How Do You Face Your Fears?

I don’t watch scary movies for fun. I don’t jump out of airplanes or off cliffs just for the adrenaline rush. There are those that get to life’s third stage and dare to attempt life-defying feats. (See George Bush skydiving to celebrate 90th birthday) Perhaps they feel at this point in life the odds are ever in their favor. Once you’ve stared death in the face in an oncologist’s office and in the chemo chair, tempting it for fun loses a bit of its appeal, at least for me.

On the other hand, sometimes facing our fears is just the thing to do. For some, the terror lies with snakes (which I have wrapped around my neck, yes), for others, creepy crawly insects. I will NOT under any circumstances hold a  tarantula or scorpion  (I hated “Fear Factor” for those horrible segments), but I am working on my fear of heights. As I look out over the bay at the sea planes taking off to tour the wilds of British Columbia, I wished I had signed up for a flyover of my own. But I was determined to experience the amazing temperate rainforests north of Vancouver, even if it meant crossing a swinging suspension bridge over a canyon. Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is a pristine private attraction in the forest above the city, built in the late 1800s. In 1983, intrepid Nancy Stibbard, then a business neophyte and psychology major, bought it from her parents with her sister. Taking the reins, she improved it, added additional attractions, and expanded the business with two luxury lodges in nearby Banff. By 2011/2012, she was bringing home tourism excellence and marketing awards for her efforts.

Capitano Suspension Bridge

Capitano Suspension Bridge

As I peered down the gaping path, I took a deep breath and headed out  slowly, thanking some angel that I was alone. The “Treetops Adventure” lay on the other side, with its series of a dozen suspended paths between the towering cedars and hemlock. More deep breaths, holding tight, I ventured from one platform to the next. My reward was to be immersed in the rainforest canopy, with the lovely morning quiet broken only by the occasional bird chirp and rain droplets. I told myself the other “new” attraction, the Cliff Walk, was totally unnecessary. But hey, I was there, so what the hell? Again, this tight metal path sent tingles down my spine—do I dare look down?—but I was determined. So out over the granite drop I went. Again, the reward: a new perspective, with  views of ferns bursting from the wall, trees reaching for the sunlight in odd angles, and a waterfall in the near distance. Oh, and a surprise leftover Santa lurking in a cove in the cliff wall.

So I celebrated my little victory, paling against true bravery of soldiers and refugees and mothers struggling to keep their children safe against a world full of bombs and bad guys. I’m not as bold as Nancy and the legions of female entrepreneurs—like Jan and Sarah—jumping off financial cliffs. But like them, if I take a step onto a swinging bridge, I might be a little stronger when I get to the other side.

Share with us what fears you have faced down….

Kathy H. Ely Konenkii Ambassador Writer, Editor, Wife, Mother, Curious Mind Don’t call her Chatty Kathy, though her family doesn’t hesitate. (AND she talks with her hands as well!) This Konenkii woman has overcome breast cancer, divorce, and the pain of losing parents; found happiness with a single daughter, loving and handsome replacement husband, and fun-to-be-with siblings and friends. She has survived the career roller-coaster with downsizing and internet bubble bursts and magazine shutdowns; she cherishes her longstanding friends and creative colleagues from AFI to Discovery to a private girls’ school and a string of travel magazines. She looks forward to sharing your discoveries, joys, and challenges, be it a great New Yorker article, annoying experience, or raging discussion with a neighbor or buddy.

Kathy H. Ely
Konenkii Ambassador
Writer, Editor, Wife, Mother, Curious Mind

Don’t call her Chatty Kathy, though her family doesn’t hesitate. (AND she talks with her hands as well!) This Konenkii woman has overcome breast cancer, divorce, and the pain of losing parents; found happiness with a single daughter, loving and handsome replacement husband, and fun-to-be-with siblings and friends. She has survived the career roller-coaster with downsizing and internet bubble bursts and magazine shutdowns; she cherishes her longstanding friends and creative colleagues from AFI to Discovery to a private girls’ school and a string of travel magazines.

She looks forward to sharing your discoveries, joys, and challenges, be it a great New Yorker article, annoying experience, or raging discussion with a neighbor or buddy.