overcoming fear

All posts tagged overcoming fear

Cross Country Day 1: From Rochester to Ohio

Published February 15, 2017 by Susan Woodward

The first day on the road was scary…and I hadn’t even left the garage yet!  Last minute jitters had me taking deep breaths, telling myself that I could do this.  I had planned and prepped and prayed.  I just had to believe and put it in gear.  I also looked at my passenger seat and remembered that Mom was with me for the long haul.

In order to make sure I would not chicken out, I made plans to meet a friend from high school in Erie, Pennsylvania for breakfast.  Nothing like having a commitment with a live person to motivate me to get on the road by 5 AM in order to get there by 9.  It was a beautiful day once the sun came up, and having the sun at my back, lighting my way westward, gave me confidence.  img_20160629_202748

It had been about ten years since seeing my friend, Greg.  It was great to sit, once again, in a diner drinking coffee and eating breakfast food!  Your Host was the diner where we hung out during our high school years (even though we went to two different schools).  It was like old times, and we had so much to catch up on.  Plus, Greg was just the person to give me that extra boost of confidence that everything was going to go perfectly for my trip and that I had nothing to fear.  Thanks, Greg!

From Erie, my next destination was Serpent Mound in Ohio.  Since anything to do with ancient peoples fascinates me (especially their myths/legends), when I learned that there was a quarter mile mound in the form of a giant snake nestled in the hills of Ohio, I had to go!

I had carefully calculated the mileage using Google Maps and the time estimates for getting to where I was going for the entire trip.  Let’s just say that the timing was NOT in alignment with the claim by at least two hours, even though I was doing the speed limits and following the maps.  But at least I got to where I was going!

Serpent Mound is most definitely NOT anywhere near any main highways, and the roads there wound through hills and forests. It was a beautiful drive, and I found myself sing20160629_175028ing “The Long and Winding Road” over and over.  It was early evening when I finally found the place, and I felt a sense of accomplishment just for getting there!

In order to best see the mound, there is a large tower to climb.  With my bad knee, I was terrified that it might give out while climbing.  Then I told myself that if I DIDN’T climb up there, I would always regret it by saying I had the chance and got too scared to do it.

So I climbed.

20160629_181113When I finally got to the top, I was glad I had gritted my teeth through the pain.


The view was wonderful, and the pictures do not do it justice.  I hiked along the path around then entire mound.  There were only a few others there, so I felt more or less totally alone in this peaceful place.  This park is where I placed the first of my crystals.  Every time I dropped or planted a crystal, I offered the following song:

By the Earth that is her body,

By the Air that is her breath,

By the Fire that is her bright spirit,

To the living Waters of her womb,

May the peace of the Goddess

Be forever in your heart!

The circle is open but unbroken,

Merry meet and merry part!

Once I was ready to leave Serpent Mound, it was time for me to find the campground I had booked nearby.   I was not at Rocky Forks State Park very long– only long enough to explore a little, fix my dinner, get a hot shower, and go to sleep– but it was a beautiful place.

20160629_201408 20160629_201419 20160629_205046On my first day on the road, I learned no to be afraid to to just trust that the Universe held me in its hand.  I needed to simply enjoy.  Sleeping in the van was surprisingly comfortable, and I felt blessed to have made it through that first day. If I can do one day, I can do any day!

Blessed Be!


Gentle Nudges: Help Along the Way

Published October 16, 2011 by Susan Woodward

Close your eyes and relax.  Now take three deep breaths: one for body, one for mind, and one for spirit.  Take one last very deep breath and hold it.  Just when you think you cannot hold the breath any longer, pull in just a bit more air.  Again, when you feel as if you cannot continue holding the breath, pull in just a little more.  When you finally do release your breath, do so very slowly in a long continuous exhale until you have released all that you were holding.  Breathe slowly and deeply as you continue to relax.  Relax all the muscles of your body: your legs, your arms, your shoulders, and your jaw.  Completely relax.

Imagine that you are sinking down into the furniture, and in turn sinking through the floor.  Allow yourself to continue sinking down and down, all the while feeling completely relaxed.   You continue to sink down until you find yourself awakening after an unsatisfying rest.

Having tossed and turned in an effort to come up with a solution to the challenge, you find that you are even more confounded than ever once you awaken to see what is waiting for you.  What ever had been placed to challenge you has multiplied in your sleep, and has become even more difficult to overcome.  This is what happens when we delay trying to find a solution to our problems; they continue to grow until we either deal with them, or they overwhelm us entirely, and we give up.

Your challenge is now looming over you, and you begin to feel more insecure than ever.  “Why did I have to go through all the rest of it only to be stopped now?” you wonder.  Look again in your bag and take inventory.  Is there anything that you can use?  What about any knowledge you have gained?  How can that help you now?

