledge that I have fears, and some of them are based on legitimate dangers, but I don’t let those fears call the shots in my life. If ever a fear tries to bully me, I face that fear head on and put it in its place. For example, I had a debilitating fear of heights. So what did I do about it? I took up rock climbing. I pushed myself, shaking and trembling, higher and higher until I rang that bell. I do it over and over again. I ring that bell in the face of fear. I stand up to that bully until fear is the one cowering at my feet.

That is how I handle the fears that are being uncovered during this journey. I do not pretend that they are not real. I do not pretend that they do not represent a legitimate, possible danger. I am not reckless nor irresponsible. I simply face them, acknowledge them and receive information from them. I treat fear like a consultant and allow it to tell me what it feels I need to know. Fear informs my decisions, but it does not control them. I am the master of my own destiny.

Fear is powerful! Employ that power in your favor.

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