There was a familiar ding. The pilot said we had just reached 10,000 feet. People started to move around the cabin. But not me… my eyes were glued to the glorious view I was soaking up just outside my window. With my nose pressed up against it, all I could see in any direction was a sea of bubbly, rolling clouds stretching out like a pure white hillside. I was so blown away by the beauty of it, my eyes started to well up.
Now, I should explain. For the last 12 and a half years I’ve had a totally irrational fear of planes. This from a girl who grew up flying from Florida to New York and back every-other weekend… bused between two loving parents who had decided, when I was two and a half, to split. For all those years growing up, flying was simply part of my existence. I never questioned it and certainly never felt an ounce of fear around it. Flying was as normal to me as riding a bike or driving in a car.
But, after 9.11, that shifted. Every time I stepped on a plane after that I questioned the sturdiness of the structure. I didn’t like the feeling of walking down the aisle in mid-flight, having to realize there was little more than metal and the pilots keeping me afloat. This has slowly diminished over the years… but two new rituals have emerged in it’s place.
Every time I get on a plane, I have the very same dialogue with myself. I acknowledge that I could die during this flight… and reply with something snarky or thoughtful. This trip I simply said, “Yeah, well it’s been a hell of a ride.”
I also have had a major aversion to sitting in the window seat. More than that, looking out the window was simply out of the question. Fear would make me request that whomever was braving the window seat pull down the plastic shades instantly & keep them closed the entire ride.
And yet, a few weeks ago, when I was on my way home from my beloved New York City, I chose a window seat. I have no idea why… it was just something inside me nudging me toward the edge of my comfort zone. Miraculously, about three quarters of the way home, I decided to do the unthinkable: tug open the plastic shade. And, for the first time, I allowed myself to be truly captivated by what was on the other side.
It was a city, maybe Dallas, and it was breathtaking. I sat there so in awe of the majesty of this creation and the patterns it brought to the surface.
I realized that, on the other side of fear is not something painful or unbearable… but quite the opposite. It’s overwhelming beauty and awe. It’s deep peace and fascination. It’s power and calm.
So this trip, I jumped into the first window seat available… and swooned over the evolving view for the first thirty minutes of the flight.
I captured this…
And was moved to tears by the sheer brilliance of our sky. And was blown away by this new experience… this place on the other side of fear. It was so much more than I could have imagined. It was whole & glorious & precious & big.
For twelve years I had let my fear get in the way of this epic view… and it had never occurred to me that I may be missing out on something so sensational simply because I wasn’t willing to stop being scared.
And it got me thinking: what if we all just decided to stare our fears in the face? What if we all could look at the thing we’ve been dreading, avoiding, letting control us with total curiosity and awe rather than terror? How would our everyday be different? Would we ask more questions, take more risks, speak up more? What would we realize we’ve been missing?
Now that I’ve seen the other side, there’s absolutely no turning back. And I want you on this fear-facing journey with me. Who’s up for the challenge of taking on our fears one by one… and instead of letting let limit us, letting them guide us to a more beautiful, powerful, peaceful place?
Share one fear you’re holding onto in the comments below. Be honest… tell me what it’s been like for you. Then promise me you’ll take it on the next time you have the chance & come back to tell me what you found on the other side.
I have a feeling it just might change the way we all think about what’s possible.