Dumping everything from your satchel onto the ground, you begin to sift through aimlessly, barely paying attention to what you are doing.  At the moment you are too distracted by your self-doubt to even think clearly.  What is going through your mind?  What does this situation remind you of?  How many times have you completed a task only to feel a sense of not knowing what to do next?  What feelings are going through you as you think about these other situations?  How did you overcome them in the past?  Or did you?  Did you give up in the past after having come just so far, only to learn that things had changed and become more difficult?  How does that make you feel?

Take stock of your present situation once more.  It seems to be growing with each passing moment, and it looks as if you might never return home.  For just a moment you begin to believe that maybe it’s better that way.  If you don’t follow through, then not much will be expected from you.  Life could be so much easier that way.  Sitting on the ground with your back against a tree, you feel discouraged and want to just go back to the place of the luxurious bed and hot shower.  That was so much better, and so much easier!

As you sit under the tree, something falls and hits you on the head.  Pick it up.  How strange—one would expect a nut to fall from a tree, but not this.  What is it?  Where did it come from?  Looking up, try to see where the object has fallen from.  What do you see in the tree?

A breeze begins to blow through its branches.  At first the only sound is the rustling of the leaves and the swaying of the boughs.  After a few moments, the sound of your name seems to be coming on the wind.  Gently it comes, gradually increasing in volume and clarity until you are able to recognize the voice of your mentor.  He/She begins to speak to you in a soothing and encouraging tone.  Once you know who is speaking, listen to what he/she has to say to you.  What is he/she saying?  What advice is he/she giving you about your self-doubt?  Listen carefully, for he/she knows you well.

Suddenly, the breeze turns to a hasty gust and knocks you off your feet.  This is your mentor’s way of telling you that you need to stop doubting your own abilities and rethink your situation.  By using your creativity, you will find an answer to your problem and move forward.

Looking again at your obstacle, it doesn’t seem to be a large as it had a short time ago.  Did it truly get smaller, or had you been over exaggerating its difficulty?  You feel less intimidated now, and decide to once again go through your items to see what can be used.  The more you examine them with your new-found boost of confidence, the more ways you begin to see how the items can work together to create what you need to succeed.  One of them is your Ultimate Boon and another is the gift you’d received from your mentor so long ago at the beginning of the journey.  How do they work together?  How does their use help to solve your problem?

Suddenly, without warning, a solution pops into your head.  You see in your items a way to use them that hadn’t occurred to you earlier.  Now that you see it, you realize that the solution is so simple.  If you hadn’t been so caught up in self-doubt, you would have been able to see it before.  Quickly assemble the items to make what you need to remove whatever is blocking your path…success!

A breeze begins to blow once more, and on it you can hear your mentor congratulating you.  How does this make you feel?

Once you pass the obstacle, you notice a tunnel up ahead and know that you must enter it in order to return home.  Collect your belongings and place them back in your satchel.  They have served you well, and you shall treasure them all the more now.  Before entering the tunnel, stop alongside a small brook to wash your face and refresh yourself.  The water is cool and clear, and you can see your reflection in it, albeit a bit distorted from the current.  Even in the moving water you are able to notice a difference in your appearance once again.  What is it?  How have you changed this time?  How does this change make you feel?

Bushes of raspberries and strawberries grow along the brook, and you pause long enough to make a meal for yourself.  Small brown trout swim in the brook, and you easily catch a couple to complete your supper.  The tiny fire that you’ve built to roast the fish crackles merrily and makes you feel happy to be on your way once more.  Once you’ve eaten, be sure to carefully douse the fire with water from the brook before leaving.

Now that you have refreshed yourself, you are ready to enter the tunnel that seems to lead into a large cave.  Stepping forward, you move along the tunnel, and magically, torches along the sides begin to light your way.  This is all very familiar to you, and before long you find yourself within the large crystal cavern you’d entered at the earlier part of your journey.  You are certain that this is the way home.  However, you are tired from the day’s work, and feel the need to rest before continuing.  Finding a pile of wonderful soft moss, make a bed for yourself.  Tonight’s rest will be much more satisfying now that you have overcome your self-doubt and conquered your test.

Smiling to yourself, lie down and look up at the ceiling. What color are these crystals?  Why might this be significant?  The twinkling of the light reflecting off the crystals has a hypnotic effect, and you soon begin to become very drowsy.

Curl into a comfortable position, and take a deep breath.  Feel yourself drifting away into the darkness.  Soon you begin to feel yourself rising from your bed of moss in the crystal cavern.  As you rise, you become more and more aware of your surroundings, and soon you are able to sense the furniture beneath you.  This is the room from which you began this journey not so very long ago.  As you become more and more aware of the room around you, you think about how you were able to overcome self-doubt with the help of your mentor.   Remember his/her advice, and let the words ring on your memory as you awaken from your rest.

Taking three deep breaths, one for body, one for mind, and one for spirit, you open your eyes to find yourself in a familiar place.


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