What are you afraid of?
I remember a couple of years ago 3 of us made a trip to Ghana to for some charity work. We had raised money to re-furbish a school and provide stationary.
In the name of saving money, we opted for an airline which I can now safely say is out of business.
The disaster started to unfold right from Heathrow Airport.
Firstly there was no seat back TV which was odd for a long haul flight. We were left twiddling our thumbs and semi confused by the whole arrangement.
Secondly, there were rips and tears on the seats. I remember thinking, ‘If they can’t be bothered to maintain the interior of the plane I wonder what’s happening with the engine?’
Thirdly, during dinner time, half the plane got fish whilst the other half got chicken. There was no, ‘Ma’am, which would you prefer?’. Needless to say, it was a bumpy ride. We landed in Libya for a few hours before we boarded the plane to Ghana (that in itself was an interesting experience which I’ll save for another day).
Ghana was great, we managed to forget about our ordeal on the flight and got to get the work that we went to do.
As the days of our return arrived, my stomach started to rumble as soon as we were approaching Accra Airport. I felt tense and quite honestly terrified. I couldn’t explain it but I just felt sick.
Well, we boarded the plane and it felt like a death trap. The crew didn’t seem to be quite able to communicate in English and I remember just thinking, ‘What on earth is going on here?’
Somewhere between Accra and Tripoli, probably above the Sahara dessert the plane started experiencing turbulence. In fact it felt like being in the middle of a tornado. The plane rocked back and forth like it was on a spring board. Everyone’s food dropped on the floor as the plane was jolted to its side. I thought I was going to die. My whole life flashed in front of me. I thought of my husband, my children… What would become of them? Would he re-marry? Would she be good to my children? It was sickening….. I thought of heaven with no consolation.
People were screaming, some were throwing up and some praying. In the midst of the chaos, someone from our party decided to loosen their seat belt and start shouting, ‘Peace be still, peace be still……’
The timing was quite off for me. All I could think of is, ‘Sit yourself down.’
The rocking went on for a good 5 minutes. Pilot did not think it important to reassure passengers by letting us know what’s going on. Now that I think of it, maybe the intercom was broken.
Crew members were tripping down the isles speaking a language that most of us did not understand. It was a nightmare!
As if things were not bad enough, the engine suddenly stopped and the plane dropped for what felt like an eternity. I was just waiting for us to hit the ground.
To cut the long story short we made it ‘just’ barely alive.
That experience really scared me. It took me quite a while to get on a plane and when I did I would suffer serious panic attacks.
I realised this fear was attempting to paralyse me from doing something I love, which is travelling.
One day I decided enough was enough and I was not going to dealing with this craziness anymore. I had to have a conversation with fear and straighten up a few things…
I was not to be intimidated
I was not to be limited
I was not to be negatively impacted by a past experience
I was not to be caged
I was not going to cave in
I decided that I would fly, sometimes trembling but I’d do it anyway. My life was not going to be dictated by a 10 minute incident that happened years ago. I was going to march on and win.
You see, sometimes stuff happen that are designed to invoke fear in us. It might have been an accident, might be someone planted a thought, might be a speaking engagement that went horribly wrong…. whatever it is we must not surrender to it. We must pull it out before it takes root.
How do we do that?
We face it head on.
Why must we face it?
Because we deserve to live our life expansively.
So today, my question to you is ‘Is there something you should be doing but are not doing because of fear?’
What are you afraid of?