I like this acronym for FEAR: Fantasy Experienced as Reality. I relate to it. I've always had an 'overactive imagination'. It can be ridiculous at times. I am able to leap from an unanswered text to imagining my son has fallen on the icy stairs that lead from his third floor living space to the street and is freezing to death. (I've been called paranoid but I think that is harsh.)
I'm officially on the count down to facing one of my big fears - going four days without a shower or make up. Actually, I am kidding. I've got over that fear since I started the Wild Deer Program through The P.I.N.E. Project. My big fear is spending a night alone in the woods. And I'm doing it. Next week.
We've spent six months preparing and I've learned a lot about being on the edge. The edge is where you feel adrenaline. It's where you feel alive. It's where you feel like you have that heightened awareness. It's where you are pushing yourself. It's where you naturally find yourself doing lots of self-reflection. In the past six months I've been on my edge learning to track animals, start a fire by friction, eat bugs and plants, use plants medicinally, carve cutlery, and so much more.
This solo night in the woods is a 'choose your edge' experience. You can go hardcore with matches and a tarp or opt to stay up and tend a fire all night. I am choosing between a hammock and one person tent and/or the fire. I don't expect to sleep. I'm afraid a porcupine will fall out of a tree into my hammock. (Did you know the leading cause of death among porcupines is falling out of a tree?) One of my mentors tells me it is so cool to wake up and see a deer standing 20 feet away. A friend who did this course last year swore she could see eyes watching her during the night.
Whatever happens, I am facing my fear. I know every time I've faced fear in my life I have grown as a woman. I'm choosing the edge. Fear is limiting. Fear is not reality. And from where I sit - life doesn't get easier, fears don't lessen. Courage is required. Don't get too comfortable.