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With the pandemic fear that is running rampant these days, I am taking a break from my usual home-organizing post to bring you something near and dear to my heart. It is a conquer fear reflection piece I wrote during my freshman year in college. And how I moved forward and what I learned from the experience. I hope you like it.
When I was in high school, I went to Jamaica with my family, and we visited Dunn's River Falls (Check out the gallery section to see the falls). I was so inspired by the experience that I wrote this for a college class. Twenty-plus years later, I am sharing my experience with you. I hope you enjoy it.
Overcome Fear Story
by Sabrina Quairoli
At the bottom of the falls, while observing the rushing water running down the side of a 180' (55 m) mountain, I began to feel anxious. I asked myself, "Why were we walking up the falls? Why are my parents forcing me to do this? What would I get out of this experience?" Little did I know this experience would change my entire perspective on life.
While waiting to begin the uphill climb, I noticed that all of the people on the trail were in their little groups, each group not talking to the next. The guide that approached us stood six-foot-tall and was barefoot with a bare chest and a thick black beard. He told us the rules in his friendly Jamaican accent, "Everyone gathers around and holds hands. Remember, watch the person in front of you so you do not lose the momentum of the human chain. Always be aware of everything that is going on around you while walking up the falls, and watch your step."
As the guide spoke, all I could think about was how are twenty-five people going to stay hand in hand while going up this high mountain. I wondered what this climb would have in store for me since I couldn't see past the edge of the first plateau. I began to ask myself questions concerning the next level. Was the next plateau going to be easier? Was the next level going to be harder? Will this really work? I had to own up to the fact that I wouldn't know until I got up there and saw for myself.
As we started up the falls, I became very nervous; my hands were clammy, and my body was very tense. Then I remembered something my parents would tell me, "Don't always take the safest route because it may deprive you of having a beautiful experience." I now understood what they meant. The water was so beautiful. The people were so friendly. So, I put my worries aside and began.
As we moved on, I noticed that everyone was working together, helping one another move forward, receiving and giving help to one another. The person in front would help the person behind. And the person behind would be a balance for the person in front. If we broke the chain, everyone would stop and reconnect. I was amazed by this act of giving and taking with kindness and support for one another.
After every last person in the human chain reached the first plateau, we were able to rest. The small individual groups from the bottom turned into one united group of individuals talking and resting together. It made me think. If we could resolve our issues and concerns toward others and with ourselves by asking for help and allowing people to help us, our world would be different. Just think, if everyone stayed in their comfort zone without taking on challenges and moving past them, we would not be able to progress.
When we reached the second level, the realization of my previous thought became clearer. By struggling with others and reaching our common goal together, we were able to move to a common ground. This plateau level seemed more humorous. We were able to laugh at each other and our situations. And we were not taking these tasks as seriously.
The final plateau gave us the gift of togetherness and completion. As we stood, soaking wet waist-high in rushing waterfalls, we felt accomplished. Grateful for our experience. We smiled at each other and were relieved that we finished without harm. The people seemed to have changed their reaction to climbing the falls. They were not scared or concerned any longer. They were proud of their accomplishments and were able to move on to something else.
While we were drying off at the top, I looked down the falls again. It looked so tame and inviting. I thought about how my perception changed from the top looking down to the perception from the bottom looking up.
This whole experience symbolized what life should be. Each stage of life is a stepping stone to the next. We will never know what the next level will reveal to us. It also gave me a new meaning for the phrase "Going against the current." We all go against the current in life, but somehow, we reach our goal sooner or later; it's just a matter of how much help we may ask for and how much we are willing to work to get past our fears and judgment.
Closing remarks regarding conquering fear:
Re-visiting this experience after so many years has shown me that if we stop and really observe what we are doing in our lives, we can change anything. I hope this inspired you to take a look at your life and see what is stopping you from being the best you.
Did you have an experience that stopped you from reaching your goal? Please leave a comment below. I would love to hear about it.