October 2017 Oasis Odyssey

by Leslie Ackles

Lean into Your Fear

“Lean into Your Fear.” – Luke M.


Years ago my husband and I went to Paris with our children. We took the Metro to the Eiffel Tower only to be greeted by lines looping endlessly for the elevators up each leg.  One line was shorter so of course we chose that line. We got up to the entrance only to find out that the reason that line was shorter was because it was not an elevator but metal stairs – the kind where you can see through to the ground all the way up!  I am so terrified of heights…so do I walk away? Do I walk up with my family? Do I lean into my fear or succumb to my fear?


This past summer my husband and I took a white water rafting trip on the Middle Fork of the Salmon in Idaho. It was the trip of a lifetime.  I learned so much about myself through the decisions and choices we all needed to make each day.


Early on, the rafting leader was instructing the guests on how to paddle the small rubber kayaks called ‘duckies’. He explained that in the “duckie” when you are in the rapids you “Lean into Your Fear”. In other words, you head right for the rapids and hit them head on.  Otherwise you will get tipped over and you will be swimming  through the churning water.


I thought that this sounded like life. How often do we shy away from facing our fears? It is too scary to face some of those fears head on. We would rather pull back and we end up “swimming’ in our fears - churning, being tossed around, out of control.


What if we had the courage to face those fears head on?  What if we had the courage to lean into our fears?


What if we leaned in and felt the fear, let is wash over and around us? Became aware of what was in the fear? Came to an understanding and acceptance of  the fear?


Then, what if we made choices on the other side of the fear – in the lazy river of our life? After the rapids, after the terror?


What if we choose the next steps of our life, not based on fear, but based on our understanding of ourselves, what we value, and who we want to be?


“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.

You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'"

-Eleanor Roosevelt