Monday, August 11, 2008

Letting go of the fear of letting go

Yesterday the 40 something surf girls were at it again.
I admire their persistence and enjoy watching and listening
to them during and after each session.
Persistence and enthusiasm are 2 wonderful  traits which
serve us well in every endeavor.

There are 2 things that I've noticed as they've stuck with it.
First is that they both have let go of some  of  their fear of 
what lives in the ocean.  When they paddled out on their maiden 
voyages their fear of fish, sharks, jellyfish, and all of the creatures
who belong in the ocean was palpable.  They worried as they
paddled.  Gradually and with time they've let go a bit.  Sure
they know that there are fish in the ocean, but something about
being in to water, gaining a new perspective, feeling part of
the ocean has helped them let go a bit of that fear.

The second fear, and one that they are still working on
overcoming, is quite literally the fear of letting go (of the
board) as they try to stand up.  I'm sure all surfers know
exactly what I'm talking about.  Novices sometimes are able to
catch the wave, but popping up to standing seems to be
a scary thing.  Holding on to the rails seems safe.
Letting go seems risky.  Without letting go they end up in
the out of balance position we all know too well, i.e. hands
on the board, butt up in the air, one foot too far back, the
other leg bent.  Unless they let go and pop up they can't get
the joy they are hoping for.

I see folks in my office all the time who are prisoners of not
being able to let go.  Isn't that what anxiety and phobias
are all about? Isn't that what causes us stress.  We each probably
have a fear of letting go of something. I have a client
who can't relax until all their chores are finished.  They never relax.
Not being able to let go holds us back at work,  in relationships, in surfing
and from being the person we'd like to be.

In the words of the former President Franklin D. Roosevelt,
"the only thing we have to fear is fear itself"!  Let go and do the
thing you fear.  It just might be fun and really worth it.  It might even
change the way you look at yourself.

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