• Kit

How I faced my fear - and my cobwebs

The way we do anything is the way we do everything. Hmmmmm… Metaphors abound. Today's?

There has a been a nasty cobweb a growin' in the upper window in my 2 story foyer. It's been growing and taking shape for quite some time, but as I cannot easily (frankly I could not see a way to) reach it, I ignored it. Lately it has become more and more insistent on my attention. I mentioned to my husband as he is usually the reacher of high things. I mentioned it more than once. Still he did nothing. I ignored it some more. It continued to grow and fight for my attention. It boldly refused to go away on its own. Stupid cobweb.

Today I decided it was time for me to step up and deal with the cobweb. I had found a ladder in the basement over the weekend (an aluminum one I could easily carry, no less!), so I grabbed the broom and carried the ladder up the stairs into the foyer. I climbed the ladder as far as I was comfortable and reached for the cobweb. Crap! Not quite tall enough. There were still two perfectly usable steps on the ladder, but… I was afraid. I get a very strong vertigo feeling from heights. My stomach roils and my limbs go weak despite my best efforts.

I considered my options. I could walk away and leave that cobweb right where it was. Or, I could face my fear and push through it. It was at that moment that I realized I was asking myself some much bigger questions than just this ladder and cobweb. What was I made of? Was I a person to back down from my goals/dreams when I was pushed past mild discomfort? I have always told my students, "If your goal doesn't make you a little bit sick to your stomach, it isn't big enough." Hah!! Oh, you funny, Universe!

We often talk about having to "work" for our goals/dreams and "it won't be easy," but really, how much discomfort do we really allow ourselves to experience before we re-route and say, "Oh, I guess that: just won't work… is too big… is not for me… "? "Damn you cobweb, for forcing me to ask myself some deeper questions. I can't just get off this ladder -- it will mean so much more than just allowing the cobweb to live!"

So who am I when real fear is standing between me and my goal? (in this case, my cobweb) I climbed the damn ladder. In that moment, I saw clearly that the cobweb represented the goals that really matter to me. There was no going back. The broom was heavy and unwieldly, and my stomach was knotting. I pressed on. I stepped up, steadied myself, raised the broom, and looked directly at my goal and nothing else. I focused on the cobweb and not how intensely sick I felt. Oh, and it didn't go smoothly -- it took several swipes to get the job done -- testing my resolve. But I was determined. I would not let fear stop me. I was tempted to write, "And before I knew it, it was gone." But oh, I knew every freaking moment of the entire thing and it felt like a mini eternity. But alas, sweet victory was mine.

As quickly as my mission was completed, my son appeared on the second floor landing and said, "Hey there's another one if the other corner." Dear Lord. Onward! I carefully moved the ladder and arranged my broom, still feeling sick, but more confident. I took the second cobweb out quickly.

As my feet hit the floor after the final descent, I have to admit I felt triumphant. Not only is my window clear… so is my resolve. And now when it seems as if there is no way to reach my destination, I will look for the aluminum ladders I already have in the basement.