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Have Fun With Your Ego

January 25, 2010 Fear, Fitness, Fun No Comments

Have fun with your ego! This is what my yoga instructor told us this week as class began.

Everyone likely interprets this differently — the idea of having fun with your ego. For me, I really latched onto it because I felt it was along the same vein as calorie-burning fears… I interpret it as finding the edge of where you are comfortable and pushing that edge, going beyond your comfort level. Kind of like a practical joke on your ego, in the nicest possible way.

So go ahead, have fun with your ego! Why not? What have you got to lose??

Wait.

This is not a rhetorical question. What have you got to lose?

Your balance? Your reputation? Your idealized sense of self? There is not an answer to this question that is good enough to NOT TRY. This was my second yoga class and I found myself pushing harder through stretches and poses, only to fall out of them. I found myself trying a crane pose, one leg at a time. It went so well, I might just try both legs in next week’s class! I stopped looking around me to see how far the Asian lady over there could go or, *gasp* what the white guy in the front could do.

Applying the question to your everyday life is where the money is. For me, publishing this blog has been like having a bona fide party with my ego! I also took my ego to Tahoe over the weekend. I skied moguls and through powder (a first for me) while my friends watched and waited for me. I knew I was the slowest, least experienced person among us and I didn’t let it bother me. I went at my own pace and had fun with my ego by trying new things (like speed!) and subsequently falling on blue runs and watching little kids zoom past me.

Having fun with our egos is like an invitation to play. Children at play fall when running too fast or being tackled too hard, yet don’t know it was too fast or too hard until it’s over. That’s the beauty in it.  Children aren’t worried what other people think and they’re not thinking of themselves. They put themselves out there to see just how far/fast/hard they can go until they reach the limit. They adjust accordingly so that anything negative doesn’t happen again. It has been said that we learn more from our mistakes than our successes, and having fun with our egos allows us to enjoy both success and failure.

I intend to use this metaphor similarly to how I calculate how many calories I’ve burned through my fear alone. It’s always in the back of my mind and it pushes me to find the edge and step out of my comfort zone. Who cares what that Asian lady in yoga class or the teenager on the ski lift thinks? They’ve got their own egos to worry about.

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Auld Lang Syne

December 31, 2009 Family, Fear, Friends, Fun No Comments

New Year’s Eve, a time for reflection and hope. While I’m a big fan of the idea that “hope isn’t a strategy,” this is a good time to look ahead with hope at the opportunities that await us. But I’ve skipped right over the reflection part, haven’t I?

For me, 2009 will be hard to beat.  Hmmm…as I think of it now, 2008 was hard to beat (getting off crutches, running again, getting married)… But back to 2009. I ended the year with a feeling of complete satisfaction, the way you feel after a good meal — satiated, but not over-stuffed. As I really think about the year in its smaller parts, it wasn’t all roses. I spent 9 months of the year being pretty much miserable because of my job and having to “break up” with a very good friend. In January, my job became a black hole to me and I struggled with some of the feelings I had in high school and college as I figured out what and who were “real” in my life. But alas! None of these things were at the forefront of my mind as I looked back at 2009 as a whole. Over the last three months (since I left my job), I have been able to put that negativity aside and focus on the positive things from the year:

  • Instead of throwing away too many hours at a job where I was unfulfilled, I chose to merely “put in my time” and focus my efforts elsewhere — largely my training schedule.
  • I chose to not lie to myself or my boss and opted to assume the risk of being Unemployed In This Economy.
  • I completed two triathlons, one adventure race, and one half marathon. I was probably in the best shape of my life at age 34.
  • I spent a lot of quality time with my family, making two trips back to the Midwest during the summer and spending a week with them at Christmas.
  • I am happily married and I have wonderful friends who know the meaning of the word.

There were a lot of scary things throughout the year and I’m grateful to have not been paralyzed by them — fear of failure, fear of being hurt, fear of being poor, fear of looking fear in the face. I’m already looking forward to a new year of challenges, triumphs, and probably even a few defeats. Bring it on!

Here are a few photo highlights from the year:

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Fear Management

November 4, 2009 Fear No Comments

It’s 11:34 PM. I am an in-bed-by-10 kind of girl and I found myself lying awake wondering, “What if I do nothing with my time as an unemployed person?” How many calories am I burning just thinking about this? Enough to offset that last glass of wine, I’m willing to bet…

I have all of these ideas of Things To Do When There’s Nothing Else To Do*:

  • Wash the windows.
  • Write a book.
  • Organize the linen closet.
  • Write a chapter.
  • Visit family.
  • Write an outline.
  • Run a half marathon.
  • Start a blog.

* “Nothing else to do” does not include napping, looking for jobs, stalking people on Facebook, or midday drinking.

So. I laid in bed tonight with all of these thoughts running through my head, as they have over hundreds of training miles in the last few months. What is stopping me from writing all of it down?

Fear.

Let me be more specific. I am not afraid of what will happen if I don’t wash the windows (because I already did wash them, only to have it rain. Life goes on.). I am afraid that if I write a book/chapter/outline about my life and why it “matters,” no one will read it. Worse than that? People will read it and not like it. My life’s work (literally) will be a failure.

But worse than that? I am terrified of NOT writing it. Of not trying at all.

My book, a memoir. That’s the main idea. I think about it all the time. What would I call such-and-such chapter? How would I characterize my fear during the accident, during the ultimatum-before-engagement period, leaving the nest? I have so many common experiences that others face that I can bring with a fresh eye and a witty perspective. At least I hope I can.

It’s time to write it down and see if anyone cares or relates or notices. Because as I’ve learned, those experiences that are the scariest are the ones that are most rewarding — and burn the most calories.

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