Trudging the Happy Road
Damon Baggs his son, Riley Baggs, John E and I hiked over 18 miles at 10 to 12,000 ft of elevation in the Cottonwood Lakes area of the Sierra Nevada mountains. We went to pay tribute to Damon’s Mom, Riley’s Grandmom and my very good friend Janice Rea where she slipped and fell to her death several years ago.
Her alive message was playful and consistent: “Don’t take your life to seriously” Hmmm. We turned the event into a celebration; a very strenuous celebration at that. We camped out in bear country, hiked and climbed. We were accompanied with appropriate fear of the mountains and difficulty of the elevations and distances. I was the oldest person at 71. I was also the slowest. This slow position is very new to me and my vulnerable ego. I spent a good part of the time listening to the voice of fear in my head that was telling me that the elevation and the distance were too much for me. Too old, you see. And what about my shoulder? And I persisted. By whatever grace I have been blessed or damaged to endure, I did not stop and finished with everyone else. Safely.
Many years ago it was imperative that everyone knew how to ride a horse. Horse’s were the only mode transportation. Every child either fell off or was thrown from a horse at one time or another. And every adult knew that it was very important to get back on the horse as soon as possible. The child would be hand-held on horseback and walked through the experience until the fear was gone. A child or a person that was afraid of horses would really be crippled and it was not tolerated at all. And every person in the process discovered a relationship with their fear.
Even with the recent traumatic memory of a huge animal being out of control, the child, with help, could get back on the horse, feel the fear, let it go and get on with a satisfying life of horseback riding. It was imperative for all children to learn this.
This same kind of fear stops a lot of us when it comes to physical activity. Or even Algebra or class work in some cases. Or even diet and health regimens. We allow the fear of “what will that feel like?” to stop us. Or, “I’m afraid I can’t learn that or I’m too old or clumsy or I’m not like that.” Those descriptions are often nice words to masquerade “fear”. It is a very difficult activity to admit to fear. Without being able to admit to it the fear will have you. Recognizing it is the first step in getting beyond it. In the days of horses, even though we had smelly and dirty roads, different than the smelly and dirty roads of today, every person had the experience of walking or riding through their fear. Falling off of horses happened to everyone.
False Evidence Appearing Real…..
Sometimes just admitting that it is fear that is stopping us and not our DNA or Childhood or physical structure or the government or our spouse is freeing.
I am so afraid that no one will read or like this blog. Every time I write it I have to listen to that voice in my head telling me to forget it.
Thankfully I was able to talk to my buddies on this hike about my tiredness, fatigue and voice in my head. They said “Yeah, yeah. One step at a time old man”
“Don’t take your life too seriously”
“Thank you Janice”. We agreed she contributed to us as much after she passed as she did when she was alive.
Dr Jim Dohn Hellerwork, DC