“Fears are nothing more than a state of mind.” ~Napoleon Hill
I know that most fears are unfounded, they are all in our mind, but we all seem to have something we fear. I have always had a fear of camping by myself in a tent. I have lived alone, have no problem staying in a hotel alone, have slept in a tent alone on group camping trips and I love my silent alone time. But the thought of camping by myself in a tent frightened me. My husband worked for a lock manufacturer and shared that locks only keep your friends out - if someone wants in, they can get in. I know this to be true since my house was burglarized. But, for some reason I feel safe if there's a lock on the door and the material of my living quarters is made of more than thin fabric.
Recently, I was to go on a camping trip with friends and they would be in their motor home and I would be in my tent which was perfectly fine with me because someone I knew was nearby. I was following behind my friends in their motor home when they had a blowout of the front passenger side tire and they went off the side of the road. Fortunately, my friend had taken the motor home safety-driving course and was able to keep the motor home upright and everyone, including the dogs, was safe. The motor home on the other hand did not fare as well. I was grateful they were alive. They had their jeep to drive home in after the motor home was towed to Tucson. I had prepped for this camping adventure by purchasing a tent I could set up by myself, a new smaller pop-up shade, and a bunch of other camping accessories. So I decided to continue on my own to the camping site and face my fear of camping by myself. I probably should not have been listening to a murder mystery book about a camping safari trip where all of the guests ended up getting murdered - the irony was not lost on me.
I arrived at the beautiful camping spot on the lake and noticed the storm clouds, so I got busy putting up the tent. I got the tent set up and staked down just as the rain started. I immediately started working on the rain fly and got it on before the downpour. I waited out the storm by sitting in the car and decided to drive into town and get an umbrella - the weather forecast had not mentioned rain. The storm passed and I got everything else set up.
So now I had to face my fear of sleeping in the tent with no one I knew near me. I followed all of the things I've been learning with my mindfulness and meditation practice. If I heard a sound and began to worry, I stopped myself, took a deep breath and asked myself if anything bad was happening in this moment? The answer was always no. I told myself, if something bad happens I will deal with it then - I am prepared. I was in a safe State park, had the recommended wasp spray that shoots 10-12 feet to ward off attackers and I could sleep in my car if I really get scared. I knew that worrying does me no good - so I practiced living in the present moment. I enjoyed the beauty of the full moon reflecting off the lake, the sounds of the heron's wings as he took to flight and the smells of the forest. I love being in nature and I released my fears to the wind and fell peacefully to sleep. Worries and fears are all in my mind and I get to choose what thoughts I believe. I have faced my fear and know that I can camp alone in a safe campground.
What fears do you need to release?
Peggy Steffens is an artist and Chopra Certified Meditation Instructor
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