Let it go

Alexander D. Garrett

 

If i would have to choose the most common reason for people not taking those risks, adventures and journeys that one day they wished they had, I’d put my money on “fear”. In a dictionary, fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm. In my book, doubt is root of the majority of situations in which fear is involved. Doubt in ourselves and our capability to analyze, react and complete a task or scenario. Whether we like it or not, fear is an option. Danger is always very much real, but to approach dangerous situations with fear is when bad things can happen.

In my short time on this planet, I have begun to discover that the key to getting over fear is to let go. For example, many people defend their faith by saying “It just gives me something to hold onto”. I would argue that this is the opposite of faith. Faith should not be used in a desperate attempt to fill a void in ones life. Faith is being rooted in your own spirituality with yourself and the world around you before placing your fears on a hypothetical. The confusion is this, and bare with me for a moment; there is a fine distinction between faith and belief. Belief on one hand is hope: hope that the universe will turn out to be thus and so, or hope that there truly is a God, gods or no higher power at all. But belief  completely excludes any room for faith. Faith being openess to truth, to reality or whatever the universe may turn out to be.

To use our own ideas about God and the universe to preserve the rock we’re holding onto will only keep one from reaching a state of peace and serenity with their role in this universe. We can see this as it becomes ever more evident that we live in a floating world, surrounded by space where time and movement is all relative, and any which point can be justified as the center. We live in a world that isn’t floating on anything and the attitude of faith has changed from holding onto our rocks to learning how to swim. Learning to let go of our fears and being open to truth, life and all their wonders.

If you throw a man who doesn’t know how to swim into a pool, chances are he’ll treat that water as if it is dry land. He’ll panic, flail his arms about and only further submerge himself while using up his last oxygen reserves in the process. But if he were to let go, truly let go, he’d know that humans are buoyant and he’d float to the surface in a matter of seconds.

Let go.

In the previous blog, I touched basis on the importance of winning small battles and focusing not on the end goal. Appropriately, I had the opportunity to take my own advice during week 4 of my stay at Macao Beach Hostel. Andrés, two dear friends from Switzerland and I headed out to the Parque Nacional Del Este, where we would have the opportunity to swim in underground caves.

I never truly knew I had a fear of the unknown in a physical sense. There have been a few times where I have gone swimming in small lakes in Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio and been terrified with the murky water and the occasional seaweed that touches my ankle. The inability to see the bottom of a body of water has always made me extremely uncomfortable, but it’s not something I often think of.

As we descended into the cave, I was unpleased to discover that the cave, rightfully so, was pitch black. Armed with cellphone flashlights and am additional flashlight that genuinely looked older than me, the reality of me being able to see the bottom of this cave pool was non existent. One by one everyone tested the water and jumped in, until it was me, “Mr. Positive outlook” who sat back and watched.

Sure, the Swiss girls calling me a woman’s private part may have helped me take the initial plunge into my fear, but once in the water the fear changed. Once in the water, my mind flooded with images of something from the darkness below grabbing my ankles and pulling me under to my certain death… yes that may sound silly. It is images like these that make up our fears. A scenario that is not likely to ever unfold that alters our behaviors and decision making.

In a small moment of epiphany, I let go. I held my breath and didn’t move. I floated there, roughly a meter below the surface of the water in pure darkness. The world suddenly stood still. Part of me was still waiting for my fears to manifest in real life, and the other part of me was okay if they did. Total serenity overwhelmed me.

What must have been a minute felt like an hour. Alone with my thoughts, in an uncomfortable environment, in an almost sense deprivation – like atmosphere. I opened my eyes and very gently kicked to the surface. I slowly breathed in the fresh air of the cave and swam to the rock in which I jumped from. No longer afraid, no longer held back.

This one small battle lasted about 3 minutes start to finish. But the lesson will last me a lifetime. This is why I find it crucial to embrace the challenges life throws at you and overcome your obstacles one at a time, making sure to learn from each and every one.

To truly be free, you must be willing to let go of what you thought made sense first.

Whether it’s fear, a grudge, or anything else that may hold you back… let it go.

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