air.JPG (232446 bytes)Fear of flying   

We were on a flight to Washington DC seated across the aisle and one row back from three young men. If I were to guess they were 17 or 18 years old. I was sitting in an aisle seat and the fellow sitting in the aisle seat from their group randomly squeezed his water bottle and it squirted on the lady sitting across from him. He apologized and said he was a little nervous.  Well he wasnít lying. The plane started to back up and his hands started to shake profusely. His body contorted as he dug his heels intoair2.JPG (141577 bytes) the ground. This manís fear had him clenching his hands as sweat poured off his face. Frankly it was uncomfortable to watch. I wanted to help him in some way, let him know it was going to be alright, but how could I take his overwhelming fear away? Part of me impatiently thought, get over it, you cannot spend your life like this. Then I remembered my own bike fears. We all experience life differently. Two people could do the exact same thing and come up with two unique stories. For example I was riding with Chris who also participated in the Diamond Mineral Springs ride, he shared with me that he had read the report on my website and he didnít experience the ride the same way. For him the ride was enjoyable with just a small bit of gravel, nothing to get alarmed over. Two people, two entirely different experiences.

air3.JPG (153487 bytes)I visited the Hirshhorn Museum while in Washington and viewed a film exhibit entitled: The Cinema Effect: Illusion, Reality, and the Moving Image: Part II Realisms. One of the messages of this exhibit was that of the complexity of reality. Reality is complex because we all experience it differently. I could have told the fellow on the plane that there was nothing to worry about; on the other hand I could be told that I shouldnít worry so much about cycling. The reality is that each of us experiences life filtered through our past experiences. So how do you change your perception of reality? Is there a way to mentally erase road blocks?

airtravel.JPG (252760 bytes)Dwelling on failures and painful incidents in the past does nothing but magnify these negative experiences. I suggest you turn it off, just turn off that video repeating itself in your head. Donít allow yourself to stay in that place. In fact take charge of your thoughts and visualize positive experiences. Thatís the solution, take charge of your thoughts.

"Fear is only as deep as the mind allows." - Japanese Proverb