Thursday, December 16, 2010

Conquering Fears and Rediscovering the Joy of a Challenge

I'm not known to be a wussie. A former state peace officer who made it through four months of a quasi-military state police 'boot camp', followed by years of road trooper duty, the divorced mother of triplets--these aren't the bona fides of a wimp. Yet we all have those little...phobias. And I have...a couple.

One has its beginnings in my early law enforcement career when I was assigned to the Iowa State Capitol before my transfer to the State Patrol. This was back in the days when school children actually behaved well enough to be trusted to take a tour of the capitol dome. Yeah. That was a lotta years ago. No. I don't plan to tell you how many. Anyway, on one occasion a youngster became scared on the trip to the dome and I was dispatched to assist in his descent. Which essentially translated into putting the kid on my hip and picking my way down a creaky staircase suspended over a vast, open drop followed by a wickedly spiral staircase manuever.

Since that incident, I've had some minor issues with heights.

So, it was with some trepidation that I recently signed up for a special employee tour that included the Statehouse attic and...gulp...the dome. I did this for several reasons:

1. To face my fear.

2. To research a future book.

I must confess, reason number 2 was what tipped the scales in getting me to agree to hoof it to the tip-top. And once I made it, the view was worth it. My own sense of accomplishment was a bonus. And the research? Pure gravy.

I see a parallel here to writing. Sometimes we have to take a risk with our writing, reach inside ourselves and pull out story lines or elements we never considered incorporating in our writing projects. You know. 'Go where no writer has gone before.'

In other words, surprise ourselves as writers. Embolden ourselves. Challenge ourselves.

I think is a good way to approach most anything in our lives. Embrace those possibilities you never considered before. Find a new way to 'be'.

For the holidays that could mean instead of cooking for a houseful this Christmas, volunteer at a homeless shelter. Or instead of buying more 'stuff' you really don't need, adopt a needy family to surprise this year. Or pick out someone buying gas at the pump outside and pay for their fill-up. Or drop a pizza off at your mechanic's shop (if he successfully fixes your overheating problem, that is), donate some new books to your local library, shovel your neighbor's sidewalk. You figure it out.

So be of good cheer. And be unafraid. Strike out with confidence and joy in all that you do.

May all the blessings of this holy season be yours!

~Bullet Hole Bacus~


Christie Craig said...

Great post, Kathy.

Thanks! I'm glad you faced your fear and I'll bet that scene is going to be great.


TerriOsburn said...

Kudos for making that climb. And coming back down. :) I have a similar philosophy, though it doesn't extend to jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. And never will.

I need to remember this in the writing and now I want to find something good to share this Christmas. I'm going to think about this.

Angie Fox said...

Wow. What a view. And I'm sure it was about a million times better in person. Thanks for the reminder to be bold! Off to go conquer Christmas present wrapping (which takes a lot of boldness in this house)...

Zita said...

Man, you guys will turn anything into book fodder, won't you? Way to go, Kathy! And happy holidays =)

Kathy Bacus said...

You can betcha I'll use the 'shaking knees' sensation in a book or two, Christie. and I was thrilled to see how much the bike riding strengthened my bum knee!

Kathy Bacus said...

I'm really trying to 'simplify' this Christmas, Terri, and find new ways to celebrate the season that focuses less on 'stuff' and more on substance.

And I would have patted myself on the back for making the climb, but as you can see from the picture, I was too busy holding onto the railing!

Kathy Bacus said...

Good luck with your wrapping, Angie! I must confess I've only purchased one gift so I must venture out boldly tomorrow to start--and finish--my shopping.

Must also begin baking!

Kathy Bacus said...

You better believe it, Zita! No mountain (or capitol dome) is too high to climb for the sake of book research!

Hyperventilating notwithstanding.