Rise Above Fear

I am not an outdoors person. Or at least that’s what I thought till some time ago.

Some four years ago, as part of an adventure based training program, I had to do rappelling  Rappelling is a controlled descent down a rock face or a wall using a rope. After the safety and activity brief, we were to climb down a steep wall of 40 feet height.

A lot of participants showed enthusiasm and were lining up on the terrace to rappel down. I was like rooted to the ground. I slipped my hands into my jacket in an attempt to dry them of their clamminess. I had never done anything of this sort earlier. People were oohing and aahing with excitement while I was paralysed with fear. ‘I cant do it’… ‘I can’t…’ kept reverberating in my head. The brief said that we were safe on every millimetre of the rope but the panicky alarm bells in my head were ringing wildly.

The trainer could see through me and gave me a little pep talk. He suggested that I watch the other participants from the terrace. I pushed myself to at least go to the terrace, though I was convinced that I wouldn’t be doing this activity. Even after seeing so many people go down so easily on the rope system, my head and heart were not giving me the ‘Go for it’ sign.

And finally, I was the only person left on the terrace along with the adventure coordinators. They signalled me to wear the safety harness. Fear was writ all over me.

I looked at my instructor and asked him: “Do I really need to do this?” He said: “Not if you do not wish to. But I suggest that you do it. This experience will change you”.

I had a minute to decide. Slowly, I turned and wore the safety harness and stood on the ledge of the wall. The world looked different when seen while standing on the edge of a 40-ft wall. The cool breeze did nothing to soothe the raging nervous energy inside. The crowd at the bottom was cheering me and I was all set to… chicken out. Their motivating words could not reach the fearful stories my head was busy concocting.

And then the instructor asked everybody to keep quiet and looked at me and said, “When was the last time you did something for the first time?”

Something connected somewhere and I ssshed my racing nerves. IMG-20101217-00178I focused on the instructions and gingerly took the first step down the perpendicular wall… and then the second… and then the third… And by fourth step, I was like ‘not bad’… and then it was ‘Aha!… and with every step my confidence kept on increasing and a tiny little firefly was buzzing around above my head with excitement.

And when I reached down, the first thought was that wish the wall had more height! This thought amazed me…I mean this was coming form somebody who was chanting the “I can’t’ mantra, moments ago.

I realized that my dread, my fear, had been a huge overreaction. My self limiting beliefs and my fears paralysed me from taking that first step. There is enough strength within us to overcome anything in life… including our worst and biggest fears!! I realized that no fear is unconquerable. All you have to do is TRY and RISE ABOVE FEAR!!

Today, white water rafting, trekking, valley crossing, flying fox/zip line excite me and I can’t wait to explore para-sailing and bungee jumping!

This post is written for Indiblogger and Mountain Dew India #RiseAboveFear

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36 thoughts on “Rise Above Fear

    • I can understand your fears! But I have realized that it is all in the mind! If we can tame our minds, we can overcome anything 🙂
      Underwater walk on a honeymoon is soooo cool! 😀

  1. I like to imagine I’d like to go bungee jumping, Shilpa, but I know I am nervous. 😀 Still the anticipation feels good.

    I admire you for overcoming your fear of adventure sports – I know that takes a lot of courage! Must be such an adrenalin rush, no?
    Vidya Sury recently posted…I am Strong. But.My Profile

    • Oh, you CAN do it, Vidya! Go for it! I never imagined that adventure sports would ever come under my comfort zone! You bet these sports are some adrenaline pumping action! 🙂

  2. Shilpa, I voted to go first when rappelling for the first – and last time thus far (unfortunately) as I was scared and yet wanted to experience the beauty of nature supporting me or whatever I thought in my head at the time. I SO loved it! It was SO freeing and SO (much) fun! I wished too, like you, it was higher! 😉 However, bungee jumping doesn’t appeal to me: that seems to be a bit more extreme. However, I have gone white water rafting – scary and kinda fun – and would love to go ziplining! 😉 BTW, fun commercial! 😉 <3
    elly stornebrink recently posted…December 10: Human Rights DayMy Profile

    • Aha! We have had similar experiences! Aren’t we glad that we let go our fears and experienced these fun and exciting sports! Yes, bungee jumping is bit of an extreme, but I must explore it sometime! 🙂
      Thanks, glad you liked the commercial, Elly 🙂

    • Giant wheels make me giddy! I think, I rode on a giant wheel at a fair with Aaryan some 8 yrs ago! And I just couldnt wait for the ride to stop!
      I liked your different take on the theme, Rajesh 🙂

    • You must explore it sometime, as the instructor said, it will change you! So go for it! 🙂 Thanks and I am really glad that I tool that step that day 🙂

    • Oh,believe me, if I can do it then am sure you can do it too! And I am really glad that I did what I did that day! It changed my perspective about a lot of things and filled me with so much of excitement and positivity 🙂

  3. That was so brave of you, Shilpa. I haven’t ever done any adventurous activities other than living this thing called life. 😉 I know I’m not brave enough to do any such activities. You know, I am scared of roller coasters too. 🙂 yeah, I know!!

    • Aah! Roller coasters are not my cup of tea. Give me all that giddiness and nausea! But rappelling, rafting are simply cool. Try them out sometime, Vinitha. I am sure, you will love the experience too. 🙂

    • It is like you never know till you try… Till I took that first step, I was convinced that I am not cut out for such adventure sports. But that first step taught me a lot! YOU can do it too, Beloo 🙂

  4. Shilpa,it scares me reading this.
    I know of a person who went to Corbett and tried Banjidiving.
    As luck would have it,fellow up there couldn’t hold onto the rope and this person fell so many feet below getting a head injury.
    B k chowla recently posted…WOMENMy Profile

    • Wow! White water rafting is so thrilling, Isnt it? I have done it thrice on the Ganges at Rishikesh in Feb-March. God… the water was ICE cold!! But love that rush of adrenaline 🙂

    • There this Japanese proverb, fear is only as deep as the mind allows. And when we face our fears, we rob them of their power. So, go ahead and conquer your fears. It is all in the mind, believe me, Ashwini 🙂

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